Alumni Profile: Hannah Cox Muthersbaugh, PA-C '13
Where are you now? What is your role at your current workplace?
I am currently working as an Emergency PA at Atrium WFBH Lexington. I spent the previous 10 years with the Atrium WFBH Emergency Physicians Group in the Greensboro Region in the Cone Health system. During my time in the Cone Health system, I chaired the APP Executive Committee and worked to integrate APPs more fully into the system, spawning new programs to help support APPs in their practice and wellbeing.
I also serve as the Assistant Medical Director for Guilford County Emergency Services and have since 2013.
What brought you to your current place of employment?
After 10 years in Greensboro I was ready for a change of pace and a challenging new practice environment, but I haven't lost my passion for emergency medicine. When the opportunity to join the ER group in Lexington became available it felt like the right fit.
I gained my love of prehospital medicine while working as a paramedic in Guilford County before PA school. After PA school I returned to EMS as the assistant medical director. My favorite part of that role is teaching our field personnel and interacting with them during patient care. Additionally, I help with protocol development/implementation, chart review and higher-level education with our in-house Paramedic Academy.
Our most recent project was implementing a new utilization for EMTs in a non-transport capacity to ensure the patients in our community get the right resource at the right time. Our IMPACT unit has been able to safely respond to 8% of our daily call volume and help keep our Paramedic level care free to respond to higher level calls. The IMPACT program has been a trendsetter, gaining local and national attention over the last several months. It’s been really fun to be part of such an innovative project with such an incredible team at Guilford County EMS.
What does a normal day look like for you?
There is no “normal day” for me. Between EMS responsibilities and a rotating Emergency Room schedule every single day looks different! I love that it keeps my life interesting and always moving.
What do you remember most about being a Wake Forest PA student? What were some moments of inspiration as well as moments of opportunity for you?
SPA (standardized patient assessment) week is one of the things I will never forget about my education. That week of cumulative testing with each section required that you synthesize 6 weeks of information and apply it to a single patient. These were hands down the most stressful portions of the program, but really solidified my knowledge.
My rotations were certainly a highlight. The 4 weeks I was able to spend with the APPs who run the MICU was incredible. They not only taught me critical care medicine, but modeled compassion and leadership in their roles. They taught me what it meant to work to the top of my license while knowing your limits and integrating the entire team into the patient's care. I have continued to model my own practice after their example.
How has your education at Wake PA influenced how you interact with patients and make decisions?
I was aware that the model Wake PA utilized was unique and I knew that any education from Wake Forest would be quality, but what I didn't know was how far ahead their education would place me as a provider. Once I started precepting students from a number of educational institutions, I realized how far along the Wake PA students were.
The IBL model taught me how to approach a patient, integrate the knowledge I already possessed, recognize what additional information was needed and how to access my resources to answer those questions. It made me confident that I could provide excellent care to every single patient, regardless of their complaint.
What words of wisdom do you have for our students?
Wake PA will give you the foundation you need to be an incredible APP. Utilize that to change your patient's lives and the world around you.
Is there anything about the medical system or standard protocol that you would change?
Access to care. One of the biggest barriers to quality medical care is access. In the emergency room we end up treating minor conditions or exacerbations of chronic conditions that could have been prevented with increased access. I have worked to improve that access within the Guilford County community and though progress has been made in new and innovative ways we have not yet reached all of our community members.
What has sustained your passion for being a medical professional?
Working with EMS and caring for patients in the ER are ways for me to serve the place I call home. I moved to Guilford County in 2007 and, though I didn’t grow up here, I have become fully invested in this community. Making a difference every single shift inspires me to continue.
What are some activities you enjoy outside of work?
Habitat for Humanity International has been one of my favorite activities outside of work. My husband Scott and I have traveled to Malawi, Nepal, and Bolivia to build homes. I gained my passion for this growing up volunteering with my father for our local habitat agency in Charlotte, NC. I have come to understand how housing insecurity can influence every aspect of a person’s life. When we aren’t traveling, I bake and decorate cakes, refinish furniture and always enjoy a summer garden.