June 7, 2018 | Make sure your white coat represents a symbol of trust, incoming physician assistant students were encouraged recently as they donned their coats for the first time and pledged to care for their patients.
The students’ white coats send a message to patients, said Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D., UAMS vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, to the 40 members of the physician assistant Class of 2020 during the program’s May 25 White Coat Ceremony.
“It will imply confidence and that you have the skills of your profession. It also shows one of two attitudes: a barrier that separates you from patients or a symbol of trust. You’re going to have to decide which it is,” Gardner said.
The White Coat Ceremony represents a rite of passage as students enter the 28-month master’s degree physician assistant program that will prepare them to care for patients.
Ada Sochanska, P.A.-S., the class of 2018 president, expressed a sentiment similar to Gardner’s.
“Remember, everyone has their own personal definition of what the white coat brings them,” Sochanska said. Whether in class or in clinic, “all I ask is you stop and bring your attention to the moment.”
Physician assistants are licensed medical providers who work with the supervision of a physician. They take patient medical histories, conduct physical exams, order diagnostic tests, diagnose medical conditions, write prescriptions and manage acute illness and chronic disease with the supervision of a physician. The UAMS program, established in 2011, is the first at a public university in Arkansas.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 38 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Increased demand for health care services from the growing and aging population and widespread chronic disease, combined with a shortage of physicians, will result in increased demand for health care providers such as physician assistants.
Edward Williams, M.P.A.S., M.Ed., P.A.-C, chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies and director of the Physician Assistant Program, and Vania Naydenova, M.D., M.B.A., the program’s director of clinical education, assisted the students in putting on their white coats.
The students in the physician assistant Class of 2020 and their hometowns are:
- Syed Ahmed — Pine Bluff
- Katherine Arteaga — Rogersville, Missouri
- Emma Axtell — Edmond, Oklahoma
- Jordan Burch —Parkville, Missouri
- Natalie Cannon — Minden, Louisiana
- Kierstin Carr — Lone Oak, Texas
- Savanna Cathey — Little Rock
- Houston Cotton — Vilonia
- Nicholas Crump — Camden
- David Davidson — Dover
- Emily Davis —Springdale
- Rachel Griffin — Little Rock
- Dianna Hale — Russellville
- Mimi Henderson — Cabot
- Hunter Holcomb — Little Rock
- Tristan Jenkins — Little Rock
- Rachel Johnson — Miami, Oklahoma
- Alexis Jones — Springdale
- Justin Jones — Pine Bluff
- Madison Lewis — Little Rock
- Hunter Lynn — Claxton, Georgia
- Anthony Maddox — Clinton, South Carolina
- Julia Martin — Rison
- Marissa Miller — Carrollton, Texas
- Weston Mills — Texarkana, Texas
- Aaron Mullen — Bentonville
- Bhavini Patel — Houston, Texas
- Jonathan Price — Rogersville, Missouri
- Payton Ransom — Wills Point, Texas
- Brian Rayburn — Hot Springs
- Katherine Ross — Benton
- Michael Sangenito — Arlington, Texas
- Jen Shaver — Bella Vista
- Sha’Roda Springfield — Greenville, Mississippi
- David Street — Cherokee Village
- Lauren Tilley — Hot Springs
- Valerie Torp — Batavia, Illinois
- Kaylen Welter — Conway
- Aaron Woodall — Maumelle