Kathleen Kolles

What is your educational background, where are you from, and how did you end up at UK?

I am from Georgetown, KY. I’m a Wildcat through and through and have always wanted to pursue my education at UK.  For as long as I can remember, I have felt a strong calling to the medical field and to the concept of healing. The enduring, intricate machine that is the human body has never ceased to amaze me. My undergraduate studies were at the University of Kentucky in Kinesiology and Health Promotion; it was during that time that I became interested in the PA profession, and more specifically, UK’s Physician Assistant Studies Program.

Why did you choose to participate in UK’s PA Residency Program?

I value continued growth; I knew that if I participated in UK PA’s Residency Program, I would learn so much more about inpatient medicine.  I have been learning how to manage very sick patients on a much more in-depth way than I was able to learn in my rotations for PA school.  I surely could admit or discharge a patient to the hospital now in my sleep (haha).  Something that I already valued but it's importance has been reiterated in my role as a PA resident in Hospital Medicine is how paramount team-work, communication, and interprofessional collaboration is when caring for patients at this level.

What has been the most rewarding experience thus far?

Getting to follow my patients throughout their hospital course.  As a Hospitalist, you serve as a gatekeeper of that patient's care while they are in the hospital.  You get to know your patients and their families, which is something I find very rewarding.  I have patients that are all over the spectrum as far as their admitting diagnosis, other conditions, and management.  Some of the most rewarding experiences I have had so far are with my patients admitted with complications of IV drug abuse who present with serious life-threatening infections such as endocarditis and osteomyelitis.  These patients often require a prolonged hospital course for IV antibiotics and this provides an invaluable opportunity for me as a PA resident to help them get their foot in the door for recovery.  Most of the time, these patients are at their breaking point, realize they need to accept help, and are ready to be treated.  Addiction can be very misunderstood but if it's treated like a disease, you can see people start to get better and take more ownership in their health.  I love collaborating with our Addiction Medicine Service at UK and Social Work to help these patients.

Have you had many challenges?

Absolutely, but that is how we grow as providers.  I have had to learn to manage time and how to prioritize my case load and what needs to be done.  I can have up to 7 patients on my case load and be discharging/admitting, calling consults, placing orders, talking to families, my attending, and writing notes.  It took time to get my flow down, systematically what works for me and is putting my patients first.

What would you say to other PAs or PAS students who are considering applying for the residency program?

DO IT!!!! If you want to learn how to manage complex patients, work collaboratively on a healthcare team, learn procedures such as lumbar punctures, paracentesis, thoracentesis; then this will be a great residency for you. It has been challenging, but so rewarding and I can say I have loved every minute of this residency in Hospital Medicine.