Darryl Olive pursues the human aspect of healing
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Where is UMKC taking you?
UMKC is taking me towards becoming a physician assistant, a medical provider and healer for the community. It is giving me some great technical skills, but I’m also learning good “human” skills – how to relate to people and provide them with the care they deserve, not just the care they need.
Why did you choose UMKC?
I came to visit, and I met the program director for the physician assistant program, Kathy Ervie. I felt an instant connection with her. I could really tell that she cared about what she was doing and that she was putting 120 percent into this program to make it successful. She really inspired me and made me want to come here. I admit I was also tied to Kansas City, though. I have a partner and three kids here, so I couldn’t go too far (laughs). Plus, the fact that the program is embedded within the School of Medicine was very attractive to me. I get to learn alongside those students and be taught by some of the same professors. It’s a really valuable experience for a physician assistant.
What led you to becoming a physician assistant at UMKC?
I actually considered applying to the MD program at first and had researched the school here. I’m a non-traditional student and the oldest person in my PA class, which is seven semesters. Also, I went to MU for my undergraduate program, so I was already familiar with the system and felt good about coming here.
What excites you?
My family, my kids. I believe that relationships are the most important aspect of living, so my relationships with all people – family, friends, my patients – are the thing that keeps me motivated.
What is unique about you?
Well, I love to play the guitar. When I have the house to myself, I play and sing really loud – it helps me relieve stress. But I only do it when no one can hear me (laughs). I love to cook, and I enjoy having dinner parties. Although honestly, those can be stressful, too. Oh, and I’m a fitness nut – I own a CrossFit Gym and work there part-time. I’m actually the only person in my program that also works, so I have a pretty full schedule with school, work and family.
How has your college program inspired you?
I’ve been really inspired by my classmates. The UMKC PA program makes a great effort in recruiting and admissions to bring in a diverse group of people with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. It shows. I’m never surprised by the hard work, intelligence and accomplishments of our class. We are like a small family that is always there to support and help each other through the workload and demands of the program.
Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?
I’m working on finding balance. Being a full-time student, working part-time, volunteering and having a family requires discipline, planning and organization. I’m learning when to say no and not overcommit. It’s a challenge for me because I feel often feel I can accomplish everything. There are so many opportunities for leadership and campus involvement. I’m focusing on priorities first.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?
One of my business school professors taught our class the importance of relationships. It was a marketing class, which involved extensive group projects. The instructor wanted us to learn not only the importance of relationship marketing, but also how relationships are important in every aspect of life. In the end, it’s the relationships that have a sustaining impact on our lives. I’ve have met some great friends and mentors through college.
Who do you admire most at UMKC?
I really admire the 6 year BA/MD students. They come in at such an early age and commit to the practice of medicine. The path to becoming a doctor is a sacrifice and can be a long road. I admire the sense of selflessness in their pursuit to help others.
I also admire the PA Program Director, Kathy Ervie. As a student, it is clear that she is committed to seeing the program mature while helping students in any way she can.
What’s your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is not living up to my promise to my grandmother. She often asked what I wanted to be when I grow up and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. I told her that I wanted to practice medicine. While she has passed away several years ago, I know that she will be proud of me when I complete the program in May 2018!
What is one word that best describes you and why?
Spirited. I’m enthusiastic about life and all thing things it has to offer and teach us.