Brian G. Collins ’16 decided to attend Shenandoah because the faculty and staff were welcoming, and the whole community felt like a family. “This is a family that promotes diversity in background, faith, thought and goals in a welcoming and nurturing environment that avoids coddling in favor of character-building,” said Collins.
In having a nationally top-rated Physician Assistant Studies program, Collins believes Shenandoah provided him with the knowledge, experience and confidence to thrive in health care. “As a primary-care focused program, I was able to begin practice head and shoulders above other new graduates,” said Collins. “As a community that always promoted a comprehensive, whole-person approach to health care, Shenandoah has more than equipped me to not only diagnose and treat illness, but also to fully promote and aid in the achievement of true, meaningful wellness.” Some of his fondest memories were participating in “Days of Service,” where the entire student body would take a day away from academics to give back to the local community as a group.
Collins is a physician assistant at Avera Health in Gregory, South Dakota. He provides full-life spectrum primary health care to the community of Gregory, and the surrounding areas of South Dakota and Nebraska. Collins also provides coverage to the local critical access hospital inpatient wing and Level V trauma center emergency department as part of a four-physician team and four advanced practice providers. He is also serving on two system-wide committees and sees veterans as a contracted medical staff the VA Black Hills health care system.
Collins says the most rewarding part of his career is being able to help his patients navigate the health care system while caring for their physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs.
Collins’ advice to students is: “Take every opportunity to learn. Never give up. Find one or two things that ‘fill your tank’ and keep those things sacred. You can’t help others if you yourself are in deep need of help.”