Physician assistant program supports alumna’s naval career

July 11, 2023

Amanda Chicoine

Two weeks before entering Quinnipiac’s physician assistant program in 2018, Amanda Chicoine, MHS '20, raised her right hand and swore in with the U.S. Navy.

“I applied for a Navy medical scholarship and I received that all through the physician assistant program, said Chicoine. "After I graduated in 2020, I took the physician assistant board exam and got my first duty station."

As a commissioned officer, her first duty station was aboard the USS George Washington aircraft carrier in Newport News, Virginia. As a practicing physician assistant, Chicoine was part of a medical team providing a full spectrum of services.

“I came straight from PA school," said Chicoine. "Everyone in the Navy said they were shocked that the carrier was my first actual tour. I was thankful because Quinnipiac provided me with an excellent education and I felt very well equipped to go straight into working as a physician assistant."

The carrier, home to approximately 3,000 Navy service members, never deployed during her two-year tour. But, Chicoine did get to spend a week out at sea on a different aircraft carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush.

“That was really cool, to see the aircraft carrier doing what it’s supposed to do,” said Chicoine.

When seeking her own educational path to becoming a physician assistant, Chicoine, a South Dakota native, said she was drawn to Quinnipiac’s exceptional program and the promise of being held to a higher standard.

“Quinnipiac had such a great reputation," said Chicoine. "I came for a tour and I just fell in love with the campus, the professors, the environment and that higher standard. Holding us to the top standard can be difficult when you’re going through school, but it pays off when you’re practicing. It’s something I appreciate, especially being in the military, where expectations are set high."

Today, Chicoine is serving her country while practicing as a physician assistant stationed at the U.S. Marines Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, during a three-year post. Her typical duties include providing urgent care assistance and primary care assistance for Marine officer candidates.

Of all the military branches, perhaps none better recognizes and appreciates the role of a physician assistant than the Navy, she said. According to the PA History Society, in 1965, due to medical training received during military service, four Navy hospital corpsmen were selected to compose the first physician assistant class. 

Chicoine is certainly aware of the proud military history associated with being a physician assistant.

“I feel very well-respected and well-treated," she said. "The Navy very much understands physician assistant roles. A lot of the corpsmen want to be physician assistants, so it’s been really fun helping them work through the process and go through the steps."

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