From SHM

SHM Member Profile: Ilaria Gadalla, DMSc, PA-C

Ilaria Gadalla, DMSc, PA-C, is a physician assistant at Treasure Coast Hospitalists in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and serves as the physician assistant department chair/program director at South University, West Palm Beach, Fla., where she supervises more than 40 PAs, medical directors, and administrative staff across the South University campuses.

Ilaria Gadalla is a hospitalist at Treasure Coast Hospitalists in Port St. Lucia, Fla., and serves as the physician assistant department chair/program director at South University

Ilaria Gadalla

Ms. Gadalla is the chair of SHM’s NP/PA Special Interest Group, which was integral in drafting the society’s recent white paper on NP/PA integration and optimization.

She says that she continuously drives innovative projects for NPs and PAs to demonstrate excellence in collaboration by working closely with C-suite administration to expand quality improvement and education efforts. A prime example is the optimal communication system that she developed within her first week as a hospitalist in the Port St. Lucie area. Nursing, ED, and pharmacy staff had difficulty contacting hospitalists since the electronic medical record would not reflect the assigned hospitalist. She developed a simple contact sheet that included the hospitalist team each day. This method is still in use today.

At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a physician assistant?

I worked as a respiratory therapist and had a desire to expand my knowledge to manage critical care patients. I applied to Albany (N.Y.) Medical College, where I received my PA training. I knew before PA school that I was passionate about the medical field and wanted to advance my education and training.

How did you decide to become a PA hospitalist?

From day one at my first job, I knew that I loved inpatient medicine. I had a unique position as a cardiology hospitalist in Baltimore. That was my first experience working in hospital medicine. As a team of PAs, we worked closely with hospitalists in addition to the cardiologists. I really enjoyed the acuity of hospital medicine, and the brilliant hospitalist colleagues I worked with. They fueled my clinical knowledge daily, and that really drew me further into hospital medicine.

What is your current position?

I have a unique position. I work primarily in an academic role, as a program director and department chair of the physician assistant program at South University in West Palm Beach. I provide oversight for four PA program campuses located in Florida. Georgia, and Virginia. I also work clinically as a hospitalist at Treasure Coast Hospitalists in the Port St. Lucie area.

What are some of your favorite parts of your work?

My favorite aspect within the academic environment is what I call the “lightbulb moment” – that instant when you see your students comprehending and applying critical thinking regarding patient care. In clinical practice, I really enjoy educating and navigating a patient through their diagnosis and management. It’s like teaching, in that a patient can also have a lightbulb moment.

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