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This is what I have. Character count at 5712: One night, around 3:30 am, a 17 year old girl woke up crying in pain as she laid balled up in bed in a fetal position. The girl’s roommate came bursting through the door, offering to take her to the ER. She had just woken up to the most excruciating abdominal pain. The random pain subsided, so she decided to wait until the morning. The following day ended with her leaving student services disappointed after being told nothing was wrong. This girl spent the next few years in and out of urgent care and express care offices only to be told the same thing, with no further diagnosis. This young girl was me. After finishing college and returning home, I eventually changed doctors. I was told if I wanted to be seen quicker, I could see the Physician’s Assistant (PA), Laura, instead. As Laura had enough to spend with me, I was able to give her a full history of everything that I had been experiencing. She was able to hear all of my frustrations and pain. Laura suggested an ultrasound to confirm what she already knew the problem was. The ultrasound tech, along with the nurse, performed my ultrasound. A team of doctors discussed the images. A few days later, Laura had me come in for a visit to explain to me the results. She must have spent 30 minutes with me, answering all of my questions and ensuring me everything was OK. Now imagine if healthcare facilities across the nation, were able to collaborate effectively to treat patients as Laura and her team did. This was my initial encounter with a PA. Laura became my new found inspiration to become a Physician’s Assistant. As I started researching Physician Assistant schools, I started to believe I was at a disadvantage. I questioned my decision to take away my love for math and science. I had changed my major from Biochemistry to Public Health at the end of my second year and started my journey towards working with people. When I initially changed my major, I was sure I wanted to become a Public Health advocate. After my peers and I rallied with an initiative called “Smoke Free Horry”, I was planning to work in public policy. I even figured I could study the distribution of diseases and work in epidemiology. I always knew I would end up doing something that improved the health in others. Laura and my own experiences helped me realize that this would involve individual health. I spent the next two years acquiring the required prerequisites. My public health background now gives me the confidence that I can provide optimal care that stem from different influences. As a PA, I will be able to become that link in a healthcare system where medicine meets interventions and education to treat present health issues and prevent future ones. To intentionally advance my understanding of medicine in a hospital setting, I work as a patient care technician at Roper Hospital. In my role, I have been introduced to many health care disciplines such as: phlebotomy, respiratory care, use of EKG machines. I have learned how to use and identify medical equipment, effective methods of infection control, and gained experience with geriatrics. Not to mention, my instinctive traits that are required to ensure patient safety and recovery have been emphasized like strong attention to details, communication skills, and having a good memory. I did not realize though, that the prior years I spent working as a therapeutic assistant at a children’s behavioral health center would prepare me for my future role as a Physician’s Assistant as well. At that time, I was looking to generally broaden my health experience with children. This exposure gave me hands on understanding in human development as well as intervening in crisis situations. It helped me realized I enjoyed being in direct contact with young patients while working to increase their overall health. Immediately after college, I spent a service year tutoring elementary and middle schoolers in English and math. Although not directly related to health, I spent time with a group of students overcoming their unexpressed, emotional and socioeconomic issues that created barriers to their learning, just as I plan to do with my future patients to overcome any health barriers. Because of my degree in Public Health, I realize some social determinants of health include economic status, physical barriers, and racial aspects due to community and family history. These specific understandings will help me to be a successful PA. My Americorps experience encouraged me to be flexible and easily adaptable to change. Adolescent aged students are often capricious, which required me to quickly realize my lessons couldn’t always go as planned. I appreciate the flexibility of PAs. I would like to receive broad training to build a multitude of skills and deliver comprehensive medical care. After successfully completing a PA program, I plan to work in PEDS or women’s health. After years of working, I eventually want to go into private practice while committing 1-2 days a week to an area with a known health professional shortage. I look forward to completing clinical rotations in internal medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics and OB/GYN. I anticipate gaining my Masters in Physician Assistant studies at a program that I believe will encourage their students to be public health leaders while teaching them to adequately apply medical principles. With every interaction I have with a PA, from my personal visits to those I work with at Roper Hospital, I continue to realize their significant role in modern medicine. I can not wait to be a vital character in a system that encompasses compassion, consideration and duty to all of those with a medical need or health risk.