Dr. Yohanes Tot,
PhD, MPAS, PA-C
Thank you for participating in South Sudanese human stories. We aim to inspire young people and the wider community about the inspirational leaders in their community. The questions below are tailored to educate and inspire.
Doctorate in Health Care Science/Global Health, Dec, 2018
Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Major: Health Care Science and Global Health
Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) May, 2013
Union College, Lincoln, Nebraska
Major: Physician Assistant Studies
Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science May, 2008
University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC)
Major: Clinical Laboratory Science (Medical Technologist)
Bachelor of Science May, 2007
University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO)
Major: Biotechnology and Chemistry
High School Diploma May, 2003
Benson High School, Omaha, NE
Currently working as an Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant at Sidney Regional Medical Center in Sidney, Nebraska.
What is the meaning of your name in your mother tongue?
My name is Yohanes Taydor Tot. Yohanes originated from Ethiopia. It is an Ethiopian name, meaning the Lord is gracious. Taydor is my given name, meaning I was born outside of my home country in the foreign land given I was born in Itang, Ethiopia.
What kind of values were you taught in your upbringing?
Everyone's characters are defined by his/her core personal values and principles, whether these values and beliefs are taught by your parents or learn through the process of life while you are growing up. These core values and principles are the results of one's behavior. Aristotle said it best, "Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way." Values form the foundation of our characters. As someone who was born and spent part of his childhood living in a refugee camp, circumstance and life taught me that being humble, honest, patient, and hardworking will get you where you want to be in life.
Being humble: circumstance taught me that life is not perfect. As I plan and pursue my goals, I know that there are going to be roadblocks that will cause frustrations and setbacks. However, these roadblocks/obstacles do not prevent me from pursuing what I think is right. I understand and know that mistakes and inadequacies are part of life.
Being honest: Honesty is not just about telling the truth to others but being real with yourself. I strive to be honest and ethical in all my pursuits.
Being patient: Many people (not everyone), nowadays, want instant gratification, but better and lasting things do not come instantly. I understand that life is not a marathon, but a step by step process. Not 100%, but it is safe to say that those who take time to plan and set up goals succeed in whatever they want to achieve.
Hard work: It is not to say that working hard alone will get you an achievement you desire, but it is one of the pieces of the collective process. Hard work can help individuals achieve success; it also teaches us discipline, dedication, and determination.
How was your university education? What did you learn the most?
I believe that educations depend on the individual; you can go to IV league schools and still be the same as somebody who went to local state colleges or schools. You can go extra steps to learn the material you are given and better yourself than somebody who attends class without taking anything seriously. I think that I received the best education at all the schools I have attended (UNO, UNMC, Union College, and NSU).
After graduating from Benson High School, I attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology and Chemistry. After finishing my bachelor's degree (Biotechnology and Chemistry) at UNO, I went on to complete another bachelor's degree (Clinical Laboratory Science) at UNMC, Master’s, and Doctorate later. While I appreciated the acknowledge I gained from attending these universities, what I appreciated and learned the most is the importance of planning and setting up goals. Setting goals has given me long-term vision and motivation. It focuses my acquisition of knowledge and helps me to organize my time and resources so that I can make the most of my life and pursuits of my career.
Why did you choose to become a Physician Assistant?
When I was in college, my mentor and advisor who I worked for in his labs (microbiology lab), was an advisor to many health professional students, including physician assistant. While I helped him in his labs daily, we talk about the future and what I need to do after undergraduate school. So, we discussed different health professions in which one of them is a physician assistant. At that time, I still want to go to medical school to study medicine. After graduation, I decided to do one more year of schooling at UNMC to get clinical laboratory science because I was not very interested in doing research.
However, after I finished the courses, I was able to get a job at VA Hospital in Omaha, working as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist. At the VA hospital, I was able to interact with some of the physician assistants who work at the VA hospital; From then, I developed an interest and learned more about the physician assistant profession, and decided to go physician assistant school, instead of MD school. Later, I find that the work environment of a physician assistant is more suited to my personality. While I perform many of the same duties as a medical doctor, I find myself more focused on patient care. I don't need to worry about the budget and bureaucracy, so a higher percentage of my time is taken up by the work that drew me to medicine in the first place, taking care of the patients.
Overall, being a physician assistant is not only rewarding both financially and in job satisfaction, but it allows me to focus solely on practicing medicine.
What are the roles of a Physician Assistant?
A physician assistant is a licensed medical practitioner that is tasked to diagnose, treat illness and disease, and to prescribe medication for all patients. They work in physician offices, hospitals, and clinics in collaboration with a licensed physician in the U. S.
Young men are often confused about their career paths. What advice do you have for them?
Associate and align yourself with those you have the same interest. It is reasonable to acquire early in your education to learn about different career paths. It is important to get a mentor and advisor; most of the time, confusion happens when you do not have somebody that guides you to make your right or wrong decision. The most important thing I tell people is to find your interest and passion (what do they want in life, what are their passion and interest)? Can they picture themselves doing the same thing in the next the 10 or 20 years without being burned out? A career should not be driven by financial stability or money but interest and passion.
Lastly, to conclude, what interesting fact do you want the public to know about your career?
I can choose to practice in any specialties in medicine. A physician assistant can work in cardiology, internal medicine, emergency medicine, family medicine, interventional radiology, oncology/hematology, and Pulmonology without going back to the residency program.
Nyabuoy Gatbel is a South Sudanese Canadian currently living in Calgary, AB. She was born in Ethiopia in 1993 and moved to Canada as a refugee in 2002. She's currently a undergraduate student at the University of Calgary. Besides her studies she's a social entreprenuer focusing on the, ''Paarman Centre project,'' a fashion model, writer and author of the book, ''The Fire Within poetry in Thok Nath and English.''