Jesse McCoy, MHS, PA(ASCP)CM
AAPA member since 2005
"I wanted to share an experience that really has impacted my being as a PA, and I hope to inspire you as well. Every year, our hospital Breast Foundation has an event called the Bra-ha-ha. This event entails artists in the community creating bras for a Gala/Fundraiser, where all funds raised go to providing mammograms for under- or uninsured women in our community. This year, I am the proud winner of the bra design contest, with my entry 'Cakes for a Cure'. (You can find more details about my inspiration and pictures of other entries here.)
At the gala, I had the amazing experience of meeting a patient of mine, Stacy McAloon (pictured below, modeling the winning bra), who is currently battling breast cancer. To meet this individual, watch her model my bra with pride and determination, and tell her story, has left an indelible impression on my PA self.
We are often so separated from the patient, sometimes lost behind rules about fixation, finding clips in a sea of dense, fibrous tissue, or frustrated because of lack of formalin to tissue ratio. Looking into the eyes of Stacy McAloon, fighting to see her grandbabies grow up, was sobering. Also, many of us work for private groups, and as pathologists' assistants, we are somewhat disconnected from the 'team' of the hospital, often craving recognition from the other disciplines within the healthcare system. The breast surgeon, breast navigator, oncology nurses, and a huge network from our hospital were there to support me, 'the PA from Pathology' (I'm okay with that, by the way), recognizing the work we do behind the scenes, and, in this case, in front of our community.
My goal isn't to toot my own horn — although I'm proud of my creation, for sure — but to encourage you to find ways to give back. Find a way to make it personal, because I assure you, you wont look at your 'specimens' the same again!"
Are you a PA promoting the profession? Do you present at conferences to spread the word about PAs? Offer job shadowing opportunities? Educate students on what it takes to become a pathologists' assistant? We want to share your story! Send us a summary describing how you promote the PA profession and one or two high-resolution photos, and you may be our next featured member! Alternately, if you know a colleague who goes above and beyond to spread awareness of PAs and their role in the lab, submit a nomination for your fellow member to be featured next!