Physician assistant alumni host panel for students
By Styliana Resvanis
On Nov. 20, seven University of Florida School of Physician Assistant Studies alumni from across Florida traveled to Gainesville to meet with Gator PAs-in-training and share their experiences as practicing health care professionals.
From loan repayment and litigation issues to finding that first job, each graduate offered advice to first- and second-year students on how to handle real-world situations.
Alumni took turns discussing where their careers have taken them since their time at UF before taking questions from students. And while each graduate followed a different path post-graduation — one alumnus pursued a career in the military while another worked in correctional medicine — each emphasized the quality of UF’s PA education.
“This program has given me my life,” said Dana Ballard, MPAS ’99, a PA at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa who received her degree in physician assistant studies before earning a law degree from Stetson University. “You’ll always have a job. You’ll always be wanted.”
Questions from students included tips on transitioning from one specialty to another, how to find a job post-graduation and ways to track down nontraditional work opportunities.
“It behooves us to promote our field,” said Claudia Botero, MPAS ’99, a physician assistant at a pediatric otolaryngology office in St. Petersburg. “Use any opportunity to promote yourself and your friends, and doors will open for you.”
Photos by Jesse S. Jones