We got the chance to sit down with two local physician assistants, Anthony and Melody, to find out what they love about their jobs, their advice for pre-PA students and the value of an Instagram community.
Name: Melody C. and Anthony G.
Professions: Melody, PA-C, MPH – recent grad and just started her career as a Family Medicine & Urgent Care PA. Anthony is a physician assistant and certified athletic trainer practicing orthopedic sports medicine.
Why did you become a PA?
MC: I was a researcher & clinical lab scientist prior to PA school, but I longed for more patient interaction and a career where I could give back to my community as a clinician. Upon meeting different PAs and learning more about the profession, I knew right away it was perfect for me. The PA profession also gives me versatility in medicine, since lateral mobility between different specialties is possible.
AG: My motivation for becoming a PA was deeply rooted in the goal of “helping others live a healthy life”. My journey towards PA school started as I studied sports medicine at Long Beach State and became a certified athletic trainer. From there I knew I wanted to help keep “the athlete that is inside all of us” healthy and educated on how to live an injury free life. Being briefly aware of what a PA was, I researched the profession to see if I would be able to incorporate what I found fascinating with sports medicine with the scope of practice granted to a PA.
How did the two of you meet?
MC: Anthony and I met on Instagram. I reached out and asked if he knew one of the surgeons at his surgical center, because it was the same place where I had my knee surgery years ago. Turns out Anthony works directly with the surgeon who performed my knee surgery! While on rotations, I had a day off and asked Anthony if I could come and shadow him. Anthony let me hang out with him in the OR and during his office consults. Since then Anthony has been a wonderful resource. Even now, I ask him about ortho cases that come in to see me, and he always teaches me something new!
What advice would you give to an aspiring PA?
MC: Throughout my journey to and through PA school, I was often told (either directly or indirectly) that I wasn’t cut out for a career in medicine. I wasn’t smart enough, I wasn’t going to make it, I should focus on another career, the list goes on. My biggest advice is to forget all the negative noise, stay positive and know that anything is possible!
AG: The journey to becoming a PA is full of obstacles. The most helpful advice I can give an aspiring PA is to NETWORK. You never know what can come out of a small connection; letters of recommendation that help you get into your top PA program, a referral from a friend that lands you your dream job, and creating something bigger than yourself to help pay it forward.
Anthony, why do you enjoy being a mentor?
AG: I enjoy mentoring as a way to pay it forward. I am at the point in my career as a direct result of the mentors who believed in me and pushed me to be the best possible while working towards my goal of becoming a PA.
Melody, would you consider being a mentor to PA students?
MC: Definitely! Even now, I try to give back as much as I can, whenever I can. As a first generation Latina navigating the journey to medicine, I never really found a place where I can ask questions, seek advice, or simply talk to someone who had been through it all! The saying goes, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” I took this to heart and made my Instagram page as a way to give back, to answer questions, and just give others a glimpse into my world. In the near future, I cannot wait to become a preceptor, and give back to the next generation of PAs!
Melody, what are you most excited for now that you are finished with school?
MC: Finally being in a position to help others. The transition from PA student to PA-C had many ups and downs, and the learning truly never stops, but I am happy I am now able to do what I love (Family medicine & Urgent Care) in the community I love!
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
MC: Connecting with patients is my absolute favorite. I live for these moments!
AG: Being able to get a person back to what they love to do is the most rewarding part of my job.