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September 24, 2021 01:00pm
By Abimbola Farinde, PhD, PharmD
Leeanna Harding, MS, PA-C, has been recognized both by her patients and her peers for the distinguished care she has provided throughout her tenure as a physician assistant for MinuteClinic.
Leeanna Harding, MS, PA-C, has been recognized both by her patients and her peers for the distinguished care she has provided throughout her tenure as a physician assistant (PA) for MinuteClinic.
“Leeanna Harding has been working in convenient care nearly 10 years. Her care has put smiles on the faces of hundreds of patients every year, and her advice has saved countless lives,” Harding’s manager, Kristene Diggins, FAANP, DNP, of MinuteClinic told Contemporary Clinic®. “Leeanna is a problem solver, and she ands many ways to support her local and national team to enhance convenient care access for both patients and future providers in the industry. She has continuously worked in some of the highest volume clinics in North Carolina and has provided efficient, high-quality care each and every time.”
Harding has earned numerous accolades for her dedication to improving health, including the Convenient Care Association’s Unsung Hero award, but she considers her defining moment as a PA to be her interaction with a certain patient who came to her complaining of a sore throat. Although the patient was adamant that he be prescribed antibiotics, Harding noticed that something was wrong and referred him to an otorhinolaryngologist, where he was diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer.
“Fortunately, the patient is currently cancer-free, and he has since returned to the clinic to thank me for not treating his cancer with antibiotics,” Harding stated. “This experience made me a better provider by reinforcing the importance of treating patients using evidence-based medicine, as well as by boosting my confidence in my diagnostic skills."
Reflecting upon her career as a PA, Harding remains grateful for the setting at which she has worked, especially for the opportunities that it provides to her patients.
“One of the things I find most rewarding about my work at MinuteClinic is when patients appropriately choose me over the ER,” Harding explained. “I like knowing that I’m reducing the burden at the hospital by treating those UTIs and ear infections that don’t need to be seen in that type of setting. It’s more cost effective for the patient as well.”
And although Harding has experienced significant changes in her role as a retail clinic PA, she looks forward to facing any future challenges that the evolving health care landscape may bring.
“In the past 10 years that I have worked for MinuteClinic, I have seen us change and evolve to meet the health care needs of our community with increased service offerings and expansion throughout the United States,” Harding said. “I can’t wait to see where we’ll be in the next 10 years!”
Q: Why did you decide to become a PA?
A:Initially I wanted to become a physician because I had no idea what a PA was or that it even existed. Sometime in middle school, I was evaluated, treated, and given a prescription by a very nice PA and it made me do some research on the profession. By the end of high school, I knew that’s what I wanted to do and worked on obtaining my prerequisites to apply to college. I couldn’t be happier with my decision because being a PA allows me to practice in any field of medicine while maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
Q: What do you think is the most important quality for a health care provider to possess?
A:I think the key to being a successful and caring provider is having great listening skills. If you are able to take a thorough and accurate history, while engaging your patient, you can sometimes learn more than what lab work or diagnostic testing will tell you.
Q: What do you think is the most important issue in the medical field today? Why?
A:The absolute most important issue in health care today is access. Patients need access to affordable health insurance, as well as access to quality health care providers for treatment. I think this is one of the areas that retail health care excels because it is relatively inexpensive and patients can walk in at their convenience.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring PAs and retail clinicians?
A:The best advice I can give is to rely on evidence-based medicine and your clinical skills. We work in an unusual setting where “the customer is always right.” That might not always be the case in health care, but through thorough patient education, we can decline the antibiotic request for treating a cold and our customer/patient will still leave satisfied.