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First Draft Narrative. Looking for feedback please.

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Hey Everyone,

Thanks in advance for taking the time to help out.  This is my very first draft/attempt and I mostly just want to get a sense of whether or not I am headed in the right direction.  I know there are several problems (feel free to point them out!).  It's short, and lacks some cohesion but like I said, am I heading down the right road or do I need to change gears entirely?  Thanks Again!




When I looked down all I could see were dark clouds sweeping up the valley like a tsunami of cold rain and bad memories about to be made; bad news for two rock climbers a thousand feet off the ground in the Canadian Rockies.  Decision time.  Do we risk the weather and try to finish the last 500 feet to the summit or do we pack it in and rappel down 5 hours work climbing Ha Ling Peak with little chance of attempting the climb again.  I was always told the best climbers are the ones who make it home.  Realizing were now subject to the whims of the fickle spring weather in the Rockies, we headed down, all the while looking up. 



Several years later I found myself stuck on the side of a very different cliff with bad weather moving in fast.  My wife, who was 6 months pregnant, had developed bilateral pulmonary emboli (PE).  It was uncommon for me to find her with tears in her eyes but one Sunday night she woke me up and while struggling to breath, told me that she couldn’t lie down because her back hurt too much.  Frightened and unsure what to do, I did my best to diagnose the problem.  I had been trained as an EMT but that provided only a little help under such circumstances.  I was suspicious that she had developed a pulmonary embolism but her legs showed no signs of deep vein thrombosis.  We made the decision to visit the emergency department and after many hours and many tests, the diagnosis was confirmed and treatment began.  It was exactly one week later that my wife called me from work with identical symptoms.  At this point I had learned much more about PEs and according to the statistics, I became fairly certain I would soon have to say goodbye to my dear wife.  I distinctly remember this terrible, wrenching feeling in my gut, the kind you get when your big brother punches you for being his little brother.  Never in my life had I a wished that I could do more for a person than at that moment.  


It certainly wasn’t a light bulb moment.  In fact, I had decided I wanted to be a Physician Assistant (PA) almost a year prior but while dodging traffic on the way to the ER, I realized that this need to help was a magnified version of what I had felt with all of my patients.  Each interaction we have provides an opportunity for us to react and our reactions are predicated upon our desires.  Getting caught on a cliff taught me that.  My wife taught me how to react with kindness and a sincere desire to help those in need.



I have been caught on the cliff many times. From developing a successful business only to leave it behind to pursue a career as PA to working closely with doctors and PAs to care for patients in the best way we could.  I have worked in several therapeutic areas of healthcare and clinical research and all of these experiences have cultivated in me a need to care for people.  To help those who need it.  That feeling, that desire to help, to save, and to care for has stuck with me like the need to breathe.



I never finished climbing Ha Ling Peak and finishing was probably never the point.  Everyday there are limitless factors that are out of our control and I think our success in life is dependent on how we react and adapt to a change in our circumstance. We are shaped by moments, tiny portions of our everyday lives that form the majority of who we will become.  I guess if you put these moments together you might call it experience.  Whatever it’s called, my moments have fixed in my mind a determined resolution to become PA.


dadruski 18NOV2014

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I think you have a very compelling story to tell. What you need to do now is relate how and why your experiences apply to your wish/skills to be a PA. That's one thing I've heard from every admissions director I interviewed. You also need to talk more about your experiences in healthcare, and how they've prepared you for the PA profession.


You never say why you want to be a PA, what about the profession appeals to you, talked about any shadowing experiences. Maybe you had interaction with PAs in dealing with your wife's health? 


Your second to last paragraph is so vague and general, it's not helpful.


Like your opening, you leave us hanging. There's no tie between the things you write about. 


You've thought a lot about it, that's clear. It's a good start to build from. Best of luck.


By the way, in the last sentence of the first paragraph you write, "Realizing were now subject . . . ." You probably meant to say "Realizing we were now"


Sue Edmondson


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It's a dramatic story, and I hope your wife was ok, but it didn't really tell my WHY you wanted to become a PA. what made you go from working as an emt to wanting to become a pa, what have you experienced as an emt working with the patients and doctors/pas/nps that got you interested in the PA career instead of the others. Also, I get that the cliff thing is to unify everything but the first paragraph still seemed oddly detached from the rest of the essay. It was nice and very descriptive, but I couldn't quite understand committing so much of the essay to that paragraph. After the paragraph about your wife the narrative just becomes very generic, as 'helping people' isn't the best thing to put on an essay without acknowledging what part of being a pa and helping people separates it from every other job that is good for society. Since you've decided to use your wife's situation, I think referencing back to how it felt to be a patient's husband, seeing the treatment provided by the md/pa/np, how that makes you a better provider etc would help those last three paragraphs. Good luck! 

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