Physician Assistant Eric Olson: ‘I always envisioned working in a community clinic’
With almost two decades of emergency room and urgent care experience, Physician Assistant Eric Olson has seen much when it comes to health care and treating patients.
From life-changing accidents to a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, Olson is committed to the health of patients – and the profession.
“I like helping people and problem solving,” says Olson, who joined Western Sierra Medical Clinic in early 2020. “There is always something new, another challenge.”
COVID or flu could be a concern for one patient, while another may be dealing with a gastrointestinal or respiratory issue. Others may be suffering from a minor laceration or a skin problem.
It’s just part of the normal shift in Urgent Care at the Western Sierra clinic in Grass Valley.
“I always envisioned working in a community clinic,” Olson says.
He was most recently a Physician Assistant for SWOPE Medical Group with Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, and held the same position for almost 15 years at Rideout Memorial Hospital in Marysville.
That was his first position after earning his master’s in science and becoming a Physician Assistant from the University of New England in Portland, Maine.
Olson’s decision to return to school and become a Physician Assistant is a bit of a suds-and-snow story. The ski-lover left Maine for California, and was working in a brewery in Reno, where he met his wife and pondered returning to school to become a brew master.
“I always enjoyed science,” says Olson, who soon learned his love for science expanded to physiology – and health care. Two seasons as a ski patrol in Maine encouraged him to return to school with the plan of becoming a Physician Assistant. “It helped me realize I might enjoy making a career of medicine.”
After graduating from the program, Olson’s wife was offered an opportunity to return to the Sierra Foothills, where she is from.
“There is a different kind of vibe up here,” says Olson, who adds Nevada County is much like rural Maine. “There’s a very good sense of community and a lot of cultural offerings.”
Olson enjoys the vibe and the offerings of the region with his wife and teenage daughter and son. Away from the clinic, he also embraces nature, from hiking and skiing to spending time swimming in the Yuba River.