From the moment Shea A. Dempsey ’12 first arrived at Shenandoah University for his admissions interview he knew it was the place for him, as he felt at home and as part of a family. Dempsey was also impressed by the nationally top-rated Physician Assistant Studies program. “Shenandoah is highly ranked within PA programs, and values healthcare education,” said Dempsey “SU has some of the best faculty in the nation and are constantly looking at what they can do to better educate their students.”
Dempsey’s time at Shenandoah helped him foster his leadership skills and gave him a great foundation of knowledge – he says the faculty mentored him into the person he is today. One of Dempsey’s fondest memories of the university is the relationships he has created with his fellow classmates and faculty, which have turned into lifelong friendships.
Dempsey is an emergency medicine physician assistant with Shenandoah Emergency Physicians in Woodstock, Virginia. In his role, Dempsey sees and treats patients of all ages with any condition from the common cold, fractures, and lacerations to heart attacks, strokes and trauma. He has also been a part of Shenandoah University’s Division of Physician Assistant Studies faculty since 2014 and currently serves as an adjunct assistant professor. He teaches students about neurology, pharmacology, diagnostics, point of care ultrasounds, and abdominal and thorax anatomy in his classes. In addition to his work, Dempsey is a preceptor for college and high school students looking to go into healthcare.
The most rewarding part of Dempsey’s career is his patients. “Working in emergency medicine means that no one is coming to see us when they are having their best day,” said Dempsey. “I love being there for patients when they need help. Comforting family members when they’ve lost a loved one, or are in an unexpected motor vehicle accident.”
Dempsey believes that Shenandoah prepared him for his career not only by providing him with the basic medical knowledge he needed, but also in preparing him to be a lifelong learner, and teaching him to have compassion and service at the center of everything he does. The faculty supported him as he continued his education and recently completed his doctoral degree, and are also the ones who inspired him to come back and teach at Shenandoah.
Dempsey’s advice to students is: “Always be a lifelong learner. Remember your time as a student and the impact that good preceptors had on you, and consider being a great preceptor to a PA student. ”
Visit Physician Assistant Studies Alumni page to learn more PA-specific alumni information.
Written by Harley Ryan ’16
Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs