APP Spotlight: Susannah White, PA-C
For this week’s “Spotlight” interview, we talk to Susannah White, PA-C, the newest member of our epilepsy and sleep team. White talks to us about how a love of the brain (as well as a hatred of writing research papers) led her to become a physician assistant focusing on neurology. She also talks about the pleasures of being able to help individuals with sleep apnea, how advanced practice providers are an integral part of the team at Duke, and hiking, baking and working toward her pilot’s license when she’s not at Duke.
What are your current responsibilities within the Neurology Department? What does a typical day for you look like?
I am currently a Physician Assistant with the Epilepsy and Sleep team. I see new and established sleep patients as well as established epilepsy patients. I am working three days a week at the South Durham Clinic and one day a week in 1L seeing seizures only.
How and when did you first decide to become a physician assistant?
I decided to become a PA the day before I graduated from undergrad. I originally wanted to pursue a PhD in psychology in hopes of researching the brain structure of schizophrenics. As my advisor kindly pointed out "you hate writing research papers" so it led me to thinking about PA school where I could still be involved with patients and research.
What do you enjoy most about treating patients with epilepsy and sleep disorders? What’s the hardest part of your job?
I really love helping patients that have obstructive sleep apnea because when they return for follow up after starting CPAP their world has changed for the better. You get the feeling of "fixing" them with immediate gratification. I think the most difficult part of the job is wanting to give patients more time to be heard but in the modern day of medicine we don't have that luxury.
You’re coming to us from Raleigh Neurology Associates. What has been the biggest shift so far in coming from private practice to the academic medical setting?
I love how APP's are seen as active team members and encouraged to grow, learn and be part of the team here at Duke. I really enjoy the opportunity to grow and become a better provider. I think in private practice the atmosphere is more "churn and burn" and less chance to grow and feel part of something greater.
What other passions or hobbies do you have outside of the Department?
I enjoy spending time with my French bulldog (Oliver), my nieces (Olivia and Beatrice), family and friends. I enjoy hiking, camping, kayaking, traveling, baking and hope to get my pilot’s license one day.
White enjoys some quality outdoor time with Oliver.