Joined USJ: 2015
Heeding the advice of a neighbor changed the course of Carrie Walker’s life. When the adolescent Walker shared her plans to pursue a career in health care, her next-door neighbor—employed at a nearby hospital—replied, “Consider becoming a physician assistant,” a vocation that Walker had never heard of. That good guidance was the impetus to her highly successful career, leading the ambitious and determined teen to ultimately complete an undergraduate degree in Health Sciences, a master’s in Physician Assistant Science, and a second master’s in Emergency Medicine.
After pursuing a clinical practice as a Physician Assistant, while maintaining a full-time teaching load in the field, she assisted the successful development of a Physician Assistant program at Bryant University (Rhode Island), before joining USJ as the founding chair and program director for the Physician Assistant program slated to launch in 2017.
Holistic Approach to Healing
Walker’s expertise in clinical practice and in the classroom forged her heartfelt philosophy about patient care. “I believe in a holistic approach to healing: Treat the whole patient, not just the disease,” she explains. “Working as a PA in the emergency room not only honed my skills, it enabled me to see the feelings, including the fears, of patients. That interpersonal piece must become a focus. It’s the essence of service.”
A Great Fit
With an emphasis on compassionate care, Walker’s approach to health care melded seamlessly with the Mercy tradition that has become an integral part of all teaching and learning at USJ. “Right from the beginning, I felt it was a great fit,” says Walker. “The Mercy ideals of social justice are not just a tag-on. They’re real. I find it very meaningful to help put students into health care who are highly skilled with a commitment to personal integrity and a responsibility to society.”
M.P.A.S., Saint Francis University, Loretto, Pa.
M.S., Alderson Broaddus College, Philippi W.V.
B.S., Saint Francis College, Loretto, Pa.