2023 Preceptor of the Year Inspires Students In and Out of the Operating Room

Allie Thompson Works Tirelessly to Improve Both Her and Her Students’ Skillsets

By Alex Morse

Allie Thompson, PA-C

Allie Thompson, PA-C, the 2023 AAPA/PAEA Preceptor of the Year, continuously improves her own clinical skillset to fuel patient advocacy and educate her students. She relishes the opportunity to pass along her knowledge to future generations as so many have selflessly done for her. In addition to precepting students on their surgery rotations, Thompson is adjunct faculty at Wake Forest School of Medicine School of PA studies where she presents surgical lectures and teaches suturing workshops during the students’ transition block.

The Preceptor of the Year Award, presented in partnership with PAEA, honors a preceptor who demonstrates exemplary service in the clinical education of PA students as a mentor, role model, and instructor; and furthers the image of PAs by exemplifying the PA profession’s philosophy of providing accessible, quality healthcare.

For Thompson, the decision to join the healthcare profession was a personal one. She was born with severe allergy and exercise-induced asthma – and the connection she developed with her pulmonologist at a young age significantly influenced her future career path.

“My pulmonologist was a part of not only my pulmonary advancement, but every personal and educational milestone as a I spent a large portion of my childhood in his office,” Thompson says. “He helped me to realize I had no limitations, just differences, and encouraged me to learn how to listen to my body and work with it to work for me. He’s the reason I’m capable of all the things I have done and continue to do.”

A graduate of the Kettering College PA program, Thompson is now a PA in acute care and emergency general surgery. She serves patients from their initial surgical consultation to the operating room, to the post-operative setting. She also runs a PA clinic evaluating patients’ surgical needs, follows up with patients for ongoing postoperative management, and provides long-term management for the more acute and chronically ill patients.

Alongside her own clinical practice, Thompson precepts students monthly at the Wake Forest University (WFU) School of Medicine and has precepted over 40 students since 2016. She has also assisted annually with clinical skills prep courses for PA students and was honored as the WFU School of Medicine PA Program Clinical Preceptor of the Year.

“As someone who was privileged with such amazing preceptors, I know how empowering a good teacher can make a person feel,” Thompson says. “To receive an award that brings me into this group of role models, leaders, and educators . . . I am truly humbled to know that not only did my educators leave a mark on me, but that people believe I’m truly capable of continuing that behavior and carrying on that legacy to the next generation of healthcare professionals.”

“She is not only impacting those that she touches but is empowering them to impact all that they touch as well,” Brian Peacock, Program Director at WFU, says. “What she has accomplished in her short time in practice has the potential to be the change that our profession, healthcare system, and communities need.”

Outside of bedside teaching, Thompson provides numerous didactic lectures annually and has presented at six national conferences. Since 2020, she has been an active board member for both the North Carolina Academy of PAs and the Piedmont Association of PAs.

She finds the biggest challenge with precepting is balancing the student world and the clinical one. With the constant advancements to information, clinical approaches do not always align with what tests evaluate. Over time, Thompson hopes to increase her involvement in the development of future PAs and the PA profession.

A recent student of hers said, “She goes far and above to facilitate learning by teaching, creating opportunities for exposure, and overall, just goes the extra mile to prepare future PAs. She is a wonderful example of a PA from her diligence to her compassion. She is well-known for her excellence in the surgical department and represents the PA profession exceptionally.”

Thompson is humbled every day she goes to work, knowing that her job has a built-in expectation of continual learning. “Through the worst moments of my life, I was exposed firsthand to the immense power of the provider-patient bond,” she says. “I was reminded how each is truly an opportunity for connection and compassion, and that I have the responsibility to bring that to every patient.”

Alex Morse is AAPA’s Communications Associate. She can be reached at [email protected]

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