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J. Michael Rutledge, MS/PA Studies ‘21 
MS in Physician Assistant Studies


July 20, 2021

US Army veteran and PCOM Georgia PA Studies program graduate J. Michael Rutledge, MS/PA Studies ‘21J. Michael Rutledge, MS/PA Studies ’21, spent 10 years in active duty military service in the U.S. Army with five deployments prior to pursuing a career as a physician assistant.

He said his experience as an infantryman “fuels his passion for the physical and psychological care of others.”

“My background has instilled in me a captivation with collaborative problem solving, dedication to the betterment of the team, and the composed pragmatism built from a successful career in one of the most fast-paced, stressful and chaotic environments.”

Working with medics in Afghanistan inspired Rutledge to pursue a career in health care. He said, “I’m enamored with all areas of medicine.” And he has found that “PA’s are what make modern medicine collaborative.”

In addition, he learned that physician assistants have the potential for lateral movement.

Upon graduation, Rutledge will work in the orthopedic trauma area. However, as a former infantry instructor, he enjoys teaching and hopes to return to the field at some point in his career. In addition, he aspires to serve in an advanced practice provider leadership role in a hospital system in the future, or he hopes to establish one if the position is not available.

His father inspires him. “He’s legitimately the most positive person I know,” he said. The advice he would leave to prospective students echoes this attitude. “Don’t stress. It’ll be fine.”

He chose to attend PCOM Georgia after graduating from the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega because of the small cohort of students. “I know the value of learning in a smaller, familial group. I wasn’t disappointed,” he said.

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