The ISD community is pleased to welcome our second school Nurse, James Corbin, to our family.
1. Please introduce yourself! What did you do before, and where were you?
I am a Physician Assistant (PA). For 10 years I worked at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, with the Neurosurgery department (surgery on the brain and spine). The U of A is a large trauma center so a lot of my patients had been injured in accidents. I really enjoyed the job, but it could be very challenging (and of course at times stressful). In 2018 I moved with my family to Benin for a year and a half for my wife's job. Upon returning to Arizona I worked in a number of different emergency departments as a PA, still taking care of sick and injured people, but with a wider variety of illnesses and injuries than when I was just doing Neurosurgery.
2. What plans do you and the health office have that you'd like to share?
Our main focus this year, as with everyone, is on COVID. Our number one goal is to keep students, staff, parents, and ultimately our community safe and healthy. We will continue to develop and hone protocols based on the latest data, information and guidance from the CDC and other organizations. Coming from practicing emergency medicine in Arizona, I spent almost half a year right in the heart of the COVID storm in the United States. As a result, I have taken care of many, many sick patients with the coronavirus, so I know first hand how it presents and what it looks like. At no time did I or the vast majority of my colleagues get sick, further proving - MASKS WORK! Wear them and protect yourself and your community.
3. How are you finding Dakar and what are you excited about in regards to ISD?
I've only been on campus this week, but everyone has been quite warm and welcoming- both students and faculty. We're excited to get to know everyone (in a socially distanced way at first of course) and meet our new 'family'
We loved our time in Benin, but Dakar is a much larger and modern city, and so we're excited about that. I'm excited to get out surfing - though I'm a really bad surfer so if you see me repeatedly fall over don't laugh. Ok, you can laugh a little.
4. Why did you want to become a nurse/ work in a school setting?
Of course, I'm not actually a nurse, but rather a Physician Assistant (PA). For those who are unfamiliar, PAs are medical professionals who are initially trained as generalists but can go onto work in a variety of medical settings (I started off in Trauma/Neurosurgery and then moved over to Emergency Medicine). They see and evaluate patients, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and work with larger treatment teams. Before becoming a Physician Assistant I was a Paramedic, and I still keep my Paramedic certification.
Moving to Dakar I knew I wanted to continue to work in medicine, and this was the perfect opportunity. About 30% of emergency medicine is pediatrics, so I have a significant amount of experience evaluating and taking care of kids.
5. Anything you'd like to tell our parents and students?
I really like outdoor activity, whether it's running, hiking, biking, swimming, or even rock climbing (fun fact - I worked for four years as a rock climbing guide). I love corny jokes (just ask my kids)! I'm always on the lookout for new jokes, so drop by the medical unit if you've got a good one!