Physician Assistant Alumni Testimonials
Patrick Cording, PA-C
PA Class of 2010
Undergrad: James Madison University, '04
United States Air Force Family Practice Physician Assistant 2010-Present
Methodist University Physician Assistant Program was the best educational choice I have made to date. From the moment I first saw the school and met with the students and faculty, I knew that it was where I wanted to attend. I applied to 16 different programs and interviewed at 14. From the beginning, Methodist was great. The admissions team was very professional and incredibly timely. The students and faculty I met at my interview were incredible. It was the only interview I completed that I felt completely comfortable and at home. When I received my letter of acceptance, my choice was made.
I was interested in Methodist for many reasons. It boasts one of the best PANCE pass rates in the country. It has state of the art facilities that will rival most medical schools. The class sizes are small and intimate, facilitating a great learning experience and fostering a lot of one-on-one time with the professors. The staff is truly first rate. Comprised of physicians, surgeons, pharmacists and physician assistants, it provides a great depth of knowledge and multiple facets of medicine to assist in producing exceptional physician assistants.
Fayetteville and the surrounding North Carolina communities provide a great place to learn and hone your skills. Patients in the area prove to be very complicated and need a high level of care. The professors at Methodist continue to do a phenomenal job preparing the students for these difficult patients during the didactic year. The amount of information you need to learn in that first year is daunting to say the least. However, the instructors are amazing, and they do not hesitate to provide extra help when needed. After completing my didactic year, I felt I was ready to tackle the tougher patients in the surrounding communities.
The preceptors in the area are fantastic. They are excellent teachers and provide great opportunities to learn. In Fayetteville, physician assistant students do not have to compete with medical students, interns and residents to treat patients. This is particularly important on specialty rotations where physician assistant students often find themselves at the end of the line to assist surgeons in the operating room or to do procedures in the office.
The relationships that are created while on clinical rotations, more often than not, lead to employment opportunities upon completing the program. Most of my classmates had secured great positions prior to graduation. I made some truly good friends with my preceptors and was offered several excellent job opportunities. However, I was already committed to serving in the United States Air Force upon completion of my studies.
I can say without a doubt, that I was very well prepared for my work in the military after graduating from Methodist. I am currently employed at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO in a very busy Family Practice clinic. I average 20 patients per day, most of whom are retirees and military dependents with multiple diseases and co-morbidities. The training that I received at Methodist and in Fayetteville truly prepared me for the older patient population I attend to. Currently, my team at the Academy consists of my supervising physician, myself, our nurse and four medical technicians. We routinely treat some of the highest acuity patients in a clinic of 15 providers and an empanelment of 20,000+ patients. Our team consistently sees the most patients in our clinic on a weekly basis. We have held the top one and two spots, out of 15, for diabetes management since our team was created. Our team is currently implementing and will be running the Diabetes Management Clinic for all of Family Practice. I firmly believe that my ability to treat diabetes well was due to my training at Methodist and working with some incredible providers in Fayetteville and the surrounding communities.
After being at the Air Force Academy for approximately one month, I volunteered for a six-month deployment to Afghanistan with Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force. During my tour, I treated a variety of illnesses and injuries in a very austere location. The team I deployed with consisted of a trauma surgeon, orthopaedic surgeon, myself, two nurses and several technicians. We had very limited resources at our disposal. In our clinic there was a CBC machine, urine dipsticks, an ISTAT, one portable X-ray and two operating tables. We routinely found ourselves falling back on our training from school and utilizing good history taking, complete physical exams and our clinical judgment to make the right diagnosis. We treated everything from mass casualties and single/poly traumas to myocardial infarctions and complicated pregnancies. We attended to over 1,500 patients, provided the initial resuscitation to over 250 trauma patients and assisted each other as needed in more than 300 surgeries. I believe wholeheartedly that my training at Methodist allowed me to be a valuable asset to our Forward Surgical Team.
I would highly recommend the Methodist University Physician Assistant Program to anyone interested in becoming a great physician assistant. If given the opportunity to repeat my graduate studies, I would not change a thing!
Staci Pessetti, PA-C
PA Class of 2012
Methodist University's Physician Assistant Program was a phenomenal education decision, and one that I did not take lightly. I moved from Michigan to attend PA school, I applied to 19 schools, interviewed at 11, and Methodist was the clear standout in all of those experiences. From the beginning of the admissions process and continuing through my career as a PA, Methodist's PA Program is highly professional with excellent communication and resources in the faculty and staff, a great network of colleagues and support in the academic world, and a valuable close-knit community in all steps of the journey.
The Methodist PA Program is an excellent learning environment, with growing and advancing facilities and experiences on-site during the didactic year, highly competent and compassionate faculty who are committed clinicians in the Fayetteville area, broad opportunities for rotation experiences, and engaged MUPAP alumni throughout each step of the journey. Most will, rightly, boast of our full onsite cadaver lab, solely used by MUPA students, which provides an incredible knowledge base to build upon clinically. In addition, there a many clinical skills labs and sessions to learn a multitude of hands-on procedures throughout the duration of training. The philosophy of education and training is unique from other PA programs, with a focus on the team aspect of health care and the personal nature of interacting with colleagues and patients, rather than a cut-throat race or competition. The faculty is up to date on current medical treatments, provides relevant clinical cases and dilemmas to learn from, and constantly uses student feedback to improve the experience and process of the program. The PA program facilities are highly valuable to the learning demands of the students, and the Methodist community provides many other additional support services throughout the education and job-seeking process to provide a well rounded graduate.
I found that the MUPAP curriculum and experiences provided exceptional competency to exceed in rotations, as well as to thrive as a new PA in the field. The program has molded an impeccable mixture of challenging students with a high intensity didactic load, providing academic and personal support along the way, and also instilling excellent values and ethics into students throughout the journey. This is more than just a school to me, it was an educational experience that provided the best possible training for my career while also developing me as a person and a person of influence in my community. My experience has been so worth the move from Michigan that I have stayed in the area and continue to be involved in the PA program and the Fayetteville community.
The Methodist University Physician Assistant Program gets my highest recommendation for graduate medical education, and especially to individuals who are pursuing the unique training that produces genuine, compassionate, invested, humble, and influential Physician Assistants.
Photo credit: Jeku Arce Photography