October 4, 2023
Be Cognizant of What Drives and Ignites You
April 19, 2019
By Andrea Lowe, MHA, PA-C
Whether you are just starting your PA career, are in mid-practice, or near retirement, one thing should be consistent: being cognizant of what drives and ignites you. Why do you do what you do? Why do you work tireless hours and sometimes give everything to your patients, your career, and your organization? The answers to these questions are not going to be like anyone else’s.
What’s your personal “why”?
We all know what motivated us to go through the rigorous process of becoming a PA. But what is your current personal “why”? Many people forget or are afraid to revisit their original motivations. As you move through your career, your personal “why” may evolve or change completely. Be purposeful and fearless about revisiting this question.
PAs are devoted to helping others. But caring for others should never overshadow self-care or those activities that spark or rejuvenate your passion and enhance your practice. Work on your work-life balance. Take an inventory of all your commitments – work, volunteer activities, hobbies, family responsibilities, etc. – to ensure you are not getting lost. If you’re feeling run down at work, think about whether you’re taking the appropriate amount of time to recharge. As a healthcare provider, it is especially critical to show up for work alert and engaged.
Engage in the PA community
One of the great benefits of the PA profession is its large community. Build your relationship currency. PAs can practice across specialties and in different environments, and their skills are in high demand. Spend some time defining what you’re looking for in your position. Use sources like Mentor Match or Huddle to have conversations with colleagues. Often those connections will help you to find ways to navigate through your frustrations, use others as a sounding board, or to brainstorm ideas.
Before thinking about switching employers or specialties, do your due diligence. Think through whether you have exceeded all your options in your current role. Many times, simply speaking up and asking for what you think can make your work environment or workload better will help. Taking direct action when you can will help you find your passion at any stage of your career.
Andrea Lowe, MHA, PA-C, is director for employer strategy at the Center for Healthcare Leadership and Management (CHLM) and AAPA. Contact her at [email protected].