1. What motivates you to apply to MEDEX Northwest, specifically?
2. Tell us about your personal and clinical experience and how that makes you a good candidate for MEDEX?
3. What are the biggest challenges you face by returning to school and what will you contribute to your MEDEX classmates?
4. Do you believe your academic history accurately reflects your ability to successfully complete PA school? Please explain.
A woman nervously smiled at me one day; her name was Barbara. The youthful sparkle in her eye contradicted her furrowed brow and obvious trepidation. She sat nervously on a gurney. I sat on a stool beside her as I checked her vital signs. I had been working as an emergency department technician at Group Health for about a year. I had never met this woman but agreed with her concern over an inflamed black spot on her leg, as I had never seen anything of the sort. We continued to speak as her provider Chris entered the room—a physician assistant and MEDEX graduate. Chris examined Barbara and questioned the events leading up to her visit to our unit. Barbara had just returned from a trip to Africa and voiced her fears of having contracted an illness. Without a hiccup, Chris smiled and said, we will figure this out. Chris consulted with our doctor who agreed it appeared to be a bite. He then paged infectious disease while researching himself. The team diagnosed Barbara’s bite as Tache Noire, and Chris returned to ask her about other symptoms, including those of Boutonneuse fever. He then spent the next twenty minutes explaining the cause and treatment for his diagnosis until Barbara fully understood her condition.
Chris exemplified exactly what a physician assist should be: a patient advocate whom exudes confidence when faced with uncertainty, collaborates with others, and successfully conveys knowledge and relief to patients. While working at Group Health, I witnessed these traits daily from many MEDEX trained PAs. For me, MEDEX and the University of Washington are not only an institution; they are an integral part of my community. Seattle is my home and where I am an active participant in my community through volunteering, including serving as a rescue diver for the hydroplane racing at Seafair and coaching at my former high school. MEDEX, is a perfect fit for me to continue serving Seattle and fulfill my aspiration to specialize in primary care.
While shadowing PAs at a primary care practice, I was introduced to the challenges and complexities of providing quality care. It was clear that for many individuals in need, obtaining access to quality health services is a challenge. My work as an emergency medical technician, both on an ambulance and in the emergency department, only affirmed this, as many of our patients were from underserved populations for whom simple, preventative medicine could have made all the difference. Unfortunately, these services were difficult to find or completely unknown to our patients, resulting in repeated trips to emergency rooms only to alleviate symptoms rather than treat conditions.
The primary care team I shadowed not only asked my opinion on patients, they considered my thoughts and treated me as a member of their team. Together, we worked to provide the preventative care that so many of the patients from the emergency room and ambulance could have used. I saw real need and want to provide care to this population that so clearly needs it. I am applying to the MEDEX program to become a member of a team similar to the one I shadowed, one that is available, is accessible and fights for the diverse community where such opportunities and care is lacking. I have witnessed first hand some of the frustrations and challenges facing underserved populations and strive to succeed in a program whose mission is to produce physician assistants with the ability and passion to remedy such challenges and complexities.
The biggest challenge for me returning to school will be transitioning from working two jobs at 50+ hours per week to refocusing that same time and energy into being a full-time student. I will dedicate myself to school as I have done to my previous work. As such, I will continue to stay balanced and focused by remaining active by exercising regularly, sticking to a schedule, and keeping in touch with my support system of friends and family here in Seattle. I possess excellent study habits thanks in part to my job at LifeCenter Northwest, which requires constant study of anatomy, aseptic technique, and surgical procedure. This will also aid in making the transition to full time student easier. I plan to bring my successful study habits and gregarious personality to my future classmates, in addition to the unique experience I’ve had in my jobs. I thrive in a group atmosphere and bring a positive and encouraging attitude, which through years of volunteer coaching, comes naturally. I plan to collaborate with my classmates and will not hesitate to ask questions to achieve a perfect understanding of the intended material. My academic background can only further prove these abilities.
My academic history accurately reflects my ability to successfully complete PA school. I have always excelled academically. I graduated Cum Lade from Arizona State University with a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology and maintained a 3.5 GPA in prerequisite coursework for PA school amidst many distractions. While completing my prerequisite coursework in the evenings, I maintained two jobs, working 50+ hours Friday through Sunday because during the weekdays, I was a full-time caretaker for my ailing grandmother. Many obstacles stood in my way of achieving success in school as I endured sleepless nights and a complete reworking of my daily routine and schedule. I studied and did homework whenever possible and was forced to use my free time wisely. Through my previous experiences, I have no doubt I will succeed in PA school just as I have in all previous academic endeavors.
Many experiences, challenges, and observations have prepared me for PA school. I have conquored them all. I am committed to provide a better, healthier life for all I come in contact with and vow to emulate the care I witnessed from Chris, Group Health, and other MEDEX trained to PAs to further the field and provide patients with quality healthcare for a better tomorrow.