Meet Cyndy, Physician Assistant

Related career Physician Assistant

Cyndy FloresFull Name: Cyndy Flores

Title: Senior Director Advanced Providers, Vituity

Cyndy has been a PA for over 30 years in emergency medicine.  She has been in leadership for 25 years and has served on several local and national PA professional Board of Directors.  She has worked clinically in Level I and II Trauma centers for most of her career caring for severely injured and seriously ill patients, hoping each day to be able to make a difference in someone’s life.  In her leadership role, she focuses on creative solutions to challenges and encouraging those around her to be part of the solution in finding ways to deliver compassionate high-quality medicine wherever and to whomever needs it.

WorkIn your own words, describe your career.
I started my medical career as a paramedic, working in some of the most demanding areas like East LA and East Palo Alto.  But I learned to think on my feet, deal with rapidly changing situations and common sense.  After about 8 years of this, I found myself in an orthopedic office has a knee injury and there were 2 PAs working in the office.  I was intrigued by their work and they encouraged me to think about going to PA school.  I did and felt it was a reasonable next step in my career.  I was fortunate enough to be accepted to Stanford University’s program and surprisingly made it out the other side as a certified PA.   Right after I graduated from PA school, I happen to attend an educational conference. I was hanging out on the pool deck (obviously I was a hard studier!), and someone said, "Hey, you should come to the board meeting. It's a lot of fun.”  Well, I like to joke that that was the last time I ever saw the pool. I went to the meeting, connected with some great people, and things just snowballed from there. I spent the next 17 years working pretty intensively with California Academy of PAs. I served an extended term as president, sat on the board for about seven years, and was on more committees than I could count. We tightened the infrastructure and built CAPA into the second-largest physician assistant advocacy organization in the country. I also had the chance to participate in advocacy and policy work and to educate our industry about the role of PAs.  This led to doing work on a national level that led to my now full time job in leadership.  I worked clinically as a PA for 30+ years and while I didn’t love every minute of it, it was an amazing career and I can’t believe that I was able to help so many people in big ways and little ways.  

What do you love most about your job? What are its biggest challenges?
I love I get to help people every day at work – sometimes it’s big (like I just saved your life) to something small but powerful (like I sat for a minute and listened to you).  I see people when they are probably at their worse and I get to play a part in making that day better.  It’s also a bit of instant gratification, in the emergency room things happen pretty quickly and so you get to see results right then and there.  Some of the biggest challenges is people not taking responsibility for themselves or their own health.  They could feel so much better and use less resources if they took responsibility.  But sometimes the system lets people down and that is really hard to see.  It’s funny the ED has limited resources and sometimes you let people go just hoping they land on their feet.  

Cyndy Flores skiingWhat are some of your hobbies and interests outside of work?  
I live for cross country skiing.  If I’m not skiing I’m either thinking about skiing or doing something that will make me skiing better.  Granted I’m not that good of an athlete, but I like to try and the physical and mental challenge of XC skiing is amazing.  I’ve also been able to travel around the world to participate in XC skiing events and have made new friends in many counties.  Plus, it lets me eat all the cookies I want!

Any last words of advice?
You have to pick a job you love – you have to love what you are doing.  If you think about it, you will spend most of your life at your job (unless a rich uncle leaves you a fortune) and so make sure it is something you love walking into each day – life is too short.