Hailey Shaull

Hailey Schaull

Share your educational background, including degree(s), institution(s), undergraduate major and graduation year(s). 
Northwestern College, IA (2015-2017); transferred to UMN--Twin Cities (2017-2019) and earned a BA in psychology; Bethel University Physician Assistant Program (2019-2021) and earned a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

Tell us about your work. This may include job title or organization, projects you're involved in, populations with whom you work, etc.
I am a newly graduated physician assistant (PA). "PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medication, and often serve as a patient's principal health care provider. With thousands of hours of medical training, PAs are versatile and collaborative. PAs practice in every state and in every medical setting and specialty, improving healthcare access and quality" (aapa.org). I will be starting my first position as a PA at a behavioral health clinic where I will see outpatient psychiatric patients. I will have the opportunity to diagnose and manage mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, schizophrenia, and so much more.

What led you to this profession? Tell us about your path. 
I chose to become a PA because the profession allows me to treat patients as a medical provider with a fraction of the schooling required of medical doctors and much more versatility. 

My journey of becoming a PA may have been different than most. I started college at a small private school in Iowa, got married, transferred to the University of Minnesota, worked full time as a mental health patient care technician, had a baby, and then started PA school 2 weeks after graduating from the U. It was a rocky path, but I would not change a thing.

What is your advice for current CLA students interested in a healthcare career? 
In my experience, people seem hesitant to obtain a BA versus a BS when pursuing a medical career. I believe my "BA in psychology" stood out among the countless "BS in biology" degrees in the applicant pool for PA school. My CLA education prepared me well for PA school and I would recommend the same route to anyone. 

What makes your story unique?
I think my daughter makes my story unique. Before she was even born, she sat with me through classes like Introduction to Personality and Biochemistry. As an infant, she slept on my chest while I completed my senior research thesis. As a three-year-old, she clapped and cheered as I walked across the stage to receive my white coat as a PA. She gave me motivation to finish my degree and to pursue my dream because I wanted to be an example to her that women can do anything. Becoming a mom doesn't mean you have to choose between motherhood and your professional goals. I wanted to show her that I could do both. I wanted to show her that she can do both--that she can do anything.

Did anyone encourage or discourage you from pursuing your goals? How did you overcome that obstacle?
With my best interest at heart, my CLA advisor encouraged me to take time off school when I told her I was pregnant. Though sound advice for many, I knew I had enough motivation and support to complete my degree on time. Trusting myself and believing in my own abilities allowed me to make the best choice for myself. My advisor supported my decision and we made a plan together that made completing school possible.