“Dispatch, we are en route to our destination.” I could hear the roar of the engine as it kicked up and my partner stepped on the gas to transfer our patient from the hospital to her own private residence. At the time, I was attending in the rear compartment of the ambulance running our last call for the night. I proceeded to check the heart rate and set up my sphygmometer to check the blood pressure. I remember this night very clearly even as I was a new Emergency Medical Technician in healthcare. I was making small talk with our patient, she was in her forties. We talked about life, her children, their careers, and her passions. We connected well and I really enjoyed my time with her. Our patient was on hospice and terminally ill with two weeks left to live. She wanted to pass on to the afterlife in the comfort of her own home. As the transfer went about, our conversation progressed to where I wished to ask her a personal question - one where I would expose my fear and vulnerability. That fear was of death and the afterlife. I asked her, “You seem very at peace and happy, how is it that you are so brave when you know that your life will soon be over?” As I asked that question, I felt a chill brush through me, but as she began to speak and reassure me, I felt a calm. She answered, “I have accepted what will be coming, I have had a wonderful life and I am ready to pass on. My children have grown up to be great people and I have no regrets.” The way she said that to me may have been one of the most ethereal and calming things anyone has said. I’ve never truly had the chance to speak about this fear that has always been in the back of my mind. Being able to speak with someone who is at death’s doorstep be so valiant has instilled some tranquility in me. At that moment I felt like our roles have reversed. She was now the healthcare provider, and I, a patient. As we arrived at her residence, my partner and I helped her to her bed where I was able to hold her frail hand between mine and bid her adieu. This moment in time may not be as intense as my 911 and Emergency Room Technician experience, but this moment had the most influence on my future health-care practice. As a caregiver, I want to provide a similar kind of peace to the patients that entrust me.
I have a desire to fill my curiosity to learn more about the dynamics of the human body. I have practiced martial arts and indulged in many different sports in my young adolescence. This prompted me to initially begin college as a Kinesiology major. However, I learned that I had a desire to learn more about the analytical and diagnostic side to medicine. To pursue this career, I knew that I had to overcome my fear of the sight of blood and my lack of confidence, so I embarked on a journey to conquer my fears. It was not until several years of gaining experience as an EMT figuring out solutions to unorthodox situations and to dealing with a set of circumstances that I would not have thought were possible as an Emergency Department Technician, I have gained the courage as an individual to work through any issue presented before me.
I admit, while I may have had some mishaps in my classes and was not able to attain a perfect 4.0 GPA, I believe that my mishaps were more valuable than being perfect. I did not have a strong studying plan at the time and I lived hedonistically in my sophomore year which led to a handful of poor exam scores. Towards my senior year I worked extensively on myself and my shortcomings. I was a full time student taking organic chemistry and a genetics course while working as an EMT and furthering my career as a critical care technician in an Emergency Department. This was a meaningful experience as it taught me how to manage my time and excel in both my professional career and my studies - I scored top of class in organic chemistry.
One of the strongest influences of who I am today and what made me want to pursue a career in healthcare is my father, who is a physician. He is undoubtedly kind soul who dedicates himself to helping those who are unable to help themselves. He often times would offer free services and quality care to the homeless and veterans of the armed services. I strive to be as great of a man as he is. My father has a long history beginning in Vietnam during the war and he was very eager to share his stories with me. These stories were not of heroism and violence, but of how he built his character through misfortune and using that negative energy to build the best version of himself that he can be. The biggest impediment that I have faced throughout my professional career is that I am only able to help so much due my limited knowledge. Through learning and growing as a physician assistant I will be able to foster my love for the science of medicine and take on new challenges that lay before me.