BY INDIANA NASH
NISKAYUNA- When departing high school, many students are nervous that they won’t be able to snag their dream jobs or that they won’t be able to figure out what their dream job would be. Sarah McPartlon, a Niskayuna graduate, has sifted through those fears and has stepped into her dream career as a physician’s assistant at New York Oncology Hematology/Albany Medical Center.
For this, she has parents Bill and Robin McPartlon to thank for their support. Bill is a member of the Town Board and Robin is a substitute teacher at Birchwood Elementary School.
But lately, she’s been looking back to her days spent in the classrooms at Niskayuna High School and believes she has them to thank for her direction and for her passion for her career.
Q: How did Niskayuna prepare you for your career now and for becoming a physician’s assistant?
A: Niskayuna School District is well known for its excellent curriculum and the strong academic background I gained from Niskayuna truly prepared me for undergraduate studies as well as my graduate studies. The foundation of organization and time management that I developed at Niskayuna truly benefited me throughout my future academic career.
Q: Now, instead of solely studying biology, as most students do who are trying to head into the medical field, why did you decide to study psychology and what do you think it contributes to your practice?
A: I studied psychology as well as biology because I truly look at a patient as a whole, I believe health is not only your physical state of being but also your mental/psychological. As I deal with oncology patients now I truly feel blessed that I have this solid background in psychology as oncology is a heart-wrenching area of medicine to practice in.
Q: What made you interested in the medical field and in becoming a physician’s assistant?
A: My passion for medicine and patient care has been rooted in me for years and I truly wanted to make a difference in patient’s lives. My overall goal was to be able to use my passion for people as well as my desire to pursue medicine. I feel truly blessed as a Physician Assistant to have the opportunity and time to build relationships with my patients.
Q: How has the transition been from the classroom, to light field work and then to actually having patients of your own?
A: I graduated in May 2016 and began working for NYOH in July and the transition has been seamless. I am blessed to work for the doctors that I do and they have guided me and helped me every single day to be sure I feel comfortable in this new role. Furthermore, the Albany Med PA Program is one that sufficiently prepares you for the working world as a PA, so I am thankful for that as well. However, not only have the staff I worked with been a huge help, I have an amazing friend and family base that have supported me throughout my schooling as well as this journey into my career.
Q: Why did you want to stay on and work at Albany Medical Center?
A: I decided to stay local because I have a great support system here of friends and family and also because I feel at home at Albany Medical Center. I worked there as a PCA (Patient Care Assistant) before PA school and the people and environment have grown to be a huge part of my life.
Q: What advice would you give to any high school students hoping to go into the medical field?
A: First thing is do it! I could not be happier in my career choice and although I may be biased, I say that PA is the way to go.Middle-level providers (or the new terminology Advanced Practice Providers) are the future of medicine and healthcare. Stay focused, study hard, and follow your dreams.