The start of something new!

The Campbell University Physician Assistant Class of 2015 arrived on campus August 19, 2013 and has been taking Buies Creek by storm ever since! I am a proud member of this class that is composed of 44 men and women from all different backgrounds coming together to embark on this amazing journey. It’s hard to believe that in only four months we have learned more material than we ever thought we could process, thoroughly dissected human cadavers, performed head-to-toe physical exams and formed lasting friendships. We have completed our first semester of PA School and anxiously await the start of classes next week. Now is a more appropriate time than ever to relive the highlights (in pictures!) from this amazing semester.

Before classes started, the PA-1′s got together for a class picnic and a night of karaoke at a local sports bar.

Marisa, Brittney, Nick, Morgan and Natalie playing a game of pool at a get-together before classes started!

Marisa, Brittney, Morgan and Natalie playing a game of pool at a get-together before classes started!

What I love most about my class is how much we all support each other! If it’s someone’s birthday or even if we just had a hard week of classes…we all get together to unwind and reboot for the next week.

Sarah F., Sarah M., Leighanne, Alexa on our first day of school!

Sarah F., Sarah M., Leighanne, Alexa on our first day of school!

Sarah F., Sarah M., Leighanne and Alexa were excited for orientation week. Alexa is the president of our class.

Jeff, Bradley, Braxton and Andy on the first day of school!

Jeff, Bradley, Braxton and Andy on the first day of school!

The guys in our program are a little bit outnumbered, but we all get along as a group. :-)

Perri, Amanda, Suzzette, Marisa, Krista, Sarah M., Kaley, Danielle, Aimee, Kristina, Alexa and Sarah F. on the first day of school. Sarah M. has the right idea with the cup of coffee she is holding in the front. Coffee was the theme of this semester!

Marisa, Sarah F., Heather, Kaley, Anna, Sarah M., Hallie, Alexa, Brittany, Kristina, Christine, Vaishali and Leighanne getting ready to receive their white coats!

After a long week of classes, Marisa, Perri, Brittany, Sarah M., Bradley, Alexa and Anna get together with several classmates and teach us how to ‘dougie’!

pa7pa8Braxton, Jonathan, Diana, Heather, Brittney, Kondie, Alexa, Richard, Christine and Brittany at the historic ribbon cutting ceremony. Our class is so grateful to call the Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences ‘home’. The class took some group pictures in front of the building afterwards with our program director Mr. Coletti and our professor Dr. Stewart.

pa9PA Week 2013! Richard, Kim, Ed, Jonathan and Cindy stand proudly beside their poster to promote blood pressure awareness. During PA Week the Class of 2015 headed to campus to offer free blood pressure screenings, sell baked goods to fund raise for the program and promote awareness of the PA profession.

pa10Hmmm…I wonder what his blood pressure was?

pa1The Class of 2015 made history when they represented the Campbell PA Program in the 2013 homecoming parade. We were the first class to do so. Marisa, Vaishali, Danielle, Brittany, Suzzette, Eric, Kim, Alexa, Kaley, Nick, Bradley, Amanda, Emma and our furry friends dressed up in superhero costumes and made signs and a ‘float’. It was an amazing experience and yet another way to spread awareness about our profession. We threw goodies at the crowd and even yelled out helpful statistics! I may be biased, but I think we were a crowd favorite! ;-)

pa2pa1The class poses for a photo at the homecoming parade, and our classmate Amanda and her daughter ride ‘Gaylord’ our friendly mascot.

pa1pa1One of the best things about living near Raleigh is the NC State Fair. Eric, Perri, Marisa, Ellen, Bradley Sarah M., Alexa, Kristina, Anna, Natalie, Danielle, Aimee, Krista and Kaley pose for a picture before they see the attractions!

pa1Our class is so supportive of each other. When it was Kaley’s birthday we all went out to dinner to celebrate! Happy Birthday Kaley!

pa1Kim puts on gloves to prepare for a free diabetic foot screening at a local pharmacy. It’s amazing how much we have learned in our first year!

pa1Perhaps one of the most special things that happened this year was the charter Class of 2013 graduating. The PA Class of 2015 threw a celebratory party for all classes to attend which we named, “Save the Last PANCE”. We are so proud of the Class of 2013 for paving the way and we wish them the best of luck as they excel on their boards and in clinical practice!

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What better way to end this awesome year? We came, we saw and we conquered…and we are ready to do it all over again!

Happy Holidays!
Suzzette Van-Lare, PAS-1
MPAP Candidate, Class of 2015

Let the second semester begin!

After a much appreciated winter break, it’s amazing to look back on the past few months and realize just how much we’ve learned and how many activities my classmates and I have participated in together.  Instead of a lengthy written post, I’d like to share a few of our first semester highlights with photos taken by classmates Kat MacDougal and Richelle Bangi.  Enjoy, and happy  new year!

Molly Stapleton Calabria, PAS-1
MPAP Candidate, Class of 2014

Carolina PANCErs in Intramural Football

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PA Week 2012

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Keeping clean our Adopt-a-Highway section

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Dressed up as Medical Director Dr. Stewart for Halloween

Dr. Stewarts!

Thanksgiving Potluck (a new Campbell PA Program tradition???)

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Volunteering with the Vision Van

Putting together gifts for Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child

Introducing the Class of 2014

This is National PA Week, held each year to promote awareness about the Physician Assistant profession, and I can think of no better time to introduce Campbell’s newest class of Physician Assistant students!

It’s hard to believe, but it was only 8 weeks ago that I met my 39 fellow Campbell University Physician Assistant classmates during orientation.  Some had traveled quite some distance to arrive in Buies Creek, North Carolina—from California, Colorado, and Minnesota (to name a few)—while some had come from closer by South Carolina, coastal North Carolina, Charlotte, or other parts of the state.

I’ll admit that I was a little bit nervous when I arrived for orientation (though mostly excited); I knew that the program was going to be very intense, and the proposition of being surrounded by an entirely new group of people for the ensuing 28 months was hard to wrap my head around.  My nerves were quickly calmed, though.  Within a day or two, it was clear to me that the people who were part of the program—students, faculty, and staff alike—were not only here for the right reasons, but were also going to make PA school a great experience.   As I started learning about the other students in my class, I was amazed by the breadth of their experiences and knowledge.

The ages of the students in our class span more than two decades, and we have completed degrees at schools all over the country (mostly undergraduate degrees, and a few Master’s as well).  We have two students who served in the military for many years, a former pharmaceutical rep, athletic trainers, a chemist, and people who have worked in just about every clinical and hospital setting you can imagine.  Day-in and day-out, I am in awe of my classmates.  I especially appreciate the knowledge they bring when we discuss subjects in which my background is weak; I can usually find someone who is able to explain a clinical condition to me because they’ve seen it!

Although it sounds cheesy, our class really does feel like a family.  Each morning, we start the day together 9am, and as the day and week goes on, we share our ups and downs.  We share the little things, good and bad: exhaustion at the end of an especially long day (or big test), and appreciation for a fellow student who posts a helpful video link, uploads a study guide online, or even just fills our water bottle for us during break. But the best thing we get to share is those times when we’re reminded what a wonderful profession we are entering.  And those times happen often enough to make us look past tomorrow’s big test and be thankful that we’re part of the Campbell University PA program.

I’ve included a few photos from our White Coat Ceremony… check them out! More photos will be coming soon (from PA Week activities, community service events, and intramural football).

Waiting to receive their coats: Stephen, Grace, and Merri

Waiting for white coats: Jesse, Abby, Mary Carol, and Andrew Z.

Waiting to get coated: Mari, Pat, and Sarah (Tom in the background)

Rahul, Meagan, and Carrie await their coats

Kat McDougal signs the honor pledge as part of the White Coat Ceremony

Program Director Mr. Colletti helpsTayyabah Rayyast put on her white coat

Happy to have our white coats!

Deanna and Kat: excited to have their new white coats!

We will also soon begin featuring a few members of the class each month on the blog so that those of you interested in the program can get a better idea of our class make up… it’s pretty awesome  :-)

And, lastly, ABC 11 (a local news station) did a nice segment on the CU program, featuring several of our first year students as well as Mr. Colletti, our Program Director, and Dr. Stewart, our Medical Director.  Check out the video here:  http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/video?id=8835648

Enjoy the remainder of PA week!

Molly Stapleton Calabria, PAS-1
MPAP Candidate, Class of 2014

PA’s Prescribe-A-Wish

On July 14, 2012, we hosted the first annual “PA’s Prescribe-A-Wish” Charity Golf Tournament to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Eastern North Carolina. The tournament followed a captain’s choice format and began with a shotgun start at 10am at Keith Hills Country Club in Buies Creek. Players competed in teams of four for the first place finish. There were also several individual competitions, including longest drive and closest to the pin.

We began the day with an opening ceremony and prayer by Dr. John Roberson, VP of Enrollment Management and Assistant to the President. As a class it was a pleasure to be able to honor Ms. Amber McNeill, a Campbell University (CU) alumnus and former Make-A-Wish recipient. Amber graduated from CU in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in education. More importantly, she just celebrated ten years remission from Ewing’s sarcoma!
A generous breakfast was donated by McDonald’s of Lillington and a delicious lunch was provided by Sheetz of Smithfield. Mrs. Dee Schmid, mother of golf tournament coordinator and fellow PA student Kaitlyn Schmid, donated tons of water to ensure our golfers stayed hydrated. Coca-Cola Company donated a substantial amount of sodas for our golfers, as well. We were thrilled and overwhelmed by the generous support we received from the community.

The “PA’s Prescribe-A-Wish” tournament closed with an exciting awards ceremony. The winning team, finishing 18 under par, consisted of: Richard Lowry, Stuart Wattlington, Charles Watson and Carlton Floyd, all of whom are intimately connected to Campbell University. Carlton Floyd, a CU undergraduate alumni and current Doctor of Pharmacy student, was awarded the “longest drive.” Eugene Foushee, husband of CU Pharmacy adjunct faculty member Dr. Leigh Foushee, received the award for “closest to the pin.”

Our first annual “PA’s Prescribe-A-Wish” Charity Golf Tournament was a huge success thanks to the amazing community support and the flawless planning of our fellow classmate, Kaitlyn Schmid. We are thrilled to announce that we were able to raise $5000 for the Make-A-Wish foundation of Eastern North Carolina. Thank you to all of our sponsors and golfers for helping us continue to support our community!

Brittany Lowry, PA-S
MPAP Candidate, Class of 2013

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First do no harm…to each other

Three weeks!  We only have 3 weeks left in our didactic year!  It is unbelievable how quickly this year has passed.  Soon, we will be heading out to our various clinical rotation sites.  We all are thrilled to practice everything that we have learned!

Campbell University has provided us with TONS of hands-on experience to ensure that we are adequately prepared for our rotations and our future careers.  Our OSCEs (objective structured clinical examinations), which consist of simulated scenarios with standardized patients have provided us a wonderful tool for pulling all of our information together in a clinical setting.  We have had hands-on labs connected to several of our classes where we have learned to suture, draw blood, start IVs, place NG tubes, cast and splint as well as several other essential skills that will give us a huge advantage as we begin our clinical year.  During these labs, we have learned all these skills on each other; needless to say, you get to know each other very well!  I told my own lab partner, Melissa, she will always be my favorite patient!

Throughout the year, we have spent several days at the WakeMed Simulation Lab in Raleigh.  These days proved to be some of the most exciting and wonderful learning experiences that we had during our didactic year.  We are so grateful to the surgeons, doctors, nurses and staff at WakeMed for contributing to our education.  We will undoubtedly be better providers because of the time you took to engage in our education!

I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as we enjoyed learning all these skills with each other!  The class of 2013 is ready to take on our clinical rotations, ready to continue our wonderful educational experience, ready to make a difference in our community!

-Brittany Lowry, PA-S, MPAP Candidate, Class of 2013

“If we love, we will serve…”

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In early June, I had the opportunity to volunteer alongside some of my fellow classmates as a timer at the Triangle Aquatic Center for the 2012 Special Olympics.  What a wonderful experience!

I sincerely enjoyed interacting with all of the athletes in my lane, but the most engaging experience occurred when one of my athletes came in first in his heat.  I was so proud of him; clearly, all of his dedication and training had paid off.  As soon as he jumped out of the pool, he was so excited that he wrapped those soaking wet arms around me and gave me the biggest, sopping wet hug I have ever received.  He said, “I did it!  First place!”  The joy in my heart was overwhelming as I thought about how much this gold medal would mean to him and to his family.  Individuals with specials needs sometimes have limited opportunities to “come in first” in life, but that day was different for him, today he was first; he won the gold medal and that is something no one will ever be able to take away from him.

I felt like I was a part of an integral group of people helping another person succeed, helping another person achieve a goal.  There were no walls and no barriers – it felt as if I had known these athletes and their families forever because we all wanted the same thing; we all wanted the athletes to swim like they never had before and to be proud of their accomplishments when they finished.  It was an honor and privilege to be a part of such a great team – a united team.  The positive energy was so contagious.  I wish that passion and enthusiasm could be translated into every environment.

When my classmate Victoria first asked if I would volunteer with her at the Special Olympics, I was hesitant to commit because I have not had a lot of experiences with special needs individuals; in my ignorance, I feared that I would be uncomfortable the whole day.  I was genuinely surprised how quickly my fears were alleviated when I began to focus on the individuals instead of the disease.  We are all, literally, one chromosome away from Downs’ Syndrome; that is all I kept thinking.  There is nothing that makes these athletes any different than me – they feel, they hurt, they commit, and they train – just like I do.  I was thrilled to be surrounded by such wonderful people, both athletes and coaches.  It was truly an inspirational day – a day that I feared turned into a day that I loved!

I have always felt very strongly about serving others.  Mother Teresa once said, “If we pray, we will believe; if we believe, we will love; if we love, we will serve.”  Approaching everyday life with this mindset, especially clinical practice, will make me become a better provider.  Loving others and seeing them as individuals, just like yourself, makes you want to serve them.  I was also inspired by the passion each of these athletes possessed.  Sometimes when situations in life become a challenge, it is easy for me to lose my enthusiasm, but each and every one of these athletes was full of passion, dedication and commitment – even though some of them had been swimming in several events that day, they swam each event as if it were their first.  That passion-filled stamina is something I hope to take into clinical practice with me – some days I may see twenty or thirty patients, yet I want to approach each individual as if they were my first patient of the day; I want to approach them with passion and enthusiasm; I want to inspire my patients to become passionate about their own health and in turn, inspire other people.  I am honored to have been a part of the Special Olympics and look forward to volunteering with them again in the future.

Here are a few pictures as well as the link to the ABC News coverage!

Athletes Compete in Special Olympics Summer Games

-Brittany Lowry, PA-S, MPAP Candidate, Class of 2013

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American Academy of Physician Assistants National Conference

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Last week, several of our classmates were able to attend the 2012 American Academy of Physician Assistants National Conference in Toronto, Ontario.  Though some of them had a rather lengthy journey to Toronto, it was well worth the delays!

Campbell University PA program was chosen out of 164 PA schools in the country to participate in the AAPA National Student Challenge Bowl.  Being a first year program, we were a little nervous about the competition — but our Challenge Bowl team did amazing!  Christine Benedict, Sarah Brainard and Danielle Beneville did a great job representing Campbell University.  Christine Benedict said, “It was an honor to be a part of the challenge bowl team and I really feel that we put up a good fight, especially as a charter class and not really knowing what to expect!”  And those crazy Campbell fans were a huge support to them throughout the competition.

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Our Wallace Student Society received an honorable mention for the Silver Category (participating in 25 community service events or more) for AAPA Student Society Awards.  This was a huge accomplishment for a charter program and we are proud of all the hard work we have put into all our community service events.  Also, Mrs. Laura R. Gerstner, MHA, MSHS, PA-C received an AAPA Student Advisor Award.  Her dedication and commitment to health care and our education have been an excellent example to our class as we pursue our careers.  Fellow classmate and AAPA Assembly of Representatives officer, Charmeen Mack, was awarded the SAAPA AOR Grant.  Pictured below is Charmeen Mack, PA-S with Mr. Robert Wooten, PA-C, AAPA National President and inspirational health care provider.

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Several of the students did some sight-seeing while in Canada and had a blast.  This trip was a wonderful experience for everyone involved.  We are looking forward to representing Campbell in a larger capacity next year with the Class of 2014 joining us in Washington, DC.

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-Brittany Lowry, PA-S, MPAP Candidate, Class of 2013

Campbell PA Anthem

Over the last few months we have been working on a class video – supervised by the genius of our classmate, Christine Benedict. We had a great time making this video and hope you enjoy it! The Campbell University Physician Assistant Class of 2013 is proud to present the “Campbell PA Anthem.”

-Brittany Lowry, PA-S, MPAP Candidate, Class of 2013

Starting early…

Recently, our class hosted a health fair field day with the 4th and 5th grade students at Buies Creek Elementary School.  Our classmate, Charmeen Mack, was the director of this major event.  She did an excellent job organizing and making sure this day was a great experience for everyone.  “Being the PA inaugural class, we felt that it was imperative for us to do something within our own community to promote healthy living.  We want our community to know who we are and what we can do as PA students and faculty to make our community better and stronger.”

We had several stations – the health fair consisted of four interactive educational stations addressing hand washing, nutrition, personal hygiene and peer pressure.  Our goal at each of these stations was to equip students with means to making healthy choices in their own lives.

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Outside we had more physical stations, reminding them of the importance of staying active to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  The outside stations included Zumba, self-defense, relay races and stretching.  The pictures hardly do justice to the amount fun we all had that day.

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Though we only spent a day with these students, we all fell in love with them.  Their gracious spirit and eagerness to learn was so refreshing.  We look forward to continuing this event at Buies Creek Elementary School in the future as we continue to reach out to our local community.

-Brittany Lowry, PA-S, MPAP Candidate, Class of 2013

Go Camels!

Last Thursday, my classmates and I had the honor of attending the meeting and having lunch with the Campbell University Board of Trustees.  We were all a little nervous, knowing we would be surrounded by so many very important people, but the Trustees and their families could not have been more kind and welcoming.  The Campbell University Board of Trustees are philanthropist with a heart of gold; they believe in Campbell University, just as I do, with every new program and project.  Being surrounded by such motivated and successful individuals really renewed my excitement about not only the PA program, but Campbell University as a whole.

Back in January, I was talking with my dad about how I had really enjoyed being home over Christmas break and I was not looking forward to, what I knew would be an intense semester of school.  He said, “Don’t say that.  You’re in the short rows now.”  I just looked at him, “The short rows?  I’ve got TWO YEARS left!”  He said, “No, you’ve got 8 months until you start seeing real patients, which is what you have wanted to do your whole life.”  I started thinking, you know what, he’s right.  And today, my classmates and I are just 4 short months away from clinical rotations, from making a difference in the lives of our patients.  And we have the dedicated faculty and staff of CUCPHS and the Board of Trustees to thank for that.  Without their support, their vision and their commitment to this community, none of us would be here today.  On behalf of the charter class, I sincerely thank them all.

I have long been a fan of Campbell University.  My younger brother played baseball here and graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 2010.  When he told me he was going to be a Fighting Camel, I thought – well, there’s a mascot you don’t see every day.  But the more time I spend here at Campbell, the more I understand what an appropriate mascot that is.  Camels are known for their steadfast endurance in what others may view as tortuous situations.  As PA students, we are taught massive amounts of information in a very short amount time…most lecturers compare our education to “drinking from a fire-hose.”  I would be lying to you if I said that these past two semesters have not been difficult, but with the support of my classmates and our incredible faculty, we have survived!  But the camel is not only an appropriate mascot for the PA program, but for this university as whole.  Campbell University has remained an unwavering beacon of light in a turbulent world; producing not only quality professionals but also individuals with a heart of service, grounded in their faith.

I count it a great honor and privilege to be a member of the charter class of the Physician Assistant program.  Just as Mrs. Johnson said the other day, “To whom much is given, much is required.”  One of the best things about my class is our dedication to community service.  I am thrilled to announce that over the last two semesters, despite countless hours spent studying, together we have logged over 2,100 hours of community service.  We have hosted a blood pressure clinic as well as a blood drive; we adopted a section of Highway 421 and regularly pick up trash there; we have participated in Operation Christmas Child, Campbell Christmas Store, Operation Inasmuch, and visited the local high schools to talk about the PA profession.  This week, we are hosting a Health Fair Field Day at Buies Creek Elementary, and I think we may be a little bit more excited than the kids!   We recognize what a privilege it is to part of the Physician Assistant program and we are eager to give back to our community.

Before I started PA school, I worked as a care coordinator for an assisted living facility and a home health agency in Raleigh.  I love working with the elderly; I believe they are the most rewarding group of people to work with.  I am huge proponent of senior’s rights and quality of life care and feel that I have been called to work with this specific generation.  But just as I am passionate about geriatric care, I have classmates filled with the same fervor about emergency medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, orthopedics and general medicine – just to name a few.  I am honored to be a member of this charter class, not only because of the rigorous selection process but because of the people I get to sit beside every day.  My fellow classmates are some of the most incredible individuals I have ever known.  Each one of us has a story, obstacles we had to overcome to get here, battles we are still facing today but each and every one of these individuals, my classmates, the class of 2013 will be excellent Physician Assistants, and we look forward to giving back to our community!

- Brittany A. Lowry, PA-S, MPAP Candidate, Class of 2013

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