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Second rough draft! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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HI guys! Here is my second rough draft! I would love some feedback!

Just FYI P.A's in Canada just started to be integrated into healthcare so there wasn't any shadowing to be down with PA's instead it was with Nurse Practitioners which have somewhat the same role



I remember the day like it was yesterday.  The alarm was ringing and I was rushing through the endless corridors until I reached the Emergency Department of the Alberta Children's Hospital.  . It was my second year as a volunteer at the hospital and I had loved every minute of it, and this day definitely reinforced my desire to work in medicine. Code Blue was something I had been trained for but never actually experienced. As a volunteer, I was thrown into different areas of medicine from fragile newborns to the terminally ill children. It was a job that tested my mental awareness and overall attentiveness and this day did exactly that. A drunk driver had hit an oncoming vehicle and caused severe head trauma to a 7-year-old boy. The doctors quickly rushed the child to ICU and I was basically a "gofer" running between doctors, patient and family. Coordinating with all of them was a tall order, but the doctor in charge knew me well and knew that I was up to the challenge. While my volunteer shift usually lasted four hours, that day I stayed close to eight hours to help with what I could. My duties ranged from replacing saline bags to comforting family members and distracting younger siblings - I was hired mostly for the latter. During all this I began to see how immersive and rewarding the field of medicine was. The nurse practitioners were working so fluidly with the physicians, but they were far more patient-centered. I was particularly impressed by one of the nurse practitioners and started following her routine throughout the following week until the little boy was discharged. She was so dedicated and compassionate toward her patient and often worked late  - going above and beyond the call of duty. Her empathic demeanour and drive to further improve her patients’ quality of life really inspired me. While researching her profession I came across the role of physician assistant and knew this was my calling.


My love of biology started when I was in Junior High battling my first migraines. These were beyond debilitating for a 13 year old, but even then I was ambitious and determined to discover what was causing them. I took on the dual roles of scientist and subject and began doing my own experiments, manipulating different variables of my daily routine and keeping notes recording my symptoms. In university, I took several anatomy and physiology courses to learn more about the incredible processes of the human body


A pivotal experience that led to my interest in health care was being hospitalized for four days when I suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage. During that stay, I met a number of physicians and caregivers, but it was the nurse practitioners who really impressed me. My days were filled with diagnostic imaging, blood work and cognitive assessments, but amidst all the testing, I looked forward to my time with the nurse practitioners. They came in every day with a great big smile and played cards with me (testing my memory).  Knowing my love of medicine, they provided detailed explanations about the investigations and about my medications.  The physicians played an important role of course, but it was the nurse practitioners who really cared for me.  Their compassion was without parallel. 


Because I wanted to gain more patient-centered experience, I worked in an optometry clinic for roughly two years during my undergrad, performing preliminary assessments for patients. It was such a great feeling to be helping others and to be able to educate patients on their vision health.  When one of our patients arrived with a partially detached retina, we had to act quickly and methodically to help save her vision. The optometrist and I worked together and we succeeded in getting the patient into surgery in very short order. During her weekly follow-up visits with me, I was able to track her progress and eventual full recovery. At her last follow-up appointment she gave me a hug and was tearing up as she thanked me profusely for saving her vision. There is no better feeling than seeing a person crying tears of joy.  


My desire to help others was reinforced when my aunt was diagnosed with cancer. I am generally a very level-headed individual, (except when rallying my hockey teammates as captain) but when I heard the bad news, I was flooded with a range of emotions. I felt sad, angry and helpless. As a fourth year biology student what could I do? I knew that I could not physically help her, but I knew that I could still make a difference. So I chased down a distinguished researcher at the University of Calgary and offered my time and knowledge as a volunteer in his lab. He was so impressed with my devotion, willingness to learn, maturity and diligent work that he soon offered me a paid position.  I worked in his oncology lab as a research student for nine months. While furthering research in the DNA repair response to cancer, I also optimized the protocol for an alpha particle irradiator for human samples. One of its first and perhaps my greatest accomplishment in medicine, so far. I thoroughly enjoyed my work; especially working alongside incredible scientists and participating in cutting-edge research. My work felt very fulfilling: I was furthering research in the ever-growing field of oncology and potentially helping thousands of people.  However, it did not completely satisfy my desire to be on the front lines, helping people. After working in medical research, I now know that I am ready to make the leap from "the bench" to the bedside - working in healthcare.


I am convinced that I will be an excellent physician assistant. My strong drive to learn and desire to help those in need will translate into a satisfying and successful career in health care. As a physician assistant, my excellent interpersonal and communication skills, along with my ability to work both independently and as part of a team will result in outstanding patient-centered care. I would love the opportunity to work in pediatrics or emergency in under-served areas. I hope that one day I will be able to give my patients the same outstanding care and compassion that I received during my hospitalization.

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You've been through the ringer with your own experiences! Additionally, you've had a lot of experience, both with your family and professionally. Congratulations on your research.


To me, what's missing is the tie between those experiences and why you want to be a PA. (Please don't say it's "your calling." Admissions directors say they cringe when the read those words). Shorten the descriptions of the experiences and then tell what you learned from each, that match the skills/work of a PA. While your research accomplishments are impressive, how do they tie to your desire to be a PA? Why are you ready to make the leap to patient care? It is a huge leap, and you'll need to explain it if you want to use that in your essay. 


Have you worked with or shadowed PAs? That would be very important to mention. 


Just one more thing — you should probably mention that there are no PAs where you had your experiences. 


Those are the things missing most for me.


Sue Edmondson

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I agree with Sue, it's important to include a story or two about time you actually spent WITH PAs.  You do have a lot of "experience" with healthcare, albeit from personal experiences, but your story is very unique.

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