For Kayla Core, PA, one of the most important parts of being a good PA is seizing every opportunity to emphasize the “care” in healthcare by providing patients and families with the invaluable gift of feeling loved. It’s a core value of her clinical practice that has only grown and evolved throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kayla’s path to her career began 20 years ago when her dad was diagnosed with skin cancer. As she learned more about his diagnosis and managing his care, Kayla became determined to be there for other patients the same way she was there for her dad. This led her to her desire to enter the medical field and become a PA.
She began her career at Northwell Health as a physician assistant student on rotation through various specialties of medicine. It was during her MICU rotation that Kayla discovered delivering ICU care was where she was meant to be. Since then she has become a PA on the critical care float team at North Shore University Hospital, where she was trained. Today, she practices in multiple ICUs.
“Northwell provided me with preceptors who genuinely took the time to teach me the culture of the ICU and how to perform procedures by the bedside,” says Kayla. “It is a hospital system that gives Advanced Clinical Providers the opportunity to be part of the patient’s care firsthand while collaborating with a supervising physician. These qualities make Northwell stand out to me, and I am proud to be a Northwell PA.”
At Northwell, Kayla has had the opportunity to work in multiple specialties throughout her career and explore the different fields of medicine she’s interested in. She cites her team and fellow employees as her favorite thing about Northwell. People who she says are incredibly kind, knowledgeable, and truly support one another. It’s a collaborative environment that goes beyond teamwork when physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, speech pathologists, dieticians, and many others share knowledge and expertise to provide the highest quality of care for patients.
However, it was while working in the COVID ICU throughout the pandemic that Kayla witnessed the toll the virus can take on patients firsthand, despite doing everything you can as a healthcare provider. It was this experience of delivering critical care to patients who were unable to have visitors due to COVID regulations that taught Kayla the importance of being a rock for families when they were unable to see or hold their loved ones. In turn, she has a greater appreciation for her own rock–her team. “My experience has made me stronger as a PA and I am fortunate to be a part of a team who is my rock,” says Kayla. “I have learned that if we can be there for each other and get through this together, then we can get through anything.”
And the impact that Kayla has had on her patients’ lives goes beyond their clinical care. Alongside her mother, Kayla created a program called Hearts for Hope, crocheting hearts to give to families who might need a little extra love and comfort. While working in the COVID ICU, Kayla was inspired to continue to grow the program due to the grateful reactions of her patients so she enlisted members of the community for help. The overwhelming number of responses to her call for assistance with crocheting more hearts only proved to Kayla how much love exists in the community.
It was these moments of raw emotion that made Kayla realize how special the crocheted hearts are and how she, her team and her community could work together to spread even more love and compassion. “The patients’ eyes would fill with tears as they would say thank you,” says Kayla. “Their families would clench the heart in their hands as they reflected on the cherished moments they’ve had with their loved ones.”
We at Northwell are equally proud to call someone as compassionate, dedicated, and inspiring as Kayla one of our own. And we can’t wait to see what she does next. If you’re inspired by Kayla, become a Health Raiser and discover a career well cared for at Northwell Health.