Student Spotlight: Morgan Bechtle
My name is Morgan Bechtle and I am a junior Health Sciences Major at the University of Florida. When I finish my undergraduate degree, I hope to go to graduate school to become a Physician Assistant. Healthcare was not a career path I originally had in mind. Back in high school I aspired to be a lawyer, but after working at a law firm and interning in several courthouses I realized that law was not for me. On a whim, I took an internship at a local ophthalmologist’s office where I was able to get hands-on experience working with patients. Dr. Frankel, the physician I worked under, is an amazing doctor who took time to teach me the ins and outs of the office, as well as how to be a compassionate, competent doctor. He challenged me to learn every day and to really listen to people in order to get to know them on a personal level. Dr. Frankel is just one of my many mentors I credit for helping me get to where I am today.
Since coming to the University of Florida, I have immersed myself in as many different areas of health as I can. I currently work as a TA for an Emergency Medical Responder course where I help teach my peers pre-hospital skills like patient assessment, airway management, and back boarding skills. I also work as a CPR Instructor and I often go out into the community to teach people how to identify a victim of a heart attack and how to save lives via CPR. Also, I currently work as a Wellness Educator for GatorWell, a health promotion service offered through the University of Florida. This organization focuses on preventative aspects of health in order to improve the health and well-being of students on campus. As a Wellness Educator, I educate my peers on health topics like stress management, time management, and sexual health through interactive activities.
While all of these experiences have taught me something different and added to my understanding of health and medicine, no experience was more challenging and more rewarding than working as a PCA for an individual with a physical disability. Six days a week, I would sit at her bedside and comfort her, talk to her, and help her with whatever she needed. The job was both physically and emotionally demanding, and many times I was close to quitting, but over time she became more than a patient; she was a friend. Unfortunately as her conditioned worsened, I had to learn the hardest lesson an aspiring health care professional must learn, which is dealing with death. I was with her in her last weeks of life and I got to see the demands that end of life care requires. While I have experienced loss before, the loss of a patient feels like something else entirely, and no one prepares you for that moment. I can say that I now understand the difficult and tolling demands that being a healthcare provider can have, but at the end of the day, I still love it. I love that I get to learn something new every day. I love that I get to listen to people’s stories and figure out what is ailing them. Most of all, I love that I get to help people in their time of need however large or small their problem is.
Outside of the classroom, I love to spend my time outdoors in nature. Whenever possible, I go hiking, kayaking, camping, and exploring in the great outdoors. Often times, I bring my camera along with me to capture my adventures. I also really like to help others through community service. I currently serve as the Community Service Outreach Chair for my service sorority, Delta Nu Zeta, where I help plan and organize volunteer efforts for various nonprofits in the Gainesville community.