The opportunity to make a profound impact on patients’ lives is what attracted Adrienne DeVault, PA, to the burn unit. While rotating through as a student, she witnessed patients at some of the lowest points in their lives with an unusually long and difficult road back up. But what she didn’t realize was the impact patients would have on her: celebrating their strength and perseverance as they meet important milestones on their road to recovery is nothing short of inspirational.
As Akron Children’s newest physician assistant in our Paul and Carol David Foundation Burn Institute, Adrienne is honored to evaluate patient injuries and provide specialized inpatient care for burn victims of all ages — even adults — from acute care to complete reconstruction and rehabilitation. Her goal is to focus on the patient’s overall well-being, while providing efficient and effective care.
Adrienne fondly recalls celebrating one patient’s milestone in particular: He used the bathroom by himself for the first time after a 2-month hospital stay. He was so thrilled, he called in as many nurses and medical staff he could to relay in great detail his recent accomplishment. It’s moments like this that remind Adrienne the difference she’s making in patients’ lives, one milestone at a time.
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s Hospital?
I rotated with the physician assistants in the burn unit when I was a student and had a great experience. The team collaboration was excellent, and all staff were kind and helpful.
Describe your role at Akron Children’s and what you hope to accomplish.
I am a physician assistant in the inpatient burn unit. I evaluate patients using a systems-based approach and incorporate medical decision making to direct patient care in conjunction with the burn team. My goal is to focus on the overall well-being of my patients, while providing efficient and effective care.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?
The inpatient burn unit is a place people come to at some of the lowest points in their lives. The way back up is long and difficult. When I was there as a student, I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating with patients as they met important milestones on their road to recovery. I knew I would have a profound impact on patients’ lives as a burn unit physician assistant.
What impression do you hope to leave with your patients each day?
I hope to leave the impression that patients are in good hands and that the team genuinely cares about them and their well-being. The road ahead is often long and difficult, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
What’s the best part of your day?
The best part is whenever a patient relearns a skill or expresses gratitude towards me or my team. A simple thank you goes a long way!
What’s the most memorable thing that’s ever happened to you as a provider?
During my rotation here as a student, a patient was able to use the bathroom by himself for the first time after about 2 months in the hospital. It’s something we often take for granted, but he sure didn’t. He called in all the APPs and half the nurses and told us all (in way too much detail) about his recent accomplishment.
How do you deal with the emotional impact of being a provider?
During my morning commute, I get myself into “work mode” and mentally prepare for the day ahead. On my way home, I allow myself to reflect on the day and really feel my emotions. Sometimes a good cry is therapeutic! Once I’m home, I no longer think about work.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a wildlife biologist like my father or a veterinarian. I love animals and I’m a serious tree hugger, but I couldn’t resist the call to medicine.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
I love to read, hike, exercise, and go on adventures with my fiancé, friends and family.
What’s your favorite quote?
“This too shall pass.” The bad times never last, but neither do the good. Hang in there and persevere, but also enjoy the moment and have gratitude.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Pick your battles and spend your emotional energy wisely. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing.
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