Celebrating National PA Week

Each year in early October, we and other healthcare organizations across the country celebrate National PA Week, which raises awareness for the physician assistant profession and its contributions to national health. Meet two of our PAs below, and if you know or have an appointment with a PA this week, please thank them for their efforts! 

Meet Christine Harrington, PA-C

Physician assistant examines patientWhat 3 words would you use to describe your role?

Challenging, rewarding and fulfilling.

What do you love most about your job?

Well – that is easy – the kids, of course! I think we are so lucky working in pediatrics. Our days are highlighted by random hugs, stories about cartoon characters and superheroes, and amazing smiles and bravery.

Why did you choose to enter the field of pediatrics?

There was really no going back. I did an elective NICU rotation in PA school, and I knew then that I had found my area of medicine. I worked NICU for many years, and then branched out to fields that included older children as well.

Please share a fun fact about yourself!

Well, I have a bit of a wanderlust. I grew up outside Boston before moving to Connecticut for PA school. But I moved to Honolulu, then outside Tampa, and Washington DC, before finding my way back home to New England, where my whole department can tell you I now spend all my free time chronically renovating my house instead of traveling!

Meet Sarah Orlando, PA-C

physician assistant headshotWhat 3 words would you use to describe your role?

Educator – I enjoy not only teaching PA students by precepting them in their clinical education, but I also make every effort to teach my patients and their families, and to impart knowledge that they can use to continue to maintain their health and access the resources they need.

Versatile – In the ED we take care of all kinds of patients – from splinters and sniffles, to life-threatening illnesses. We take care of kids in behavioral health crises. I continually flex between roles in fast track, behavioral health, and the higher acuity areas of the ED. The needs of the department are constantly changing, and therefor the role I play changes to reflect the department.

Collaborative – Attendings, residents, PAs and APRNs, nurses, techs, child life, and so many more – it often takes all of use working together to give the best care. I also perform procedural sedations so that other specialists can perform procedures on our patients, and I don’t think there is a specialty in the hospital that I haven’t consulted from the ED.

What do you love most about your job?

I work with an amazing group of healthcare providers. People who set themselves aside to do what’s best for the patients. Who stay late, come in early, support each other, and come together to handle whatever walks through the door. I trust my team, and that is irreplaceable.

Why did you enter the field of pediatrics?

It was an accident! I never planned to work in pediatrics, but my family was moving and faced some uncertainty, so I decided I would apply for the first job I saw that would allow me some flexibility. I planned to stay 3-5 years and then move on. That was nine years ago! I never expected it to be such a great fit!

Please share a fun fact!

I have four kids, ranging from 1 to 9 years old. They are all so different – which I still find fascinating – and they teach me so much every day!

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