Leading the Way | Ryan O’Hara, PA-C
North Carolina PAs dedicated to patient health while leading the way for the profession.
Ryan O’Hara, PA-C, is a native of North Carolina. He was born in Asheboro, NC, and still resides there today. Ryan attended undergrad at UNC Chapel Hill, where he received a BA in Exercise and Sports Science with a minor in coaching education. He graduated from UNC in 2016 and then went on to attend the Wake Forest School of Medicine’s PA Studies program where he graduated in 2018. Since graduation, he has worked in the High Point Medical Center Emergency Department.
Ryan was a student member of NCAPA and has been a Fellow member since beginning PA practice. Being involved in PA advocacy, particularly at the state level, was important to him and Ryan knew that if he wanted to continue to advance the PA profession in North Carolina, he needed to get involved and support NCAPA. He believes that “so many decisions about NC PAs are made at the state level. We, as PAs, need to support our profession in NC so that NC can continue to be an excellent place for PAs to practice. Whether that support be monetarily or by getting involved in the organization, or both, it is essential to support PAs at the state level.”
We asked Ryan what he loves most about being a PA: “The ability to change specialties and the broad education that we get is what drew me to the PA profession. While COVID-19 did not affect my job responsibilities, many of my PA school colleagues changed specialties. For example, a PA school friend of mine went from a general surgery PA to an IR PA when COVID hit. She was placing central, arterial lines, etc. (and) was able to change professions without a hitch. Our training at Wake Forest was broad, and we learned how to adapt our patient care to help as many patients as we could. The PA profession was made for situations like the COVID-19 pandemic. To go where the help is needed and to improve patient care in all aspects. The versatility was the major draw to this profession.”
Growing and strengthening the PA profession is something Ryan feels passionate about. Since graduation, he “felt like (he) needed to get involved and begin giving back to the profession.” Besides maintaining his NCAPA membership, Ryan is involved in a variety of direct ways to support the PA profession. He is a current member of the NCAPA membership and marketing committee and served on a panel of recent graduates at the 2019 Student Leadership Retreat. Ryan also serves as a member of the student mentor committee in the Piedmont Association of PAs (PAPA) and is currently the lead preceptor for Wake Forest and High Point PA programs. He hopes to “continue advancing the PA profession as it comes to rights, privileges, and improved relationships with other medical organizations,” and to help in spreading the word about PAs and the profession so everyone understands that PAs “are capable providers that work within a team to improve patient care.”
Ryan was recently promoted to lead APP with his ED group at High Point Medical Center. He also works as an adjunct professor at the High Point PA program and is currently obtaining his Doctor of Medical Science Degree at AT Still University with plans for graduation in December of 2021.
The PA profession in North Carolina is strengthened by your dedication and commitment, Ryan. Thank you for helping lead the way!
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