Future Physician Assistant Seeks Dual-Degrees to Provide Highest Quality Care
After Patrick James Barney ’22, ’24, embarked on a life-changing health and wellness journey, he knew it was his calling to help others achieve similar success. Barney graduated from Marywood in 2022 with an MS Sports Nutrition and Exercise Science, but that was only the beginning. Hoping to deepen the scope of the services and expertise he can provide, he enrolled in the Physician Assistant (PA) Program.
At Marywood, Barney’s professors and classmates inspire him every day to be a better student, a better practitioner, and a better person. “My professors have gone out of their way for me in more ways than I can count,” he said. “It’s like a family here.” In addition to his professors, Barney’s classmates make him most proud of his Marywood education. Especially within the PA program, Barney considers them “some of the most caring and helpful people I’ve ever met in my entire life, not just towards us as a class but to their patients as well.” His classmates’ commitment to excellence pushes him to always strive for the same high standards in his own practice.
For Barney, his education helps set the foundation for the thorough, thoughtful, and compassionate care he will give to patients throughout his career. “As an aspiring Physician Assistant, my education empowers me to make sure my patients’ voices are heard and to ensure that they are never treated like just a number throughout diagnosis and treatment,” he said.
Earlier on in his education journey, Barney had doubts if graduating from a PA program was within his reach. However, after earning two degrees, enrolling in the PA program, and excelling academically, Barney is proudly on track to graduate at the top of his class. “Whatever I set my mind to, I think I’m going to be able to achieve. And the people at Marywood have really supported me in finding that within myself,” he said.
Because of how supported he has been throughout his time at Marywood, Barney believes in sharing his knowledge and experience with other students as a tutor. Knowing that he could make a difference in someone passing an important class helped him to see the true impact he could have. He realized, “Helping others is a necessity in my life.”
The extensive volunteer work that Barney accomplishes through the PA Program fuels his passion for giving back to others. The bulk of his volunteer work has been through St. Francis of Assisi Soup Kitchen and St. Joseph’s Center, which left him feeling thankful for the blessings he often takes for granted. “Volunteering for those two experiences sticks out in particular for me,” he said, “because you don’t always think about your ability to feed or dress yourself. And even though I’ve been fortunate that food is always accessible to me, food insecurity is a major issue in the community.”
To Barney, it’s crucial that Marywood and other universities continue to provide these opportunities for students because education is not just about traditional learning; education is also about development of a person. He is adamant about the importance of giving back to the community because, “Life isn’t a competition. We’re all a team. Giving back should be a necessity, not something optional.”
Marywood’s EMPOWER Campaign fills Barney with hope for the impact that Marywood graduates will continue to have on the world. The campaign will augment holistic learning opportunities as well as provide much-needed physical resources. As a dietetics graduate and current PA student, he is especially excited about facility upgrades in the Pascucci Pavilion. State-of-the-art lab space is crucial for students like Barney because, “You can have all the book knowledge in the world, but if you haven’t had a chance to be hands on and assess a patient then you would struggle to move on to clinic work. These facilities help us help others.”
Join us as a supporter of the EMPOWER campaign and help provide opportunities like this to future generations.