Pathways Prepares Trainee for Medical School: Madie’s Story

Feb 19, 2024

After over two years with People Incorporated, Pathways graduate Madie Clabaugh is now transitioning to a role as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in the Emergency Department at Children’s Minneapolis. After a transformative experience as a Pathways trainee and then as a mental health practitioner in People Incorporated’s programs, Madie discovered her passion for psychiatry and is pursuing a career in medicine.

Madie’s journey began right after college with a search for a role in the mental health field. Not entirely sure of her desired direction within mental health, she stumbled upon the Pathways program. What drew her in was the program’s promise of exposure to various settings and sites, providing a comprehensive introduction to the field. She dove eagerly into the 9-month program, learning how to become a mental health practitioner through paid field experience alongside a tight-knit cohort.

“I’m thankful

that this was my first experience in the field,” said Madie. “We graduated as a group of four, so we got to know each other really well and helped each other along the way.”

The Pathways experience proved to be a pivotal point in her professional development. Working across different residential facilities, along with spending significant time in children’s day treatment, she gained exposure to diverse options within the mental health field.

“I grew a lot in confidence and trusting myself in unknown situations, which is really important for this job,” said Madie. “Even if you’re a staff member at the same facility every day, it’s still unpredictable and there are still things you need to be flexible for.”

After graduating from the Pathways program in summer 2022, she continued her journey within People Incorporated, initially working as a float staff. This role offered her the opportunity to explore different sites to discover which one was the best fit, eventually landing on Nancy Page Residence. During this period of working full-time and getting to know Nancy Page’s clients and staff more personally, she realized her desire to pursue medical school, a revelation influenced by her experiences in care coordination working alongside case managers and psychiatrists.

Her desire to become a psychiatrist was shaped by witnessing the impactful relationships between clients and their psychiatrists in People Incorporated’s programs. Recognizing the integral role of psychiatry in mental health recovery, she was drawn to the field’s unique balance between the subjective nature of therapy and the objective aspects of medicine.

“A good psychiatrist plays a huge role in the client’s mental health journey,” said Madie. “For a lot of people, medications are a really integral part of recovery. Psychiatry requires this interesting balance of being able to listen to the patient, believe the patient, and respond to what they’re reporting. Then, you have to connect that to data-driven solutions, whether that be recommending medications or other services. I want to be the one standing in

the middle of those two worlds and connecting them.”

Reflecting on her time at People Incorporated, in a field where there are no formulaic answers, Madie highlighted the significance of showing up as a human, offering suggestions, and helping clients take small steps toward progress. Her time at Nancy Page allowed her to deepen her understanding of clients and contribute to their growth in a unique way.

As she embarks on her new journey as an EMT, Madie takes with her the valuable lessons learned at People Incorporated that began when she started as a Pathways trainee. The experiences gained through Pathways and her time as a regular staff member have undoubtedly shaped her perspective, preparing her for the challenges and rewards of her future career in medicine.

The Pathways program has ignited the careers of over 60 individuals like Madie to-date. The program is fueled by the support of foundations and donors, and without this community support, stories like Madie’s would not be possible. To ensure that more individuals are connected to their passions within the mental health field through comprehensive paid field experience, give a gift to the Pathways program today by visiting the Give page on our website.