Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series of articles that features accomplished Galt area graduates. If you are interested in being considered as part of this series or you know a GHS or LRHS graduate with notable accomplishments, career or otherwise, please email Faith Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bonnie Rodriguez at email@example.com.
Born and raised in Galt, Brooke Fletcher knew she wanted a career in the medical field after high school, but it wasn’t until her junior year of college that she discovered her future career. Now, she is in her final semester of three-year program and is looking forward to her future as a physician assistant (PA).
As a GHS student, Fletcher was an avid athlete on and off campus, playing basketball for the school all four years and also for Sacramento Sting, a traveling AAU team.
“If given the opportunity, I think everyone should play sports,” Fletcher said. “It teaches you teamwork, collaboration, (and) leadership, as well as keeping you in shape and having fun.”
Fletcher already knew when she was in high school that she wanted to work in the medical field, and she remembers anatomy being one of her favorite classes. For a time, she considered becoming a veterinarian, but by the time she graduated in 2011 and started at Sacramento State, she had already shifted gears and was looking forward to having human patients.
“I knew that I would be in the medical field, but I wasn’t even aware of what a physician assistant was when I was in high school,” she said. “I learned of what a physician assistant was in my junior year of college at Sacramento State, and it sounded like the perfect fit for me.”
She earned her bachelor’s in kinesiology from University of California, Sacramento in 2016 and began working as a nursing assistant in the Emergency Room at the Sacramento VA Medical Center.
“As a nursing assistant, I shadowed many doctors as well as physician assistants and nurse practitioners (and) was able to get a firsthand look (at) what their day-to-day work shift was like. This is really where I fell in love with the idea of becoming a physician assistant,” Fletcher said.
In this role, she provided basic medical care to patients, such as blood sugar checks, vital signs, wound care, CPR, bladder scans and more. But she wasn’t content to stop there and started the University of the Pacific’s Physician Assistant Program in January 2018.
Now in the final leg of the program, much of her time is spent in clinical rotations where she is able to gain on-the-job experience in a variety of medical settings, ranging from clinics to hospitals. She does find that, from time to time, people don’t know what a PA is or what role they play in patient care, but Fletcher doesn’t mind explaining.
“Physician assistants are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider,” she said.
She also added that, according to the American Academy of PAs, there are more than 131,000 PAs in the U.S., and the position was ranked third on the 2018 US News & World Report’s Best 100 Jobs List.
“Being able to help people and make a positive impact on their lives is something that I’ve already experienced as a student in this profession, and I am so excited to continue doing so as a practicing physician assistant.”
While Fletcher is excited to be approaching her April 2020 graduation, she has more than her career to look forward to this year; in May, she will be marrying her fiancé Taylor Peasha. They recently purchased their first home in Galt and are looking forward to building their future in the community where they grew up. When not studying or planning her nuptials, Fletcher can often be found riding her horse Dreamer, spending time with friends and family, or exploring the great outdoors.
“To me, success encompasses many things,” Fletcher said. “It is being happy and content with where I’m at in life, living in the moment, helping and inspiring others, being the best version of myself, and continuing to learn new things. Right now, success for me is being able to marry my best friend, who is the most loving, supporting man I could ask for, having amazing family and friends who love (and) support me no matter what, having the opportunity to be in the physician assistant program at University of the Pacific, and being excited for what the future holds.”