Awards and recognitions are meaningful on their own, but when you are the first recipient of an award or recognition in your field, it provides an enhanced sense of accomplishment. USACS clinician Cherry Lee, PA-C, was recently named Adventist Healthcare White Oak Medical Center’s first APP recipient of the R.I.S.E.S (Respect, Integrity, Service, Excellence, Stewardship) Award. Prior to this year the award has solely been given to physicians.
“I am truly honored to be the first APP recipient of this long-standing award,” said Ms. Lee. “I’m still in shock that out of all the wonderful APPs here at White Oak my colleagues nominated me. I love being a PA and see it as a privilege to serve my community.”
Ms. Lee’s journey to becoming a physician assistant (PA) began with a desire to care for others. During high school, she was required to complete volunteer hours in order to graduate, and elected to serve as a candy striper at her local hospital in Montgomery County, Maryland. This experience sparked her interest in the medical field and as she began considering her options, a friend shared about her experience in a PA program. Ms. Lee took an immediate interest and elected to pursue the path of becoming a PA.
Since starting at White Oak in 2015, Ms. Lee has found great fulfillment working in the inpatient medicine setting.
“Inpatient medicine provides me with the opportunity to apply all of the knowledge I acquired during my studies and put it into practice,” said Ms. Lee. “It’s rewarding to help patients work through several diagnoses and experience a positive change in their health during their time in our facility.”
Contributing to a quality patient experience is a great motivator for Ms. Lee. As with any health-related concerns, it can be intimidating and overwhelming for patients to enter a medical facility seeking care. Ms. Lee elects to view her role through a different lens to better understand and care for her patients.
“One of the things I think helps me stay grounded and work as a team player is reminding myself how it feels to be in the patient’s shoes,” said Ms. Lee. “I treat them how I would want to be treated no matter how busy it gets.”
Ms. Lee was nominated for the R.I.S.E.S Award for this exact reason. One of the nominations written by a colleague stated: “Cherry ensures she covers the patient floor at night, regardless of how busy she is. Then she will round back to the floor later to make sure patients are doing well.”
Another nomination stated: “When communicating with staff, patients, and family members, Cherry is always respectful.”
The R.I.S.E.S Award encompasses several characteristics that define an outstanding clinician. It is evident Ms. Lee holds herself to a high standard of delivering quality patient care as she goes the extra mile to help her patients and her team, making her a well-deserving recipient of this award.
Currently, Ms. Lee is participating in the USACS Scholars program which provides clinicians with the tools and guidance to either become a leader or refine their leadership skills. So far, she has enjoyed the program and feels that her communication skills have been sharpened which has allowed her to overcome obstacles at work more efficiently.
As she looks forward to continuing her career as a PA at White Oak with hopes of a leadership opportunity in the future, Ms. Lee is excited to see several of her colleagues join her as recipients of the R.I.S.E.S Award.
“There are many deserving APPs here at White Oak, so I am encouraged knowing they will have the opportunity to receive this award in the future as well. I hope this is just the beginning of what will be several awards to acknowledge the great work of our APPs!”