As I sit in my makeshift-turned-full-time home office waiting for the next video meeting to begin, I find myself wondering (and worrying) about what the next phase of the pandemic will bring. The past two years have been rife with unexpected changes. The past two years have also been riddled with unfortunate loss of life, illness, political strife, bright illumination of racial disparities, long Covid, Delta, full ICUs, financial worries and many other challenges to which we have either endured or succumbed. It feels like a dire sink-or-swim situation and we’re all trying to tread water in 12-foot waves.

A family group of a mom, dad, three young children and a black-and-white dog sit on the edge of a large fountain and smile at the cameraWhat I have had the privilege to witness firsthand, however, has been awe-inspiring. The resiliency and patience exhibited by my coworkers and the Wake PA students since I started in 2019 is unparalleled. Being a PA student already requires an incredible amount of tenacity and compassion. Being a PA student in the midst of a global pandemic requires these attributes tenfold. Throughout the myriad curveballs thrown to the staff, faculty, and students, I observed adaptability, creativity, persistence and determination. 

Shift, adapt

When we are telling the next generation of learners the many stories from this time, I will recall with great clarity the classes of 2021, ’22, and now ’23. Shifting their expectations, adapting to new protocol and thriving throughout. The grit and grace exhibited by these classes has personally motivated me, so that on days when my worries become paralyzing, I think about what it means to be a student in our program, where I have the privilege to work (Wake PA!), who our work impacts (future providers and their patients) and I can easily find the necessary motivation to shift, adapt and keep on swimming.

Tara Wommack

IWPA Magazine Editor
Department of PA Studies Project Manager