By Kate Hunger
Medicine keeps calling Roland Paquette, PA-C, assistant professor back.
The newest faculty member in the department of physical therapy assistant studies, Paquette received a Purple Heart for injuries he received in an IED blast during his deployment in Afghanistan as a U.S. Army Special Forces medic in 2005. Although he took a government job for a time following his military service, he found himself yearning to return to medicine. He enrolled in the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program at UT Health San Antonio and graduated in 2012.
The PA program "set me up for success clinically, providing stepping stones and building blocks to go out and really start learning at a fast pace in the clinical environment," he said.
"What this program did was let me hit the ground running and really immerse myself into the emergency medicine aspect of our field," he added. " I am ready to try to prepare other students to take on the same challenge because I understand (their) fear of 'Am I going to fall short o expectations?' I understand what that feeling is and I want to make sure our profession continues to grow and they are fully prepared to take on those challenges."
Paquette joined the full-time faculty on Nov 1. He recently taught as an adjunct lecturer in the PA program and worked as a clinical specialist in the Department of Emergency at the Long School of Medicine. He plans to continue to practice clinically and hopes to continue to work in the emergency room if his new schedule and position permit.
Paquette will be creating and implementing an emergency medicine course block - something he believes will be beneficial for students in their primary care experiences, as well.
Serving in the military gave Paquette a sense of making a contribution to a larger mission.
"That's what drove me back to medicine, wanting to better be able to have tangible results of what I'm doing, an impact in someone's life," he said.
He suspects teaching will provide an opportunity to reach far beyond his own limits, as he trains students who will then make a difference in the lives of their own patients.
"Force multiplication ... that's really what's drawing me to the teaching role," said.