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  1. Think of applying to this program, it is new this year and the CASPA just opened up on October 1st. Has anybody applied here yet?
  2. During my four year commitment with the Howard Payne men’s tennis team, I had the opportunity to hone my communication skills, work with people from diverse backgrounds, and become a better teammate. The tennis team demanded a lot of time and dedication, but ultimately the results were rewarding. We trained ourselves by spending hours in the gym, performed countless drills on the courts, watched several films of match play, and devised winning strategies. We understood the value of hard work, but more importantly learned that success could only be accomplished by working as a cohesive team. While searching for a career, I wanted something that would allow me to work in a team environment, to solve problems, and to utilize my personal interest for medicine to assist people in need of healthcare. Becoming a physician assistant (PA) would fulfill these roles and also provide me with the opportunity to further develop my naturally compassionate nature to better care for my patients. To gain a better insight on the PA profession, I shadowed Dr. Michael Champine and his colleague, Mr. Darren Hughes, PA. While observing, I had the privilege to witness several minimally invasive knee replacement surgeries. The operating room was comprised of Dr. Champine and Mr. Hughes alongside registered nurses (RN) and an anesthesiologist. I closely observed the procedure, but primarily focused on Mr. Hughes. His chief task included preparing the knee, assisting in the removal of damaged bones, replacing the knee with prosthesis, and stitching the surgical incision. His responsibilities demonstrated the significance of the PA position in the medical field. This made me realize how much autonomy he possessed while performing surgery, which sparked my initial interest in the flexibility in the PA profession. I also had the opportunity to observe Mr. Hughes interact with his patients; it was evident that he genuinely enjoyed spending time with them and making them feel more at ease. Outside of the clinical setting he showed me the non-medical aspects of being a PA, which broadened my understanding on the life of a PA. It was a privilege to have had the chance to observe the medical professionals at Texas Orthopedic Associates, and allowed me to experience a variety of healthcare professionals, their responsibilities, and their teamwork during surgeries. I plan to emulate their strong unity and high-level of professionalism during my own practice as a PA. While working as a research assistant for Dr. Ishan Adhikari at The Heart Beat Clinic (THBC), it exposed me to the complexities of medicine and allowed me to interact with patients on a more personal level . The position challenged me to comprehend the different varieties of autonomic disorders with a special emphasis on Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). Eventually, I was able to understand the symptomatology and etiology of POTS, and became proficient in testing for its symptoms through the utilization of autonomic functions tests. My experience with POTS exposed me to the detrimental effects of the syndrome, and allowed me to acquire deep empathy for patients while listening to stories of their everyday struggles with the disorder. Patients with POTS are unable to stand for a long period of time due to the lack of vasoconstrictions in their legs. The long period of standing may cause lightheadedness, fatigue or syncope. One patient confided in me about her struggles living with POTS. She described feeling fatigued each morning and the repercussions of the early lassitude throughout the day. It was difficult for her to do simple, daily activities she loved, such as swimming and traveling with friends. The severity of the symptoms had even caused her to resign her career as a nurse. However, she continues to be optimistic and strives to become healthy again. Her courage and drive constantly remind me of the crucial importance health professionals play within the medical field. Currently, she is undergoing the External Counterpulsation (ECP) treatment. Twice a week, my task is to check her vitals, attach her to the ECP machine, and monitor her treatment. The purpose of the ECP is to improve the circulation of her heart through the inflation and deflation of pneumatic cuffs on each leg; this particular procedure provides her body with more energy. It has been a fulfilling experience to care for her needs during treatment while learning about her life. Her vitality and optimism grows with each treatment, and it has encouraged me to see that a part of my work is impacting her life, giving me more reasons to pursue a career as a PA. My experience from observing Mr. Hughes allowed me to witness the esteemed teamwork between MD’s, PA’s and RN’s. Through understanding the responsibility of a PA in the medical setting and outside of medicine, it has cemented my desires to become a PA, as I believe it would best fit my personality. In a tennis team, there are some that may be more skilled than others, but each role has the same purpose, which is to achieve the overall goal of the team. Just like in healthcare, there is MD, PA, and RN, with each position having different responsibilities, and it requires good teamwork to satisfy the needs of the patient. It has been a pleasure to have had the chance to work with a group of professionals that help people each day, and my goal is to one day join them as a PA. With my experience and motivation, I believe I am a qualified candidate for the PA program, and look forward at the opportunity to further my education and use my knowledge to become a valued teammate in the medical world.
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