Greg Reinhart Greg Reinhart, PA-S

In 2009, I was notified that my close friend, and fellow Navy Corpsman (medic) was killed in action, and as the designated combat casualty replacement, I would be replacing him immediately. A week later, I found myself in northeastern Kunar province, Afghanistan — 50 miles from the hostile Pakistan border. I was the primary medical provider for four fellow Marines and 30 Afghan National Army soldiers on our small combat outpost. Our mission was to embed with these local soldiers and mentor them on tactics and leadership, as well as conduct regular patrols and missions with them.

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Taylor Bell, PA-S Taylor Bell, PA-S

One year ago, I was sitting at home reading Duke University physician assistant student blogs in an attempt to understand what it would take to become a PA student at such a great school. Little did I know, one year later I would be sitting here at the Duke Physician Assistant Program (DPAP) writing my very own student blog for future PA school applicants to read. I want every hopeful candidate out there who reads this to know that you are capable of getting into an amazing PA program. If you are patient, work hard, and show your passion, success will inevitably follow. Here is my story.

I went on a number of interviews during my application cycle, but I could not help but notice that Duke was the only program to call themselves a family. The “DPAP family” they kept saying. While most programs talk about their PANCE pass rates, Duke talks about their inclusivity and devotion to their students. I felt comfortable and welcome on my interview. I loved everything about this school; the location, the faculty and staff, and the incredible resources Duke has to offer to their students.

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Melanie Overcash, PA-S Melanie Overcash, PA-S

“You’re comfortable with babies, right?” It was a simple question being asked of me by my pediatrics preceptor on the first day of the rotation. I considered the different avenues I could go with my response:

“I’m great with babies!” was an option, and would certainly have put my preceptor at ease, but it was not the truth. I didn’t really know if I was comfortable with babies because I had never been around one before. (Somehow, I had gotten through 26 years of life without encountering anyone younger than two years old.)

So, I decided to go with the truth and responded, “I’ve actually never held a baby … or really ever been around a baby.” The response definitely caught my preceptor’s attention, and after the worried look receded, he reassuringly said, “Well, we’ll change that.”

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Paul Solis, PA-S Paul Solis, PA-S

PA school is like camp. I bet that’s not what you were expecting, so I’ll explain. See, I grew up going to summer camp and then became a counselor once I turned 18. Camp is my happy place. You get to meet new friends, learn new skills, and develop into a better human being. Some of my best friends are people I went to camp with and I firmly believe that’s where I learned how to be a good friend to others.  

In PA school I’ve already met tons of new friends. The neat thing is that my 88 new friends were all handpicked by a team of intelligent and passionate individuals that would later become our role models and mentors. We do fun things together outside of the classroom, like going to the beach, concerts, and sporting events. We’ve gone hiking and offered up our time to serve the community together. Needless to say, my fellow campers here at Camp DPAP (Duke Physician Assistant Program) are pretty cool. I don’t know everyone in my class as well as I’d like to yet but trust me when I say that everyone here has got what it takes.   

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Chrissy Roualdes, PA-S Chrissy Roualdes, PA-S

“Hey! Good mornin’! How’re you doin’?”

Every morning for three weeks while on my internal medicine rotation, one of my patients would greet me this way. I would arrive to the hospital before dawn, look through morning labs, and then head up to the floor to see how his night went.

This patient and I had established a little routine within the first few days of his admission to the floor. I would always happen to walk into his room as he was eating breakfast, he would offer me some of his food, and I would politely decline, stating, “No, thank you, I want you to eat it!” I would ask how the night went, take a listen to his heart and lungs, and perform an abdominal exam. Then, before I headed to the next patient’s room, I would open the blinds so he could watch that beautiful North Carolina sunrise.

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