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Driving around Mexico, the smell of rotting garbage permeating the bus, I expected to glimpse faces devoid of hope and filled with desolation. Yet, the children barely covered in rags, ran alongside our mission bus laughing and waving, and even the adults would look up and offer a friendly smile. Over ten days I labored alongside some of the most resilient individuals I have ever met, helping build a new home for a desperate family. During this time I realized the strength of a community, as over and over again I was witness to selflessness and compassion among neighbors and even to us strangers. Every member of the community had a part to play, and despite lacking adequate healthcare and proper sanitation, they were able to make due and support each other. This perseverance I observed, despite lacking some of the basic needs of life, is what began my journey to assist the underprivileged.


Not unlike Mexico, my own community has members that sometimes aren’t privilege to necessities such as healthcare and appropriate medication. A disadvantage the Snake River Clinic has attempted to remedy through opening its doors twice a week to the needy.  Working alongside doctors, PA’s, and community members who give their time each week I have seen the difference that healthcare can make. Volunteering here, I have witnessed endless amounts of compassion, yet one memory in particular stands out. Working at the clinic one night, an elderly lady was overwhelmed when her son told her he would be unable to transport her to and from the clinic over the next few weeks. This would mean she could not make her appointments, or receive her medication. Without hesitation the volunteer PA for that evening walked over and began consoling her, then without hesitation drew out a fifty dollar bill and wrote her number on a piece of paper. The money was to pay for a taxi, and if needed the PA even offered to supply a ride home. The look of gratitude and appreciation was priceless, I was shaken, and from this moment I resolved that my dream was to become a PA.  


Following this dream I acquired my CNA certification and eagerly began working on the hours that would be required of me. School, working, extracurricular activites, and volunteering all while maintaining grades may seem like a daunting task. However, over the past few years I have perfected the art of juggling the different pieces of my life, and have found the more I am challenged the more I flourish. This enthusiasm for learning and experiencing new things has expanded as I’ve seen different areas of medicine. Days on the mental health floor have tested my patience but encouraged a new perspective on mental illness. Working in the ER I have learned that keeping your head in a situation is vital but it’s important to think quickly. Overall each floor has taught me that communication and working as a team are what truly lead to patient recovery. .Working different floors of the hospital I have come to realize that this versatility in medicine is something I treasure and look forward to in becoming a PA. As a PA I will have the opportunity to learn different forms of medicine, and constantly overcome new obstacles,  without ever having to go back to school, a unique aspects that appeals to my energetic nature. I look forward to overcoming new challenges and having the ability to experience a broad spectrum of medicine.


Because I have the opportunity to experience different paces and types of medicine, I have also began to understand and respect the dynamic relationships between a doctor and their PA. In every discipline the PA has been the extension of the doctor, an extra set of hands to complete one common goal. This became astonishingly apparent after observing my first orthopedic surgery, a lumbar microdisectomy. Eagerly watching the procedure, I was astounded by the precision and effectiveness in which the two pair of hands maneuvered in unity, and amazed by the unspoken confidence that each held in the others regard. In most specialties I have seen the trust and common objective that the PA and the doctor share, working for the best of their patients. This harmony of guiding doctor and entrusted PA is a relationship I look forward to. I will never work alone, but rather have a constant mentor pushing me to be the best, a teamwork that strives for success.


Working in the community and in a hospital I have learned that every individual has a role to play and job to perform. Some roles are smaller and may seem insignificant, yet it is the collaboration and teamwork that holds a functioning society and a team together.  A PA is only one individual in this team, yet I have seen the difference one compassionate individual can make when they have dedication and a will to help those around them. From experience I know that the number of underserved communities and individuals is vast. However, someday I hope to find myself in these areas working as PA, helping to make a difference. I want to continue to be a part of this change, by becoming a PA providing and providing to those who most need it. 

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