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Rough Draft, need tough critique!!

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Hey everyone, this is my first attempt at a personal narrative. I have whittled it down to within the character limit, but I want some new eyes to look at it. ANY criticism would be great for me, as I want to send my app in by the end of the week! Thanks!!!!:=D:


Lonely, scared, and unable to breathe, Theresa looked at me with frightful eyes. Nurses fluttered about the room, speaking in hushed tones. Sensing Theresa's discomfort, I instinctively took her hand and told her everything would be alright. Relief was visible in her face, as her wrinkled features relaxed. She smiled, and asked for me to stay. I held Theresa's hand until she drifted to sleep, choosing her comfort over the work I had yet to complete. Aesop once said, "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." Theresa's reaction to my small gesture reaffirmed that mantra. Providing compassionate care is pivotal in developing a lasting relationship with a patient and I will continue to do so both as a nurses aide, and a future physician assistant (PA).

My path toward becoming a PA was not straight and narrow. Influenced by my love for nature and the mechanics of the body, I decided to major in biology at college. I was unsure of what I would do with it, but confident I would find my niche. One day I got a phone call that brought my life to a grinding halt: my mother had suffered a stroke. I felt helpless and guilty that I couldn't be there for the person who had always been there for me. My grades fell, reflecting my struggle to balance my personal life and my classes. I spent some time with my mother during winter break, and returned to campus rejuvenated and determined to excel. I dedicated more time to studying and figuring out career options. During the semester, my mother underwent a procedure to patch a hole in her heart that had inevitably caused her stroke. That day I had my first encounter with a PA. I was amazed by how knowledgeable and friendly the PA was, as she explained the logistics of the procedure to us. Intrigued by my pleasant experience, I returned to school and began researching the PA's role in healthcare. I was surprised to find how many aspects of the profession fit the qualities I was searching for in a career.

I continued my research and got more involved with my community through volunteering and playing club field hockey. I played in the local church bell choir and walked in events to benefit cancer research. I was also fortunate enough to go on three volunteer trips during my spring breaks. My senior year, I was a student leader to four other students on a trip to New Orleans for the Katrina's Kids program. The people I worked with had such a lust for life, despite all of the hardships they faced after the hurricane. Even though some of them still didn't have permanent homes, they remained positive and determined to live life to its fullest. Being there made me realize how fortunate I am, and I desired more than ever to give my time to bettering the lives of others as a PA.

Volunteering in the Emergency Department of Cooper University Hospital fueled my desire to become a PA further by gaining insight and experience into the healthcare world. I was able to witness first hand the fragility of life, and how a healthcare team can influence whether a patient lives or dies. With our nation in the midst of a tumultuous change in the standards of healthcare, we are in need of professionals such as PAs to bridge the gap between primary and specialized care. To gain further experience, I became a certified nursing assistant (CNA) after graduating college. Working in a hospital gives me incredible insight into direct patient care; but it leaves me wishing I could do more for my patients. As a PA, I would be able to provide higher care, while keeping the same dynamic with my patients. It provides the opportunity to be autonomous, while also being part of a team. While shadowing Diane, an orthopedic PA, I have witnessed two roles a PA can have. At the office Diane works individually to diagnose and treat patients, while in the operating room she shifts into a team player, working seamlessly with the surgeon and nurse in order to efficiently complete an operation. Having the chance to follow multiple PAs has undoubtedly increased my knowledge and respect for the profession. The variability in daily responsibilities provides for a challenging and exciting workweek. As a PA I will be able to get to know my patients, provide primary care, and perhaps spend some precious moments with them, such as the one I had with Theresa.

The next time I saw Theresa she was near comatose, and passed away shortly after. I will never forget her gratitude, and I take comfort in knowing that I brought a smile to her face in her time of need. As a PA, I will continue to strive to provide better, more compassionate care to patients. Although it hasn't been straight and narrow, I know becoming a PA is the right path for me.

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Your essay is very strong. I really like the beginning. The third paragrph is a little bit unnecessary and feels like you are just listing your volunteer experience, maybe try to tie the volunteering into your interest in health care a bit more The last two paragraphs are great though!

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