From the island of Haiti to the pine-covered mountains of Saint Francis University, it has been a long, but fortuitous journey for Wadler Fleurina, MPAS, PA-C, MB (ASCP). Growing up in an orphanage in Haiti, Wadler knew he wanted to work in the medical field. Fate (and an internet search) led him to Saint Francis to realize that dream. After his graduation in May 2016, he started practicing occupational medicine and urgent care in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
have you been up to since graduation?
Since graduation, I have been enjoying
life as a practicing clinician. I graduated on May 8, 2016, and
started practicing medicine in July 2016. I am currently practicing in
occupational medicine and urgent care. I’ve also tried family
medicine/internal medicine. It has been fun practicing medicine while also
expanding medical knowledge.
did you select your as your major? When did you realize that this was the career path
I was born and raised in Haiti, and
even before I left Haiti for the United States in 2002, I have always wanted to
do something in the medical field. In Haiti, the challenges faced by the residents
are innumerable on every level. Health challenges are particularly dire, so I
wanted to go in a field where I could medically impact the lives of many. I
then went ahead and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a
minor in chemistry from Eastern Michigan University, but I never gave up on
the idea of pursuing a career in some sort of allied health field. As the years
went by, I became a US citizen. This opened up many opportunities, especially
the qualification of being able to apply for federal aid. One day while I was
driving from work, I heard an announcement on the radio urging students to become physician assistants. I didn’t know what a
physician assistant was at that time, so I went home that night and researched
the profession. Over the ensuing days and weeks, it was clear that that’s what
I wanted to do. I started shadowing more physician assistants who were
practicing in the field, and it became apparent that a career as a physician
assistant would enable me to make a difference like I had wanted to.
did you choose Saint Francis?
When I applied to PA school, I cast
a wide net. I think I applied to a total of 7 schools, Saint Francis University
was the first one to send me an acceptance letter
about two weeks after the face-to-face campus interview. I thought that was fast.
I chose SFU for various reasons, especially its goals of Franciscan Higher
Education which I deeply embrace: 1) Service to the poor and the needy; 2) A
humble and generous attitude toward learning; 3) Reverence for all life and the goodness of humanity; 4) A community of faith and prayer; 5) Respect for the
uniqueness of individual persons; 6) A spirit of simplicity and joy. I grew up
in an orphanage in Haiti that was sponsored by American missionaries. I was
blessed and fortunate to come to America to study.
did your major prepare you for what you do now and where you hope to be in the
I think my major gave me a solid
foundation. It was hard and tough, but in hindsight, I see why it had to be.
This was a battle worth fighting. My professors would stress hard work and
study hard even after PA school is over with. They stressed the idea of a
“humble and generous attitude toward learning”. I’m always learning and
studying. PAs have many opportunities, including that of transitioning from one
field to another. That’s why I think it’s important to stay current and broaden
knowledge. You just have to stay vigilant and be at the door when opportunities
come knocking, for they are sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.
favorite SFU memories? What do you miss most?
I have a lot of SFU memories. One I
never thought would be memorable turns out to be quite memorable. That’s the
small 1-bedroom apartment I stayed at during didactic year located right on St. Mary Street across from the post office. That was my haven, my prison, my home
away from home. I dreaded that place after a long school day. I would lock
myself in there and bury myself in my study notes. I hated it. Looking back, it
was my refuge, my comfort zone. In addition, I miss my professors who have been
very supportive and caring. I miss the Kreckels (Peter, our pharmacology
professor at SFU and his wife Denise) who opened up their home and let me stay
with them for over 3 months during clinical year. I’ll always remember my
classmates who helped me maintain my sanity away from home. I miss the campus
beauty, especially in the spring because spring is definitely my favorite
advice would you give to a 17-year old considering a career in your field?
Pursue your dream. Don’t stop dreaming. If
that’s what you want to do, you have a beautiful dream. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their
dreams. Dreams + Hard Work + Humility +
Faith = Success. Keep dreams alive.
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