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My interest in becoming a physicianassistant (PA) is rooted in the desire to provide quality healthcare to thegeriatric population, a group whose healthcare needs I have perceived to becomplex in the course of my work in physical therapy. In the five years that Ihave been a licensed physical therapist assistant (PTA), my most memorablepatients are elderly or as we often call them “Baby Boomers”. As a PTA for thegeriatric population, I am exposed to the complexities of care on a dailybasis. Their multifaceted health care needs prompted my desire to become involvedin a professional capacity. Becoming a PA will provide me with the opportunityto make meaningful contributions to health care while allowing a level ofpersonal contact that fulfills me.

Throughoutmy career in healthcare I have had many humbling and life-enhancingexperiences. One patient comes to mind who taught me the true definition ofoptimism. When I met Jim, he was just about to celebrate his ninety-fifthbirthday. Our physical therapy sessions included balance, gait training, andlower extremity strengthening. We called it “dancing”. Jim had seen the harshways of this world, lived in over twenty countries, fought in three wars as anAir Force pilot, and he continued to smile, laugh, and dance. On days full ofdifficulties when I feel like smiling is not an option, I think of Jim andrealize there is always a reason to smile.

Asa PTA, I have been fortunate to work closely with many dedicated physicians,physician assistants, and physical therapists with a passion that equals myown. At seventeen I became the second person in my family to attend college,following in my sister’s footsteps, clueless of what I wanted out of life. Mycollege transcripts will forever show mistakes of my youth. This year I finallyconquered my fear of Chemistry by making an ‘A’ in Organic. Athletic Trainingsparked an interest in my early college career with learning sports injuriesand how to react instantly in an injury situation. I grew to love the trainingroom and interactions with the injured players which led me to the path I wouldeventually take into physical therapy. Each semester of Athletic Trainingincluded clinical rotations with a different sport on campus and at the localhigh schools. My second year I was able to do a clinical rotation at a freeclinic in an underserved community where I observed very interesting and complexcases. The next semester my rotation was at an orthopedic clinic. I shadowedthe physician and physician assistant through office rounds while learningabout casting, splints, x-rays, pre-ops, post-ops, and arthritis. As one of tenstudents at the orthopedic office that semester, I was thrilled when asked bythe physician to stay on as an employee.

Mynew role as medical technician/front desk reception/physical therapytechnician/full-time student was exhilarating. Those early days were full oflife lessons as well as medical experience. Communicating with people in needwas something I knew nothing about when I started. Over time I grew confidentin my abilities to communicate and become a positive presence in the healthcareprocess. I continued my education, graduated with an associate’s degree andpassed the state board to become a licensed PTA. Over the years, I have beenblessed to see many medical teams in action within various settings includingthe office, hospital, and operating room. Observing surgery fascinates me; sofar I have seen a total knee replacement, total hip replacement, open reductioninternal fixation (ORIF) of a digit, arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, andcarpal tunnel release. The dynamics of a great medical team is incredible tosee in action, while seamlessly creating the best possible environment forpatient recovery. I have been fortunate to observe PAs who demonstrate empathyand compassion, along with optimism in many different situations.

Theseinsights lead me to the decision to become a physician assistant. Through theseexperiences, I discovered an affinity towards being a caretaker and mycompassion for helping others. Motivated by this, I completed my Bachelor’s Degreeby taking classes at night and working as a full-time PTA. During those twoyears, I was able to maintain a 3.95 GPA to complete my bachelor’s degree. My youthfuldays of indecisiveness were over. My goal has been set high.

Thephysical therapy world has opened doors for me to exciting medical experiences thatI may have never seen elsewhere, for that I am grateful. As a full-time PTA,full-time student, and full-time wife I have excelled in time management,communication, and organization skills. As a physician assistant I hope toincorporate my knowledge of physical therapy and orthopedics into serving thegeriatric population with the kindness and patience that they need a

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