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Social work degree leads to shift in career path for Medina


Ruben "Andy" Medina
Ruben 'Andy' Medina
Ruben “Andy” Medina (’14 M.S.S.W.) found his social work degree to be the perfect segue into a career in the medical field.
After completing his master’s degree at ACU, Medina spent two years as a medical social worker at a Level 3 trauma center in his hometown of El Paso.
“The work was extremely rewarding,” he says. “I left the hospital each day feeling accomplished and with a great deal of purpose.”
However, in the midst of running between floors, putting out fires (figuratively of course), and handling on-call patient cases, Medina realized he wanted to be involved with patients in a different way.
“During my social work rotations, I was introduced to a physician assistant and was extremely impressed with her scope of practice and autonomy as a medical provider,” he recalled. “Little by little I started researching the profession. I went back for my required prerequisites and later applied to multiple PA schools across Texas.”
He is now in his second year of the P.A. program at Texas Tech Health Science Center and says his degree from ACU gave him an advantage in getting accepted in a highly competitive field.
“I noticed something as I started meeting with programs,” he says. “They were each impressed with my social work background. They knew I understood the other side of the patient, that care does not stop once someone leaves the hospital.
“Social work requires compassion and empathy, and the ability to meet people where they are. You can know all the theories, concepts and dynamics you want, but if your patient does not feel like they are seen and heard then everything else falls apart,” he says. “Fortunately, I believe I have come full circle. I know the medicine, and I know the individual.”

Learn more about the School of Social Work.

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