In 2014, Chelsey Cardwell was working on her biology degree at Emory & Henry and had plans of going to a Physician Assistant school. But she needed an internship. “I needed experience in the medical field, and the local hospitals didn’t have any programs like that unless you directly knew someone.”
That same year she took a career exploration class with Amanda Gardner, then E&H director of career services, and she was required to attend a networking event with E&H alumni who volunteered to give students a chance to talk about professions.
She headed straight for Dr. Mark Handy (E&H ’87) and explained her plight. “He just said, ‘Come work for me!’ which took me off guard. He literally let me start the next day.”
The experience was pivotal for Chelsey. She worked in Dr. Handy’s office as an intern for that semester in 2014, and then continued as an employee, finished her bachelor’s degree, and kept working there until 2018 when she finished nursing school. “Dr. Handy taught me how to care for the person through truly knowing them, their family, their fears, and their musical preferences! His close relationships with his patients allows him to care for more than just their physical needs which is what sets him apart. People would come into that office literally begging to be seen by him because they had heard the lengths he has gone to for his patients.”
The example Dr. Handy provides for health care students was recently recognized by the medical students at the University of Virginia as he was named their 2019 Volunteer Clinical Faculty Mentor of the Year.
Chelsey notes that his commitment to understanding people has greatly influenced her work. “I know for a fact I would not be the caring nurse I am today if he had not shown me how loving your patients as your own can make “the difference in their outcome, and, in many cases, it can mean life or death.”
Dr. Handy says there are a lot of reasons to be a mentor. “Mentorship for me is about opening up the minds and hearts of the students to the passion that I have for my profession. To let them see what is possible for all that they have learned in class. To connect the dots from the dream to the reality of their career path.”
“His [Dr. Handy’s] close relationships with his patients allows him to care for more than just their physical needs which is what sets him apart.”