Katharine Matthis | Using Every Opportunity to Provide and Care for All

Document created by Sara Jo Lee on Mar 18, 2020
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Katharine Matthis shares what drives her to achieve more.
My Journey to #AchieveMore
I gently unswaddled the diminutive, 6 pound infant quietly surveying the room from my examination table. She and her mom had been through a lot in her short six weeks on Earth. Born with congenital heart disease, she bore evidence of her neonatal open heart surgery on her chest – a thin, red, healing, midline, surgical scar. As I addressed Mom's concerns, her fears allayed, she visibly relaxed. A contented smile erupted on my tiny patient's face as I tucked her back into her mother's arms. General pediatrics is extremely rewarding and fulfilling. Directing care to the family unit – whether issues are self-limiting or chronic in nature – improves overall familial health. Educating patients, from their current standpoint, decreases anxiety and improves health outcomes. I have spent the last 20 years in general practice, the last three in pediatrics exclusively; children can be amazingly adaptable or incredibly stubborn, wonderfully warm hearted or painfully petulant. These idiosyncrasies may leave some frustrated, but is a welcomed challenge for me. Meeting my young patients wherever they are, determining their needs, and helping the family unit move toward better health is a privilege. Years of clinical experience will never supersede the over-arching need for medical providers to be life-long learners. While all clinicians are part teacher, there are few who transition into medical education. Having made this transition, while also still caring for patients clinically, I am able to share what I have learned with the next generation of physician assistants. My goals remain the same: to meet patients (students) where they are, interpret signs and symptoms of disease, focus on preventive health, articulate potential care options, and educate so that they both become health and wellness advocates. Patients deserve culturally competent, high quality, mindful medical care, and PA students have the energy, enthusiasm, and aspiration to provide that care. I envision medical providers and educators as bridges, connecting patients and students with comprehensible, tangible, useful information that improves overall health. The needs of both groups continually propel me forward. To listen harder. To speak gently. To learn continually. To share compassionately. Just as every child I meet in a medical office is different, each student learns in their own way. The skills allowing me to navigate examination rooms have helped me become a competent medical educator. Every day my knowledge is stretched, and every day I learn something new. I tell patients and students alike, if we aren't learning something new every day, then we are not working hard enough! In a waiting room full of rambunctious kids, and in a classroom of PA students anxious to learn, I see opportunity. To listen harder. To speak gently. To learn continually. To share compassionately.

What Drives You to #AchieveMore?