We had the pleasure of interviewing one of NCCPA’s exam committee members, April Gentry, PA-C, and she shared how the experience has benefitted her and why she thinks more PAs should get involved:
1. Tell us about your volunteer experience with NCCPA. How did you learn about the volunteer opportunity? Which volunteer committees do you serve on an in what capacity?
My volunteer experience with NCCPA has been amazing! I have met awesome providers from across the United States. It has also introduced to the field of Psychometrics. And who knows? This may be my future career goal. Also, volunteering has increased my medical knowledge which has surely benefited my patients. I originally joined the NCCPA volunteer team on June 3, 2016, after an article was placed in the NCCPA newsletter asking for volunteers to work on the exam blueprint. Since 2016, I have served on committees that formulated questions for PANCE, PANRE, and PANRE-LA. I have also worked with the Automated Item Generation (AIG) team and forms review team. Each time I volunteer, it takes about 2.5 days out of the work week, but believe me, it is time well spent!
2. What have you learned from your experience volunteering with NCCPA? How has this helped you professionally?
I have learned that there is a gold standard way to practice medicine that tends to work for all patients no matter the demographics. However, I have also learned that medicine is truly a more personalized art form and can vary depending on the region in which a person practices. However, it is the gold standard way that gives us the common starting ground in order to provide the best care for our patients. I also learned that be a great practitioner, I must be able to put all of this information together (the gold standard recommendation, patient demographics, practice region, etc.) to determine what is best for the individual patient. I would not have learned the ability to personalize patient care and communicate efficiently and effectively with different people if it had not been for working with the awesome men and women at NCCPA.
3. What was the most surprising thing you learned about NCCPA from your experience?
I was pleasantly surprised that NCCPA consists of people who are caring and accommodating. They anticipated my needs, my questions, and my concerns, and had them answered and addressed immediately! It is just so refreshing to work with others who love the PA profession just as much as I do.
4. What would you say to anyone who is considering volunteering with NCCPA?
Start doing it immediately! As long as you come with an open mind, the heart to serve, and are ready to learn, you will have an amazing experience. You will learn so much, not just academically, but also socially as well. You will meet great individuals who will also be available to offer assistance during your day-to-day assignments.
5. Tell us a bit about you- where did you go to PA school?
I had the pleasure of attending and earning a Master’s degree in physician assistant studies from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, which is also the city where I am originally from. During these last 15 years, I have worked in community health, rural medicine, private practice, primary care, urgent care and emergency medicine in South Carolina and North Carolina. I currently work in family medicine, urgent care and telemedicine. I knew that I wanted to work in the medical field since I was nine years old and see my profession more as my ministry and not just my career.
6. What can you tell us about your current job role?
I currently practice family medicine and urgent care at Novant Health Lakeside Family Physicians and Novant Health GoHealth Urgent Care in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas which is primarily urban and suburban areas. I provide care to a vast group of patients of varying ages, nationality, and socioeconomic backgrounds, so volunteering with NCCPA makes me a better provider for my patient population. I love where I work! Novant Health is an absolutely wonderful company to work with along with also having a very approachable, transparent and experienced upper and lower management team. We are a family and a team! Between the management team, my amazing medical assistant, and the patients, it is so easy to love where I work and what I do!
7. Anything else you’d like to share as it relates to your volunteer experience with NCCPA?
I honestly look forward to every volunteering opportunity with NCCPA that I participate in. I have never turned down an opportunity because the experience is so worthwhile. It has been one of the best decisions I have made in my career. If you are able to volunteer, please do so. Not only will you be a blessing to the NCCPA, but I promise the NCCPA will be a blessing to you, too.