October 20, 2021
Military Spouse Finds Online Tool Invaluable
October 25, 2018
By Kate Maloney
PA Melanie Burns only knows where she’s going to live two years at a time. Her husband Michael, an active duty U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, gets assigned new positions and locations at regular intervals. This means they have to pick up and move – their jobs, their house, their son – about every 24 months. For all PAs, moving presents headaches and hiccups: Where are my records? Where are my letters of recommendation? Where’d I put my license? But Burns, who’s already worked in two states in two years, has found a solution: PA Portfolio.
A Daunting Process
Burns graduated from South University’s PA Program in March 2016. The Army had already relocated her husband from Fort Stewart, Georgia, to Aberdeen, Maryland, where she joined him in April. She was excited to be offered a position at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. “I was grateful for being in a teaching facility, especially one with the resources and providers that Johns Hopkins offers,” she says. “They hire new graduates all the time there, but they don’t have a department to help new advanced practice providers through the state licensing and credentialing process.” Staring down the daunting credentialing process, she started where most people would: Google. “I just googled Maryland and PA licensing,” she shares. “I was brand new, I didn’t even have a national provider identifier when I started the process. I began with the Maryland Board of Physicians page and went from there.”
“Our stuff was all over the place initially,” she remembers. “I was doing my own research to piece everything together.” Her household items were scattered throughout the country – some in Georgia, some in Virginia, some in Maryland. “Meanwhile, we’d just moved and then had a baby. Having something like PA Portfolio then would have been a real asset!”
Significantly Easier Experience
In April 2018, she and her husband found out they’d be moving back to Georgia, where Burns was not yet licensed. “I discovered PA Portfolio just as we were getting ready to move and thought, this is awesome!”
PA Portfolio is a new online storage and sharing tool that allows you to create an inventory of essential PA career documents that can be accessed anywhere. Burns found the software invaluable as she prepared to relocate. “I had a blue folder where I used to keep everything,” Burns says. “But they need a number of documents: transcripts, immunization records, letters of recommendation, my PA certificate from NCCPA, my marriage license because my name changed, my military ID card … Now I can access every document in one place and anytime we move from here on, I can just send this one secure link to whoever needs it.”
Burns just received her Georgia credentials and will begin working at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta. “This is only the second job that I’ve applied for, but PA Portfolio made things significantly easier for me,” Burns says. She knows that PA Portfolio will also ease her transitions in the future. The fact that it may help reduce her downtime between positions is particularly helpful to her: “I do better when I am consistently engaged in the profession,” she shares. “Knowledge gaps can form quickly.”
Burns chose the PA profession due, in part, to its transportability and flexibility. “Home is where my family is, and at this point is determined by where the Army sends us,” she says. “And PA Portfolio is really going to make a difference for my career going forward.”
Kate Maloney is AAPA’s senior manager of corporate communications. Contact her at [email protected].