Congratulations, it is an Honor to Feature
Sheri Yeatts, PA-C
Chesapeake Regional Neurosciences
Before Sheri Yeatts ever enrolled in the Master of Physician Assistant program at Eastern Virginia Medical School, she had plenty of hands-on patient experience.
A former ocean rescue lifeguard and firefighter, Yeatts, responded to everything from heat stroke and jellyfish stings to drownings and spinal cord diving injuries to heart attacks, structure fires, and serious car accidents.
Now working primarily with spine patients at the Chesapeake Regional Neurosciences – Neurosurgery, Yeatts is understandably calm under pressure. She is also committed to caring for each of her patients as she would want herself or a loved one to be treated, including exhausting conservative treatment options before turning to surgery as appropriate.
“My background has made me pretty versatile, and I enjoy helping all of my patients,” she says. “It’s especially rewarding to change the lives of people who are in terrible pain or suffering from debilitating extremity weakness because of a spine condition.”
Born into an Army family, Yeatts grew up in Gloucester and began lifeguarding as a summer job at age 14. After earning a biology degree from the College of William & Mary, she wanted to tackle a new lifeguarding challenge and moved to the Outer Banks, where she worked in ocean rescue for 10 years.
“Many people don’t realize how dangerous it can be down there due to shore breaks and rip currents,” she notes. “Lifeguards are busy and involved in very real rescues, especially if there are big crowds and big waves. It’s not uncommon to have to prepare someone with a spinal injury for a medical evacuation flight or to perform CPR on a drowning victim.”
For six years, Yeatts also was a firefighter for the Town of Kitty Hawk, where about 80 percent of calls were for medical issues rather than fires; one even required removing a snake from a house. She generally worked winters with the fire department and summers as a lifeguard.
Before enrolling at EVMS, Yeatts spent four years as the Aquatics Director for the City of Hampton and another four back in beach lifeguarding in Kitty Hawk, where her husband is a fire captain and Ocean Rescue Director.
Yeatts has been with her current practice, a part of Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, for 11 years. She was hired immediately after her EVMS graduation and mentored by neurosurgeon Nasrollah Fatehi, MD.
“I was really open to any specialty in school, and I was lucky to find such an excellent mentor and an interesting field,” she says. “I believe in a PA staying in one specialty, if possible, in order to gain experience and expertise. I don’t plan on changing my path.”
Recently, Yeatts branched out from spine cases to seeing some patients with brain aneurysms and tumors, guided by practice neurosurgeons John Shutack, MD, and Mary H. Cobb, MD. She is grateful to work in a small office where the three providers and staff aim to respond to patient calls and needs within 24 hours.
“Again, it’s about offering the type of care that I would want my mother, my brother or any loved one to have,” she says.
Mother to an 11-year-old daughter, Yeatts enjoys gardening, including growing her own vegetables, and staying in shape with low-impact – and therefore spine-friendly – exercises such as walking, weight training and elliptical.
A member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Virginia Academy of Physician Assistants, Yeatts is happy that her unconventional career path brought her into medicine and neuroscience.
“I leave the office every day feeling like I’ve made a difference,” she says. “That’s what I’ve always wanted in a job.”
We are grateful for local Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants who serve our healthcare community!
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