Betsy Worthley graduated from the Jefferson College of Heal Sciences Physician Assistant (PA) program in December 2010 and went straight to Navy office training in Rhode Island.
For her, the whirlwind that was her life as a PA student simply became more extreme.
For the next three years, she served active duty in Hawaii, at the Naval Health Clinic at Kaneohe Bay, and was also deployed to Paktika, Afghanistan, as the senior medical office for a Joint Provincial Reconstruction Team. If that wasn't enough action, Worthley volunteered for the Forward Surgical Team at the Level 2 Trauma Hub, aiding the injured in their first stop from Eastern Afghanistan. She recalls being able to handle the trauma better than some, due to her PA training and her family practice rotations in Hawaii, but still, the impact was felt.
“It made me appreciate the little luxuries that we have in America, and helped me to realize that we can’t take those things for granted,” she said.
She was able to see how terrible life was for Afghanis in her province. She also came away with a sense of pride and duty, instilled in the PA program and reinforced as a Naval officer.
“It’s made me a better healthcare provider,” she said. And the program and her military duties also made her a professional.
“You have to give 110 percent or you aren’t going to make it in the Jefferson PA program,” she said.
That was ingrained in her as she started her tour of duty – “It’s lives you’re talking about,” she said. Worthley, who is now on another adventure. Newly married to a Navy fighter pilot, she has begun a new job at Town Orthopaedic Center in Reston, VA, looking forward to learning a new “musculoskeletal” language and assisting in the operating room.
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