Elizabeth Adams

By

College: Medicine

Roots in Rural Kentucky Fuel Medical Student's Desire to Respond to Emergencies

Published: May 16, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 16, 2014) - University of Kentucky medical student Ashley Loan eagerly anticipates the day she handles the chaos of the emergency room with a controlled calm.

 

"I can't wait for the day I develop that calm," Loan said. "It's an eerie thing when you see a physician gain control of the room."

 

Loan recognized the importance of a calm emergency response at a young age when her mother Elizabeth Loan performed CPR on a farmer in the fields of Greenup County. The farmer was pinned from the waist down under a turned-over tractor. Elizabeth Loan administered CPR to keep him alive until emergency responders from the nearest hospital arrived.  

 

Loan is among the 115 members of the UK College of Medicine Class of 2014 graduating Saturday, May 17, in the Concert Hall of the UK Singletary Center for the Arts. She also is one of 10 graduating students that participated in UK's Rural Physician Leadership Program, where she believes her roots in Greenup County prepared her for a future responding to medical emergencies in rural Kentucky.

 

Loan was raised on a tobacco farm, following behind her father's setter when she was just 8 years old and selling produce at the family's roadside farm stand during the summers. She showed lambs raised on the farm at county fairs and through the 4-H program. She understands cultural characteristics that influence health in rural populations, like the patient's attitude of self-reliance that results in attempts to self-medicate or postpone a doctor's visits. It's often difficult for doctors from urban environments to appreciate those cultural variances.

 

 

"I get why people don't go to the doctor - rural people are raised to take care of themselves," Loan said. "Before they come to the doctor, they've tried a few things."

 

Loan's earliest experiences in emergency medicine were watching her mother respond to accidents in the farming community. Elizabeth Loan commuted to the nearest community college to obtain an associate's degree in nursing, which qualified her as the most educated health care provider within a 10-mile radius of the Loan farm. When the neighbor's son went into a diabetic coma, Loan remembers her mother rushing to their house to administer sugar water.

 

"There have been a lot of instances when my mom was the sole health care provider," Loan said.

 

Loan has personal ties to health challenges that are common in many rural communities. Loan's father, a lifelong tobacco user, suffers from COPD. Understanding that tobacco farming was once a way of life for many farmers, Loan thinks it's important that doctors aren't judgmental when working with rural patients. She has also learned the importance of thorough questioning when asking about a patient's health condition. 

 

Loan said growing up in a rural area isolated from hospitals fueled her desire to deliver more efficient emergency medical care to rural communities. She enjoys the challenge of being the first doctor on the trauma scene and "Macgyver-ing" her way through emergencies with limited resources. She said it's especially rewarding to see relief in the patient with a few steps and in a short period of time.

 

"I love the fact that patients who come to the emergency department are the sickest patients you are going to see," Loan said. "You lay your eyes on them, you have no previous notes - you are the person who has an hour before the patient crashes to figure out what's going on."

 

Along with the other students part of UK's Rural Physician Leadership Program, Loan participated in clerkship rotations and lectures at St. Claire Regional Medical Center through a partnership between the UK College of Medicine and Morehead State University. She said the medical center's smaller staff and fewer residents opened up more opportunities for medical students to gain hands-on experience with patients. Loan has delivered more than 10 babies, assisted attending physicians with bowel surgery and helped stabilize a coding patient in the emergency department. She's also visited rural hospitals in West Virginia.

 

Dr. Phillip Overall, a UK College of Medicine graduate and the emergency clerkship director at St. Claire Regional Medical Center, believes Loan has already demonstrated the calm and decisive qualities needed in an emergency room doctor. As part of the program at St. Claire, one medical student is assigned to work with one attending physician at a time, so there's less competition for opportunities among residents, fellows and medical students. Overall said Loan has shown both compassion and leadership in the midst of an emergency.

 

"She is able to think very quickly on her feet and subsequently provide excellent patient care," Overall said. "We take care of critical patients on a daily basis and she is absolutely able to step back and assess the entire situation calmly and come up with a plan to take care of the patient."

 

As the assistant dean for the Rural Physician Leadership Program, Dr. Anthony Weaver recruited Loan to the program four years ago. When evaluating students for the program, Weaver considers the student's mindfulness of family and sense of responsibility to the community where they practice. Weaver said rural practices and hospitals need physicians who are committed to living and working in small towns. Loan's closeness to her family and ability to "have conversations with anyone about just about anything" made her an ideal candidate for the program.

 

"Ashley Loan has the intelligence and drive to succeed as a physician, but more importantly, she cares about her family and her neighbors," Weaver said. "Improvements in the health of rural Kentucky will come from people like Ashley."

 

With her commitment to practicing medicine in Greenup County, Loan was awarded the $20,000 Vernon Smith Scholarship for students who graduated from Greenup County High School. Along with a doctorate in medicine, on May 17 she also will receive a certificate in health systems leadership. During her medical residency also being completed at UK, she will take one class a semester to obtain a master's in business administration, with aspirations to serve as the director of a rural emergency department one day.

 

As a high school student, Loan wanted to escape rural Kentucky, but she now finds herself drawn back to the farming life. Loan and her fiancé Ryan Brown, who she met at a county fair during high school, recently purchased an 87-acre farm in Greenup County. They built a small house on the farm, which will serve as their weekend home while Loan completes her residency program in Lexington.

 

After residency, Loan plans to practice emergency medicine at a nearby hospital. She will raise beef cattle when she's not responding to emergencies.

 

"I'm definitely a small-town person," Loan said. "I feel an obligation to come back and serve the people who have really believed in me for so long. It makes my day when someone says, 'You are coming back here?' I'm Ashley - I'm the girl who sold corn with her dad on the side of the road - they trust me, and I like that."

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu

ashley_loan_future3.jpgashley_and_dog.jpgashley_with_lamb.jpg
September
 
 
1
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Receive 80% Refund
Suicide Prevention: Raising Awareness & Sharing Our Stories
Welcome Coffee
Game Show
Tue
2
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wed
3
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Rosemary's Baby
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Pitch Perfect 2
Adjusting to College
Adjusting to College
Kickoff Football Season Grill Out
Thu
4
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Akira
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Whiplash
To Live in the Borderlands: A Household Perspective on Frontier Politics from the Middle Jequetepeque Valley, Peru
Fri
5
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Go Swing Dancing!
Sat
6
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Sun
7
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Labor Day
Mon
8
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Ivory Tower
Tue
9
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wed
10
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Selena
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Jurassic World
Adjusting to College
Terrace Time Out
Thu
11
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
The Late Night Film Series Presents - The Great Beauty
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Predator
Friday Swing Dance Lessons - Free!
Friday Swing Dance Lessons - Free!
Accounting Internship & Career Fair
Fri
12
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Sculptors On Paper
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Sat
13
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Sun
14
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Superhero
Mon
15
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Women's Forum Board Meeting
Southern Sirens Concert
Tue
16
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Wed
17
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Adjusting to College
Constitutional Decisions and LGBTQ+ Rights
Freedom of Speech for Higher Education Faculty
Interactive Issues Graffiti Wall for Constitution Day: "What Civic Issues are Most Important to You?"
Voter Registration and Information on Student Civic Engagement
Citizen Kentucky Project for Constitution Day 2015
Advocacy through Digital Citizenship
The Gender and Citizenship Challenge
"Picking Cotton" in Context: A Discussion on Issues from the Common Reading Experience book
The Power of Symbols: Confederate Imagery in the Public Space
Thu
18
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Essay Contest for Constitution Day 2015
Outdoor Installation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Dark Girls
The Late Night Film Series Presents - The Pokémon Movie
LexPhil Pre-Concert Buffet
Curator Tour with Stuart Horodner
Fri
19
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Sat
20
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
LexHop
Sun
21
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Finger Painting
Mon
22
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Tue
23
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Last Day to Receive 50% Refund
Thank-A-Donor Day
2 Day Business Internship & Career Fair
Pinterest Party I
Wed
24
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
2 Day Business Internship & Career Fair
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Wild Tales
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Mad Max: Fury Road
Adjusting to College
Thu
25
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
The Late Night Film Series Presents - All.I.Can
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Nightcrawler
Fri
26
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Arts Writing Workshop
Sat
27
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Sun
28
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Mandala
Mon
29
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Kitty Karnival
Tue
30
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wed
 
 
 
Sep 05
Swing Dance Lessons - Free 09/05/2015

Repeats every week until Sat Nov 21 2015 .
Sat, 09/05/2015

Sat, 09/05/2015

Mon, 09/07/2015

Repeats every week until Tue Dec 08 2015 .
Tue, 09/08/2015

Reset Page