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Final draft. Looking to submit this evening and looking for any advice

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The alert bell sounds as the call comes in from an oilrig located over 130 miles offshore. On the other end, a 47-year-old male complains of generalized weakness and difficulty breathing. As the healthcare professional on the receiving end discusses the patient's medical history in a virtual face-to-face interview, an ECG is performed by one of the patient's coworkers. Instantly, the results of the ECG are available remotely, revealing significant ST-segment elevation and suggesting myocardial infarction. Within minutes, medications are dispensed and the process of bringing the patient in for additional critical care is initiated. Although this is a prime example of the nature of treatment that telemedicine can offer, it is only the tip of the iceberg. It is my belief that this is the future of medicine, and this is how I plan to be an integral part of that future through a career as a physician assistant.



I began my undergraduate schooling with the intent of going on to graduate school and then moving into a career in research working at the chemistry-biology interface. However, in the summer of 2011, after taking a job working in the chemistry department at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, I came to realize that a life in research was not for me. What originally began as a summer job ended up lasting well into the fall after the professor in charge requested that I stay on through the completion of the project. Although there were aspects of research that I did enjoy, such as the ultimate attention to detail and the results-driven nature of the work, I felt as though the human element was completely lacking, with days at a time spent working alone in the lab, rather than interacting and working as part of a team environment.



Shortly after the research project at ULL ended, I began to strongly consider a career in medicine, an idea that had always floated around in the back of my head. I decided to approach Dr. Joseph Pearson, the director of emergency medicine at Our Lady of Lourdes, the hospital at which I was employed as an ECG/telemetry technician, concerning the opportunity to shadow in the ER. My request was granted and after a few months of shadowing, he offered me a position working for his emerging telemedicine company, XstremeMD. Immediately upon beginning work at XstremeMD, I began to recognize the vast possibilities that this technology could offer to all areas of the medical field going forward, especially as a means of providing treatment to patients in both hard-to-reach and impoverished communities, as well as those in situations requiring rapidly diagnosed critical care. As someone who has dealt with personal struggles of my own, including substance abuse early in my academic career that caused me to fail an entire semester of classes, along with the deaths of several close family members in the fall of 2011, I was looking for a way that I could positively impact the lives of others in turmoil. This moment marked an epiphany in my life; for the first time I knew what my purpose was and I knew how I wanted to realize that purpose.



Once it had become clear to me that I wanted to utilize telemedicine, especially as a tool for treating the medically underserved, I began to consider what facet of medicine would best allow me to accomplish this goal. During my time spent shadowing and working in healthcare, I had witnessed first hand the ability of the PA profession to integrate all of the different aspects of treatment, while still being able to interact with patients on a personal level. As I continued to observe the function of PAs compared to that of the nurses, NPs, and MDs that I interacted with, I knew that this capacity for integration, along with the ability to gain extensive knowledge over time in multiple specialties, would prove to be of even greater benefit once applied to telemedicine.



My goals moving forward are to use the experience that I have gained working in telemedicine and the passion for service that the circumstances of my life have instilled in me, along with the essential knowledge and skills that I will acquire in PA school, in order to fulfill the potential for far-reaching care that I know these will offer in combination. As a PA, I will have the opportunity to gain expertise in a number of specialties, uniquely equipping me to treat a spectrum of conditions and operate in a wide range of situations. From the offshore oilrig worker suffering from an MI requiring urgent care, to the child in the isolated rural community suffering from conjunctivitis, to the supplemental care of ER patients at an overcrowded inner city hospital, no type of treatment will be off the table. I fully understand that I will not be alone in this venture and I hope that the strong connections with like-minded individuals that I will make during my time in PA school, and then moving on into my career, will serve to amplify all of the remarkable possibilities offered.

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