A PA’s Journey to Finding Passion in Emergency Medicine

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A PA’s Journey to Finding Passion in Emergency Medicine

My name is Cassandra Miller and I have been practicing as a physician assistant (PA) since 2003. I trained at University of Southern California and was in the first class to graduate the PA Program. I went into the PA profession because I desired to help others obtain healthier and more abundant lives. I started my career as a Physician Assistant in the Orange County. I gained valuable clinical experience in women’s health, pediatrics, and primary care. Additionally, I had the patient support of a wonderful supervising physician that went on to become the first African American female director of this particular health department.

After working in Primary care for years, I began to yearn for different and more challenging clinical experiences and a higher salary.I had the amazing opportunity to work as an Emergency Department PA at a large and busy hospital in Orange County. The job was fast paced and incredibly exciting. Every day was something new and a chance for me to challenge myself and enhance my medical knowledge and clinical experience. This new position wasn’t easy at first but because I was surrounded by passionate, caring and wise doctors I was able to learn and grow daily. I was inspired by each and every one of the emergency staff members and how they worked so seamlessly together to make sure they could give the best care to every single patient that came in with an emergency. All this daily energy influenced me so deeply and activated a new passion for medicine that I never knew I had. I then knew that I found my calling in the vast medical specialty world and it was 100% emergency medicine.

10 years later, I am still here at this emergency department and I get the same excitement as I had on my first few days in the ER. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely hard days where my team and I do our absolute best and it still is not enough to help the patient. It’s definitely not glamourized like the TV shows make it out to be.

I try my best to learn and grow from every experience and show compassion to every single person and situation that enters our ER daily. I’ve learned to never judge or assume as every person’s story is different and when they are in this part of the hospital it becomes one of the most vulnerable moments of their lives. If I can bring them comfort and maybe even a smile, I know I am doing my job right.

I still feel like a student of the craft and I am looking forward too many more years practicing emergency medicine and growing into the best Physician Assistant I can be.

My advice to any PA that doesn’t feel passion where they are at the moment, try different departments and specialties, because when you find the one that just clicks it’s the best feeling in the world and when you can put passion into your craft, you will become the most inspiring and empowered provider that you can be.

  • Cassandra Miller, PA-C , 2018

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