“I am motivated by the prospect of improving lives, and providing top-quality care to patients to achieve this outcome,” said Thomas Macpherson ’16, M.S. ’19. As a physician assistant (PA) at Middletown Medical & Good Samaritan Hospital in Rockland County, Macpherson is doing just that — going above and beyond to provide essential care, and more, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
Macpherson, a Marine Corps veteran and retired firefighter/paramedic, knew he had not reached his full potential when he retired from the Peekskill Fire Department. When considering the next step on his life's journey, he thought back to his first job, and the sentiments and knowledge a respected Navy physician assistant provided him. With encouragement from his wife, he decided to return to school full time to pursue a career as a PA at Mercy College. Once he started the Mercy program, he came to the realization that being a PA was his life's calling. Macpherson is now a proud Mercy graduate, earning a B.S. in 2016 and a Master's in Physician Assistant Studies in 2019.
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, all hands are needed on deck, and PAs are integral in hospital, urgent care and primary care settings diagnosing and treating coronavirus patients. From initial patient contact, to physical examination, to ordering and interpreting lab tests and imaging, to prescribing medications, PAs are involved in all clinical procedures. Macpherson uses the skills he learned at Mercy, including airway and ventilatory management, suturing, fractures and dislocations, to treat patients. “The competencies I gained from both my undergraduate degree and the Physician Assistant Program are being used daily. I wouldn’t be where I am, nor able to function at a high-level, without the training I received in the Mercy PA program and the professors' dedication," Macpherson explained.
For Macpherson, finding a balance between working 12-hour days and spending quality time with family is difficult. However, he is encouraged by the familial atmosphere in his workplace, and his colleagues' dedication to ensuring the well-being of coronavirus patients: “I’m proud to work in the medical community with colleagues committed to providing the best possible care. Now more than ever, we must remember that we are not alone, no matter how isolated we may feel at times. We are a family and a team, and all in this together.”
Mercy is a strong community and by working together we will make our community even stronger. If you are a Maverick making a difference, or you know of one, let us know at PR@mercy.edu.
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