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Nicole Velez Perrone G'23

Within each of our students is an inspirational story of perseverance and strength, and we are honored to share them with our Bay Path community. This narrative originally appeared as part of Bay Path's #MyPath on social media.

"For the longest time in my childhood, I wanted to be an equine veterinarian. Growing up in the Horse Capital of the world and having a great interest in surgery, it seemed quite fitting. However, after shadowing different PAs, I became enamored with the PA profession and how their role not only increased access to healthcare in my hometown but was one of versatility and collaboration.

I arrived at Bay Path in June of 2021, and I am a first-year PA student. My primary purpose in becoming a PA is to improve health equity and increase affordable and meaningful healthcare access. After speaking with Bay Path PA alumni prior to being accepted, I found the program to have a great appreciation for reducing healthcare disparities by incorporating it into teachings within the classroom and encouraging extracurricular community outreach. It was always an utmost priority to attend a program that creates an inclusive medical education curriculum, and Bay Path University does exactly that.

I completed my clinical hours in my hometown of Ocala, Florida. I worked as a medical assistant and scribe in Dermatology and Ophthalmology. The pandemic took a toll on the number of patients I saw as both specialties' primary patient demographics were that of the geriatric population. Only Mohs micrographic surgeries and skin cancer excisions were performed, and preventative care suffered greatly. Since we were seeing less patients, I had the opportunity to develop more significant connections with them. Patients were more vulnerable, sharing their fears and expressing their sorrows of missing their family. During surgeries, I heard so many inspiring life stories and had the opportunity to learn about many patient’s walks of life.

I have always had a great desire to improve health outcomes and address social determinants within underrepresented communities. As a Bay Path student, I have learned more about cultural awareness and the health disparities that affect minorities and socioeconomically disadvantaged patients. I just recently learned about the sector of Trans health care, specifically regarding gender identity and how to be respectful and inclusive of all patients.

The most extraordinary yet most unexpected thing about attending Bay Path is the overwhelming support I feel from my cohort. We all have different backgrounds and experiences that enrich the diversity of the class. Some of the most inspiring and hardworking individuals I have ever met sit in the seats next to me. My journey to PA school would not be possible without the support of my family and friends. Ever since I was a young girl, my mother and father would inspire me to reach great heights. They always reminded me that I could, and I will accomplish anything with resilience. Anyone who knows me knows that I live life by the mantra “in a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

Through my time at Bay Path, I have learned that it is my future patients that motivate me to study and work hard. There is nothing more encouraging than knowing all the sacrifice I am making is to help save lives and improve community health. Even if I only were to save one life, that one life I saved will positively influence the lives of their family and friends, indeed impacting generations to come." - Nicole Velez Perrone G'23, MS in Physician Assistant Studies program #MyPath 

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