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  1. Hello PA's and aspiring PA's, I have been working on my personal narrative off and on for the past month and would like to get some advice from anyone who has already submitted their application to CASPA. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know. Here is what I have so far: After having struggled with seasonal allergies for years, it seemed as though they were only getting worse every year. I was fortunate enough to find a primary care physician who also specialized in allergies and immunology. My physician suggested that I undergo allergen immunotherapy once a week for the next few years. Not long after beginning immunotherapy, I experienced a severe anaphylactic reaction to one of the injections. I had never been the subject of a medical emergency before that moment as my throat and chest began to tighten up and my eyes swelling shut. The first person to recognize what was happening was my doctor’s physician assistant, Herb, who immediately gave me an epinephrine injection, some Benadryl and checked my vitals every 5-10 minutes. Subsequently, Herb began handling my immunotherapy injections and demonstrating his concern for my well-being by performing more extensive tests on me to determine what allergens were affecting me the most and changing the dosage in my injections to prevent any future anaphylactic reactions. It was not long before I began requesting to see him for general medical consultations as well. For more than a year, I thought Herb was actually a doctor whom everyone in the office addressed by his first name. When he had explained to me that he was not a doctor and what his role in the medical field was, I was surprised at how similar his role was to that of a doctor. The thought of becoming a PA like Herb really intrigued me as I had been working in sales for nearly four years and was feeling like something was missing. I had a desire to get out from behind a desk and resume working with people in a more altruistic way as I am compassionate when it comes to taking care of people. Becoming a doctor had always crossed my mind, but once I had learned more about the role of a physician assistant, I found the versatility they have in healthcare more appealing. My capability and zeal for treating those who need medical assistance was more important to me than attaining the title or credentials of a doctor, or working within one specific field of medicine. I had already gained some valuable medical knowledge as a teen helping take care of my late maternal grandmother who suffered from diabetes, pulmonary fibrosis and rheumatoid arthritis. For a little more than two years, I assisted with monitoring her blood glucose levels, giving insulin shots, organizing her medications and transferring her from hospital bed to wheelchair via a hoist. To attest whether the desire and necessary compassion that it takes was still there, I began shadowing a couple doctors. My fervor for working with patients increased as I became exposed to different fields of medicine. I was fortunate enough to shadow a general internist in a hospital and a plastic surgeon who allowed me to (minimally) assist him during patient consultations and post-op visits. After a few months of shadowing, I wasted no time and earned certifications as a phlebotomy and EKG technician to get actual hands-on experience. When I became a medical assistant for a vascular surgeon, it was such a rush scrubbing up and assisting with outpatient surgical procedures from endovenous laser treatment to AV fistulas. As I had imagined, my compassion for tending to people in need of medical assistance was not limited to just a family member. Often when seeing a patient I think of how my own PA saved my life and has become a catalyst in my pursuit to one day be like him. After completing PA school, my intention is to go into family practice and to perform at least one medical mission ever year.
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