Graduate Spotlight: Priscilla Yost

Priscilla Yost

Hometown: Miami

Undergraduate College: University of West Florida

Major: Biology

What and/or who inspired you to go to PA school, and how so?

It was not someone from the medical field, but rather my empathetic and caring mother, a teacher. Observing her compassion toward family, friends and those in need, including her students, instilled in me the importance of helping others. Volunteering at a clinic for an underserved community and supporting an organization aiding women and children exposed me to the PA profession, prompting my decision to embark on a career that aligns with my interests and allows me to assist those in need.

What did you learn about yourself during your time in PA school that surprised you?

Looking back on my experiences in PA school, I am reminded of Bill Gates' quote, "It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure." My journey through PA school was anything but ordinary; I faced challenges, made errors, and stumbled, yet I persisted with each setback. Through these failures, I gained valuable lessons about my capabilities, resilience, and adaptability. The highs and lows have deepened my appreciation for successfully navigating PA school. In essence, I think the experience of encountering setbacks, learning from them, and progressing will persist as I practice, enabling me to excel as a dedicated PA for my patients.

What course and/or professor had the greatest impact on your PA education?

The most impactful course for me was the gross anatomy cadaver lab. This hands-on experience not only deepened my understanding of the human body, benefiting my rotations, but also emphasized the significance of teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills. Above all, it fostered a profound sense of respect, empathy, and appreciation for the individuals who generously donated their bodies for educational purposes.

In what setting and specialty are you planning to launch your PA career?

My intention is to work in family medicine. Despite the challenges that may arise as a new graduate, I see this path as highly advantageous. It provides an opportunity to apply and consolidate the knowledge gained in school, engage meaningfully with patients, and establish a strong professional foundation.

Given the rigors and stressors of PA education, what diversion did you lean on to get you through?

I relied on my support system, including my husband, pets, family and friends. Recognizing the importance of self-care alongside studying, I incorporated activities like walks, exercise and other self-care to maintain balance.

Benjamin Smith, associate dean of the College of Medicine and director of the School of Physician Assistant Practice, said, “Priscilla has been diligent and persevered as a student. Her growth becoming a PA is admirable. These characteristics will complement her service as a PA.”