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    I am Navy Medicine: Lt. Megan Challacombe, Navy Physician Assistant

    I am Navy Medicine: Lt. Megan Challacombe, Navy Physician Assistant

    Photo By Douglas Stutz | Lt. Megan Challacombe, Navy Medical Service Corps (MSC) officer, stationed at Naval...... read more read more



    Story by Douglas Stutz 

    Naval Hospital Bremerton

    “I am a Navy Medical Service Corps (MSC) officer, stationed at Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) as a physician assistant assigned to Branch Health Clinic (BHC) Everett.

    Challacombe, a Saylorsburg, Pa. native and Stroudsburg High School 2005 graduate, attended Misericordia and received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in chemistry and English, graduating in 2009, followed by graduating in 2012 with the King’s College Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies.

    For Challacombe, becoming part of Navy Medicine is continuing her family heritage of serving in the military and wearing the cloth of her nation.

    “My father was in the Marines and I always knew that I wanted to join the military as well. When I got accepted to Physician Assistant (PA) school I knew that it was the right time to join the Navy. Navy Medicine takes care of the Marines so it was no question I chose to join the Navy. I applied and got the Navy Health Professions Scholarship Program Scholarship for PA school,” said Challacombe.

    Challacombe is the primary care physician assistant for BHC Everett and oversees the day-to-day function of the clinic’s Readiness Division, along with handing such overlapping responsibilities as taking care of the performance measure tool Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set, immunizations, physical exams, health promotions, and individual medical readiness and periodic health assessments for active duty personnel.

    “A PA is a vital part of Navy Medicine. We can be stationed or augmented to several different facets of military medicine. We are attached to clinics, military treatment facilities, surgical teams, and as individual augmentees. PAs are so versatile. We are primary care providers for active duty, retirees, and their beneficiaries, specialize in one of the Duty Under Instruction education and training programs, or attached to a ship. There are so many different opportunities to practice medicine as a PA within the military,” explained Challacombe, noting that the decision to become a PA was the culmination of a decision made much earlier in her childhood.

    “I always knew I wanted to work in medicine since a young age. Lost a close family member to cancer and that sparked my passion for medicine. Every opportunity to volunteer or work in medicine I did throughout high school and college. In my undergrad I shadowed a PA in a dermatology office for a summer job shadowing opportunity and I fell in love with the profession,” related Challacombe.

    Navy Medicine has taken Challacombe to ship as well as shore locales. She has been stationed at Naval Health Clinic Hawaii, and deployed for nine months ‘down range,’ where she worked out of Tarin Kowt and Shindand, Afghanistan, as part of a Role II Forward Surgical Team filling the primary role as a trauma team lead and surgical first assistant, along with providing primary care services. She has also assigned to the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). She counts her most memorable experience – so far – to being ‘haze grey underway’ on the Truman.

    “Being a part of a carrier is an amazing experience. You practice within primary care, emergency medicine, and surgical medicine. Your job is to keep the crew healthy to support the greater mission. Responding to medical emergencies around the ship is a fast pace evolution that requires quick medical judgement and a team approach on how to safely get the patient to medical as the primary mission continues. It was an amazing opportunity on how to practice medicine,” Challacombe said.

    And the best part of her career in Navy Medicine?

    “Being able to take care of the military population and their families and practice in several different facets of medicine that I would not have had the opportunity to do in the civilian side,” added Challacombe.

    Perhaps the biggest impact that Challacombe has made is helping to contribute to the renewed emphasis on readiness called for by Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

    “As a PA in the primary care role my job is to keep service members healthy and ready to deploy at any notice which I am doing on a day to day basis. As the Readiness Division officer our division's primary role is to track readiness and assure service members are fully medical ready. We are tracking, contacting, seeing patients, and updating profile to assure we are keeping a fully ready force,” Challacombe said.

    When asked to sum up her experience with Navy Medicine in one sentence, Challacombe replied, “The opportunity to practice medicine within the Navy is a privilege and the ability to care for this population is an absolute honor. Also would like to take an opportunity to thank my husband for all of his support. A lot of what I do could not be done without the support of family.”



    Date Taken: 11.01.2019
    Date Posted: 11.04.2019 12:00
    Story ID: 350384
    Location: EVERETT, WA, US 

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