Derrick Rocker, DC, is a recent graduate of the MSU PA program. On Friday, December 13, he received his master’s degree with the Class of 2019. Classmates describe him as “humble, intelligent, and kind with a contagious smile.” Preceptors shared, “Derrick was an excellent assistant in both clinic and in the operating room. Prompt and professional.” With a doctor of chiropractic and a master of science in physician assistant studies, we’re excited to see what’s next for Dr. Rocker; soon to be PA-C.
Colleges attended and degrees earned
Missouri State University- Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies
Cleveland University- Kansas City- Doctor of Chiropractic
University of Nebraska-Lincoln- Bachelor of Science in Animal Science
Previous health care experience
I worked as a chiropractor at a small medical clinic in rural Nebraska. I had a very unique opportunity for a chiropractor as I worked at the same clinic as our medical doctor, nurse practitioners and physician assistant and often collaborated with them to care for patients.
Interesting fact about yourself
I did a lot of traveling during my clinical year! While most students do the majority of their clinical rotations in Springfield and the surrounding area, I chose to do my rotations at distant clinical sites in Nebraska, Missouri and Oklahoma. I loved traveling around and spending time in places that I probably would not have visited otherwise.
Why did you decide to become a PA?
While I was working at the medical clinic with doctors, nurse practitioners, and a physician assistant, I got to see the wide variety of conditions that they were treating and overtime I decided that I would like to do that as well. I chose physician assistant over other routes for medical training as I liked that you get a wide base of medical knowledge in PA school and are then able to work in such a wide variety of specialties.
Describe your experience in the program.
My experience in the program was great! I liked the small class size which allowed for plenty of hands-on time in the lab. We also had many doctors and physician assistants come to class to teach us about certain topics which gave us many opportunities to learn from people practicing in the field. I enjoyed my clinical rotations and feel like I had great opportunities to learn from knowledgeable providers. As someone who moved a long way from home to go to PA school at Missouri State, I can say that it was totally worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat!
What do you like best about Missouri State’s PA program?
The faculty, staff and my classmates! The faculty and staff were very nice and more than willing to help if you needed it! PA school can be pretty stressful at times, but my classmates always helped each other get through the rough patches and we managed to have a lot of fun along the way!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received so far?
Keep an open mind! I think most students going into PA school have some idea of a specialty or type of job that they would like to purse, but I think it’s important to keep your options open. As you go through the program you are exposed to so many different possibilities that you may not have considered before. Throughout the program I constantly changed my mind about what I wanted to do after graduation, you might be surprised about what specialty you end up enjoying!
What specialty do you want to pursue? Why?
I did my elective rotation in Neurosurgery and really enjoyed it! I like that I get to care for patients in a variety of settings including the clinic, hospital and OR.