Haleyash Posted April 22, 2015 Share Posted April 22, 2015 Tell us your name and how you spent your snow day.” This was how my lab instructor chose to break the ice on our first day of gross anatomy. Boston had been hit with a blizzard that shut down the city, and as my peers offered answers amounting to “I slept in,” my day replayed in my head. I had used my “essential employee” status to ride to work in a police car, eager to spend time with Anthony (name changed with respect to HIPAA), an elderly heart-failure patient who emulated my deceased grandfather. As the snow piled up over the course of that morning, my role in caring for Anthony had gone from delivering him his pancakes to delivering his body to the morgue. I had left unscathed by death, never realizing how desensitized I had become until I saw how my peers would react. We watched as our instructor unveiled a cadaver, along with an obvious divide between them and myself. Their rattled expressions contrasted my composure, affirming my fitness for success in the medical field. I realized then that my acceptance of death is a testament to maturity and experience: areas where I have transcended the expectation for my age. Growing up in an Armenian household without any siblings, I quickly learned the value of family and respecting elders. My grandpa became my best friend, so when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in my third year of high school, I pushed my devastation aside to take on the role of caretaker. By then I knew I was interested in medicine, and while my friends studied for the SAT, I studied my grandpa’s symptoms, trying to understand the cause of each one. As I coped with quickly losing him, I found comfort in the PA managing his care. Because she was at each of his appointments, she learned about my relationship with him and his goals of care, leaving me with an unbeatable level of trust in the woman making choices for him. When he passed, this trust turned into confidence that she had cared for my grandpa as I would have, helping my grief transform into acceptance. This experience demonstrated the PA profession as one that will provide me the power to make medical decisions, as well as the opportunity to connect to my patients and care for them alongside my own family. My respect for the elderly has since translated to my work as a patient care technician, helping me to discover my affinity for geriatric medicine. In the heart failure unit, my patients are often in the hospital for extended stays as they approach the end of their lives. This awards me both the chance to get to know who they are beyond their medical records, as well as the opportunity to learn how to approach this special population. I have found that the most rewarding experiences have not been the times I’ve given CPR, but instead, the moments when patients have trusted me enough to talk about their grandchildren, their past careers, their military experience, or even the devastation of being widowed. With this information comes responsibility and I often find myself serving as my patient’s advocate, instructing doctors and nurses how to tailor their treatment to best comfort the patient and their family. Through shadowing across several specialties I have noticed that this ability to collaborate effectively with other clinicians is at the forefront of making a successful PA. Though some have questioned how someone my age can already be sure of a career choice, I know that for me there was never really a choice. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason; through the loss of my grandpa I gained insight into the career that I wanted for myself, and my goals have not wavered since. I have watched myself transform into a clinician, emulating the PA that cared for my grandpa through the relationships I have built with my patients, the votes of confidence they have given me, and the skills I have gained along the way. I have never doubted the success I would have in the medical field, but my experiences prove that I have the passion as well as the mastery of interpersonal skills necessary to be trusted with making the best medical decisions for others. Characters: 4122 Limit: 5000 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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