Hometown: Washingtonville, NY
“The relationships I developed at STAC grew my confidence. I grew as a person.”
As a newly licensed physician assistant working in New York’s #1 hospital, Michele Beach says there’s no such thing as a dull day at work, she is always busy and always learning.
A 2013 STAC graduate, Michele went on to earn her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies at Seton Hall University. She now works in New York-Presbyterian- Columbia University Medical Center’s Hospital Medicine Department.
Physician assistants are licensed healthcare providers who practice medicine, evaluate and diagnose patients and prescribe medications. They work as part of a healthcare team to treat patients and improve their wellbeing. During her training in PA school, Michele completed clinical rotations in surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and other specialties. She says she enjoyed the variety in internal medicine the most and found passion in seeing patients’ progression to a better state of health.
“When patients come to the ER and are too sick to leave, I take care of them,” Michele explains. “While other specialties focus on one part of the patient, as a Hospitalist PA, I strive to take care of the patient as a whole. It’s definitely a challenge, I have to put together the pieces of the puzzle to figure out how to treat my patients and how to best manage their care.
During her freshman year at STAC, Michele’s major was originally undecided, but after taking her first biology class, she decided to shift gears.
“I thought, ‘Let me see where this goes,’” Michele recalls. “I liked biology. It was challenging, and I did well, so I took more biology and some chemistry the next semester. By the end of my freshman year, I declared a major in biology.”
Michele says that even after declaring a biology major, she wasn’t entirely sure what direction to go after graduation. She thought she might pursue a career in academia, conducting research and writing textbooks or journal articles. But then, as an undergraduate, she shadowed a physician assistant, did a lot of research about the PA profession and set forth to into a graduate PA program.
She says that although it was a “huge transition” going from her small hometown to a small undergraduate college and a small graduate program to a large urban hospital, she wouldn’t have it any other way. “The sense of community and relationships I built at STAC allowed me to grow and develop into a more confident student, giving me the tools I needed to succeed in my graduate program and career.”
“I love how much New York-Presbyterian values PAs. It’s a great place to start my career, and there’s a lot of leadership opportunity ” Michele says. “The things I see and treat here are not what I’d see at a small hospital. I have all the resources to best treat my patient right at my fingertips!”