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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Joy of Balance: A Late-Bloomer Helps Others on the Path to Well-Being

Oct 01, 2012 02:34PM ● By Linda Sechrist

Joy Sensakovic

In a 2008 article published in The New Yorker magazine, Malcom Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference and Outliers: The Story of Success, wrote about “late bloomers”, noting that their success frequently depends upon the efforts of others, especially their family. Joy Sensakovic, the owner of Joy of Balance, readily agrees with Gladwell’s observation—she is grateful to her family, who supported her pursuit to become a physician assistant (PA). Not drawn to a college education or the world of medicine until age 37, Sensakovic was undaunted by a late start and being surrounded by much younger students.

“During my high school years, the deep loss of two family members clouded over any anticipation of a career. A drunk driver killed my brother, who was a high school senior, and my dad died of pancreatic cancer when I was a senior. A college education was the last thing on my mind,” says Sensakovic, who notes that her interest in medicine began to emerge after marrying and caring for her children.

“I was a voracious reader who never enjoyed novels. Eventually, I noticed a theme in the stack of books that I brought home from the library. They were all about ‘how to’ do something that concerned medicine, such as how to deliver a baby,” explains Sensakovic, who began taking college courses during her children’s grammar school years. “My husband worked and by that time, I was interested in higher education,” she advises.

Prior to receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and biology from Monmouth University, in New Jersey, Sensakovic’s professors encouraged her to go on to medical school. “I considered the sacrifice that my family had already made and concluded that pursuing four years of medical school and a residency program was unfair to them,” she advises. “I knew that I definitely wanted a career in medicine, so I investigated the role of a PA and was accepted at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Seton Hall University to receive a dual master’s degree in the physician assistant and science programs,” she advises.

Sensakovic explains that a PA is educated and trained in a medical model which is the same model for physicians. “I had to participate the same way as medical students while attending my rotations. If they were on call, I had to take a turn to be on call, as well,” she says. Like a physician, she is regulated by the state’s board of medicine, must be periodically recertified and is required to take a medical board exam every six years. In order to remain up-to-date in all areas of medicine, she is also required to earn a minimum of 100 continuing medical education credits every two years.

After graduation, Sensakovic became the PA for a heart surgery team in Sayer, Pennsylvania. “I was the first assistant to the heart surgeon and as his other set of hands, we worked together,” she recalls. For example, while the surgeon was opening the chest and preparing the heart for bypass surgery, Sensakovic was surgically opening the leg, removing the vein and then moving it up to the chest to be inserted.

When she was offered the position of PA for vascular surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, in Naples, Sensakovic moved to Florida. Eventually, she went on to work in different areas of medicine in order to hone her skills in aesthetic procedures.

While still working in the specialized area of cosmetic procedures, such as facial rejuvenation and the treatment of spider and varicose veins, Sensakovic returned to school to earn an advanced degree as a fellow in anti-aging regenerative and functional medicine, where she learned about bio-identical replacement and compounding pharmaceuticals.

“Now I’m where I want to be, making people feel better on the inside and look good on the outside,” says Sensakovic.

Joy of Balance, LLC, 9240 Bonita Beach Rd. S.E., Bldg. C, Ste. 2217, Bonita Springs. For more information, call 239-293-8124 or visit JoyOfBalanceFL.com.

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