“Call 911,” my sister screamed from the other room. Two words I did not know I would become so familiar with throughout the course of growing up. I was six years old the first time I made a 911 phone call. My mother was an addict, to not only various drugs, but to abusive boyfriends and run down hotel rooms. We moved around a lot, it was normal for my sister and I to attend at least three schools in the same calendar year. Life was by no means easy, my “dad” was never in the picture and my mom unstable, but it was my normalcy. With every new town came a new school and a new life lesson. I developed a personality that allowed me to be an expert at meeting new people, but keeping them distant enough to not develop feelings as the next move was not too far away. Growing up this way was unorthodox, but it gave me motivation and inspiration to become someone different. I strongly believe your zip code does not define who you are or who you will become.
Everyone has a defining moment that depicts which route they will take in life, sometimes you do not know the impact of that moment until years later. For me, it was February 11, 2012 my eighteenth birthday. I was woken up abruptly by my mother yelling, “Haley help,” running to her aid I entered her room and saw her hovering over her boyfriend shaking him vigorously. I ran over to him and checked for a pulse, I could not find one. “Help me move him to the floor,” I told her in the calmest voice I could possibly have. I started CPR immediately and made sure she called for an ambulance. My mother continued to weep uncontrollably as she ran around the room trying to hide all the paraphernalia that still lied there from hours before. It felt like hours before the paramedics got there. The fatigue shooting through my arms was almost unbearable, but I knew I could not stop. The paramedics finally arrived; crashing through the door with all their equipment was music to my ears. They were able to get one heartbeat on the way to the hospital, but his death was later ruled as an overdose. It was that moment that I knew the medical field was where I belonged, I never felt in my element more. To this day I still wonder if there was something more I could have done, but instead I decided to make a commitment to myself to dedicate my life to serving others. There was something chilling about attempting to save his life. It did not matter that he was a drug addict or that he was physically and verbally abusive, he was my patient and he needed me. This is one thing that makes medicine so special, the ability to put aside all factors to help the well being of others. This is empowering and something I strive to be a part of.
With that being said, I later received my EMT certification and started my journey in patient care at Parkview Regional Medical Center. I worked side-by-side nurses and other medical professionals, ultimately gaining an insight on how the medical field functions today. I had the opportunity to shadow multiple physician assistants and doctors, an important process in deciding where I fit best. I majored in pre-physician assistant studies (biology and chemistry) at the University of Saint Francis. Throughout college I had custody of my 9-year old niece who suffers from epilepsy, due to family circumstances I was the only one suited to obtain custody by law. Working, attending college full-time, and taking care of a child was the toughest battle I have faced thus far. I did earn a few C’s along the way, but given the circumstances I am proud of what I accomplished. I am thankful for everything I have faced in life; it has made me independent, resilient, strong, dedicated, and ready. After completing my undergraduate degree I decided to purse a masters in biology with a certificate in infectious disease. Thus far, I have completed 24 credit hours with a 3.58 GPA. Ultimately, showing that I am ready for graduate course work and that I can succeed. I know the aspects throughout my life have led me to this moment. I have never been more ready to start my journey in becoming a physician assistant.