The year of great resolve
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” ~Mya Angelou
These words undoubtedly resonated with me in 2020. Although simply surviving was a feat in it of itself, my goal was to thrive. For those who do not know me, my name is Lavette Shirley Elee and I am a proud Urgent Care PA, currently practicing just outside of Charlotte, NC. I obtained my BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Kent State University in 2009. I graduated from Kettering College with my MPAS in 2012. Finally, in December 2020 I completed my doctorate and I still cannot believe I am done!
During my time as a PA, I have had the pleasure of working in family practice, urgent care, and a truly short time in psychiatry (don’t ask!). I am the mother of two beautiful, energetic,
kind-hearted, intelligent, worthy, and inspiring boys, who have always been my reason for pushing forward! I am originally from Tucson, Az and I lived in Ohio for 9 years, where I met my husband. I have a sister, who is a PA as well, and she encouraged me to become a PA. I am infinitely grateful for that (thanks Chile).
While this year has been one of the most challenging years of my life, and I have had some challenging years, so many good things have happened. My goal for 2020 was to make so many positive advancements that in 10 years when I think about this tumultuous time, the fond memories outweigh those of the pandemic, the civil unrest, and the emotional trauma. I recall early during the pandemic as we were just beginning to see cases in the US, I was riddled with anxiety. Being an urgent care PA, I had to continue working and with so little known about COVID, I needed an outlet. I was kickboxing twice daily, which helped considerably. However, I still needed to feel as though I was contributing to something positive. Writing has always been my outlet.
Being a military brat, at 14 my mother, stepfather, and brother moved to Okinawa, Japan and my older sister moved to Ohio, within weeks of each other, and I remained in AZ with my father. So many changes were occurring, and I was having trouble adjusting. This was the first instance where I turned to writing for therapy. I wrote page after page of poetry and written word. However, I would rarely share what I wrote with anyone other than those closest to me.
Now fast forward to 2020 and we come full circle.
I began to consider PA advocacy because many PA colleagues had and have concerns about the future of our profession. Being an UC PA and a member of various PA groups on social media, my thought was,
“why not start with the next generation.”
A common theme in many of such groups has been the need to educate the public on our place in the medical model. While I am all for meaningful dialogue, I am more so a woman of action. This coupled with my daily interactions with children, who are generally absolutely terrified to be in urgent care led to my first book, I saw my PA today.
This book follows a young girl through her urgent care visit where she is treated by a PA. It was enjoyable to write and flowed naturally because it is what I do daily. I wanted it to rhyme because, frankly, kids love rhyming books and all my favorite books from my childhood rhymed. This new adventure has been rewarding because it forced me out of my comfort zone. It was so well received that it inspired me to continue writing children’s books, including, Remarkably you, Remarkably me and My Primary Care PA.
In 2021 my goal is to begin collaborating with other clinicians to ensure additional books are accurate depictions of a child’s interaction with a PA within that specialty. I am very much looking forward to getting to know PAs all over the country and gain further insight on and highlight their contributions to the medical team. I predict writing will continue to provide solace as we navigate through what is to come this year. Between insurrections, civil unrest, and mutating viruses, I am far less optimistic than I was at this time last year, and we all know how that turned out. Although, this has been a dreadful year, I have been so impressed by our resolve. Some have lost jobs, some family members, and friends, some have lost colleagues, some have lost hope this year, but we are still here fighting each day for our patients, our selves, each other, and our families. I have never been prouder to be a PA Mom!
Lavette Shirley Elee DScPAS, PA-C