Insights, Volume 9: Fall 2013

Page 16

Pearls of Wisdom A clinical preceptor for the Physician Assistant program, Catherine Trader, DO, teaches students about following their instincts and the importance of listening to their patients. By Karyn D. Collins

A highly respected preceptor for graduate students in the M.S. in Physician Assistant (PA) program, Catherine Trader ’82, DO, still has vivid memories of some of the lessons she learned during her own student days in medical school. “There are so many of what I call ‘pearls’ that I received from the doctors I worked with, things that weren’t in a book: the importance of following your gut, or reminders about the importance of listening — really listening — to a patient,” says Trader, who received a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree in 1990 and has had her own practice for more than 10 years. Trader acknowledges that her experiences working alongside veteran physicians is why she decided to partner with the SHMS PA program, in which graduate students work with her at her office in Andover, 14

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New Jersey, as part of their clinical education experience. “I try to pass on what I learned as much as I can,” Trader notes. “People were kind enough to teach me, and the way I look at it, each one of those doctors was taught by another group of physicians.” SHMS’ PA students praise Trader, who received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Seton Hall in 1982, and her teaching philosophy. “Dr. Trader is always teaching. She teaches the PA students, the nurses, the staff and the patients. She knows to give an in-depth, pathophysiological explanation to the PA students, but she is also able to simplify it for the patients,” says Theresa DiFabrizio, a third-year PA student who trained with Trader in the summer. Now in her third year as a preceptor for the SHMS PA program, Trader says she understands why some healthcare professionals are

Dr. Catherine Trader (top) and Physician Assistant graduate student Theresa DiFabrizio (above)

reluctant to volunteer because working with students can require additional time, which is at a premium when running a busy practice. However, Trader says that, in her experience, there have been only benefits, both for her and for her patients. “I am busy and seeing a lot of patients. I’ve found that the PA students really can help me with things. They can take more time doing histories and some exams,” she explains. “That benefits the patients, too, because they’re not waiting as long to be seen. It’s good for everyone involved.”

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