When Savarah Aidun ’23 began working as a medical scribe three years ago, she was already envisioning a career caring for others as a physician assistant (PA). Still, the experience of documenting interactions between clinicians and their patients was a formative one for the Potsdam, N.Y., native. There was one PA Aidun worked with whom she especially admired. It didn’t matter how long this person had been working, how challenging her cases had been, or how she was feeling personally. She gave each patient her undivided attention and energy. She treated each one as if he or she was the most important person she’d see all day. Now a first-year student in the Physician Assistant Studies Program at Le Moyne, Aidun hopes to model that professionalism and compassion in her own work.
“The most important lesson that she taught me was to listen,” Aidun said. “That has stuck with me.”
This is an extraordinary moment to be entering the health care field. Treating everything from chronic diseases, to emergencies, to substance addiction and abuse, to mental health disorders requires tremendous skill and stamina. Yet Aidun is not deterred by the challenges she and her colleagues are likely to face. She is energized by the opportunities she will have to help others live healthy, independent lives. That is what keeps her going even in the busiest weeks – when she finds herself immersed in lab and classwork, preparing for multiple exams while also striving to make sure that she is taking care of her own well-being. It also helps, she says, that she and her classmates have formed a tight bond with one another, as well as with their faculty members.
In was Aidun’s peers and teachers who encouraged her to pursue a unique leadership opportunity that will require even more of her time at energy. She was recently elected to serve as the Northeast regional director of the American Academy of Physician Associates’ student academy board of directors. Aidun will spend the next year representing PA students from approximately 65 colleges and universities around the region. Her immediate aim is to expand communication between the representatives of the various PA programs and to create a community in which thoughts and ideas can be easily shared. She also hopes to inspire other students to become more involved in the student academy, to share her passion for mental health, and to advocate on behalf of the PA profession.
Aidun is eager to put what she is learning on the Heights into practice.
“[After graduation], I’m most looking forward to finally getting to apply all of the information we learned during the didactic year in the clinical setting,” she said. “I hope to utilize my experiences and become a compassionate provider who better serves communities in need.”