Member Spotlight - June 2020
Monday, June 22, 2020
Posted by: Blake Manz
Jackie Oraedu is in Occupational Medicine/urgent care with over 9 years of experience. She graduated from Marquette University in 2011. Aside from assisting on the WAPA communications committee, she is an author, public speaker, and outspoken advocate for legislative advocacy for PAs in America.
What led you to the PA profession?
I previously worked as a nurse and wanted to know the “why” of what I was doing. I learned about the profession while working in the ER. I was deciding between becoming a CRNA, going to medical school, and becoming a PA. The work-life balance expressed by the many PAs I asked is what sold me on the profession.
What are your interests outside of work?
Being a mom, traveling, writing, pageants, and I’m a social media junkie, follow me on IG @_iamjackie, there you will find my e-book “You Finished PA School! Now what? A handbook for life after PA school.”
What do you think is the biggest issue our profession is facing right now?
I feel that having FPA or OTP in every state in this country is necessary. The supervisory requirements of some states can affect our employability. I also feel increased public awareness is necessary for the survival of our profession. I know that is two things, but I feel they work hand-in-hand. We lack advocacy power when people outside of our profession do not know to support us. I still get asked if I am going on to become a physician by patients, which tells me we have to do better at promoting our profession.
As a Black PA, what would you like to share about how you are affected by current events?
I have never been as emotionally drained. I have been stressed, anxious, forgetful, sad, feeling hopeless, and tired of Black death at the hands of law enforcement and racists. It is challenging to express myself to my white peers and not come across as complaining about something that is not “a big deal.” Many do not understand how the repeated trauma of seeing people from your community killed can affect you. Especially when it seems no place is safe. I feel like I or any of my loved ones could be obeying the law or walking through a neighborhood and be targeted/killed just because of their skin color. The current events reopen the wounds of past events that I had to suffer through alone. This time, more people are speaking up, more people are being allies, and this is what we need.
WAPA has recently learned that you have spoken to PA students about racial and cultural sensitivity in medicine. In fact, one PA recently said that your lecture was one of her most memorable during her entire education. How does that make you feel?
Honestly, it brings my heart joy. I do things and wonder, what will last. It means the world to know that being open, transparent, and willing to educate impacts others and the type of care they provide.
You recently wrote an excellent post in the AAPA Huddle about racism and what we can do to effect change. You also recently agreed to participate in a virtual town hall along with other PAs of color which will take place next month. Tell us what we can expect to learn.
I hope people learn that our country was founded on great principal in theory, but that racism has been a tool utilized in the building of this country. I hope people learn that systematic racism is not something that a group just gets over, especially if that group is still being disenfranchised. I hope people learn to check their biases, like truly check them and learn what it takes to be anti-racist.
Is there anything else you wish to add to your story or say to membership?
I strongly encourage membership on the state and national level. If you want change, you have to do the work where it actually gets done. Being silent on the sidelines or simply complaining does not change an