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  1. This is copied from paadmissions "Ask a PA Admissions Director." I found it hiding in the bowels of that forum (page 81), and I figured placing it here would make it very handy for those perusing personal statements and seeking advice. Posted 20 May 2014 - 02:46 PM Hi guys! I've put together some hints for writing a good personal statement below. These hints were gathered from several medical school websites and from our own experience with our program. Hope this helps! The personal statement is required as a part of any application to PA school. Many applicants make writing a personal statement a daunting task, but it does not have to be. Below are helpful hints and topics to avoid that can help you write a good personal statement. Topic: Why you want to be a PA? Personal Statement Helpful Hints: · Engage the reader and create interest. · Get to the point. There is a character limit for personal statements. One page is usually all it takes to make your point. · Avoid using flowery language and/or big words throughout your statement. · Make sure the statement is structured in a logical order and flows nicely so it is easy to read. · Do not restate your resume. · Incorporate how your healthcare experience and non-healthcare experience (academics, volunteer, and leadership positions) prepared you for PA school. · Be insightful and analytical about your understanding of the role of the PA. Use your clinical experiences to draw this conclusion. · Call out the elephant in the room. If you had a “hiccup” in your academic career, you should BRIEFLY address it (i.e. death in the family, immaturity factor, poor study habits), state what you did to overcome it, and what you have done to sustain an upward trend in your academic performance. · If you have a strong desire to enter a certain field of medicine, explain why. For example, if you want to go into primary care, what have you done to prepare yourself for this field (i.e. clinical experience opportunities, skill sets, are you from a disadvantaged background, etc.), and the challenges PAs face, if any in the particular field. · Have more than one person review your statement. An advisor, career services representative, or a writing center are good resources to utilize. · Avoid contractions. · Avoid acronyms that the common person would not know (this is especially true for military applicants). Qualities to Portray · Maturity · Reflectiveness · Honesty and integrity · Clarity of thought · Passion · Individuality · Positivity · Logic · Distinctiveness · Commitment · Ability to relate to diverse people · Insight into the chosen health profession · Compassion and empathy · Genuineness and sincerity · Leadership · Insightfulness · A realistic perspective · Lessons learned · Self-awareness Themes to Avoid · Clichés: Avoid starting a statement with a famous quote or with cliché’ filler statements like: “I want to be a PA because I like science and I want to help people...” “Ever since I was five I played with my mom/dad’s doctor’s kit..” “I loved to play the game Operation as a child and that sparked my desire to be a PA...” “As I watched my beloved family member pass away, I knew then I wanted to be a PA...” · Restating your resume’: We have already read the majority of your application up to this point, so do not retell your life story again. · Story Time: Limit your personal stories about a patient or incident in the clinic to ONE no more than TWO. The statement should focus more the topics mentioned above. · The “epiphany into medicine”: Your pursuit of the PA profession should be based on your adult experiences up until this point, NOT an instantaneous realization. · Manifest Destiny: You have not always known you want to be a PA and the fact that someone tells you “you’ll make a great PA one day” does not justify why you should be a PA. · Grandiosity: Claiming that you plan to eliminate all the healthcare problems in an area is not realistic and shows a grave lack of understanding of the profession. · The “humble brag”: Of course you’re special, but claiming “you probably do not see many applicants like me” is not only arrogant, but is likely untrue. We’ve seen it all! · Remember your audience: Remember people do have other biases and views that may not agree with yours so avoid controversial topics and statements that could offend someone. Also, remember the admissions committee can be made up of all types of members of the healthcare team. Avoid statements like “I want to be a PA because PAs spend more time with their patients in comparison to physicians.” These types of situations are not always true and you do not want to stereotype an entire profession when you’ve only been around .00000001% of them. · “I am a victim”: Victims are never attractive applicants and any difficulties along the way should be dispassionately addressed. These explanations should be brief and also address what you have done to overcome the situation and what you learned from it. · Excuses: Never, ever blame anyone else for difficulties in your life or academic career. Topsy's 2 cents: Show, don't tell. Don't tell me you're great at multitasking. Show me! Describe it instead: "Despite having to care for my ailing mother at home, work the graveyard shift at the hospital, and help victims of abuse at the women's shelter, I still managed to keep my by grades by merely studying instead of sleeping." What makes the PA profession personally meaningful to you. Do not reiterate catch phrases like autonomy, flexibility, and all those other words that you can find on countless websites/blogs. Do mention personal things you've seen! Like the time you shadowed a PA talking to a family who was strapped for cash, and the PA was sensitive and attentive enough to notice the dilemma and was kind enough to provide their family with ample samples. Again, show, don't tell. Overall, a great personal state can be achieved by getting the reader think - yes. I want to meet the person who wrote this.
  2. Ive noticed on Nova Southeastern's website that the PhD degree is held almost more prestigiously than the DHsc. Anybody know why? I did notice that the DHsc has an option to enter the PhD program but the DHsc also does not have a dissertation. Just curious because the online masters and DHsc are tempting offers considering campus visits are not required. .unless you do the dual MHS/DHsc program then I believe 2 campus visits are required. Any input is appreciated
  3. Ok guys, I need some guidance and advice. I applied to about 15 schools this year, a bit late in the cycle (verified in August, but submitted from August-September). I definitely wasn’t prepared for how competitive the application process was, I had the bare minimum in terms of patient care experience and shadowing, and I had a really difficult time getting professors and managers to submit letters of recommendation on time. Needless to say, the best news I got was a “waitlist to interview” from two schools, and rejections from the rest. Here are my stats so you get a better idea: Undergraduate degree: B.A. in Biology, double major in Dance CASPA cGPA: 3.48 CASPA sGPA: 3.34 Age at application time: 24 GRE: Quantitative 154, Verbal 158, Analytical Writing 4.5 Direct patient care: ~1000 hours at application as a CNA/Clerical assistant on a cardiology unit at a hospital, (had only been employed for 6 months at time of application) but still currently working full time Shadowing: 24 hours Cardiology PA LOR (5): Physiology professor, assistant nurse manager, charge nurse, PA I shadowed, and MD whose mother I cared for as a CNA. However, all except the professor I hadn’t known for very long, so I feel like the letters were not as strong as they could have been Extra Curricular activities/ other employment: Former professional ballet dancer, camp counselor/group director, dance teacher for children ages 5-17 Research: my senior thesis project was on muscular imbalances/injury prevention in dancers, not sure if it applies to PA school. So my current game plan is this: Continue to work full time as a CNA to get more patient experience (aiming for well over 2000 hours by next cycle). I also accepted a PRN position as a telemetry technician and will watch the heart monitors occasionally. Increase shadowing hours, hopefully shadowing a physician as well Work on volunteer hours: I already have some days scheduled at our local food bank next week, will continue there and am considering volunteering at another hospital Apply EARLY. Aiming for May 1 Take a medical terminology course online, possibly a developmental psychology course to open up more schools I can apply to I’m a little concerned about my GPA, especially considering I had a rough time dealing with some anxiety issues junior year and received a C+ in anatomy, which I feel is a pretty important prereq. In all my other classes I received As and Bs, except for OChem 2 (C+), which isn’t considered a prereq for the programs I applied to. Do you think I should retake Anatomy to get a higher grade in it, since my GPA is a bit on the low side? It will be stressful with working full time and taking those other 2 classes/volunteering/shadowing, but if it is going to make or break my second round of applying I’m willing to do anything. Or if anyone has thoughts on what they think my main focus should be for next cycle, I’m open to any and all suggestions. Sorry for the long post, whoever has made it to the end of this, God bless you.
  4. Hi, My name is Carolina Daly and I'm new here. I am currently at a Community College and I plan on transferring to a 4-year University to get my Bachelor's degree. Then I want to apply for PA school. My question is, what are the best majors? As of now my major is Food Science, but I'm not sure if going through this tonight program will be worth it if I plan on going to PA school. Would nutrition and Dietetics be a better choice? That was my original plan. I am so confused and need to make a decision soon. Any input will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  5. I recently took the GRE and needless to say, my writing was/is a bit rusty. It's not that I am a terrible writer; I simply need ample time to craft a compelling piece. Do schools have an AWA cutoff? Most I have looked into consider a 4 to be on the low end. I was hoping a personal statement that shows I do not speak like a caveman could make up for it. Thanks for reading!
  6. It took my friend starting med school today for me to really reflect on my experience in PA school so far. I am coming close to the end of my second semester of a 12 month didactic year. I've always heard people joke around saying "they feel like they know nothing".. But with the way my school is ran, I really do feel like I know nothing. I would say that I'm in the top half of my class. I cram for exams because there really is no alternative. With 3 tests a week there's just not enough time. I feel like I don't have an internal understanding of a lot of the topics were learning and I am just spitting out facts on the exam. For example: my friends and I already joke about still not knowing what cirrhosis means, or what induration means, or "my mom got burned the other day, I couldn't even tell her what to do, I didn't know" I went into this instead of med school because I felt confident I would be able to know almost as much/ do as much as a doctor, but now i see myself in the ER for example, Feeling like il just be using guidelines and algorithms to come to my actions without fully understanding the reason for my actions. I am happy that I am almost through what I've heard is the hardest part of PA school and I am happy that I am not dedicating 8 more years of my life before I practice. But I feel like I am not prepared to take on my career so far. I see myself going into dermatology, so maybe it's not important to fully understand all this stuff anyways, But for the chance that I'd like to do any other specialty, this worries me. Any advice would be appreciated
  7. PAFT Creates Task Force on Autonomy PAs for Tomorrow (PAFT), a national advocacy organization focused on the future of the PA profession, announces that their Board of Directors has unanimously voted to develop a national task force focused on PA practice autonomy. Nichole Bateman, PAFT President, says “The task force is intended to create a representative body of PAs and other professionals to coordinate information and strategize efforts among those who see autonomous practice as an evolving reality for the PA profession. The time to explore how autonomy can and should apply to PA practice is now.” Brian Sady, MMSc, MPAS, PA-C, author of the white paper “Optional Autonomy for Experienced PAs in Primary Care in Nevada” approached the PAFT board of directors with the task force concept. He found that there are extensive autonomy efforts by other PAs across the nation. According to Mr. Sady, “In seeking information and research, I encountered a great many of my PA peers who are doing similar research and have similar ideas, but have no way to coordinate those efforts and develop the concept. I found that when I discussed the idea of optional autonomy using specific verbiage that would allow experienced PAs in primary care to be fully autonomous OR keep a collaborative agreement, PAs were very enthusiastic.” The working definition of autonomy for the purposes of task force development includes incorporating the concept of OPTIONAL autonomy for experienced PAs in primary care, i.e. no supervisory or collaborative language in state statutes for PAs with solid clinical experience. The autonomy concept is not new to organized medicine but has not historically been applied to PAs. The intent of PA autonomy is not to sever or separate the historic PA/Physician relationship. The intent is to better reflect how PAs deliver care in the healthcare environment of today – which is, in many settings, already very autonomous with little physician oversight in the real life delivery of high quality, safe care. PA practice of medicine has evolved and advanced significantly since the creation of the profession nearly 50 years ago. Despite diligent efforts by PAs across the nation, supervision language and concepts that govern PA practice in many states have not kept pace. In many states, antiquated supervision language is no longer reflective of how PAs deliver care in modern healthcare systems and has become a hindrance for PA practice. Federal laws, state statutes and individual institutional policies should reflect what PAs actually do in the delivery of healthcare. Most importantly, those laws and policies should be responsive and reactive to increase rather than restrict access to medical services for patients. PA education is standardized to produce well-trained professionals who practice medicine. The modern PA is a proven “value added” member of the healthcare team. Removing restrictive supervision language will increase access to quality care and lower costs. Though the creation of the task force will be initially under the helm of the PAFT organization, the greater vision includes involvement of key individuals, organizations and representative bodies. Invitation to leadership in the AAPA, AFPPA, military branch and VA PAs, state constituent organizations, PA Student Academy as well as individual pro-autonomy PAs will only strengthen the development and directional design of the task force.
  8. Hey guys, I would really appreciate any thoughts and/or critiques about the flow and overall theme of my statement. Is there anything missing or not well expalined? The door flew open and slammed against the adjacent wall. I entered a darkened room where I could only make out the outlines of other patients and hear the noise of chatter and children crying. As my eyes adjusted to the sharp contrast from the glaring sun outside, I slowly made my way to the counter. “Sign in,” said a voice and I looked down to see a chewed-up pin and a pile of torn paper. I wrote my name and date of birth and handed it to the clerk, who pointed out seats against a wall nearby. "Have a seat; we’ll call you when we’re ready.” I took a seat alongside a crowd of young women and children and patiently waited my turn to be seen at my local health department. As a teenager without health insurance, I spent many years “in the system,” seeing first-hand the demand for affordable primary care. My experiences at the local health department made me dread going, never knowing if I would ever see the same provider again. Like many others in my situation, I eventually stopped going. After these experiences, I decided to make a career in healthcare, where I hope to be part of the solution of providing stability for the underprivileged and financially burdened. I began my journey as a pharmacy technician, a job that solidified my interests in the science of medicine and furthered my awareness of the huge role of primary care providers in the health system. This perspective grew substantially when I began working in registration at the emergency department of my local hospital. Just as I had at the health department years earlier, patients without options sat for hours to be seen for fevers and headaches. My observations pushed me to continue with a career in medicine. After graduating from college, I moved home to pursue my career, climbing from being a unit secretary to becoming a patient care technician. There I got my first hands-on experiences with patients. One morning as I was assisting a patient to the bathroom, she began sweating and complaining of blurred vision. I immediately called for someone to come in so we could check her blood sugar levels; it was 37 mg/dL. With the nurse at my side, we got the patient back to bed and gave IV glucose. It was a rite of passage for me; I was happy to have recognized symptoms and then reacted appropriately without hesitation. Moments like this led me to see that I wanted to not only treat patients but learn to diagnose as well. Many of us have mentors who helped guide us in our journeys. After nearly nine years in healthcare, I began working with Mike, a physician assistant on the cardiothoracic surgery unit. I watched him take the extra time with patients to go over each medication, not only to ensure there were no drug interactions but also to explain the purpose of each. When his patients need refills, instead of asking for “the little blue pill,” they can confidently ask for their blood pressure medication. I saw first-hand how understanding a patient’s problems and taking the time to address them can greatly reduce complications and improve the quality of life for those in our communities. PAs play an important role in this mission and they do so as part of a team. A team-based care system is very important to me. I learned the value of a solid support network while struggling after the death of my cousin. The pain of losing my best friend had a profound effect on me and my grade suffered. The personal disappointment I felt after failing two semesters made it difficult for me to continue on my career path. However, with the backing of my friends and family, I was able to push forward and overcome these trials. I was taught stress-management and determination through these hardships and they will aid me as I endeavor this challenging and evolving career as a PA. With my professional training in the medical field, I have a good understanding and appreciate everyone’s roles in healthcare. We come from several backgrounds and experiences that allow us to integrate together and ultimately provide better patient care. I am confident in my ability to translate my skills into my studies as well as future practice and become a successful PA. I am also confident in my ability to relate and help close the gap in available healthcare as a primary care provider. Thanks in advance!
  9. I hope this is it! I am now below the character limit and I feel that I have included everything I wanted to portray, I just need some grammar nazis to find my mistakes!!! Thanks for any help :) **PS- if there's something you think needs more clarification or rewording, please tell me** As a teenager without health insurance, I spent many years ignoring symptoms or making do with remedies I already had at home. My go-to was some leftover menthol cough drops in my tea to help open my sinuses and soothe my throat. Thankfully, I was generally healthy and could manage by going to the health department once a year. I understand why someone would rather ignore his or her symptoms than see a doctor. I dreaded going to the health department because I never knew if I would see the same provider. Many see preventative care as a luxury, and overlook how it could save their heart, foot, or even life. Some feel like they do not connect with their provider or cannot understand them. Sometimes, it comes down to what is more important right now: eating today or diabetes tomorrow. These observations led me to pursue healthcare, where I hope to provide stability for the underprivileged and financially burdened. Spending ten years in healthcare has allowed me to interact with a variety of providers. With this exposure, I have realized that it is to a physician assistant (PA) that I relate. PAs help close the gap of disparities within healthcare by providing an affordable means for treatment. Also, through its supportive nature, the physician-PA team uses the skills of each provider to improve patient care and experiences. Additionally, the well-rounded training that PAs obtain allows them to adapt to the needs of their community and even carry their skills globally. All these reasons are important to me, having seen many of these issues firsthand. After high school, I became a pharmacy technician. This position solidified my interests in medicine and helped me appreciate the impact of patient education. I remember patients requesting refills for medications they could neither name nor state their use. Once, an elderly man came in with a baggie full of empty pill bottles, the labels almost illegible. Upon further inspection, we noticed that he had redundant medications and a variety of providers. We sat down with him, consolidated his medications, and then explained to him the importance of seeing a single provider. This was a common occurrence in the pharmacy, and I always made a point to educate these individuals. I wanted more contact with patients and later began working in registration at an emergency room. I saw those without insurance sit hours to be seen for fevers and headaches. Coming from this environment as a teenager, I understood that this was the primary care experience for many. Also recognizing this, one PA in the ER paid extra attention to these patients. I watched him go over each medication not only to rule out drug interactions, but also to explain their uses. When his patients returned, instead of asking for "the little blue pill," they confidently asked for their blood pressure medication. I admire his respect for patients, and it inspired me to also advocate for them. Once, I noticed a patient was anxious over the cost of a medication they had just been prescribed and coordinated with his provider to supply him with samples and coupons. Later, I became a patient care technician on the cardiothoracic surgery unit. This position gave me the chance to more closely see the connection between patients and their caregivers. One morning as I was assisting a patient to the bathroom, she began sweating and complaining of blurred vision. Alarmed, I checked her blood sugar; it was 37 mg/dL. With the nurse at my side, we helped the patient to bed and gave IV glucose. I am happy to have quickly recognized these symptoms and reacted. Moments like this showed me that I want to not only treat patients, but also diagnose. Becoming a PA will be difficult, but I am confident in my time- and stress-management skills. I have held many jobs while attending university full-time. I recall getting off work, eating in the car on the way to class, and coming home to study all night. This continued throughout my college career and although it was tough balancing several obligations simultaneously, I was always proud to have successfully completed each semester. I have always known that the best tool for succeeding under stress is a strong support network. This was tested during my sophomore year when I lost my cousin to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Never dealing with death before, I was unable to cope with losing my best friend; eventually, I failed two semesters. Reflecting upon this hardship, I drew from the support of my family and friends to push forward. I succeeded in retaking these semesters and continued to excel in my studies thereafter. My experiences at the pharmacy, reception desk, and on the unit have helped me value what people contribute to a team. Our backgrounds and various skills allow us to provide better care through integration and empathy. Since my days at the health clinic, I have seen the needs of the underprivileged, and becoming a PA is my next step as a patient educator, supporter, and advocate. Thanks everyone!
  10. Hi, I'm a first time applicant and I really don't have anyone to read my statement so I'm reaching out to you for help. I'm over my character limit my 809 and I can't find where to cut. I'm also not sure if I'm going the right direction with this statement. I appreciate any comments!! As a teenager without health insurance, I spent many years ignoring symptoms or eking by with whatever remedies I already had at home. Sure, when these methods did not work, I was forced to see a doctor, however, this was rarely the case. Thankfully, I was generally healthy and could manage only going to my health department once a year. Unfortunately, this is not the circumstance for many, and chronic illnesses go undiagnosed and uncontrolled. I can understand why someone would rather ignore their symptoms than see a doctor. I dreaded going to the health department because I never knew if I would ever see the same provider again. Many just do not recognize the importance of preventive care and how it could save their heart, foot, or even life. Some just feel like they do not connect with their provider or just cannot understand them. Sometimes, it comes down to what is more important right now: eating today or diabetes tomorrow. These observations led me to pursue healthcare, where I hope to be part of the solution of providing stability for the underprivileged, underrepresented, and financially burdened. Having spent nearly ten years in healthcare, I have interacted with a variety of providers, but it is to a physician assistant (PA) that I relate. PAs help close the gap of disparities within healthcare by providing an affordable means to primary care. Also, with the supportive nature of a PA in the physician-PA team, they are available to allow for more time with each patient. This is important not only in forming a lasting relationship with patients, but also in giving them the knowledge to make healthy decisions. In addition, the generalist training that PAs obtain make them more flexible to adapt to the needs of their community and even carry their skills globally. All of these reasons are significant to me, having seen many of these issues firsthand. Upon graduating from high school, I became a pharmacy technician. This position solidified my interests in the science of medicine and furthered my awareness of the huge role of primary care providers in the health system. I remember, on several occasions, patients coming in and requesting a refill for a medication that they not only could not name but had no idea why it was prescribed. Others, having seen so many different providers, had redundant medications or even drug interactions. After several years at the pharmacy, I knew I wanted to be more involved with patients and began working in registration at the emergency department of my local hospital. I witnessed patients without options sit for hours to be seen for fevers and headaches, just as I had years earlier. For many, this was their primary care experience. One PA there recognized this and provided them extra attention. I watched him take the time to go over each medication these patients were taking, not only to ensure there were no drug interactions but also to explain the purpose of each. When his patients need refills, instead of asking for “the little blue pill,” they can confidently ask for their blood pressure medication. My perspective grew substantially due to this; I wanted to be a patient advocate. I moved home after college to further my career in medicine. Rising from a unit secretary to becoming a patient care technician, I got my first hands-on experiences with patients. This position showed me how rewarding patient care is, even if it can be messy and often thankless. One morning as I was assisting a patient to the bathroom, she began sweating and complaining of blurred vision. I immediately called for someone to come in so we could check her blood sugar levels; it was 37 mg/dL. With the nurse at my side, we got the patient back to bed and gave IV glucose. I am happy to have recognized these symptoms and react appropriately without hesitation. Moments like this led me to see that I want to not only treat patients but learn to diagnose as well. I know the path to becoming a PA will be difficult. A PA program is not only a science-intensive graduate-level platform, but it is in an accelerated format that involves a great deal of dedication and determination. As someone who has held two, sometimes three, jobs while attending university full-time, I am confident in my skills obtained in time- and stress-management. I recall, on several occasions, getting off work, eating in the car on the way to class, coming home to study all night, then doing it all again the next day. The ability to balance multiple obligations while still finding time for yourself takes practice, but is important for mental and physical health as well as success in such a rigorous program. For me, the most significant tool in succeeding under such stress is a strong support network. During my sophomore year in undergrad, I lost my older cousin. Never having dealt with death before, I was unable to cope with losing my best friend; eventually, I failed two semesters. Reflecting upon this irresponsibility, I was able to use the trust and support of my family and friends to overcome this hardship and push forward. These abilities, however, will help me succeed in this challenging new academic path. My professional experiences in several healthcare fields has given me a unique perspective of the process involved in patient care, from the moment they come in to after they leave. This has made me cognizant and appreciative of everyone’s role in said process. We come from several backgrounds and experiences that allow us to integrate together and ultimately provide better patient care. I am certain in my ability to translate my skills into my studies as well as future practice and become a successful PA. I am also confident that I can relate and help close the gap in available healthcare as a primary care provider.
  11. Hello! Thank you so much for taking time to read this. I am super nervous about trying to get my application submitted this week. Any advice you might have will be greatly appreciated. This is generally my final draft. I just still have to sit down with the writing center and go over it for typos and such. Thank You! I am an attachment parenting, juicing, bike riding, kayaking, peaceful protesting, caregiving, hippy intellectual! I’m having a real hard time writing this without being cheesy, because that is just how I am. I love to sing to my children in the mornings on the way to school as my teenager rolls his eyes and my little ones light up with smiles. I believe that being a great healthcare provider requires intellect, compassion, integrity, and joy, and I know I have what it takes. Volunteering at the free clinic was an experience that I will always cherish. During patient intake I chatted with patients and through their stories I began to understand more about health disparities and discover my own strength. I realized that I have a unique ability to identify with these people, because I am one. I came from a poor family from small town Oklahoma and at the time I was a struggling single parent college student. I have faced many of the same struggles. I remember one woman who was particularly anxious waiting for the doctor. I talked to her about my own experience and how I have taught myself to cope with anxiety. She relaxed and engaged in the conversation. By the time the doctor was available the patient was calm and better able to communicate her health concerns. When I can understand the pain in a patient’s eyes and help in some way I feel I am truly serving my purpose. While my true passion came alive at the free clinic, my understanding of clinical practice transpired during my employment at an urgent care facility. As a medical assistant I assisted with many procedures from suturing to pap smears. I noticed a sense of confidence that emerged when a PA was able to consult with a physician; a mutually beneficial relationship develops. I was also able to assess my own diagnostic skills by guessing what the provider might conclude in my head, and was almost always right. On multiple occasions I was confronted with a situation that was beyond our scope, and I was quickly and accurately able to recognize the issue and work toward a solution. I know I will thrive in a clinic with a mentor by my side. The reason I am pursuing a career as a physician assistant is both practical and soulful. I was originally on track for Medical school. My path was interrupted by my beautiful children. I realize now that becoming a PA is much more appealing to me. The freedom PAs have to work in various fields is a great benefit. I am interested in women’s health, geriatrics, neurology, and endocrinology, so the fact that I don’t have to choose just one is perfect. Even now I can’t help but think about what I might do in the future to improve my skills. My true drive comes from personal life experience. I was raised by my single mother, who was one of two women to earn a master’s degree in engineering the same year I graduated high school, and my grandparents who lived a life of ministry in the Methodist church. Hard work and service to others were core themes that developed my character as a child. Now as a mother I am teaching the same things to my children. I volunteer at my children’s school, in our community and church. The last ten years have been the most transforming years of my life. My grandmother suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia, my sister was diagnosed with carcinoid tumors at age 28, my grandfather died of pancreatic cancer. My interest in medicine began with my first pregnancy and a desire to understand life, now it has evolved into a desire to help others navigate their path through health, disease and death. I have seen firsthand the difference that can be made by a skillful compassionate provider and the effects of health disparities. My families’ resistance to accept the role that nutrition plays in their health has been enlightening. Poor people think they don’t have the time or money to think about nutrition and many elderly think it is nonsense. Individual guidance may work for some, but others need initiatives to promote access and health education to change the construction of health in our culture. When I think about the impact that public health initiatives have had in my lifetime, I am hopeful.While working with Apple Seeds I saw how community health projects can affect the future. We teach kids about nutrition in public schools. We have been able to reach and empower children that thought fruits and vegetables came from a can. Public health efforts being made through the Healthy People 2020 initiative are impressive, and I want to be a part of it both as a practitioner and public health advocate. In sum, my desire to become a physician assistant is rooted in my life experiences and a strong desire to impact my community in a health conscious way. My experiences at the free clinic, the urgent care clinic, as a public health advocate in the community, and my experiences as a mother have provided me with the skill sets to be a compassionate and efficient Physician’s Assistant.
  12. You guessed it! I am a first time applicant and you guys are the only ones that can help me with critiquing my personal statement. Im actually pretty surprised I stayed under the character limit for my rough draft. Please look it over and tell me how bad it stinks! The door flew open and slammed against the adjacent wall. The room was dark and all I could make out were figures and the noise of chatter and children crying. As my eyes adjusted to the sharp contrast in darkness from the blaring sun outside, I made my way to the counter. “Sign in,” said a voice and I looked down to see a chewed up pin and a pile of ripped up pieces of paper, on which I wrote my name and date of birth. The voice came out again “have a seat; we’ll call you when we’re ready.” I turned to see a room, no bigger than a two bedroom apartment, full of young women and children of various ages. I took a seat and waited for my turn to be seen at my local health department. As an adolescent without health insurance, I have seen first-hand the demand for providers that can offer available healthcare. My experiences at the local health department made me dread going, never knowing if I would see the same provider again. Like many others in my situation, I just stopped going. After these experiences, I knew I wanted to be the stability for the underprivileged and financially burdened. I began my role in healthcare as a pharmacy technician. It was this job that solidified my interests in the science of medicine. It was also this exposure which showed me that primary care providers play a huge role in the health system. However, it was not until I began working in registration for the Emergency Department of my local hospital that I could see just how important this role is; patients sitting for hours to be seen for a fever and headache because they do not have any other option for healthcare. These observations pushed me to continue in medicine. After moving home to pursue this career, I climbed my way from a unit secretary to a patient care technician where I had my first hands-on experiences with patients. I remember a particular incident where while I was assisting a patient to the bathroom, she began sweating and complaining of blurred vision. I immediately called for someone to come in so I could check her blood sugar levels; it was 37 mg/Dl. With the nurse by my side, we got Ms. Kay safely to the bed and began treating her with intravenous glucose. I was so excited and proud of myself for recognizing the symptoms and being able to react without hesitation. It is moments like this one that I recognize my desires are not only to treat patients, but also diagnose illnesses. After working closely with many health providers for nearly ten years, none stood out to me like Mike, a physician assistant on the cardiothoracic surgery unit. I have seen him take the extra time to go over every medication a patient had not only to ensure there was no drug interactions but to explain and write down the uses of each for when they returned home. When this patient needs a refill, instead of asking for “the little blue pill,” they will confidently ask for their blood pressure medication. Understanding these problems and taking the time to address them through patient education and support can greatly improve the quality of life for those in our communities. PAs help to carry out this idea of preventive medicine over episodic care as a team. A team-based care system is very important to me. I learned the value of a solid support network while struggling after the death of my cousin. The pain of losing my best friend, and the personal disappointment I felt after failing two semesters, made it difficult for me to continue on my career path confidently. However, with the backing and trust of my peers, much like a PA in their practice, I was able to push forward and overcome these trials. I was taught stress-management and determination through these hardships and they will aid me as I endeavor this challenging and evolving career as a PA. With my professional training in the medical field, I have a good understanding and appreciate everyone’s roles in healthcare. We come from several backgrounds and experiences that allow us to integrate together and ultimately provide better patient care. I am confident in my ability to translate my skills into my studies as well as future practice and become a successful PA. I am also confident in my ability to relate and help close the gap in available healthcare as a primary care provider.
  13. Hi everyone! So I am getting ready to apply to PA school for the first time, and I would love some feedback on my personal narrative. This is my first draft, so I'm looking for any and all critiques. Thank you! Choosing to become a Physician’s Assistant was a gradual process for me. As a nursing student, I have witnessed and participated in patient care in a variety of settings, from an outpatient Nurse Practitioner led health center to a pediatric hospital and a surgical step-down unit. Each of these experiences has been influential in my choice to pursue being a Physician’s Assistant. The first time I saw a PA in action was during a field experience for nursing school. I spent the day in the operating room watching a total hip replacement. Prior to this experience, I had little knowledge about the role of a PA, and I was amazed by how much of the surgery he was able to perform. I watched the PA open and close the surgery, and assist with the joint replacement. During the day, I spoke with both the PA and the surgeon about their roles and their collaborative relationship. I learned that the PA saw patients throughout the entire surgical process, from pre-op consults to post-op follow-ups. It was during this field experience that I fell in love with being in the OR, and knew that I wanted to have a career in the surgical field. One of my very first experiences with a patient was at the University of Delaware’s Nurse Managed Health Center (NMHC). The NMHC is partnered with an organization that allows them to treat patients with disparities such as those who are mentally ill or homeless, and I had the privilege of caring for some of these patients. One of my most memorable patients was six and a half feet tall, schizophrenic, and liked to fight. He was diabetic, and we were concerned that he might be having some renal issues because of some of the symptoms he displayed. However, he was very agitated at the thought of having blood taken to check his kidney function and refused to give consent. Working as a team with the Nurse Practitioner, I was able to explain the entire process for him in a way that he was able to understand, and after being talked through the process he gave consent to have his blood taken. This experience, and other encounters with underserved populations at the NMHC opened my eyes to the special needs of patients facing challenges such as mental illness and homelessness, and inspired me to work to reduce the disparities they experience. After these experiences with patient care, I knew that I wanted to be a mid-level provider, but I was torn between being a Nurse Practitioner or a Physician’s Assistant. This summer, I had the opportunity to work on a surgical step-down unit. On this unit, I have seen many different types of patients, from traumas to appendectomies. I have also encountered many different healthcare providers, and had the opportunity to observe them providing care to their patients. After watching Physicians, Nurse Practitioners and Physician’s Assistants at work, and asking questions about their training and scope of practice, I realized that being a physician’s assistant is the clear route for me. I am an avid student, and I am devoted to learning everything I can about the human body so that I can do all that is within my power to help people. The scientific training that PAs receive would enable me to provide the best care possible. In addition, the symbiotic relationship between PAs and physicians would allow me to continue to expand my skills and abilities throughout my career. After learning about the training that Physician’s Assistants receive and seeing them at work collaborating with physicians, it is clear to me that becoming a PA is the best way to equip myself with the skills and knowledge necessary to provide the best care possible to my patients.
  14. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!! "To say I was an accident prone child is an understatement. I frequented doctors’ offices and emergency rooms for a variety of injuries and ailments. I remember staying home sick from elementary school, curling up on the sofa to watch marathons of “Medical Mysteries” and “Trauma: Life in the ER”. My squeamish parents were somewhat disgusted by my gruesome choice of entertainment and were puzzled by my infatuation with medicine. Even so, my interest and enthusiasm for medical care persisted. In 2006, after I was involved in a serious golf cart accident, I knew for certain that I would pursue a career in healthcare. I suffered extensive injuries after being ejected from the vehicle, run over, and dragged along the pavement. I remember the rushed atmosphere and commotion of the emergency room as I lay there feeling shocked by the gravity of the situation. Then, Michelle walked in, a smiling brunette clad in a crisp white coat. I assumed she was a physician as she explained the imaging procedures and tests I would soon undergo. She addressed me not as a naïve thirteen-year-old but simply as a concerned patient. She answered all my questions and stayed engaged in our conversation even as she performed an intra-articular injection to determine if my knee joint had been compromised. I was in awe at the combination of her technical proficiency and calm disposition. Not until years later, after attending a physician assistant symposium in college, did I realize Michelle was a physician assistant. After my accident, my passion for medicine persisted. In high school, I enrolled in Honors Anatomy and Physiology and was fascinated by the field trips to watch an open-heart surgery and visit a cadaver lab. My teachers noted my enthusiasm for the subject and nominated me to attend a medical leadership conference at Georgetown University. When selecting a college major, I chose Nutritional Sciences because of the strong focus on biological science; it also provided a unique perspective on clinical work and emphasized the critical thinking skills necessary in practice. I worked assiduously because I knew exemplary academics were necessary when applying to graduate programs. However, despite struggling with a personal crisis during my sophomore year, I was determined not to let one semester mar the academic record I had worked so hard to achieve. I made significant changes in my life and learned how to maximize my academic potential while managing stress in a healthy way. This experience was a critical point of self-exploration, and I am confident it was an important step in preparing me for the rigors of PA school. Once I was comfortable managing the challenges of a science-heavy course load, I began to focus on gaining more experience working in healthcare. Although my interest to learn the intricacies of medicine was undeniable, I was still unsure about which career would be the best fit for me. I spoke with doctors, nurses, and PAs to determine the differences between these types of practitioners. While trying to make a decision, I repeatedly thought of Michelle, my earliest inspiration. I saw clearly that compared to other healthcare professionals, PAs have a unique opportunity to build a rapport with their patients by getting to know them on a personal level, which is what I value most. However, it was not until I became a certified nursing assistant at an assisted living facility that I truly understood how much I valued being a part of someone’s healing process. Initially, I saw the job as an opportunity to work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, but I realized quickly the magnitude of this experience was much greater than I anticipated. It is remarkable to watch the aging process unfold and see the devastating progression of diseases. It is my responsibility to not only provide care to the residents, but also to be vigilant about changes in their condition, to be compassionate about the struggles they endure in light of their impending mortality, and to listen to them when nobody else will. These moments make me realize what an honor it is to be a healthcare provider. Although my academic journey has always been aimed towards a career in medicine, my unique life experiences are what inspired me to become a physician assistant. The PA profession encompasses my passion for scientific knowledge and my desire to build relationships with patients. Pursuing such a fulfilling and exciting career leaves me with a profound sense of purpose and the definitive notion I will be a successful physician assistant."
  15. Ladies and Gentlemen: Several months ago, I put up my first draft narrative, and several people on here were kind enough to give me their input. I'm hoping to get more of the same. Thank you. While I knew that Physician Assistants (PAs) existed, I had never met or worked with one until after I had been in the Navy for several years. My Associate’s degree was earned with a lack-luster GPA way back when Braveheart won the Oscar for Best Picture. After this, I joined the military. It was during my eight years of service as a Navy Hospital Corpsman that I learned Corpsmen were the antecedents of Physician Assistants; the first class of Physician Assistants were made of my veteran predecessors from the Navy Hospital Corps. After being in a healthcare role as a Corpsman for several years, where I was responsible for the care of so many, I considered applying to be a PA in the early 2000s. However, lacking prerequisite courses, I felt a profound lack of self-esteem from the low grades I earned during my previous college coursework. Additionally I realized that my GI Bill financial aid would not be enough to cover all the costs, so I chose not to go for it. Instead, I became a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) after my honorable discharge. Then, as a CNA, I took a job working as a “tech” at an adult Emergency Department. Working in my role as a CNA was important in my journey to wanting to be a PA. Working at a Level I trauma center and teaching hospital opened my eyes in ways I hadn’t thought of. My previous patient population consisted of roughly 18-40 year old healthy persons with no extensive medical histories. This paled when compared to my new population containing: asthma, diabetes, multiple cardiac issues, polypharmacy, and drug abuse. I soon learned that I didn’t know how much I didn’t know. At the same time, I found myself drawn to care for those who might not otherwise have ready access to help. However, I soon grew disenfranchised as a CNA. The scope of practice was so much narrower than I was used to that I became frustrated and considered going back in the military. Instead, I looked again at going to school, but the same concerns as before reared themselves. Having worked closely with nursing staff, I saw what they did and, while I have the utmost respect for nursing’s role in healthcare, I felt it wasn’t for me. And, as a corollary, neither was the Nurse Practitioner field. So, after three years as a CNA and feeling no way to move “up”, I left healthcare to become a Deputy Sheriff. As a Deputy Sheriff I was, for the first time in over a decade, removed from healthcare. The ability to work independently in stressful environments while also being a part of a team, conducting investigations to try and muddle through obscured clues, interviewing often unwilling people to try and glean that nugget of truth: these were the aspects of law enforcement I liked. I earnestly feel that I did good for an underserved rural community, by helping to serve it. I’ve learned through trial and error that I prefer a job where I help others. But, that’s a broad category and sometimes the best way to know what you want is to give it up. I want to be in healthcare, and I want to be a healthcare provider. With a revised GI Bill that provides better funding, along with pushes at a national level for veterans to become PAs, I found it was financially possible to return to school. I have learned from my past, and have learned that entry into a career includes hard work to receive the education to get there. I have returned to school and my grades have significantly improved over my performance from almost 20 years ago. My self-doubt about being able to achieve this long dreamt of goal has been diminished. I have wanted to be a PA for many years. Having taken the plunge of leaving my job to go back to school full time has only solidified this goal. This is a career formed from a history of military healthcare experience. Where one can be a part of a team, be a medical provider, help serve an underserved community population and be challenged on a daily basis. It also allows for not only primary care, but for being one of the last “generalists” in healthcare who can go where he or she is needed. Or, one could also choose to specialize, with a Certification of Additional Qualifications (CAQ). There is a need for PAs that is stronger now than when I first looked at the field over ten years ago. It’s time to achieve this dream: It’s time to become a Physician Assistant.
  16. Does anyone know an average salary for a PA with 0-2 years experience in Internal Medicine / Family Practice outpatient??
  17. I teach part-time as a clinical medical assistant instructor for a vocational program (approximately 25 students from a variety of age groups/ethnicities/educational backgrounds). Since it's not direct patient experience, I still feel it's important to list somewwhere on my application as I teach both didactic as well as clinical skills. Thoughts?
  18. I have been reading a lot of material on different forums and websites about the best narrative. All this is getting very confusing. I would appreciate even grammar suggestions. I'm a little over the character limit. My soul mate asked me on our 5th marriage anniversary - “I know how much you love your shadow. I know you will repent all your life for not able to do anything for him. You are trying hard to find some solution for your father’s health issue. I need a wedding anniversary gift from you. Please treat my NASH. I would like you to do my liver transplant, if required.” I am not going to get the things that are lost but I can try to prevent this to happen in someone else’s life. 14th September 2008. It was the auspicious day of Ganesh Visarjan, 11th and the last day of Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu festival celebrated by people all around the world. It is believed that lord Ganesh dwells on earth for his devotees. My family didn’t knew that He will take my parent’s heart with Him. I lost my shadow who had just turned 17, but if somebody knew to perform resuscitation, he would be with me today. On 3rd October 2013, I had received an email from Dr. Maheswar Rao, gastroenterologist saying “Please take an appointment of Dr. Luis Balart, specialist Gastroenterologist. Prepare yourself well and read about NASH (Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis) with cirrhosis of liver”. We started consulting different Gastroenterologist. CT scan, endoscopy and blood tests were performed. Biopsy was performed by Dr. Balart in New Orleans, LA and term NASH was concluded. I have voluntarily supported the rescue effort team of doctors in 2001 earthquake which occurred in Gujarat, India which was about 7.7 on the Richter scale. 20,000 people were killed, 167,000 injured and nearly 400,000 homes were destroyed. People were helpless, in pain (physical as well as emotional) requiring medical attention and crying for help to find their relatives. For the first time in my life I had learned the importance of life. I have volunteered at Memorial Hermann in Emergency Department, Pediatrics, March of Dimes and information desk to experience personal interaction, develop interpersonal skills and create communicative approach with the patients. The gratitude obtained by working with patients was rewarding. While shadowing Dr. Rachana Bhala, a gynecologist, I used to discuss in detail about the different cases, important aspects and practical approaches towards various disease conditions. Both, tutoring at Houston Community College and voluntary work at Memorial Hermann Medical center tremendously helped to surpass the language and cultural barrier and improved communication skills in conveying my ideas effectively. Beginning from high school, I was interested in science field and participated in several individual and team-oriented writings and science fair competitions at both district and state levels which has helped me to acquire more knowledge about science subjects and has improved my self- confidence. Education in pharmacy school developed a strong background in several disciplines of life sciences such as Human Anatomy and Physiology, Biochemistry, and Pharmacology. The knowledge I garnered here helped me in understanding the theoretical concepts and practical approaches of medical biology quickly and comprehensively. During the pharmacy internship training program, my practical exposure to the clinical facets of disease conditions created interest in the field of medicine. First ray of light – Vihaan, my son was born on 27th November 2012 after struggling of 12 hours. She was a PA who mentally, psychologically supported and guided me and finally my gynecologist was called 15 minutes before that ray of light entered in my hospital room. 12 hours of labor pain made me understand the role of Physician Assistant. The most enticing feature of being a PA is you are always supported by your physician who can guide you to the right direction. PA profession will also give me the flexibility to go into other medical fields. My family and professional training experiences have developed fascinating perception about the impact of the medical profession contribution and responsibility towards the maintenance of healthy living of patients. I am ready to accept the challenge to travel my journey from class room to clinical settings, assume additional responsibility and undertake the challenge associated with carrying for sick people on day to day basis and assisting others to maintain their level of health. Thus, my interest, motivation, strong background and competitive attitude to meet the rigorous challenges of the PA school curriculum has inspired me to become a PA. The United States of America has always been at the forefront for research and development in the field of science and medicine and in their efforts to provide quality education to students and shaping them into well-equipped PAs. Therefore, I am inclined to obtain the best quality education in medicine in United States of America to reach my career goal and achieve professional success. Every year many people die in India during Ganesh Visarjan, about 2-5% of the population of USA have NASH and 10-20% with fatty liver condition. If given an opportunity to wear the white coat I would like to save at least one life in my career to make my shadow feel proud of myself in my life time. Thanks for considering and taking your time!
  19. Hi, I'm a current student from UT Southwestern's PA program. I wrote these blog posts a few months ago, but they are very much relevant. I'd suggest reading over them if you're unsure about your essay and need some direction. I also have blog posts about the interview (with tips!), so check out the rest of my posts as well. Learn all you can before your interviews! Good luck future PAs! PA Narrative Tips: http://doseofpa.blogspot.com/2014/02/caspa-personal-narrative-tips.html Supplemental App Tips: http://doseofpa.blogspot.com/2014/03/supplemental-applications-and-physician.html Paul
  20. “Alright Jennifer, take a deep breath in, and blow it out, and hold it out.” I explained to the drowsy eyed patient receiving a pre operative chest x-ray. I noticed her eyes rolling into the back of her head while she began to fall back towards the x-ray tube. Instinctively, my reflexes kicked in and I was there to catch her at the last second. “Are you alright ma’am?” “Yes” she stated. “All of a sudden I just felt like I was going to pass out, I shouldn’t have skipped breakfast this morning!” Jennifer is the first patient I helped in desperate need, and remains a constant reminder to pay close attention to patients no matter how trivial the task may be. This instant gratification of saving her from potential head trauma makes me yearn for a more vital role in healthcare where I am able to monitor the patients overall well being as a physician assistant (PA). The radiography program I attended at Tidewater Community College (TCC) consisted of long clinical hours mixed with rigorous didactic courses that provided me with the skills and motivation to continue my education, while introducing me to the satisfaction that comes with delivering optimal medical care to patients. After completing my associate degree I enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to pursue a bachelor’s degree in radiography. I secured a full time position with the VCU dental school as a radiologic technologist (RT). During this experience, I discovered my passion for working directly with others by incorporating my education and clinical knowledge. Although I enjoyed working alongside dental students I know I can only utilize my full potential if I am able to demonstrate my passion of medicine and provide, educate, and care for patients as a physician assistant. During my last semester, I accepted an RT position working with Dr. Carl B. Weiss, an Orthopedic Surgeon. This was my first experience working directly with a physician, and Dr. Weiss gave me the opportunity to do a lot more than obtain diagnostic radiographs. Under the direct supervision of Dr. Weiss, I was introduced to how a private medical practice operates. This is where I was taught the skills to collect and measure vital signs as well as identify alerts in patients’ medical histories. The role I played resembled a PA working collaboratively with the physician in a private practice setting. Dr. Weiss would typically see 17 patients in a morning, which allowed little room for error from his staff. If I was not taking an x-ray or interviewing a patient, I was often called to assist the physician with a cortisone injection or to explain to a patient how their new post-operative knee brace functions. One encounter stands out in particular while working with Dr. Weiss. A young man named Darrell came into the office one morning for a follow up appointment after what seemed like a diesel mechanic’s worst nightmare. He had been working alongside a hydraulic hose when it suddenly burst and injected hydraulic oil into the palm of his left hand. Not understanding the severity of the situation, Darrell attempted to keep working until his co-worker noticed and immediately rushed him to the hospital. With the patient’s hand still severely inflamed following surgery, it was now time to remove the packing from where the wound had been irrigated with copious amounts of normal saline solution and then packed open under general anesthesia. With Dr. Weiss removing the packing from the wound along with any remaining necrotic tissue in his hand, I could immediately sense the patient’s level of pain as tears began to gently roll down his cheek. I decided to talk to the patient and empathize with him to take his mind off of the excruciating pain he was in. Once the wound had been thoroughly cleaned and a new bandage properly applied, Darrell thanked me with a sense of relief and graciously responded that perhaps his next follow up appointment would be even less traumatic. Over several weeks I was ecstatic to see his progress and eventually his ability to gain full strength back in his left hand. The sense of teamwork that Dr. Weiss and I had accomplished felt as if I was an Orthopedic PA working alongside the physician helping in a major part of this man’s recovery. While working at the orthopedic surgeon’s office, I strengthened my patient skills and learned what it takes to accomplish a goal while working diligently as a team. The drive I have to practice as a PA grows stronger each day that I am able to help provide the highest of care to patients in need. I have made many sacrifices and am ready to make many more in order to fulfill my ideal occupation where I will be incorporating science, health, and medicine with teamwork and patient care. Even after 5,000 hours of healthcare experience, I am still amazed at the variety of patients and the clinical challenges that I face each and every day. These healthcare experiences I have gained so far prove that I am devoted and an extremely diligent worker. These traits, together with my strong academic foundation, clinical experience, work ethic and loyalty to patient care, demonstrate how I will be an essential addition to the PA profession. I am confident and have proven through my journey thus far that I will excel in my future endeavors as a PA.
  21. Repping a 3.4 GPA has me slightly disadvantaged for many PA programs. With strong HCE (3,000 hours), moderately impressive GRE scores (160, 160, 4), and a solid narrative I'm hoping to overcome this problem! Be a dear, and lend me your ears! (or rather your eyes) Please be brutal, help me make an unbeatable impression with a great essay: “Can I have a sticker after?” he asked, his pale blue eyes brimming with tears. At age seven, Jacob was in my lab again for what seemed like his hundredth blood draw. After recently being diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia earlier that year, Jacob’s mother had to bring him to our clinic once a week for a CBC to monitor his condition. It was as if the sticker was a badge of honor for him, an emblem of courage. Who was I to deny him of this? As I pulled the box of stickers out for him to riffle through, his mother let out a deep sigh of relief. “I don’t know how you do it” she said. “Every week we come in here and you sit through the kicking, screaming, and crying with nothing but a smile on your face and patience in your eyes.” For some people it may seem tough to maintain optimism in dismal situations, but it is these situations that I love; it is in those moments I have the greatest opportunity to brighten someone’s day. This is my purpose in life, and getting to fulfill that purpose everyday only bolsters my desire to serve in the medical field. I was fortunate as a child. Growing up, my parents pushed me to help others all the time, whenever I could, in whatever way possible. My parents were exemplary models, and I venerated their dedication to donating their time and money to aiding those in need. From a young age they had me involved in marathons for fundraising, donation drives, tutoring, and volunteering with the Leo's Club, which largely consisted of assisting in retirement communities. It came as no surprise to them when, half way through college, I told them my dreams of becoming a Physician Assistant. I have been fixed in that reverie for over four years now. As I help each of my patients with a sincere heart, many of them are impelled to question how I could present with such contentment. “You seem really happy to be here,” they begin their inquiry, “do you plan on doing this forever?” Almost instantaneously I excitedly divulge to them my aspirations, telling them of my appreciation for altruism and education, but always ending with a somber “but the programs are very competitive, so…” As I trail off, without fail, they offer words of encouragement to remind me that this will happen for me, because it is exactly what someone of my disposition should be doing. At this point, program acceptance is my only obstacle. I have plenty of passion and edification to make it through a master’s program for the Physician Assistant profession. Education takes precedence in my life, and I am eager to get back into school. I am a teacher and a learner. I am regularly exposed to populations who are illiterate because of my employment, both current and past. I found myself desperate to help this disadvantaged community upon witnessing the struggles they undergo. Being a life-long tutor, I have chosen to involve myself in volunteer opportunities to educate illiterate adults in my downtime between schooling. I have even put thought into being a teacher for the Physician Assistant profession later on down the road. Even though I have worked closely with medical professionals as a young adult, my first exposure to the Physician Assistant profession came when I was in middle school. I wanted to visit my doctor to find out what was ailing me, but she was out of town. I was offered an appointment with the PA, so I went in for a diagnosis. It was not long after I arrived that I was able to see the PA, who helped me from the moment I got there until when she diagnosed me with Scarlet Fever and sent me on my way with a prescription. Even at such a young age, this struck me as odd. I was used to the bluntness of a five minute doctor’s visit. This visit, however, was a very different experience, and I liked how personable it felt. I continued to make appointments with my PA after that, because she made me feel comfortable visiting the clinic by building a relationship with me. Each visit she asked about my life and family, and regularly expressed her concern with keeping me happy and healthy. By the time I was approaching the end of high school, it came to my PA's attention that a condition of mine was worsening, and she feared it may progress to a life threatening situation. Thanks to her vigilance, I was referred to a specialist who confirmed the severity of my case. A surgery was scheduled promptly to correct my sinuous spine, as its twisting was threatening to puncture my lungs. Though the doctor who did my surgery was professional, he was far from personable. Fortunately my PA took the time to focus on my comfort and care in addition to the doctor's work. Seeing my PA go above and beyond her responsibilities touched me, and has inspired me to be an effective caregiver like her, and earn a badge of honor in my own way.
  22. “Alright Jennifer, take a deep breath in, and blow it out, and hold it out.” I explained to the drowsy eyed patient receiving a pre operative chest x-ray. I noticed her eyes rolling into the back of her head while she began to fall back towards the x-ray tube. Instinctively, my reflexes kicked in and I was there to catch her at the last second. “Are you alright ma’am?” “Yes” she stated. “All of a sudden I just felt like I was going to pass out, I shouldn’t have skipped breakfast this morning!” Jennifer is the first patient I helped in desperate need, and remains a constant reminder to pay close attention to patients no matter how trivial the task may be. This instant gratification of saving her from potential head trauma makes me yearn for a more vital role in healthcare where I am able to monitor the patients overall well being as a physician assistant (PA). The radiography program I attended at Tidewater Community College (TCC) consisted of long clinical hours mixed with rigorous didactic courses that provided me with the skills and motivation to continue my education, while introducing me to the satisfaction that comes with delivering optimal medical care to patients. After completing my associate degree I enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to pursue a bachelor’s degree in radiography. I secured a full time position with the VCU dental school as a radiologic technologist (RT). During this experience, I discovered my passion for working directly with others by incorporating my education and clinical knowledge. Although I enjoyed working alongside dental students I know I can only utilize my full potential if I am able to demonstrate my passion of medicine and provide, educate, and care for patients as a physician assistant. During my last semester, I accepted an RT position working with Dr. Carl B. Weiss, an Orthopedic Surgeon. This was my first experience working directly with a physician, and Dr. Weiss gave me the opportunity to do a lot more than obtain diagnostic radiographs. Under the direct supervision of Dr. Weiss, I was introduced to how a private medical practice operates. This is where I was taught the skills to collect and measure vital signs as well as identify alerts in patients’ medical histories. The role I played resembled a PA working collaboratively with the physician in a private practice setting. Dr. Weiss would typically see 17 patients in a morning, which allowed little room for error from his staff. If I was not taking an x-ray or interviewing a patient, I was often called to assist the physician with a cortisone injection or to explain to a patient how their new post-operative knee brace functions. One encounter stands out in particular while working with Dr. Weiss. A young man named Darrell came into the office one morning for a follow up appointment after what seemed like a diesel mechanic’s worst nightmare. He had been working alongside a hydraulic hose when it suddenly burst and injected hydraulic oil into the palm of his left hand. Not understanding the severity of the situation, Darrell attempted to keep working until his co-worker noticed and immediately rushed him to the hospital. With the patient’s hand still severely inflamed following surgery, it was now time to remove the packing from where the wound had been irrigated with copious amounts of normal saline solution and then packed open under general anesthesia. With Dr. Weiss removing the packing from the wound along with any remaining necrotic tissue in his hand, I could immediately sense the patient’s level of pain as tears began to gently roll down his cheek. I decided to talk to the patient and empathize with him to take his mind off of the excruciating pain he was in. Once the wound had been thoroughly cleaned and a new bandage properly applied, Darrell thanked me with a sense of relief and graciously responded that perhaps his next follow up appointment would be even less traumatic. Over several weeks I was ecstatic to see his progress and eventually his ability to gain full strength back in his left hand. The sense of teamwork that Dr. Weiss and I had accomplished felt as if I was an Orthopedic PA working alongside the physician helping in a major part of this man’s recovery. While working at the orthopedic surgeon’s office, I strengthened my patient skills and learned what it takes to accomplish a goal while working diligently as a team. The drive I have to practice as a PA grows stronger each day that I am able to help provide the highest of care to patients in need. I have made many sacrifices and am ready to make many more in order to fulfill my ideal occupation where I will be incorporating science, health, and medicine with teamwork and patient care. Even after 5,000 hours of healthcare experience, I am still amazed at the variety of patients and the clinical challenges that I face each and every day. These healthcare experiences I have gained so far prove that I am devoted and an extremely diligent worker. These traits, together with my strong academic foundation, clinical experience, work ethic and loyalty to patient care, demonstrate how I will be an essential addition to the PA profession. I am confident and have proven through my journey thus far that I will excel in my future endeavors as a PA.
  23. "I can't!"—One of the most common phrases heard in physical therapy, and my hemiparetic stroke patient was once again convincing herself the statement was true. I, however, was determined to see her through the tears and panic and get her back down the stairs that had just been her biggest obstacle since experiencing the stroke. "I wouldn't have brought you up here if I didn't know you could do it." It's a simple phrase but, when your patient knows you mean it, you become their lifeline and in turn you have to be prepared to take on that responsibility. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania doesn't guarantee a lot of prospective career opportunities, but instills a drive to work hard. After receiving my undergraduate bachelor’s degree in Liberal arts as well as my Associates degree in Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), I dutifully continued my studies in physical therapy (PT). I gained immeasurable knowledge working full time in an outpatient PT facility while cross-referencing my PT school prerequisite coursework. My exposure to new cases my led me to re-consider my future as I became interested in a broader field of practice. While working in close proximity with physician assistants (PAs), I was consistently impressed with their knowledge and ability to work both autonomously and in close collaboration with the physicians. They had earned their patient’s respect as well as mine. As honorable and worthy as the PT field is, I know my skills will be better applied when I can be an integral part of the diagnosis as well as the treatment of my patients. Since shifting my focus to PA, I have used this time to improve my transcript by completing the prerequisite courses that my Bachelor’s degree did not require. The journey to get to this point in the application process has been trying; I have picked up a second job on weekends to pay for the perquisite classes, GREs and application fees and sacrificed my free time to take evening classes. My rural Pennsylvania roots have taught me hard work, perseverance and how to make someone feel at home. Without these traits, I would not have been able to help my stroke patient. Time after time this patient tried to refuse physical therapy. One day while persuading her to participate I noticed she was trying to get her hair out of her eyes and saw my chance to make her feel more at home. I offered to help her with her hair and she hesitantly agreed. In order to keep her hair out of her face, I put it in an unfashionable high ponytail. She laughed after at my feeble attempt, which was a tremendous improvement from her previously depressed state. After that day, she no longer refused physical therapy and began to make steady progress. “You’re right, I can do this. Tell me how.” We conquered those stairs one at a time. This once bedridden woman sat in her wheelchair and gazed up in awe at what she had just accomplished. This feat had brought tears of joy to her eyes. Helping patients in these situations has been an incredible and rewarding experience. Throughout my career as a PTA I have felt the limitations of my practice. I cannot help but to think of how much more my skills could benefit patients as a PA. I want to be able to examine patients, prescribe medications and order specialized testing as necessary, just to name a few of the possibilities. While conquering the stairs for the first time is a significant achievement, I know there is more that I am capable of to help patients.
  24. Sunlight pours through yellowed, lace curtains. I sit on my grandmother’s bed tracing the stitches of an outdated floral quilt. The smell of pine trees floats through the open window and infuses the thick, humid air. A thin-framed graying woman dresses her demented, bedridden, overweight husband one cumbrous movement at a time. She sees only the human in need, never the illness. I was six then, and though I did not know it, I would come to find that I have inherited my grandmother’s small frame as well as her intense determination and innate need to serve. “And though she be but little, she is fierce”-Shakespeare. Years later, during an all-nighter in the ER, I am the one lifting and dressing a patient one velcroed shoe at a time. An old man had come into the hospital I volunteer at after falling. His sisters sat patiently in the room as we watched the Physician Assistant apply Dermabond to his elbow. After the PA left, I began dressing and talking with the patient and his sisters. I beamed when they told me that I truly had a knack for putting patients at ease and that a career in healthcare was the right fit. At 4am, nothing could have ruined my euphoric mood. Serving others has always given me joy, but the path by which I would do so in my professional life was unclear. Volunteering at nursing homes in high school fueled my passion to find a profession that would give me such a sense of fulfillment. Subsequently, I began volunteering at the hospital. The staff constantly gives me opportunities to help with patient care. I spend my time helping apply casts, restraining patients, performing EKGs, cleaning wounds, escorting patients and ensuring patient comfort. Additionally, I have witnessed pelvic exams, chest tubes, central lines, suturing/stapling, overdoses, conscious sedation, gastric suction, and death. This exposure, as well as my hours of direct contact with mentally ill individuals, has reinforced my yearning to be medically educated. I desire nothing more than to become a PA student. I was first introduced to the role of a PA while volunteering. I loved the easy, personable way she talked to her patients, and the time she allotted to each of them. After seeing this, I dove deeper and began shadowing internal medicine and orthopedic PA's. Their collaboration with doctors and nurses was inspiring, and allowed me to see the value of teamwork. Additionally, having the ability to work in multiple areas is enticing. I want to work where I am needed, and to continuously be evolving. The versatility of a Physician Assistant degree will allow me to do so. While trekking through this medical journey, I have pushed myself to grow in my educational endeavors. Because I started taking college courses at 16, I am able to take classes outside of my degree plan and still graduate early. Additionally, I was able to spend a year developing a butterfly lab. I spent hours of with a professor who pushed me to continue my medical journey. Having a professor as a life mentor was an insightful experience. She made me realize that though I have a passion for the medical field, the world has much to offer. I want to immerse myself not only in medicine, but in life; befittingly, the PA profession allows a perfect balance between life and labor. Expanding my perception in this way has given me a different mindset, and allowed me to gain maturity which will benefit my patients. In my personal life, I continuously work on finding different ways to serve. In college, I was fortunate to find work as a Resident Adviser. As an RA, I dealt with suicidal students, and students who were unsure of their life path. Moreover, the experience of receiving emergency medical calls at midnight has trained me to be focused and attentive. This position made me aware of the diversity of people in this world, and how to help them psychologically. My time as an RA gave me the confidence I needed to face difficult patients. I will always remember being asked to sit with a hostile patient whose ammonia levels were elevated. She had repeatedly tried to pull her IVs out. It calmed her to have someone listen to her story, and she soon gave up on her mission to remove the IVs. I was proud of myself for connecting with her, but I wanted more. As I left that night, I felt confident I had chosen the right profession. In the future, I will be able to not only listen to my patients, but heal them. Becoming a Physician Assistant is not easy, but I love a challenge, especially when the end result is so rewarding. My experiences fine tuning my people skills as an RA, broadening my understanding of medicine as an ER volunteer, and learning a PA’s role as a shadow have all prepared me for this journey. I am young, but far from naïve. I am ambitious and forever willing to serve those in need. There is no doubt in my mind that this is what I am called to do. I want to be a Physician Assistant.
  25. ** Any advice would be greatly appreciated - thank you!! ** In 2001 I began my secondary education uncertain where it would end up, but ready to take the first step in what I knew to be the right direction. Lacking focus, I stumbled through a handful of semesters at the local University before I discovered the world of exercise science. An automobile accident in 1999 had left me with constant back and neck pain that was alleviated only when I discovered and implemented a purposeful exercise program. I set out to gain deeper knowledge of the subject and equip myself with the tools that would allow me to share this information and help others. With this new found focus, I set my sights on a B.S. degree in health and physical education and enrolled in a program that placed a heavy emphasis on exercise science and pre-physical therapy courses. Excited and intrigued by what I was studying, I soon realized my academic potential. The capstone of my undergraduate degree was a semester-long internship, which I chose to complete at a cardiac rehabilitation program within a local hospital in my hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. I experienced things during that semester that would change the trajectory of my life. I sampled the joy that comes from helping people improve their quality of life, experienced the fulfillment of operating as part of a health care team, and I was allowed the opportunity to observe several complex procedures that ignited an unquenchable curiosity for the medical sciences. It was during the observation of a quintuple coronary artery bypass grafting when I first learned of, and observed, a physician assistant in action. The attending PA worked fluidly as a second set of hands to the cardiothoracic surgeon, demonstrating competence and confidence during every step of the surgery. To my surprise, portions of the procedure were completed solely by the PA, including the excision of the saphenous vein and the final closing of the sternum. During the course of the internship the seed of pursuing a career in medicine was planted, and I discovered the vehicle that could get me there. Without fully realizing my calling for medicine and with a lingering interested in exercise science, I explored careers in personal training and working as an exercise specialist for a physical therapy clinic. These positions allowed me the opportunity to work with people and empower them to make positive changes in their lives, but I quickly discovered that each of these positions were devoid of the satisfaction that came from helping sick, fragile people navigate serious illnesses and experience joy in new-found quality of life. In 2009 I traveled to Swaziland, Africa to help an orphanage struggling to grow and care for the ever growing number of children abandoned by an adult population devastated by AIDS. I departed on the two month trip with the intention of helping in any way possible, and I was optimistic that I could impact the health of the children; some of which who are victims of HIV/AIDS. My limited knowledge of medicine prevented me from truly realizing that desire, and I found usefulness spending time in communion with the children and tackling a medley of electrical and general construction tasks badly needed around the compound. Each day I yearned for the ability to impact the physical needs of the children and give them every opportunity to live healthier, happier lives. In the fall of 2009 I married an amazing woman and leaned on lucrative construction jobs to support my new family. While the money was good, I was not serving those in need with the gifts that I was blessed with, and it was in that absence that I knew I was to pursue a career in medicine. I began taking prerequisite coursework and I landed a job working as a clinical exercise physiologist in the cardiac rehabilitation program where I completed my internship. I gained invaluable experience working with patients with complex health issues, and learned how to operate as an integral part of a health care team. One year later the door opened for me to operate as the proctor for all exercise and pharmacologic stress tests at a branch of Alaska’s premier cardiology clinic. The immense responsibility and expertise required to perform the required duties excited me and I accepted the job. My intuition, growing understanding of technical aspects of the medical sciences, and ability to make sound decisions under pressure were demonstrated by the completion of several hundred stress tests without incident. My time spent working in the health care field, observing PAs in a variety of settings from family medicine to urology, and prerequisite coursework has both deepened my desire to become a physician assistant and demonstrated my aptitude for undertaking such a challenge. Upon my completion of PA school, I intend to practice stateside and start a family, volunteer at our church’s free medical clinic, and participate annually in medical mission trips wherever care is needed.
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