From ‘Orderly’ to ER Doctor – A Physician’s Journey

Blackshaw ’12 consults with colleagues on cases between patient visits.

Aaron Blackshaw’s (’12) path to becoming an emergency room physician started at a crossroads that rarely leads to medical school. It was the summer of 2009 and he was wrapping up his freshman year at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. He still hadn’t declared a major and needed to come home to a summer job to put some money in his pocket and somehow keep his battered 17-year-old Ford on the road.

On a lark, he reached out to a family friend at Novant Health Matthews Medical Center who suggested he apply for a “patient transport” position. Once known as orderlies, transporters wheel hospital patients to and from surgery, to various procedures and tests, and finally, out the front door at discharge. (Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, he also applied for jobs at a deli, a movie theater and smoothie shop.)

Blackshaw got the hospital job, and soon found himself learning every corner of the facility – and loving the interaction with patients. He’d been thinking about medicine as a career and his first encounter whetted his interest. “Everybody has a story,” he said. “Patients come from all walks of life.” Blackshaw liked putting people at ease with friendly chit-chat, the tension of a busy night in the ER, stepping in to help when he could, and walking out the door at 3 a.m. into a humid North Carolina night as the rest of the world slept. “I just thought it was really cool,” he said.

Article by Roland Wilkerson. For more on this story, check out the full article on Novant Health: Healthy Headlines!

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