Second Year PA Student
Q: Why do you love what you do?
A: ...it's so beautiful because you get put into these certain situations where I'm trying to teach my patients something but in turn, they teach me so much on a daily basis so I think that's what I love about medicine.
Q: Can you tell us about yourself?
A: My name is Haley, I'm a second year PA student at Torrey University California. I also just signed with the Navy!
Q: How would you describe your relationship with medicine and your career?
A: I would say it's unconventional, definitely. I look at medicine as a type of love language. Where I come from, Latin culture, food is our love language, so I found that feeling when I was practicing medicine. Medicine was a way to communicate with a person in a different language to show them that I care about them.
Q: Can you talk about why you fell in love with medicine in the first place?
A: I chose to go into medicine because I lost my dad at a young age from a preventable illness. That was my main reason. But I chose to commit when I actually met a patient when I was shadowing at a primary care clinic — she had lost her husband in a similar way and I was talking to her for a bit, and I just related to her. It was a good feeling that I could make someone feel comfortable or show them that they're not alone in what they're going through or what they went through, and to see a little bit of hope returned to their eyes. I found comfort knowing someone else was experiencing what I had experienced, and that was when I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.
Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge facing women in medicine today?
A: Yeah, I wouldn't say I'm seen as an equal to my male counterpart. There are a lot of ways that women still have to fight to prove themselves. I don't want to be seen as male or female — I want to be seen as a skill set with certain capabilities, education, as a provider.
Q: What has empowered you as a woman pursuing this field?
A: It empowers me to fight for the little guy, just understanding that not everyone is given the same resources, environments, changes or even hope. I can be an advocate for people who wouldn't necessarily have great access to healthcare, and that really empowers me to help other people who are struggling to be heard.
Q: Do you feel like you have a greater responsibility being a woman in health care?
A: Most definitely. I think there's a lot of pressure being a female in healthcare, not just because I want to do well or be seen as a person with the skill set, but also because so many women came before me to make sure I could be here. For me that's a big deal. And I want to continue that fight to be a role model and perform well in the medical field for the young women who are coming after me. So, yeah, there's a lot of pressure, and I don't take it lightly. I'm happy to do it.
Q: How do you find a balance for everything you do in your day to day life?
A: I am constantly told that I do too much, that I have a lot of responsibilities, that maybe I should slow down or do less. But I constantly feel the need to want to do more and always stay busy. At the same time, it is important to find balance in my life and explore something outside of school. I love to paint and work out. I do CrossFit. I try to make time for myself every single day because you can have all these goals and this huge career ahead of you but if you don't find time for yourself, then you're just not going to have the energy or passion to go after your dreams or big goals — because you didn't take care of yourself in the first place.
Q: Do you have any advice for those pursuing a career in medicine?
A: It is what you make it. You're always going to have people telling you you can't do it. I had people tell me I couldn't get into the college I got into, and that just motivated me even more. So make sure you know you put in the time that you want to put in.
Q: What do you think you would have wanted to know before you pursue this career?
A: I think what I would have wanted to know is that your career is what you want it to be, so no one's gonna be able to tell you— “Oh, you can only go this far or you need to stop here.” You know, where you can go and how far you go is completely up to you, so don't listen to any other, or any other input because it's just irrelevant and you know what you're capable of so make sure you really push yourself.
Q: Why do you love what you do?
A: I love what I do, because there's so many different people you meet that you find common ground with. They tell you their stories and they change you for the better. It's so beautiful because you think you’re going into their appointment to teach them something, and yet they always end up teaching you something as well.
Q: What would you say is the best part of your career so far?
A: I'd say the camaraderie, or how do you say, yeah, it's really cool working with my peers and working with the surrounding community because we're in an underserved area so I love how everyone just puts everything aside to help everyone else.
Q: Can you tell me a little more about the underserved communities and the help they need?
A: I grew up in an underserved area. I'm from Bakersfield, California. We didn't have access to health care. My school now is really active in helping the surrounding community, and that's something that makes me happy. Seeing these people in these underserved communities like where I came from getting help brings my work back home for me.