Q: Tell us about the work you do now.
Cara: Right now, I'm a PA at a private practice which specializes in pediatric orthopedic surgery. Our practice is in St. Petersburg, Florida, which is where I currently live. We're affiliated with Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. Our practice consists of six physicians and there are also six other PAs that I work with. I work in many different settings. I work in an inpatient setting as well as seeing patients in an outpatient clinical setting and we assist in surgery as well. I think surgery is probably the most challenging for me, but I also find that it's the most interesting. I love being directly hands-on and in surgery I get to do that.
Q: How did the undergraduate Rehabilitation Science program prepare you for the Physician Assistant Studies program?
Cara: I don't know if it's because they're both Pitt programs, but I felt that because of my undergraduate career I was very prepared, not even necessarily just for the PA program, but when it came to learning how to be a professional medical provider. Many of the classes taught me extensively about disabilities, both physical and intellectual, and prepared me to communicate with people appropriately and professionally.
Q: What type of career goals do you have?
Cara: I'm really happy in the career field that I'm in now. I love being a physician assistant. I also really wanted to work in orthopedics and I think having a rehabilitation background also helps me do that. I hope to improve my surgical skills, and that often just comes with practice and time. I also hope to become more involved in our state physician assistants association, which is the program that we have that supports PAs and legislation regarding PA practice in the state of Florida.
Q: How do you spend your time outside of work?
Cara: I moved to Florida after PA school and before that I had lived in Pennsylvania my whole life, so I really try to take advantage of the weather here. I spend as much time outside as possible. I live pretty close to the beach so I spend a lot of time there. And the city of St. Petersburg is actually known for its arts so I’ve been immersing myself in the artistic culture that is here with the museums and art shows. Activity-wise, I actually started paddle boarding, which is something that you can't really do in Pittsburgh.