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Spotlight: Robert CitKovic PA ’12

  • From emergency rooms to research institutions, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) alumni are making their mark in the healthcare industry and positively impacting their communities.

    Robert S. CitKovic, PA-C, is a 2012 graduate of the Physician Assistant Studies program at MCPHS–Worcester. The accelerated program enabled him to become a PA in less than two years and jump start a new and meaningful career.

    He combines the foundation in excellence he gained at MCPHS with a passion for providing excellent patient care in his current role as a Physician Assistant in an emergency room. For Rob, the ability to utilize teamwork and collaboration in a fast-paced environment to help those in need is what makes his career so worthwhile.

    In this Alumni Spotlight, Rob shares why he loves being a PA in an emergency room, some of his fondest memories from his time at MCPHS–Worcester, and his advice for those considering a career in healthcare.

    Thanks for chatting with us, Rob! Tell us a little about your career.

    I am an Emergency Room PA. I work for a hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado. I have been in the position for two and a half years now. I see patients along with the MD on for the day. As I have been there for a little while, I have earned their respect and will normally see patients solo, though if I ever have any questions they are right there to help. The hospital recently added labor and delivery and an oncology department, so we get to see patients with many different complaints.

    What does a typical day look like in your role?

    I work from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The hours can be long, but by working longer days I wind up only working ten days a month. I will usually see between 20 and 30 patients per day.

    What is your favorite part about being an emergency room PA?

    My favorite part of being in the ER is helping others when they are in need. When the true emergent patient arrives, being part of the team that quickly and efficiently stabilizes and treats those in dire straights is something to behold. I love the sense of teamwork and camaraderie.

    Why did you choose MCPHS–Worcester?

    I chose MCPHS because of its reputation, location, and technology. I really wanted a school in the northeast as well.

    What set the PA program at MCPHSWorcester apart from other PA programs you were considering?

    The accelerated program appealed to me because I really wanted to become a PA and get moving on my career. This was a second career for me, so I was a little older than a lot of other students. I really wanted to take classes in the summer, instead of having it off. MCPHS allowed me to become a PA in just under two years.

    Can you describe the PA program?

    The PA program is an intense program that pushes you for the full two years, but in very different ways. The first year is all classroom, and showcases the rigors of academia, with many classes and oftentimes, tests on back-to-back days – not to mention final exam weeks at the end of each semester. The clinical year is a very different type of pressure. You are meeting a whole new group of people in a different area of medicine every six weeks. Better impress them quickly!

    What type of student thrives in the PA program?

    A disciplined and internally motivated student does well in this program. Realize the goal in front of you and work to attain it and you will be rewarded.

    What was your favorite course you took at MCPHS?

    My favorite course was pharmacology. It’s also the one I struggled with the most. The professor worked with me a lot, emailing me, and sometimes meeting with me one-on-one to go over tests. He really cared about my education and took extra time to help me.

    Why was the hands-on lab experience you gained at MCPHS–Worcester so important?

    The lab is where you first learn to perform an examination – it is the foundation of our work and where all else springs from. The more realistic the surroundings, the better off you will be.

    Tell us about the clinical experiences you completed during your time at MCPHS–Worcester. How did your clinicals help prepare you for your role as an emergency room PA?

    The two clinicals that stood out the most for me were my ER rotation in Keene, New Hampshire and my gen med rotation with Dr. Heidi Foley. Both rotations allowed me to see patients and report back findings as I discovered them –Instant feedback on the accuracy of their exam. Dr. Foley went above and beyond for me as well, allowing me to finish part of another rotation there. She is still fondly remembered.

    Tell us about what it means to be an alum of MCPHS.

    Being an MCPHS alum means that you are part of a special group. MCPHS is a very well respected university. I am still good friends with many of my classmates – including one that I am married to! We all get together often and stay a part of each other’s lives. It’s a second family.

    MCPHS–Worcester is such a vibrant campus in a dynamic city. What is your favorite part of Worcester, MA?

    I loved Moore Park. It’s a nice place to go study when the weather is nice.

    What was your favorite place to grab a bite to eat in Worcester?

    Pizza at The Corner Grill and breakfast at Eric‘s La Pattiserie were my favorites.

    What is your favorite spot on the Worcester campus?

    My favorite part of campus is the 9th floor at Lincoln. You could see a good part of the city from up there. A nice place to study as well.

    Finally, what is your advice for those who are considering a healthcare education?

    Work hard, get good grades, and be well rounded by being involved in extracurricular activities. If you can obtain patient contact hours, do it! You’ll learn lessons that will pay off later. Much of healthcare involves interacting with people. The more you do it, the better you will get at it.

    Want to learn more about our PA alums? Check out our interview with Michelle Higgins, PA-C, a 2012 graduate of our Physician Assistant Studies program on our Boston campus, who was recently featured on ABC’s “Save My Life: Boston Trauma”.