A PAssion for Women’s Health – Guest Blogger: Jamie, PA-S.

Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing an awesome post written by a PA student I met on Instagram. Instagram has proven time and time again to be an amazing community where I meet other pre-healthcare professionals like myself. I’ve been following Jamie, a PA student, for quite sometime and have always admired her honest take on PA school and how she shares her passions with her followers. When she shared her take on women’s health, I just had to ask for a guest blog post from her because I could tell her passion was contagious. I’m so excited for my readers to learn about her perspective as a PA student and how fascinating women’s health is!

-Madison

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For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with sexual and women’s health. In the early years of high school, I wanted to go to medical school, do a residency in OB-GYN, and then do a fellowship in infertility. I wanted to be the person creating miracles for a couple – to help them grow their pair into a family. Then I turned 16. My parents were separated and couldn’t afford to buy me a car. I lived in a wealthy area, so many of my friends and classmates were being handed keys to these beautiful 2-door Jeep Wranglers or brand new 2010 Chevy Cruzes (not sponsored, I swear that’s just what everyone drove). Of course, at 16, I wanted a car, too. I needed to buy the car and pay for gas and insurance, so I put on my nicest clothes and went to every local shop in the mall, every local restaurant until I finally had a nibble for an interview. I interviewed two places – Taco Bell and McDonald’s. Working in fast food while attending high school was my first taste of hard work and time management. My schedule was loaded with AP courses and I was working the full 18-hours a week that minors can legally work. Often, I would have to stay late because someone didn’t show. Sometimes my half-hour mandated break would happen at the end of my shift and I’d just be let home early, starving and ready to collapse into bed. I would still have homework to complete and had many late nights. I missed many events because I had to work and I hated that. It was here that Dr. Jamie Murawski, M.D. wasn’t sounding as hot as it once did. I truly did not know if I had the passion and drive to continue this level of grind for another twelve years.

I began college pre-med and was adamant about wanting to diagnose and treat patients. During orientation week, the sexual health lecture we received as a huge group of incoming freshman confirmed my desire to work in women’s health. They went through all types of birth control (literally everything from oral contraceptives, IUDs, the progestin arm implant, condoms, female condoms, spermicides, diaphragms, and even a brief mention to “coitus interruptus” AKA pulling out), consent and what it actually means, and they talked about the hard truths of domestic violence. Everyone around me seemed to be groaning but I was so intrigued. I went on to take as many courses relating to sexual health and women’s health as I could. My favorite professor, Dr. Marianne Gerard, was a huge inspiration to me. She is a medical doctor who didn’t feel fulfilled treating patients and instead had an incredible calling and passion for teaching. This lady has a well-deserved 4.8 on “Rate my Professor”. She’s the real deal. She teaches human sexuality and brought in bagels and strawberry cream cheese when we learned the menstrual cycle (the cervix looks like a bagel, haha! And strawberry to represent the blood, obviously. Amazing.) Anyways – the point is, I slowly took classes that helped me develop my passion. I knew I wanted to treat patients and I knew I didn’t care about the doctor title. I was slowly realizing that it wasn’t just infertility treatments I liked, but even well-being visits for pap smears, breast exams, and STI screening. I want women to feel empowered in their bodies and to trust their provider for advice on what lubricant or condom brands are recommended for someone with a latex allergy, what birth control method would best suit their lifestyle, and for pregnancy either how to best nourish their growing baby or how to find a safe physician to perform an elective abortion depending on their feelings about that fetus. You get the idea. I wanted to provide the necessary information for women to make informed, educated decisions about their body and healthcare.

After speaking to Dr. Gerard about her many years as a physician, I realized I didn’t want the title. I didn’t care about the politics of health insurance, dealing with administrative tasks or running my own practice. My passion lied in treating patients and that interaction alone. I was taking many other courses, including pharmacology and pathophysiology, and found other interests in cardiology and neurology. Dr. Gerard really pushed me toward physician assistant. I was already considering being a PA because I nannied for one and admired her lifestyle. She worked three 12-hour shifts per week and had time to go to her kid’s dance and piano recitals, join them for field trips, help them with homework or just relax by the pool while they swim. Family has always been a big deal for me, and even though I don’t have children and am not currently married, I am working toward that. Ultimately, I wanted a job in medicine that would allow me to both heal and teach, move between specialties, and pay back the debt necessary to obtain the degree. I found all of that and more in being a PA. I have only two short months until I finish didactic year, and then they set me loose on real patients for clinicals. I feel strongly that every decision I have made so far to pursue a career in medicine has been the right one for me. PA school is the biggest academic challenge I have faced yet and each passed exam, each completed unit feels more and more rewarding.

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jamienicole_pa

“Hi all. Thanks for reading! I’m Jamie Murawski, a physician assistant student at the University of Detroit Mercy. I have a Bachelor of Science from Grand Valley State University. I’m a Michigan girl through and through. 

I’m growing my online presence in the PA community through Reddit, where I moderate /r/prephysicianassistant along with some other pretty cool PA students. I also have an Instagram where I pseudo-blog about my journey (@jamienicole_pa.s). Please feel free to follow me or message me with any questions, I’m happy to help!”

 

 

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My Minor in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies

One of my biggest passions is gender equality. How is something as basic and fundamental as equal rights still not achieved in this day and age?! It seriously confuses me. Why won’t I get paid for the same work as my male counterpart? AHH. But that in itself is a whole other long story.

This strong passion towards equality didn’t surface until undergrad when I took my second required writing course. I chose a class titled U.S. Women’s Writers that was within the department of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS). The whole first week of the class didn’t cover any writings of U.S. women. My teacher spent a lot of time introducing concepts like feminism, intersectionality, social identity, sexuality, and even more which were somewhat foreign to me. (Here is a recent article on intersectional feminism – how race, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation all play a part in someone’s identity!)

So long story short, there was a moment in within that first week of class that I knew I had to pursue more courses in this department. I felt so connected to what my professor was teaching and I felt so enlightened and intrigued by the subject. The moment came when she shared this YouTube clip:

Even though its old, all of the concepts are still alive today. The narrator is explaining how yogurt is marketed towards women. These commercials are portraying women on diets because aren’t all women supposed to be watching their figure? They are also portraying women wearing baggy clothes because can’t we, as women, relate to not feeling comfortable in more form fitting clothing?

After I saw this video, I went home and watched TV for way too long just looking for these marketing strategies playing on the expected roles of women (being thin and conscientious of their body). You should seriously try it. (Another marketing technique is for diet pop. You will never see a commercial with a man drinking diet pop. That’s because men aren’t supposed to diet or care about what they eat.) Stereotypes, people.

Anyways, this sparked my interest in the subject. I basically followed my professor and took whatever class she was teaching next. I took Women in the Media (my favorite class discussing how women are marketed), Muslim Women in the Media, and a Women of Color class.

My minor has truly broadened my horizons and made me more aware of the problems women of all types face. As a woman in medicine, I’ll soon see a whole other side to sexism. By raising awareness and speaking up for ourselves, I believe this inequality will be overcome :).