PA major balances work, school

By on October 5, 2005

A blood-curdling scream is heard from a dorm room. It sounds as though someone is being murdered, when really it is Jennifer McDermott shrieking about the spider that is crawling up the wall.

While terrified of a spider or cricket, McDermott jumps at any chance to attend to a bloody, battered body in an emergency room or in an ambulance.

“Stab and gunshot wounds don’t bother me at all. Neither do broken bones and staples being taken out of someone’s head,” said the 19- year old junior physician’s assistant major.

Being a physician’s assistant requires hard work and determination because it is a profession that closely resembles that of being a physician. PA’s can own up to 99 percent of their private practice and can also prescribe medication to patients.

The only thing assistants are not licensed to do is perform surgeries entirely on their own. Otherwise, they have the same responsibilities as a doctor.

McDermott’s impressive grade point average shows her hard work. She has an overall GPA of 3.8, yet she does not spend every waking hour in the library.

“I’ve just always been a motivated person,” McDermott said. “My good study habits come naturally because I’ve done this my whole life.”

In her senior year of high school, McDermott had her choice between a number of colleges: Stonehill College, New York University, Stonybrook University, and Pace University, to name a few.

She chose to come to Quinnipiac because of the direct entry for physician’s assistant majors, which means that once she was accepted, she was eligible to do the work for her master’s degree here.

All of the nine physician’s assistants in the class of 2007 have had experience in the “real world” while also completing the necessary credits to graduate from their program.

McDermott has completed 136 EMT class hours, as well as 20 hours of going on ambulance rides in the spring last year. She has also completed emergency room rotations, which she prefers over a doctor’s office.

“I would rather work in an emergency room, some place fast paced that keeps me on my toes. I’ve noticed that working in the emergency room really helped me to tie things in with my classes. I had hands on experience for the first time, and really got an inside look into the field,” McDermott said.


About Katie Greene