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Online Courses the Right Fit for Paramedic

Sean Doherty

Online Prerequisites Student Profile: Sean Doherty, MPAS ’19

When Sean was accepted to the PA program at the IHP, he was both humbled and grateful for the opportunity to achieve his goal of providing health care for people.  It was his busy work schedule as a paramedic that drove him to take all his science prerequisite courses online here at the MGH Institute. 

“Sometime people look at online courses as easier—these were not, and may have been harder. But that’s’ what its supposed to be – we’re not selling chairs here—we’re dealing with people’s lives, so you need practice in application, and that’s what I got from these courses.”

As he completed his preparation for application to school, Sean recognized that his work experience as a Paramedic helped him build his bedside manner, and learn about delivering health care.  Equally, he recognized that knowledge and skill would be essential to become the kind of clinician that he wanted to be. 

"There’s a book way and there’s a Real Life way it’s going to happen. You need both to be successful; this is where the art of medicine lands: in the combination of book knowledge and practice experience.” 

In Biochemistry ("not my strength") Sean got the support he needed to be successful in the course. As a PA student, he continually recognizes that the basic principles and language of Biology, Microbiology and Biochemistry are helping him keep up with the pace of graduate level study. 

“Pathogens affect every body system, so we study them in every class. I’m sure I will use this information in practice as well.”

The virtual labs he completed in Anatomy and Physiology prepared him with expertise in using virtual resources integrated throughout his study in the PA program.

One of Sean’s most profound learning came in Abnormal Psychology. Even online, the group work emphasized the importance of…
“… language and approach to team members, to patients, and to the medical team; especially in mental health conditions where tone and affect matter.”As he looks forward to practice as a PA, he observes: 

“As a health care provider, you have to be a lifelong learner; you can’t settle, you can’t plateau and get comfortable. You need to be prepared to learn every time something new comes up. The more you learn, it’s only going to help patients in the long run.”

And how does he now describe his goals for his own practice? 

“Any practice in health care requires you to be an artist. The art comes from being fluid, learning from others and pulling out the best possible care for your patient every time.”