August 3, 2020
2020 Preceptor of the Year Aims to ‘Learn Something and Help Someone’ Every Day
Kurtis Manley has Precepted More Than 100 PA Students
By Sarah Blugis
April 27, 2020
One thing that Kurtis A. Manley, PA-C, DFAAPA, the 2020 recipient of the Preceptor of the Year Award, teaches all of his students is to ask themselves: “Did I learn something and did I help someone today?” It’s a mantra that he follows, himself.
The American Academy of PAs/Physician Assistant Education Association Preceptor of the Year Award honors preceptors who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in the clinical education of PA students as a mentor and instructor.
Manley works at a very busy family practice in his hometown of Kingman, Arizona, where he averages 30 or more patients every day. This busy schedule, he says, allows him to provide a steady learning environment for the students he precepts. At his practice, students work with patients with diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and hypothyroid, and have an opportunity to perform joint injections and skin biopsies.
The mantra Manley lives by was passed on to him by a preceptor who had a significant impact on his own career. Manley began precepting students within a year after graduation from PA school and over the last 18 years, he has precepted more than 100 students. For Manley, guiding and mentoring others is an important part of giving back to the PA profession. His students describe him as a great mentor – someone who empowers and inspires them.
Manley was inspired to pursue a career in medicine by one of the first PAs in Arizona, he says. “When I joined the Navy, I was able to follow that path and continue my medical career,” Manley says. “I was lucky enough to be selected for the Navy’s PA program and was able to fulfill that dream.”
During his 26 years of active duty, he made multiple deployments to the Western Pacific, including Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Additionally, he served with SEAL Teams in Operation Support Democracy off the coast of Haiti.
Once he completed his military service, Manley returned to Kingman – a designated Health Provider Shortage Area and Medically Underserved Area – to work at Kingman Regional Medical Center (KRMC), first at Kingman Family Practice, and then KRMC Primary Care.
At KRMC, he wrote the core PA privileges adopted by the hospital, and formed a collaboration between PAs and NPs to develop practice and privilege guidelines for advanced practice providers. In conjunction with his collaborating physician, Manley also submitted a Primary Care Team proposal to the hospital, and the first pilot team consisted of a family practice physician, two PAs, and one nurse practitioner. Since then, four teams have been formed to facilitate greater access to care.
As an active member of the PA community, Manley has long been an advocate for the PA profession. He arranged for the mayor to sign a proclamation for the City of Kingman for National PA Week, and is an active member of the Arizona State Association of PAs (ASAPA) and the Veterans Caucus. In 2019, he was awarded the ASAPA PA/Physician Partnership of the Year Award. In 2017, he was named the Veterans Caucus 2017 Civilian PA of the Year.
“When my wife and I moved back to Kingman 12 years ago, we honestly thought we would retire in five years,” Manley says. “Somewhere along the line we both realized that we had a lot to give, still.”
And Manley has given a lot – to his community and to his students. He now has 8-10 students rotating with him every year, and his responsibility doesn’t end when a rotation is finished, he says. Manley feels that his role as a mentor should continue throughout his students’ practice and life afterward. At every opportunity throughout his career, he has volunteered to work with students – and most importantly, to help them.
“Helping people, for me, is the single most important part of my job,” Manley says.