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Hoping to submit this week -please view-CRITIQUES NEEDED

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My palms were sweaty, my hands were shaking, my heart was pounding, and my stomach ached. Graduation day was supposed to be a celebration, a happy event, but as I sat there amongst a collection of my peers I could not stop panicking. Unlike them my story had yet to be written; I was not ready to embark on the path to graduate school. Somehow I had become more caught up in the journey than my destination.

College started as a great experience for me. I was happy with my major choice, became involved on campus, took part in volunteer activities, and worked part time on and off campus. Things were going according to my plan. I felt myself drawn towards a career in medicine so I shadowed a local family practice physician.

Through shadowing I realized I had an interest in medicine but more importantly I felt that it was a field in which I belonged. I found myself fascinated with learning about disease processes, diagnosis, and methods of treatment, but more importantly I really enjoyed interacting with the patients. Each patient had a unique story and set of symptoms they presented and I felt blessed to have them share their stories with me. With each patient case and each passing day my passion in medicine grew.

Things were going so well. I was studying material that interested me, but while my academic life was going well, my personal life was not. My grandpa passed away during my senior year and my grades suffered. With hard work and determination I graduated with honors and completed my on the job training as a medical assistant. So despite my angst while waiting to step on that stage, I left the auditorium graduation day degree in hand, proud of my accomplishments. My success despite the situation only served to make me a harder working individual.

Over the next five years I worked full time as a medical assistant. Understanding my desire to pursue a career in medicine my boss has afforded me some level of autonomy as his medical assistant and office manager. This has exposed me to a wide variety of experiences both clinically and administratively. However, my favorite part about working in a family practice, just as it was during shadowing, is getting to know the patients. I try to know each of our patients personally and have developed a rapport with many of them. I work hard to be more than just a medical assistant and more of a patient advocate who many days stays late to be sure that the needs of all the patients have been met.

As a medical assistant I also interact with local specialty groups on coordination and continuity of patient care which has allowed me to interact with a variety of medical professionals including Physician Assistants. The more I talked to PAs of varying specialties, the more intrigued I became. To gain more insight into the field I shadowed a PA I had met who had recently switched specialties from general surgery to cosmetic surgery. Through the experience I was able follow her through a typical day in her practice. She worked separately from the physician allowing more patients to be seen, performed minor procedures, conducted pre and post-surgical assessments, and acted as a surgical assistant. She also had administrative roles like overseeing the medical assistants in the practice. Seeing her work with her patients I realized I would enjoy being a PA.

Shadowing a PA made me excited about the profession, but it was my time spent volunteering with my boss beyond regular clinic hours that made me passionate about becoming a PA. My boss and I volunteer with a local group called Midwest Workers Association. The association members are working poor, underemployed, or unemployed individuals who face medical problems they cannot afford to treat. Being a volunteer MA with MWA for the past three years has been rewarding and gratifying, but it has also made me wish I could do more. I have heard a plethora of stories from patient who waited for hours at county hospitals just to be turned away before being treated and have seen patients who work in manual labor jobs living with disfiguring and painful injuries because they could not afford time off or did not have money to pay for treatment. Working with MWA further encouraged me to pursue the Physician Assistant pathway in hopes that one day I can work with local community programs that provide medical care and preventive testing for low income families.

I’ve come a long way from that uncertain undergrad. I thought I was one step behind my classmates. Now I know I simply needed time to see what life would bring. I will never regret working as a medical assistant for the last five years as it has allowed me to learn who I am and wish to become. I am ready to work hard to pursue a field that interests me and allows me to do more for patients than I can right now as a medical assistant. I am ready to start a new journey in my life and it starts with pursuing my dream to become a Physician Assistant.

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I enjoyed reading your PS. It kinda sounds like my situation being in the healthcare field and trying to find your niche. I think its good that you not only gave a background of what you did but what you would like to do as a PA someday. I don't think I can really say anything negative :) I am wondering if the readers will ask themselves why not MD? but you could probably add to that in the interview; i am sure this PS will get you one. good luck!

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