Maggie Green, a CWRU Master of Science in Anesthesia Program alumna, works as a certified anesthesiologist assistant and loves every minute of it.
“I knew it was where I was supposed to be. It was clear,” she shared. As one might expect, the program came with some challenges. However, in the eyes of Maggie Green, it came with far more rewards and benefits.
Maggie exemplifies how a person can accomplish anything that they set their mind to. She worked through the difficulties of simultaneously working, raising two young children, and being a student in the CAA program. She accomplished her dream of raising her children in a good neighborhood and having a flexible schedule that allows her to spend time with them. Not to mention, she experiences the satisfaction of helping people every day at her job. Read on for her inspiring story.
What challenges did you face while in the program?
Right after I got accepted into the CAA program I found out that I was pregnant with my second child. I ended up deferring for a year. When I returned I was starting the program with two young children (aged 5 years and 6 months), one of whom I was nursing. I had to leave the OR every 3-4 hours in order to pump. It was difficult, to say the least.
I took away from the experience how awesome our instructors are. They were extremely supportive of me. Everyone was trying to help me make it work, even classmates. They shared notes which helped me keep up. It felt like another, extended family. I never felt uncomfortable with my choice of going to school while simultaneously raising my family. All in all, the situation was a lot less challenging than it would have otherwise been.
Did you work while in the program?
You bet I did. I had to work. My husband has epilepsy and, at the time, his job didn’t offer health insurance. Because of his condition and having two children, health insurance was a necessity. We all have our own responsibilities, and mine include caring for my family.
So, Monday through Friday, I attended class and, every weekend, I went to work. Often times, I worked two twelve hour shifts. I felt incredibly stressed, and I don’t recommend it. I even failed my first board exam due to being spread too thin. If you can avoid working while you’re in the program, do so.
What made you choose Case Western Reserve University?
I knew I wanted to stay close to home because my family lives here and I wanted to be available for my mom, who was having health issues. I also wanted the very best education and, after researching CWRU’s CAA program, it was clear to me. This is what I wanted to do, this is where I wanted to do it, and this is where I was meant to be.
Did you feel well prepared as a clinician after this program?
Oh, no doubt about it! I really loved being in the OR as a first year student. It was easy to connect what I learned in class with how it actually works in the field. Teaching students to be autonomous is the one thing that sets CWRU’s program apart from others. Even before I graduated, I knew that I could thrive in any environment. I learned how to really pay attention to what the patient needs and how to keep them comfortable. I also learned how to anticipate what the surgeon would need as well. Once I entered the workforce I felt like I was more prepared than CAAs at other programs.
What advice would you give to someone starting the program?
I would advise someone to make sure that this is what he or she wants. Dedication is the key. It’s an intense program and it takes discipline, so you have to be willing to make small sacrifices for the greater outcome. This isn’t something that you can go halfway on, but it’s definitely worth it. I honestly cannot say enough good things about CWRU’s CAA program.
What is your overall lifestyle like today?
Surprising as it may sound, I actually look forward to going to work! I’m not exaggerating when I say that I really love my job. I’m a quieter person normally, but when I’m in the OR I feel like I’m exactly where I’m meant to be. It’s an amazing feeling!
I’m able to work several different schedules, which is one of my favorite things about my job. I always have plenty of free time to spend with my family. I can even move my schedule around to take trips or attend events my kids are a part of. I’m also very grateful for the fact that I was able to care for my mother as her health worsened and she eventually passed away. My schedule allowed me the time to look after her and make sure she was comfortable.
Growing up in impoverished East Cleveland, I remember not seeing my mom very often because she had to work so much. I knew that I didn't want that for our kids and my job means I’m available to them. I never have to worry about paying the bills, in fact, we have an excellent quality of life, including fun vacations.
I have a wonderful career that began in a wonderful program. Whenever I have the opportunity to teach, I try to impart the same supportive values I received as a student. I highly recommend CWRU’s CAA program to anyone who may be interested.