Following her graduation from Methodist University’s Physician Assistant Program (MUPAP) in 2019, Madeline Monday made the decision to be voluntarily assigned to work in a New York hospital in the beginning stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I decided to sign up because I saw the greatest health crisis of my lifetime unfolding in front of me, and I knew I couldn’t sit on the sidelines,” she said. “I knew the experience I would gain would be priceless. I wanted to go to frontlines to learn all I could about COVID-19, that way if it came to our community, I would have the experience and skill to help.”
The Army veteran works 12-hour shifts in the Intensive Care Unit at Elmhurst Hospital in New York, a state that has more than 319,000 confirmed cases and nearly 20,000 deaths from the disease.
Because of the high volume of visits, Monday says she has become proficient in changing her personal protective equipment, including a gown, gloves, an N95 mask, scrub cap and face shield.
The job, however, comes with risks. Monday contracted COVID-19 and was quarantined in her hotel room with mild symptoms, like a sore throat and a night of nausea.
After a week of rest, Monday headed back to the hospital to help patients suffering from COVID-19. She is thankful for her clinical hours and the experience she gained while in the MU PA Program.
“MUPAP prepared me by allowing me to take an elective in the ICU so I feel more comfortable with the vents and drips than if I had not,” she said. “My inpatient experience prepared me for long hours in the hospital.”
According to Dr. Christina Perry, the director of the MUPAP, the program is structured in a way that helps its students learn more about several different areas of medicine.
“Students like Madeline attend Methodist’s PA program for 27 months and, in that time, we provide a rigorous and comprehensive education in the classroom and in the clinical setting with our local community partners. The entire experience prepares them to practice medicine in many specialties including family practice, emergency medicine, pediatrics surgery and critical care,” Perry said. “One of the outstanding reasons to become a PA is that, in our profession, we can change specialties. This flexibility has allowed the profession to demonstrate this flexibility for PA’s to essentially ‘pivot’ to provide health care where it is most needed.”
Monday urges everyone to wash their hands and stay away from the emergency room unless there is an absolute emergency.
“Find something you can do, even if it’s small, to remind each other what a strong and loving community we have. Adopt a puppy, order from a local restaurant, call your friends, write to someone in a nursing home. Anything that makes this a little better for someone will ultimately make it a lot better for all of us.”
“Our students and graduates are such amazing people to work with and know,” Perry said. “There are many instances of MUPAP graduates going to areas where the need for health care providers is critical. I am proud of each one of them for their bravery, sacrifice and hard work. They make our program, Methodist University and the world a better place.”