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First Draft for CASPA--Need Proofreading ASAP for Early Submission!

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My CASPA Personal Statement. Please read this carefully, I need as much feedback as possible from experienced readers in order to send this out to CASPA soon so I can be competitive in a smaller pool of applicants. Please be specific in your suggestions! Also, for those of you who do reply, please tell me a little about yourselves as far as if you're a PA-C, successful applicant, healthcare educator, etc.



Neurologist Oliver Sacks once wrote, “in examining disease, we gain wisdom about anatomy and physiology. In examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life.” This quote illustrates that the patients are what motivate an aspiring Physician Assistant (PA) towards a lifelong career where compassion, a desire to learn, and dedication to preserving human life are the fundamentals of the PA profession.


At the age of 13, I had my first encounter with the tenuous relationship of life and death from a patient’s perspective. My stepfather was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer known as chordoma, wherein a tumor the size of a golf ball was found in his sacrum, leaving him with a slim chance of survival. Despite the success of the surgery, my stepfather had to re-adjust his entire lifestyle, from learning to walk using a walker to maintaining his suprapubic catheter, enduring chronic pain from his severed nerves, and daily bowel care, all of which he manages to this day. At first, I struggled with the difficult task of wondering why my stepfather had cancer or why my mother and I were forced to assume the role of caregivers; ultimately I realized my childhood would never be the same again. However, this experience made me see past bitterness towards what I couldn’t control and revealed a sense of purpose, thus helping me to discover an innate desire to help heal my stepfather and others. Like those who receive a call to service, I found that the best way to persevere through such odds was to find that inner passion and follow it.


With my caregiver background guiding me, I was able to apply my family tragedy towards my realized dream of helping the sick and disabled. I discovered the PA profession when I took a summer internship working as a medical assistant (MA) for a pediatrics and urgent care clinic, which gave me the perfect opportunity for direct interaction with patients of all ages and cases. While learning how to master the duties of an MA, I sought as many opportunities as possible to broaden my understanding of patient care from assisting the doctors in physical exams to balancing 30 patients a day during the hectic flu season. At times, I was able to assist a PA who worked in urgent care, specializing in emergency medicine. It was remarkable to see a practitioner display such flexibility and professionalism under pressure, as well as her ability to willingly collaborate with the other MAs on appropriate diagnostic and treatment procedures. For example, I met a patient who had severely lacerated her foot after colliding with a screen door, which slightly exposed the metatarsals beneath a flap of skin. After I sat her down, she burst into tears out of fear that she could barely walk and that she could lose her foot. The PA held her hand with nurturing care as we put her mind at ease with our treatment plan. I offered to cleanse her foot with Hibiclens soap while the PA ordered the necessary bandages, as well as a routine tetanus shot that I administered as a precaution. These simple acts of kindness turned a terrifying situation into a resolved crisis that made me proud to have made a difference in another’s suffering. My patience and critical thinking skills served me well as I continued to assess other patients, while learning the fundamentals of working cohesively as a team that I will always utilize with my colleagues.


At present, I’ve expanded my patient experiences in my work as a PCA where I provide care to people who have physical or developmental disabilities. I have discovered a level of perseverance in caring for my patients, including a valuable lesson in patient advocacy that is crucial in maintaining communication. While working with one of my clients, a quadriplegic patient, I endured the intensity of providing various nursing cares to someone entirely dependent on my assistance that is precise to his instructions, even helping in emergency visits to the hospital. This exposure has not only taught me about what it means to help someone disadvantaged, but also to support my client’s well-being through various facets of his care. I have learned how to persist through the obstacles brought on by pitfalls in team dynamics. There was a period wherein all of my client’s PCAs dropped out of the team due to inexplicable circumstances, leaving me as the sole PCA left to care for him. Despite these setbacks, I committed to helping my client while taking on more responsibilities to compensate for our lack of staff until new recruits arrived. These efforts led to my promotion to Lead PCA in charge of managing the schedule of the entire team, training new PCAs, maintaining communication with the company, and I took the initiative to write a Care Plan detailing all nursing duties as a teaching guide. My PCA experience has provided me with the maturity, flexibility, and leadership skills that will help me adapt to a rigorous environment as a PA.


In pursuing the PA profession, I have committed myself to observing and educating myself in medicine to prepare for the demanding, yet rewarding PA program. I have become more confident in the challenges I’ll face with my patients and learning clinical practices. Since acting as my stepfather’s caregiver, patient care and health education are innate gifts that I’m determined to use for PA school so that I can achieve my ultimate goal of serving the sick and disabled, a purpose that has enriched my life significantly.


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A few quick things I noticed: you use a lot of "I" and "my", try and reduce those. There is a lot of terminology used here "metatarsals",  "suprapubic", etc. that make it seem as if you are showing off your terminology knowledge. Your quote at the beginning: you make it sound as if this is the motivation behind every PA. Is it yours? Why? Is it a quote just to show off? How is it applicable? You speak about your bitterness, but don't discuss it at all; why is this seemingly random negative statement relevant? You discuss cleaning and bandaging a wound as an act of kindness; isn't this your job? The PA holding the patient's hand was the only act of kindness I saw here. While you discuss your work experience and a working relationship with one PA, why do you want to be a PA? I don't know from reading this essay. If you handed this essay to a random reader who didn't know you, would they know you were trying to be a PA, and this essay explained why?


Good luck to you. Use what I said, or don't, your choice. I almost didn't reply, as you want my resume to go with it. That opening may not have been the best way to ask for help from strangers, IMO.

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