Physician Assistant Students Serve in Africa
In a southern Africa community 7,000 miles from campus, two Gardner-Webb University students represented the Physician Assistant Studies program’s mission to care for underserved communities by providing six weeks of medical support to residents.
Sarah McManus (’17) and Jeremy Pierson (’17) recently served a medical mission clinical rotation at Zimba Mission Hospital in the nation of Zambia. The students provided care through a variety of procedures, such as obstetric ultrasounds and deliveries, fracture reduction, joint aspiration, cyst removal and abscess drainage, wound closure, vaccinations, and more.
“The patients there are very sick and far outweigh the (hospital) staff in number,” shared Pierson, of Naperville, Ill. “The people were so friendly and grateful for any help they could receive. It was extremely fulfilling to be able to build relationships and use what I’ve learned in the PA program to make a difference in their lives.”
Experiencing the overwhelming needs and the overflowing kindness of the people in Zambia helped affirm a desire to enter the medical field, Pierson offered. And the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to the real world while serving abroad is one of many benefits of Gardner-Webb’s PA program, added McManus, of Morganton, N.C. The program connects its students with hands-on experiences at more than 300 clinical sites in the eastern United States and has offered opportunities for service in Haiti and now Zambia.
“Even if you don’t think that mission work is what you want to do full time, Gardner-Webb helps you get your feet wet in that setting so maybe it is something you might consider doing in the future as part of your career,” McManus explained. “Beyond just practicing medicine, PAs are employed in all types of arenas, in our national organizations that advocate for PA rights, the military, overseas missions, and the classroom. Gardner-Webb helps students to understand everything they can do in order to serve God and humanity to the best of their abilities.”
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