Featured ThriveAP Faculty Discussion: Steven Wei, EdD, MPH, MS, PA-C, DFAAPA
The ThriveAP faculty is comprised of APP leaders who speak from experience, have been recognized in their field as experts, and are passionate about sharing their experience with the future generation. Steven presents in our Rise & Thrive workshop series teaching psychological safety for the practicing provider.
Sarah Maxwell, Director of Marketing at ThriveAP, sat down with Steven Wei, EdD, MPH, MS, PA-C, DFAAPA to discuss what to look for in a mentor, where he finds passion in his career, and much more. Watch the discussion or read the transcription below.
Meet Steven Wei, EdD, MPH, MS, PA-C, DFAAPA
Sarah Maxwell: Hello, my name is Sarah Maxwell, Director of Marketing at ThriveAP. At ThriveAP we are honored to have an expansive faculty full of expert instructors and APPs with impressive credentials and experience. Today I am going to take a few moments to get to know one of our speakers better and gain their insights and advice for thriving in an advanced practice career. Welcome Steven Wei!
Steven Wei, EdD, MPH, MS, PA-C, DFAAPA: Hi Sarah, thank you so much.
SM: Thank you for joining and your willingness to chat with us. I will hop right in, tell us a bit about yourself, your background, and where you practice.
SW: I was born in New Jersey but I have lived in Texas pretty much all my life, including college and grad school. I went to PA school at Baylor College of Medicine and graduated in 1999. I have been working in surgical oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center for nearly 23 years all within the same subspecialty of GI surgical oncology, and also with the same collaborating physician the entire time. My role has definitely evolved over the years, and I'm currently an APP supervisor for a little over 12 years now.
SM: Wow, so with that, it sounds like a very illustrious career, what would you say is your most noteworthy career accomplishment if you had to pinpoint one and, and why?
SW: I've really enjoyed serving in professional organizations and definitely getting my doctorate, my EDD, was a highlight. But, if I had to pinpoint my most noteworthy accomplishment, probably it would probably be founding and being the chair of the Surgical Oncology Advanced Practitioner Conference, also known as a SOAP conference. We've had several of successful meetings and we're about to plan our fourth one starting next April.
SM: Congratulations, that is exciting. As somebody who has put on events before, I know what a big undertaking that is. Speaking of being educating here at ThriveAP, I know you're a little bit newer to our faculty. Tell me a little bit about what attracted you to working with our team.
SW: Sure. My passion has always been not just patient care, but also developing people with a desire to invest time and energy into developing leaders, not so much for a specific role or position, but helping others gain skills for professional communication and interaction in order to build healthy, productive relationships, and teams - leadership development for a team-based practice. That is so much aligned with what ThriveAP is doing, especially from the new graduates right out of PA and NP school starting practice in their profession.There's definitely a lot of gaps that are missing there, and I think ThriveAP is definitely doing all they can to try to fill in those gaps and to equip the APP.
Steven presents in the ThriveAP Rise & Thrive Workshop Series on the topic of Psychological Safety for the Practicing Provider. Subscribe to the series to watch his presentation.
SM: Absolutely and with that, you said, you're very passionate about, training, leadership, helping these apps thrive in practice. Would you say that's your greatest passion of your role, or is that maybe combined with some other aspects?
SW: Being a clinician for over 23 years, patient care is always there. That's my why about why I'm doing what I'm doing. But over the years I've really enjoyed mentorship, developing the APPs in my group, and also being a resource for APPs outside my group as well to develop their skills, develop their full potential and their leadership skills.I would say, now that I'm sort of transitioning to the second phase of my career, I do definitely want to focus more on the people development aspect of things.
SM: Speaking of supporting your fellow APPs, what do you think makes a good mentor? What do you think some of those attributes might be?
SW: There are so many attributes for being a great mentor. I would say probably becoming a good listener. Understanding your learner and your mentee, including their background, prior experiences, goals and having opportunities for them to articulate their goals and even readdress those goals often, because as we know, goals might change. I think that's very, very important. It's being available, being a good listener, and really trying to understand your mentee as best as possible.
SM: I think that's such a great point. Especially because you can take that even outside of a healthcare space, even listening to your mentee and helping them understand, "hey, this was my path and that was so great for me, but let me help guide you." I think that's really good advice. Speaking of your continuing education and helping folks, do you have any key journals or apps or any particular resources you could suggest to some earlier career APPs that are a great spot to stay abreast new information or new procedures.
SW: Well, there's definitely a lot that's out there. You know, for me personally, I am an Associate Editor for one of the journals, Journal of Advanced Practitioners in Oncology (JADPRO). I would say that I read that the most. In my profession, in my clinical experience, I read a lot of journals that are like Annals of Surgery, Journal of Clinical Oncology, or Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis (JABA), just to name a few.
I'm not as familiar with some of the apps because we have a lot of clinical resources available to us working in a large hospital that are readily available. They are on our phone and up to date, but I would say I do read quite a few journals when I do have time.
SM: It sounds like you've just got tons of time with everything you're involved in, gosh! Well, speaking of your time, I'll hop here to our last question because I think we've taken enough of your time today. Lastly, what kind of advice would you give to APPs of today so they can prepare for a successful future?
SW: That's a great question. Over the years I've seen several APPs really thrive and do well developing the relationship with their collaborating physician. And then I've seen some that haven't done very well in their partnership within their practice, in their partnership with their physician. I would say first and foremost, there's going to be ups and downs. There's always going to be struggles, frustrations, even possibly burnout at times. But we should always be reminded of our why in becoming an APP in the first place. That that goes a long way.
Whether that be a passion for patient care, education, empathy and being a compassionate caregiver, those are very, very important. Working at a cancer hospital, even though things can be very difficult at times, our mission is very clear, and that is to end cancer, to be there for our patients and to help them through some of the hardest times of their life. And that could be the same for pretty much any provider is that we really are instrumental in where we are with our patients and being there during some difficult times. I would say that's very important.
I find also getting involved in professional development, education, and leadership development. That's really helped me rekindle the flame.
SM: Gosh, I think that's amazing advice. Remembering the why. I don't think you could get better than that. And, and as you said, if there's an opportunity to give back and contribute - that is one of the things I've found to be the most exciting attribute about the healthcare space, especially with advanced practice providers - so many are so willing to give that very limited time y'all have to help with the next generation of APPs. Thank you for everything you're doing and thank you also for being here with us today, sharing your incredible experience and amazing advice. We're very appreciative. Thank you.
SW: Thank you so much, Sarah.
SM: And thank you everyone for joining us today and stay tuned for more of our meet our faculty. Have a great day.
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More About Steven Wei, EdD, MPH, MS, PA-C, DFAAPA
Steven Wei, EdD, MPH, MS, PA-C, DFAAPA is a graduate of the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Physician Assistant program in 1999 and received his Master in Public Health from the University of Texas School of Public Health. He completed his doctorate in education (EdD) in professional leadership with an emphasis in health science education from the University of Houston. For over 22 years, Steve has worked in the Hepatico-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) surgery clinic at MD Anderson Cancer Center and has served as an Advanced Practice Provider Supervisor in the department of surgical oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center for over 12 years. He is also an adjunct clinical instructor for the BCM Physician Assistant (PA) program and recipient of the BCM Distinguished Young Alumnus Award. In 2018, the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) recognized him as a Distinguished Fellow.
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