PA Leadership Series: Jamie Kemp, PA-C


Jamie was kind enough to answer our Q&A questions for the PA Leadership blog series. She has been practicing for 15 years, has experience with emergency medicine, urgent care and currently is in a leadership role as the director on a college campus. She is also a certified international health coach. She has an enthusiasm for what she does and provides yet another example of a leadership role in our profession.

Jamie Kemp, PA-C Photo Credit: Ohio Dominican Marketing and Public Relations

1. Tell us a little about yourself?

I have been a practicing PA for 15 years and recently graduated as a Certified International Health Coach. For the first 13 years of my career, my primary specialty was in the Emergency Department and Urgent care setting. I also worked for two years in the Interventional Radiology. 5 years into my career, my husband and I started a family and I switched to part-time work in local ER/UCs. I was interested in an expanded role as a PA for many years and had difficulty finding more than typical clinical positions until an opportunity opened up for a Director of Health Services position at Ohio Dominican University. To say that I jumped at the opportunity to apply would be an understatement. I have been with the University since 2016 and I truly love my job. As a Director, I combine administrative duties and responsibilities with my clinical work. It has been a perfect fit for me as it allows me to be home with my children and still pursue and expand my career. My background in ER/UC settings prepared me well for College Health services. Working with the student population has been amazing.

2. What is your role as a leader? What does your typical day look like?

My day begins with administrative work and meetings. Actually, if I’m being honest, my day starts at 5-6am with a cup of coffee, chatting with my husband about what the day’s schedule looks like. I get the kids up and ready for school, then onto the school bus. Part of my morning routine is to walk the dog, it’s almost like a meditation and helps prepare me for the day. I am at work by 9, my first hour is usually spent in meetings or other administrative tasks. My remaining hours are spent seeing patients. I am a one-person clinic, the Wellness Center on campus is a combination of health and counseling services. I work closely with an amazing team of counselors to ensure the students are supported both mentally and physically as we strive to serve the “whole” student at all times. I run two exam rooms, fulfilling both my PA role as well as typical nursing duties. My clinic hours are open for walk-in’s as well as appointments. Our center works to promote different educational themes throughout the year. We also collaborate with numerous University departments and different student organizations to promote programming that compliments what is happening on campus and in the classrooms.

3. Do you divide your time into clinical and administrative tasks?

My time is majority clinical. I would say it’s an 80/20 split.

4. Did you pursue a leadership role or was it offered to you?

I did want a leadership role. I felt that I had reached a point in my career that I wanted more out of my professional life and felt that I could contribute in different ways other than simply working clinically. I chose to be a part-time employee for the past 10 years after having children, which possibly took me out of contention for certain opportunities. I was unwilling to give my time away for free or minimal compensation, especially if it took me away from my children or entailed paying for daycare services. I have always been very protective of my time and felt the role needed to be the right one for myself and for our family. As a Director, the leadership role is integrated into the position which is exactly what I had been searching for both personally and professionally. I definitely pursued this job opening with significant determination. I knew I would be a good match for the job and believed it was the right direction for me to take.

Wellness Center Ohio Dominican University Photo Credit: Ohio Dominican Marketing and Public Relations

5. How did you prepare for your role? Did you take any leadership courses? Any books you recommend?

I did not take any leadership courses. At the time I was unaware such a thing even existed!! I started from scratch, my co-workers are amazing and helped me many times during my first year with the ODU. I think working in a place of learning really sparked my interest in personal growth. The past two years have given me space and breathing room to really open myself to learning a new skill set and rediscovering my love of learning. It has also allowed me to understand my role in educating patients in a whole new light. I eagerly embraced personal development in the past two years, health coaching school was instrumental in broadening my perspective. I am currently reading “Mindset. The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. Integrating new information into my practice has been very successful. I also love Mel Robbins. Her book the “The 5 Second Rule is amazing and her Audible podcasts are very insightful.

6. Do you have room or opportunities to grow in your current leadership position?

Yes, the Wellness Center has the flexibility to engage the students in numerous ways each year. There are many opportunities on campus and in Columbus itself to grow as a leader.
Entrepreneurship is also something I’ve become more interested in and have considered starting a wellness consulting business in addition to working with the University.

7. Are you satisfied with your position? If you could do it all over again, would you?

I love my current position. I enjoy the students and relish being able to use my degree in a new way. I most definitely would do it over again. I am grateful for my years in the ER/UC/IR. My experience in those settings definitely prepared me for my current role on campus. I enjoy the continuity of care, you rarely get to know how a patient is doing once you’ve discharged them out of the ER/UC. I also have the privilege of building relationships with students and I get to follow them throughout their time withat ODU. It is a very satisfying feeling to help ensure their wellbeing. I work side by side with dedicated and caring counselors as well as other University staff, the collaborative effort on behalf of the students is stunning and I am gratified to be a part of it. Being able to use my creative side and build new initiatives and programs is a huge benefit of the position. After so many years of simply clocking patient hours, I am using my skills in other nonclinical ways to improve patient’s lives.

8. Do you think PAs are adequately educated about how to be a leader? If not, do you have any suggestions on what should be taught?

I don’t feel that much emphasis is put on leadership roles within PA school, but I also haven’t been in school for years and the curriculum could have changed. I think it would be of great benefit to students to introduce the concept.

9. Do you have any suggestions for newly graduated PAs interested in becoming leaders in their community?

I would say they need to show up ready to learn and work hard. Asking questions and actively seeking to be involved in leadership initiatives is the first step to getting your foot in the door. I also think it makes sense to get several years of experience under your belt so you can apply real-life issues and concerns within leadership initiatives. Having an understanding of what clinical work looks like is invaluable to being a true leader in medicine. There are also many different ways of being a “Leader.” It is important to remember that you can be a leader with your co-workers and your patients. It is often this dedication that is the first step to other leadership opportunities.

Jamie Kemp, PA-C Photo credit: Megan Leigh Barnard http://www.meganleighbarnard.com

A big thanks to Jamie for insight into her role and being so patient while I got my site back up. Leading as a director takes dedication and is something other PAs may see as an opportunity within their own practice.


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Physician Assistant, Owner and Blogger at EmpoweredPAs.com. Currently practicing in a Pediatric Emergency Department, overseeing and developing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines with teams of amazing people, supporting and mentoring Pre-PA and PA Students, with a hope to advance our profession and give PAs the tools and resouces they need to advance their careers.