For today's Member Spotlight, we are featuring Sarah Garner, MS, PA(ASCP)CM, a 2016 Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science graduate.
Name: Sarah Garner, MS, PA(ASCP)CM
Organization: Tulane University School of Medicine
Location: New Orleans, LA
Years as a PA: 2
"As a Pathologists’ Assistant, I often find myself struggling to explain my job. There are not many PAs in Louisiana, and I am the only PA at my hospital. Much of the time pathology goes unnoticed and misunderstood, so trying to discuss or explain what we do is often difficult. Being a member of the AAPA changes that. It allows mentorship, job opportunities, continuing education, salary survey results, and more. Having our own journal, The Cutting Edge, is an excellent resource and opportunity to publish. Most importantly for me, the AAPA offers the opportunity to network with fellow PAs, not only for guidance and mentorship, but even just to appreciate the interesting, rare specimens. One of the best parts about being a PA is that every specimen is unique which makes every day different and exciting, and it is important to be able to share that with colleagues.The
gross room isn’t typical 'dinner conversation' and yet as PAs, we love it and want to talk about it.
It takes a certain type of person to do what we do and love it, and the AAPA brings those rare people together.
Being a Pathologists’ Assistant allows me to engage in interprofessional education. As healthcare professionals, we participate in education at some point in our career, whether we work in an academic or private setting. Everyone can be considered a 'student': a patient lost in the hallway or in the waiting room, surgeons asking for frozen sections, technicians, medical students, residents, nurses, PAs, hospital administrators, and even ourselves. In pathology, it is easy to feel detached from the rest of the clinical world, but we must remember that every action we take indirectly affects other members of the healthcare team, and most importantly, the patient.
I have the privilege of teaching PA students, undergraduate and graduate students, medical students, and residents, not only in pathology, but in gross anatomy and histology as well. Being
a PA allows me to bring a different perspective and fresh ideas into the classroom and clinical setting, instead of teaching students the 'way we have always done it.' As a PA, I can teach students about the laboratory aspect of medicine. Much of the time students don’t stop to think where diagnoses come from, or what happens to a specimen after surgery. When explained, most students are fascinated. Being a PA doesn’t have to be limited to the gross room. Any interaction with any person can become a teachable moment. In my opinion, the other best part of being a PA is having the opportunity to influence and educate others. A PA can be an excellent grosser
and do every specimen exactly right, which affects many other healthcare professionals and patients throughout that career. But a PA also has the opportunity to educate others about proper patient care, grossing, basic sciences, etc. That influence can then touch multiple 'students' and
their careers, in turn touching infinite people, which is why I am grateful to be a Pathologists’ Assistant."