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    Navigating dual roles: Physician Assistant and Army Officer

    Navigating dual roles: Physician Assistant and Army Officer

    Courtesy Photo | U.S. Army Capt. Mia Casale, assigned to the 108th Area Support Medical Company, 213th...... read more read more



    Story by 1st Lt. Lindsey Foulk 

    109th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    Serving in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard means soldiers can serve part-time while pursuing other goals outside of their duty periods. That could mean working a full-time job, taking care of home responsibilities, maintaining physical fitness or going back to school to learn something new.

    Capt. Mia Casale, assigned to 108th Area Support Medical Company, 213th Regional Support Group, decided her passion was caring for others. She began her military career eight years ago, first as a cadet in ROTC, then as a Medical Operations Officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, and now as a Physician Assistant.

    "I joined the Guard to be a part of something bigger than myself, to continue the family tradition, to develop myself as a leader and to do my part to serve both the state and the country,” Casale said.

    But she wanted to do more than serve. She wanted to learn a new skill and give back in a big way–by becoming a Physician Assistant.

    Physician Assistants play a critical role in the Guard. From patient care, to emergency medicine, to health promotion and education, to ensuring soldiers are fit and ready to deploy, to acting as an advisor to command teams on the overall health and well-being of the unit.

    Casale attended Physician Assistant school all while serving part time and balancing her home life. Undertaking a rigorous two-year PA program during Guard service demanded unparalleled resilience. Casale credits her unit leadership's understanding and support for helping her maintain balance during clinical rotations and demanding schedules.

    “PA school is very vigorous and fast-paced. You have to learn a large amount of information in a short amount of time," Casale said. “My unit leadership was very understanding and worked with my PA school schedule and drill schedule to make it just a little easier to manage.”

    But that didn’t make it easy at all for Casale.

    “It was a tough balance at times, particularly during my clinical rotations where I caught up on my National Guard work during my lunch breaks and late at night after long days in the clinic and studying,” she said.

    Now excelling as a PA in a busy emergency department, Casale attributes her resilience and adaptability—honed in the Guard—as pivotal in the high-pressure field of emergency medicine.

    “I’m very lucky to work alongside some very talented medics and PAs in the Guard who have taught me many medical skills over the years,” Casale said. “As a newly commissioned officer, it was challenging to learn and be confident in a new role while also leading a platoon in a male dominant field, but it was a lot easier having a great team and great NCOs.”

    While there are plenty of challenges for those who answer the call to serve, there are just as many, if not more, opportunities to learn and grow.

    “Having a positive influence on others, having the experiences I’ve had and meeting people I never would have met if I had never served are all benefits of joining,” Casale said.

    Her advice to other women who are looking to join the Guard is to not miss an opportunity to take on unfamiliar things, as that is how someone learns and grows. For someone who is well-acquainted with trying new things, Casale believes that an attitude to get out of your comfort zone, coupled with a great mentor, can make all the difference.



    Date Taken: 03.01.2024
    Date Posted: 03.02.2024 17:18
    Story ID: 465123

    Web Views: 483
    Downloads: 0