Hometown: Tinton Falls, NJ
Undergraduate: Monmouth University
Tell us a little about your background before you came to Drexel.
My name is Kristen Nugent and I am from Tinton Falls, NJ. Prior to coming to Drexel University, I completed my undergraduate degree at Monmouth University majoring in health studies. During that time, I was pursuing a career in physical therapy. It wasn’t until my last semester of college when I realized this path was not for me anymore. After graduating in spring 2020, I accepted a medical scribe position at a university hospital where I worked alongside clinicians in the emergency department. The more I worked, the more intrigued I was with the role of physician assistants. I knew this was the role I wanted to have in health care.
Why did you decide to enroll in a post-baccalaureate program? And why did you feel the Evening Pre-Medical Program (PMED) was a good fit for you?
I chose Drexel University’s hybrid Evening Pre-Medical program as it is designed for students who want to pursue a career in health professions and be able to maintain any current work positions. Being only an hour away from Center City and only having to go on campus once a week fit within my schedule. I love working as a medical scribe in the emergency department and by choosing Drexel, it allowed me to maintain my work schedule and complete prerequisite coursework to apply to physician assistant school.
Since graduating from the PMED program, what did you do to continue building your physician assistant school application?
I furthered my studies at a local university to complete two more prerequisites for physician assistant school. While completing coursework and still working as a medical scribe, I also shadow an orthopedic surgeon and orthopedic surgery physician assistant once a week at a nearby surgery center. Although my passion is to work in emergency medicine, being able to shadow different specialties has allowed me to deepen my knowledge on the role of physician assistants and what the field of medicine has to offer.
What has allowed you to achieve your current accomplishments?
My confidence and determination have truly allowed me to achieve all my accomplishments. After finishing my undergraduate degree in 2020, I took a big step in going back to school to further my education in medicine. I knew I wanted to be a physician assistant and would take on any additional steps it took to be able to apply, even if it meant going back to school. By working alongside the clinicians in the emergency department, I have made so many connections along the way. All the connections I’ve made have opened so many different opportunities for me to work hard and build my confidence.
What advice would you give to current and future PMED students?
My best advice to current and future PMED students is to keep going, stay focused, and don’t give up. Completing this coursework is not a simple task but when things get stressful, always remember why you started. There were many nights I stayed up studying to achieve perfect scores on exams that built a lot of pressure. What helped me stay on top of my coursework was staying organized and determined. Also being able to manage my stress increased my drive and allowed me to work harder.
What are your next steps?
After completing the PMED Program in December 2022, I am now applying to physician assistant school. Completing this program as allowed me to complete the prerequisites I needed to be able to apply and further my studies in the field of medicine.