Putting Learning into Practice – Ziemowit Mazur

Name: Ziemowit Mazur, PhD, EdM, PA-C 

Title:  Associate Professor and Associate Director

Program: Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Program URL: https://www.rosalindfranklin.edu/

What PAEA learning activity did you attend and when? Education Forum, October 2022 (in-person)

Would you recommend this learning activity to other members and, if so, why? Not only would I highly recommend the Forum to new as well as long-term members, but I consider attending the Forum to be essential to thriving as a PA educator. Forum sessions appeal equally to first-time attendees as well as seasoned educators, and although this was my 12th Forum (!!), I always find something intriguing and applicable.

What was your biggest takeaway/”aha” moment? Dr. Britt Andreatta’s session on the Neuroscience of Purpose encompassed so many pearls that are applicable to the everyday functioning of PA faculty and PA programs. It was also a perfect segue into everything that the Forum had to offer.

Tell us about what you have put into practice because of this learning activity:  The importance of purpose was made abundantly clear by Dr. Andreatta. Making the connection between purpose and our work as PAs/PA educators may not be a stretch, but the disrupting forces of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed many of us to the brink, making it more difficult to find meaning in our everyday tasks and to be able to find balance. The consequences of this shift away from our purpose included emotional exhaustion, decreased sense of accomplishment, and detachment and depersonalization. As the speaker suggested, deeper reflection on our core values and motives for becoming a PA and a PA educator can serve to reconnect us with a sense of purpose and create a better alignment between work and personal life. Dr. Andreatta referenced a complementary document entitled “Questions to Explore Your Purpose.” This document outlined questions to pose to oneself in the four domains: (1) your past, (2) people, (3) skills/strengths, and (4) passion/pleasure. I plan on sharing these questions with fellow faculty and students to enable them to explore their purpose and reap the associated benefits. According to Dr. Andreatta, the potential benefits include an increased sense of compassion and altruism, greater awareness of personal strengths, and creative growth — all key to our tasks as educators.

In thinking back to all of the PAEA Education Forums that I was fortunate to participate in, I realize how they have a way of re-centering and re-igniting (or igniting) the passion for teaching and learning. As one of my colleagues likes to say, the Forum has a way of “recharging one’s batteries.” The inspiration can be drawn from networking, presentations, and hearing about award recipients’ accomplishments, all of which can be leveraged to discover and/or reaffirm our sense of purpose.

If you would like to watch or re-watch opening featured speaker Britt Andreatta’s talk The Neuroscience of Purpose, visit the 2022 Forum online platform.

Note: This recording is available only to in-person and virtual Forum pass holders until March 14, 2023.

This article is part of the Putting Learning into Practice article series. We love to feature how our members are taking what they have learned through the professional development opportunities offered by PAEA and applying it to practice. Interested in being featured? Submit your Member Story on the PAEA website.