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.
This post is part of a blog series highlighting Northwell Health’s Advanced Clinical Providers (ACP). Each Northwell Health employee was nominated by their manager as an individual who exemplifies a central Northwell Health value. This month, we’re proud to introduce you to Jennifer Meagle, Supervising Physician Assistant in the Department of Surgery/Surgical Critical Care/Otolaryngology at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH), who is a “Truly Ambitious” member of our team. Read below to learn why and explore ACP job opportunities at Northwell Health here:
Jennifer Megale, dog lover, athlete, and world traveler, loves an adventure. When she’s not addressing critical care needs as PA Supervisor at NSUH, she spends her time with her Rhodesian Ridgeback Penny, scuba diving and snowboarding all over the world.
Her adventure in health care began in 2011, following her college graduation and the start of her career as a per diem Surgery PA and soon full-time at NSUH where she worked for several years.
Jennifer returned to Northwell as Surgery PA Supervisor in 2018 and says it’s where her heart belongs. “What I have always loved about NSUH is the sense of family. Even though we are a large hospital everyone has always been so welcoming and transparent, including administration. You don’t see this very often at other large health systems. The organization is always looking for ways to help their employees grow and succeed,” says Jennifer.
As a Surgery PA Supervisor, she has been responsible for building a new total parenteral nutrition service, setting up a bioskills surgical course for PAs, and working on a robotics training course. Jennifer is continuously looking for ways to improve patient care, encouraging PAs to take on a more proactive role in their education and skills development. Jennifer says, “This past year, I arranged for a surgical physician assistant’s Bioskills lab, where PAs are learning to build on their operative and suturing skills. Making PAs more confident in their own ability truly helps them to adequately care and address all of the concerns of our patients.”
Surgical PAs at NSUH assist in minimally invasive robotic surgery. During robotic surgeries, PAs function as the bedside assist. Jennifer explains, “we are needed to change instruments, troubleshoot and use an assist port to help with the operation. Robotic surgery provides a number of benefits to the patient including less trauma to the body, minimal scarring, and faster recovery.”
Jennifer’s great adventure isn’t only in the OR. She’s an avid traveler with the intention of visiting every continent over the next five years, and with only three left to go, she’s almost reached her goal! She says, “I’m an intense snowboarder and I checked heliboarding off my bucket list two years ago at Whistler Mountain in Canada. To be dropped off at the top of a mountain by helicopter was exhilarating, to say the least!”
For Jennifer, providing Truly Ambitious care is her next great adventure. Are you Made for working with exceptional Advanced Clinical Providers like Jennifer? Explore your career opportunities at Northwell Health.
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