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  1. Hello there, I am a non-traditional student aspiring to get into the SMU PA program. I'm currently an EMT in Oakland and taking my prereqs at CSUEB. I have a little over 1,000 hours HCE. My GPA is not stellar however the latest 60 units of hardcore science curriculum I have maintained a 3.7 GPA in my Microbiology/ Biomedical Laboratory Science major. I am reaching out to the people who have already gotten accepted to please chime in and tell us some of your achievements leading up to your acceptance into the program. Any help would be truly extraordinary in helping me to hone in on what I need to improve as an applicant and as an individual. Any advice is welcomed and truly appreciated. -Best, Humble Student
  2. It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child, but the same is true in the case of providing quality patient care and rehabilitation. Although any one person is capable of providing exceptional care to a patient, I have seen patient outcomes to be drastically improved when the healthcare providers work cohesively as a team. From patient care technicians to nurses to physician assistants, each and every person that participates in a person’s medical care serves a vital role that is complemented by the others they are working alongside. This model of collaborative medicine is something that physician assistants encourage and one of the major reasons I am motivated to follow this career path. Through my work as a patient care technician in the rehabilitation department of St. David’s Medical Center, I have been exposed to a broad spectrum of patients requiring a team approach to their care. From traumatic brain injury to stroke patients, the staff sees a large variance in patient capabilities at admission and end results upon discharge. The goal of rehabilitation is always to decrease the length of patient stay at the hospital, as well as to improve the outcome once the patient is discharged, which is only accomplished through a cohesive rehabilitation unit. I have seen some patients regain the ability to speak when they were previously limited to incoherent syllables and others rediscover the ability to move a limb that had suddenly become foreign and unresponsive secondary to their medical affliction. And yet I know that none of that progress would be possible without the medical community coming together as a team to support the patient in their recovery. One instance in which the community aspect of healthcare was especially vital was with a patient who had been involved in a bad car accident, resulting in debilitating headaches, lowered mental acuity, and impaired safety awareness. Though he was making strides in his recovery, he was still unable to consistently speak and function in a way deemed appropriate for medical release. One day, this patient was consistently and increasingly lethargic, contrary to his behavior in the previous shifts I had been paired with him. I notified his nurse who contacted his physician assistant to ensure that all members of his medical team were kept abreast on this patient’s progress. The physician assistant requested that we observe the patient for the remainder of the day and alert him to any further changes in his condition. Late in the day the patient presented with decorticate posturing secondary to what I believed to be a possible brain bleed causing a midline shift. Quick action was taken on behalf of myself, his nurse, and the rest of the medical team and he was rushed to the attached intensive care unit where they were able to perform a partial craniectomy to relieve the pressure on his brain. The ability of the staff to work as a team and recognize signs and symptoms of a complication from his accident prevented this patient from incurring any further brain damage. Too often in medicine the presence of complete autonomy can motivate healthcare providers to believe they are an island with no support system. Not only does this lead to a narrowed line of thinking, but it also decreases a healthcare provider’s accountability, which can result in a lowered quality of care. The increasing implementation of physician assistants into the healthcare system, however, is allowing the medical community to come together to increase an exchange of ideas and ultimately improve patient care and outcomes. Though every member of the healthcare team is able to affect a patient’s progress, I find myself searching for the ability to make a larger impact in my patients’ lives, something I believe I can accomplish by becoming a physician assistant.
  3. Before I begin, let me start by saying the PA profession is something I have wanted to do since my senior year of high school. I am about to be a senior in college and am still a PA-hopeful but my science prerequisite grades are what's stopping me from continuing on this long journey. I have failed two, not one, but TWO prerequisites: statistics and chemistry. I have received two D's and a few C's and a few W's. Something in me says to keep trying by retaking those courses. I am willing to put in as much time and money as it takes to get to where I need to be in order to apply to PA school. I am doing awesome in my other courses which suggest perhaps I should pursue other professions before straining myself with the science courses. I'm just wondering if any of you think I still have a shot at this point. Given that I will take several years after college to retake those courses, get my science GPA up, log in those HCE hours, volunteer, etc, etc. But will admission officers even look at my application given my horrendous track record? Not so sure... Thank you all in advance.
  4. First time applying, submitting my application soon... Wish me luck! Don't be gentle, tear it to shreds. Life can be summed into a succession of moments that shape us into the type of person we are today. Some people would have you believe that only the momentous, earth-shattering experiences shape who we are and how we view the world, but I disagree. I believe we are molded more by the strength it takes to face seemingly trivial daily troubles, and the unwavering empathy and support we provide for those in need. The latter is something I have seen from numerous physician assistants, and is the quality of care I strive to show my patients every day. In the rehabilitation group at St. David’s Medical Center, we primarily take on those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury or stroke and work tirelessly to restore their cognitive and motor functions. As a result of their condition, many of these patients have a difficult time processing where they are and what they are going through. This is especially true for those who are predisposed to anxiety, as they have been removed from the familiarity of their homes and routines and thrust into the hustle and bustle of a hospital environment. In the absence of family, these patients will sometimes slip into a downward spiral of negative thoughts that make it difficult for them to get out of bed, and even more so to complete their everyday therapy. Some cases like this are more extreme than others; one patient on the floor suffered daily – sometimes hourly – anxiety attacks, resulting in panicked phone calls to her husband filled with her desperate pleas for him to come back and spend the day with her. On a particularly busy day, this patient’s husband had finally returned to work in an attempt to move toward normalcy in his life, which meant he wouldn’t be back until well after five that evening. To say it was trying for her would be a vast understatement. I was assigned to a different group of patients on the floor that day, but no matter where I was on the unit I could still hear her pleading for someone to bring her husband back. Her patient care technician was running behind, and as such, her needs began to fall by the wayside. She was not assigned to me that day, but I had worked with her many times before, so I went to see if there was anything I could do for her. When I entered her room she was clearly distressed, rocking incessantly in her bed, eyes wide in panic. In an effort to help soothe her, I turned her lights down and pulled a chair up to her bed so we could talk. She immediately snatched up my hand and pulled it close to her chest like a child would with a doll. In a small voice she asked me to rub her back so she could take a nap, and after about fifteen minutes I could feel her relax into her first calm sleep of the day. “Is there anything I can do for you? I have the time.” Just a few simple words are sometimes enough to brighten a patient’s day. Sometimes it’s just offering a hand to hold, or a back rub. I have seen physician’s assistants do this time and time again; they go out of their way to make their patients’ lives a little easier in whatever ways they can, even if it is just retrieving some ice, or a snack for the patient. It is small gestures like these and the extra time they give to their patients that have motivated me to follow the same path toward becoming a physician assistant.
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