Providing Personal, Low-Stress Care
early 2005, Shanna Geiger, Navajo, PA-C, has worked as
a PA providing primary care at Native Health, a small,
urban clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. Geiger and her family
received their care at this clinic when she was growing
up in Phoenix.
In fact, she
and her family currently receive their care at the
Geiger works with a physician, two registered nurses, one licensed practical nurse and 3 medical assistants. “Some Native Americans prefer seeing me because I’m Native American,” says Geiger. “They are proud that one of their own is taking care of them. A couple of patients prefer that I’m the only one that touches them. We try to respect that. I like working in a small facility. It’s more personal than a big hospital. The patients are great and love coming here. The practice isn’t stressful.”
Variety of Experiences
“My original plan was to go to medical school. I decided to be a PA when I learned that it’s much easier for PAs, than for doctors, to change fields and have a variety of experiences. Also, you spend less time in school. I wasn’t married at the time but I knew that I’d want to spend time with my family when I had one.”
At college, Geiger, who loves sports, majored in biology and minored in exercise science. During as well as following college, Geiger was an assistant at a physical therapy facility.
Geiger did her PA studies at the Arizona School of Health Sciences where she was in the Native American Physician Assistant Track (NAPA). “PA school was hard, particularly the first year,” she says. “By then I was married and had a child. I had to juggle that with studying. It was stressful but I got through it. The second year was easier. I had most of my clinicals at Phoenix Indian Medical Center, and I did a couple in rural areas.
“Becoming a PA isn’t easy. You have to work for it. Speak with your counselor at college and make sure you get your prerequisites. Develop good study habits. Learn how to manage your time. Be strict with yourself about study, and make sure you have good support.”
This article was originally published in the Winter, 2007 issue of Winds of Change.