Like many people, Elizabeth “Katie” Sweitzer, PA-C, wasn’t sure where her undergraduate degree would take her after graduating from University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. But shortly into a clinical position in an oncology department, she discovered a passion for medicine and for taking care of patients. That was when she decided to put in the work to apply for and graduate from physician assistant (PA) school.
Katie has now been a practicing PA for five years, and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Most of those years have been with Springfield Clinic Urgent Care, which has also been an excellent fit for her. She loves coming to work each day and not quite knowing what to expect from the patients she sees. “I like the dynamic nature of urgent care,” she says. “No two days are the same, and I like being able to see many different types of patients.”
Now, Katie shares her passion for the medical field and her physician assistant career through participation in the Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants (IAPA), which is the Illinois state constituent organization for the American Academy of Physician Assistants. This year, she was elected the president of the Illinois association for 2020, and she can’t wait to get started. Her goals for her term include increasing public awareness and visibility of PAs in Illinois and improving the PA practice by working with legislators to remove unnecessary administrative burdens for PAs.
Katie brings a special perspective to her presidency due to her previous leadership role in the organization: representing Illinois at the national PA conference. “You go representing your state and all the PAs in your state, and you can vote on issues that are important to how PAs practice on the state level,” she says. She says this great opportunity led the way to her wanting to do more for PAs and more with the organization, and she accepted the presidency nomination with excitement and anticipation.
While she represents all physician assistants in Illinois, Katie hopes specifically to be able to become a link between IAPA and her PA colleagues at Springfield Clinic, so she can advocate for them at both the state and national levels. “Advocacy is a big part of the IAPA: We want to make sure PAs in the state of Illinois remain relevant, and that our marketability is recognized. PAs practice medicine and provide high quality health care. IAPA is here to guide the state practice in the right direction and provide a voice for all of the PAs in Illinois,” she says.
Katie is happy to have found a career she loves. The best part? Whether they’re her patients at Urgent Care or her peers in the Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants, Katie knows she’s getting to help people every day.