Leading Through the Pandemic

Work-Life Integration

Two men and three women smile at the camera as they stand in front of a digital display screenAlisha DeTroye, PA-C (’04) is no stranger to darkness. Her day begins before 5 am so she can participate in a virtual boot camp-style workout before the sun even rises. This is her “me” time. The rest of her morning is filled with getting three kids ready for virtual school before heading to her neuro-oncology clinic to work with patients or to her office where she is Director of Advanced Practice-PAs for the Wake Forest Baptist health system. She occasionally ends the day with WebEx meetings for a few additional roles, including being on the Wake PA faculty and serving as current president of the NC Academy of PAs (NCAPA). She comes home in the evening to spend quality time with her family. 

She refers to this daily juggle of finding balance between being a mother, leader in her field and wife as “work-life integration.” That means when she is driving to work, she’s talking to her mom on the phone, and when she’s taking a remote call from home, her kids get to witness their mother demonstrating strong leadership skills. Serving as the president of NCAPA through a year when the world is experiencing a pandemic, DeTroye has been honing her leadership qualities wearing a wide variety of hats.

Leading the Way

Leading up to her year as president, DeTroye traveled around the state to continue sharing her message.

“My big passion is helping PAs finding leadership wherever they are, so I try to encourage people to lead in their organization, their clinical space, their community or as an educator,” she said. The theme of her year as president has been “Lead the Way.” This ultimate goal, inspiring PAs to find leadership, has not been lost due to the pandemic. It just looks a little different. DeTroye recognizes that being a leader sometimes means being adaptable. Through this new pandemic lens, she is able to continue this advocacy work by highlighting the dedication of PAs on the frontlines and their role as critical healthcare providers.

Adjusting Goals and Leading by Example

A planning calendar full of writing and color-coding lies open on a tableAs the director of advanced practice, DeTroye co-leads an advanced practice provider workforce of 1,000, which includes PAs and advanced practice nurses. When COVID hit, she and her colleagues had to pivot their strategic goals and focus on logistical issues related to the pandemic. Her team played a critical role in advocating on behalf of PA and other APP roles, including frontline COVID inpatient units, respiratory assessment clinics and the transition to virtual health visits.

Many of DeTroye’s peers worked from home during the first few months, but she felt the need to lead by example for the PAs who didn’t have that option, so she continued going into the office. In the beginning of the pandemic, there were minute-by-minute changes being made and it was up to DeTroye to get this information to her team. She made sure communication sources were available by developing weekly communication channels and ensuring the website was consistently updated.

Accolades Then and Now 

A large group of people stand on a stage with a blue background

In 2018, DeTroye spearheaded the effort for Wake Forest Baptist Health to be an inaugural award winner of the American Academy of PAs’ Center for Healthcare Leadership and Management Employer of Excellence. As an advocate for PAs, DeTroye submitted the application on behalf of the institution demonstrating a positive and supportive work environment for PAs with opportunities for them to provide meaningful input leading to positive organizational change, in addition to meeting other criteria. This year, despite the challenges of the pandemic, DeTroye was instrumental in Wake Forest Baptist Health receiving the AAPA CHLM award for a second time.  

Keys to Her Success

Two women and three children wearing beach attire take a selfieDespite the uncertainty in our current world, DeTroye remains resolute. Her secrets to success lie in her organization, consistency, positivity and perseverance. A color-coded family calendar keeps everyone on the same page with activities, expectations and goals. Waking up before her family, DeTroye carves out the necessary time to refocus and find balance. Her ability to shift seamlessly into leading through a pandemic demonstrates perseverance and a deep passion for her work. These core qualities have paved the way for a committed and determined DeTroye to continue her advocacy and leadership work for PAs.