Clinical Experience

During their second or clinical year, MEDEX physician assistant students have the opportunity to apply and further develop the knowledge and abilities acquired during their first, didactic year. In year two, future MEDEX PAs hone their history taking and physical exam skills while increasing their understanding of diagnosis and treatment under the guidance of an experienced preceptor. They have the opportunity to work with clinicians in family medicine and six specialty areas including emergency medicine, general surgery, behavioral medicine, inpatient wards, underserved and an elective. Students travel throughout the northwest service region and connect with providers— MDs, DOs, PAs and nurse practitioners— working in all aspects of medical care.

Here are some of our students’ clinical year stories, captured in photos, video and their own words.



Sung Lee, Tacoma Class 3

In the Spirit of ‘Ohana, Your Patients Become Your Family

An Army medic and native Hawaiian, Sung Lee of MEDEX Tacoma Class 3 returned to his Honolulu community for his 4-month family medicine preceptorship. He was under the guidance of Dr. Scott Miscovich, a local mover and shaker making an impact in the key areas of homelessness, addiction and provider shortages.

June 28, 2017 / Clinical Experience
Dennis Phrasavath

Moving From Nurse To Provider

After over three years working as a nurse, Dennis Phrasavath is now studying to become a physician assistant with MEDEX Northwest. Now in his clinical year, he’s learning that the transition from nurse to provider requires a different mindset. He’s making health assessments and decisions on behalf of his patients under the watchful eye of his preceptors.

May 16, 2017 / Clinical Experience
Sepideh Makouei

If You Don’t Accept Something, You Have To Speak Out

Jailed in her native Iran for opposition to government policies regarding women, Sepideh Makouei is on her way to becoming a physician assistant in the US. While in the MEDEX program Sepideh is making use of all her life experience to claim her place as a future practitioner with skill, empathy and cultural competence.

March 7, 2017 / Clinical Experience
Frantz Alphonse

An Immigrant’s Path

Along with his family, Frantz Alphonse came to the US at age seven as an immigrant refugee from Haiti. This singular experience has imbued him with a strong sense of empathy for the disadvantaged and underserved. That, along with eight years as a US Navy hospital corpsman, makes Frantz a perfect MEDEX mission fit.

January 31, 2017 / Clinical Experience
Frank Boyd

Coming Out The Other End, Surviving and Thriving

Eleven years as an ICU nurse have made Frank Boyd highly aware of the shortcomings of US healthcare systems. He’s an advocate for patient education as a means to interrupt the cycle of patient readmissions. Now in his clinical year as student in the MEDEX Northwest physician assistant training program, Frank is hopeful of applying empathy and active listening to achieve positive patient outcomes.

December 13, 2016 / Clinical Experience
Sam Harmon

Something That Truly Sings To Me

With a strong background in women’s health, EMT and the Peace Corps, MEDEX clinical year student Sam Harmon finds that the path to becoming a physician assistant suits her non-linear personality just fine. She has a passion for working with the underserved, making her a MEDEX Northwest mission fit. We visit with Sam during her family medicine preceptorship in rural Smokey Point, WA under Dr. Linda Vorvick.

November 22, 2016 / Clinical Experience
Arash Mirzaie, PA-C

Unique Challenges in Urgent Care Medicine

Patients who present to urgent care are likely unknown to the medical staff, and often bring cultural beliefs and ethical values that differ from those of the provider. MEDEX alumni Arash Mirzaie details one such an encounter, and how he referenced his own immigrant background to achieve a patient-centered shared decision-making process of care.

August 23, 2016 / Clinical Experience
Ryan Jones MEDEX Spokane Class 18

Now It’s My Job to Figure Out the Problem

Initially a firefighter for the US Forest Service, Ryan Jones then worked as a Paramedic on the Southern Oregon Coast. But the long hours, low compensation and hand-off to other medical providers were negative factors, motivating Ryan to take steps towards the physician assistant profession and MEDEX Northwest. Now Ryan is engaged with the patient end-to-end, from intake to diagnosis and treatment.

August 16, 2016 / Clinical Experience
Tracey Hopper

The Mission Statement I Was Looking For

Tracey Hopper’s path to becoming a physician assistant was driven by the need to provide higher-level medical services to her small rural community. Now finishing up her clinical year at a longstanding clinic situated in an Eastern Washington college community, Tracey finds that her earlier experiences in emergency medicine gives her the flexibility required to grow and meet the challenges of her new profession.

August 9, 2016 / Clinical Experience
Sarah Kopke

A Year Of Confidence Breaking, Then Making

After a year of classroom study, Sarah Kopke discovers how little she actually knows when working with patients. Closing in on her graduation from MEDEX Spokane Class 18, Sarah speaks eloquently about the ego-breaking aspects of physician assistant education during the clinical year. But from this comes new growth and refined skills. Sarah has the makings of an outstanding PA committed to lifelong learning.

August 2, 2016 / Clinical Experience
Tucker Larsen

Like Painting A Fence, You Can’t Help But Get A Little Bit On You

Tucker Larsen came to MEDEX Spokane Class 18 from a social worker background, specifically in community mental health advocating for the homeless. Frustrated by the limits of what he could provide to this population, Tucker saw his entry into the physician assistant profession as a way to expand his ability to deliver services. Now just weeks away from graduating, he reflects on the education and life path that brought him here.

July 19, 2016 / Clinical Experience
Kira Sandon

Healthcare From The Heart

Kira Sandon is spending her MEDEX family practice preceptorship tending to the homeless of Coeur d’Alene, ID. Alongside her preceptor, TJ Byrne, PA-C, she’s working out of a mobile unit, taking care of the basic needs of this often-marginalized population. She’s learning medicine, of course, along with patience and empathy.

June 28, 2016 / Clinical Experience
Ismail Jatta

A Lifetime Spent In Learning Patience

Out of his own childhood injuries and ongoing medical issues, Ismail Jatta of Gambia cultivated a patience that has served him well as a caregiver and throughout his physician assistant training at MEDEX Northwest. Now close to graduation, Ismail reflects on his unique path—both past and what lies ahead.

June 7, 2016 / Clinical Experience
Celeste Richardson

Seeking A Broader Scope Of Practice

The path to PA school is not always a straight line. Celeste Richardson considered a master’s in genetic counseling early in her academic life. Then foreign travel, marriage and raising a family took center stage. After 17 years working with geriatric populations as a massage therapist, she’s in physician assistant school, enjoying her family medicine preceptorship at a Portland-based clinic addressing the needs of the underserved.

March 1, 2016 / Clinical Experience
Anthony Gordon

Finding Oneself While in the Service of Others

Undeterred by the significant challenges of his youth, Anthony Gordon discovered his love of medicine early in life. From sports medicine in high school then 13 years as an EMT for a Kitsap County ambulance service, Anthony is finding fulfillment in patient care during his family medicine preceptorship at a small Mason County clinic.

February 9, 2016 / Clinical Experience
Gevin Parker

Getting Really Good
at Many Things

With 24 years in the US Army under his belt—14 as a medic—Gevin Parker is precepting under the MD director of a Residency Program. At Providence St. Peter he takes turns shadowing his preceptor, third year residents, DOs and NPs. All this presents a rigorous learning environment and a challenge to his paramedic and Army medic roots.

January 22, 2016 / Clinical Experience
Nicole Jakeman

From EMS
to Continuity of Care

As she steps back from the adrenaline mode required by an earlier career in Emergency Medicine Services, Nicole Jakeman is enjoying the luxury of continued patient care that comes with her family practice preceptorship in a small South Sound clinic. With a second career as a Licensed Massage Therapist, Nicole discovers that her preceptor and patients alike are open to other natural types of intervention.

January 19, 2016 / Clinical Experience
Simon Mendoza

The Dream Becomes Real

Simon Mendoza – MEDEX Seattle Class 48

Simon Mendoza became the first DACA student accepted to a UW Medicine graduate program. During his family medicine preceptorship with the MEDEX Northwest physician assistant program, Simon is putting his new skills to use in the migrant farmworkers’ community of Othello, WA.

January 6, 2016 / Clinical Experience
Joshua Lumsden

Modeling Respect for Those in Need

After over 10 years of working with developmentally disabled adults, Joshua Lumsden is embarking on a new career as a physician assistant. During his family medicine preceptorship in a small Eastern Washington agricultural community, Joshua puts his Spanish language skills to use along with his finely tuned advocacy skills for the underserved.

December 20, 2015 / Clinical Experience
Corey Rubinfeld

At Home in a Small Community

Cory Rubinfeld’s athleticism led him from ski runs to Wilderness First Responder and EMT. Now, studying to become a physician assistant, he’s fulfilling his family medicine preceptorship in his hometown of Leavenworth, WA under the guidance of an old friend and former colleague of the local area ski patrol.

December 14, 2015 / Clinical Experience