Ds Scholarship

Seasoned Physician Assistant (PA) Explains Return to Grad School for Master’s Degree

Owen Zarit, Graduate Physician Assistant in the College of Health Sciences

Why are you excited to be a representative of the Palestinian Authority?

As a PA member, I have been able to practice many areas of medicine over the past 18 years or more including urology, orthopedics and urgent care. I enjoy the flexibility that a profession provides including not having to stick to one specialty, as doctors often do. I love having the ability to form relationships with my patients. As an evolving and growing profession, being an agent of public authority has also allowed me to advocate for the work of my fellow conservators and continue to help grow the field in general.

What steps have you taken along your career path to continue to be successful?

After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I worked in a private practice for a urologist in Holyoke, Massachusetts. It was a busy clinic and I worked in our inpatient department, helped out in the operating room, and was on call most nights. Since we had franchises in five hospitals, call nights and weekends were very busy.

After eight years working as a urology specialty, I left to practice orthopedic surgery at another private practice in the same state. I stayed there for about a year and a half when I was offered another orthopedic job at my former hospital in Holyoke, where I worked for seven years until I was furloughed during the pandemic. My orthopedic career involved providing outpatient clinical services, emergency room coverage, as well as inpatient management. She has established a leading position on the department’s general boards and has worked closely with other disciplines to coordinate and improve orthopedic care in the hospital. In June of 2020, I began working in my current position in Orthopedics at Trinity Health of New England.

What are some of your daily responsibilities in your current role?

At Trinity Health of New England in Massachusetts, I exercise in an outpatient orthopedic unit. Most of what I see is minor soft tissue bruising, some minor skeletal trauma, and joint pain. I run the clinic with another PA and together we focus on helping patients with their first step in their orthopedic journey. Many of the patients we see are referred to us by our clinical network partners for more specialized care. I’m also currently doing additional work to support my organization’s urgent care facility to help with practice and regulation. This consists of clinical support and input to management to assist in the development of the new practice site.

Why did you decide to go back to the college classroom for a master’s degree after nearly two decades?

Having practiced for nearly 20 years, I see more and more new PAs entering the profession with a master’s degree. Clinically, there are not many additional educational opportunities for me, but I saw this degree as an opportunity to gain some academic achievement through Touro that would help me enhance my skill set related to research development and enhance my management skills.

What are some tips for a prospective student considering a job in the Palestinian Authority?

First, consider why you would like to become a representative of the Palestinian Authority. Second, take some thought as to why you want to practice medicine and whether you want to work in a particular field. Third, make sure you understand the hours required to succeed in school, and the potentially many hours you’ll then need to spend on several jobs to kick-start your career. Also, I do not recommend wanting to pursue this career only for the sake of salary or it is not likely that you will succeed and materialize in the long run.

What are your favorite things about this career field and what is your dream job?

I like having the ability to do so many different things, and it’s only limited by your ability to learn new skills. I have two dream jobs, including running an orthopedic urgent care clinic and/or providing urgent and primary care to underserved populations in a remote location.

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