When I informed Cortney (Janzen) van den Berg that she was selected to be the Heartland Beat Student of the Month, she joked, â€œIs it because I am the only person still in school in June?â€ While that is certainly a reason to be nominated, Cortneyâ€™s academic abilities and leadership skills deserve to be highlighted.
Cortney was a 2008 graduate of Heartland Community Schools and then headed to Tabor College to further her education. At Tabor, Cortney played volleyball for four years and was involved in the Science Club. Academically, she always knew she wanted to study something in healthcare after watching her mom, grandma, and aunt all enjoy the field. It was during college when she decided to look further into becoming a physician assistant. This led her to job shadow in Henderson and in York where she determined that was indeed what she wanted to do.
The route of becoming a physician assistant really interested Cortney because she appreciated the idea of collaborating on a team to consult with the other doctors. She also would like to have a family someday and didnâ€™t want to be in school for a longer period of time like becoming a doctor would require. Another benefit was the wide variety of employment options available to PAs.
After graduating mangna cum laude from Tabor with a Biology degree, Cortney worked in Witchita and then at the Henderson Hospital to gain experience before starting PA school at UNMC last August. While PA school is definitely challenging, Cortney said, â€œItâ€™s amazing how much information you can learn in such a short time.â€ The fact that she is keen on what she is studying is very helpful to keep persevering. There are 44 students in her class, and she said they all work together to persist through their studies.
Classroom work will continue for Cortney until she begins rotations in October. She will officially graduate in December of 2015. While she will have to see what peaks her interest during rotations, she is interested in practicing family medicine. Ideally, she would like to move back to the area with her husband Rory who is a construction engineer. â€œI was fortunate to see good healthcare in Henderson, and I am very thankful for that,â€ said Cortney.
Congratulations to Cortney van den Berg on being this monthâ€™s Heartland Beat Student of the Month and hopefully one day she will be practicing medicine in the area!
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