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PS 1st time applicant--Please criticize away!

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I scratched my first personal statement because I felt like it didn't capture enough of my emotion. I still have about 1,000 characters. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


As I stood next to my patient’s bed in her quiet, faintly lit room, I prepared for the inevitable. Her labored breathing and stiffened body weakened as I changed her into her favorite nightgown. I knew this day would come in my career, but no amount of training could prepare me for this emotional roller coast. I adjusted Margaret’s pillow one last time and remembered her beautiful singing and gentle kisses on my hands during the evening I would care for her. Margaret was a beautiful soul and deserved to be remembered that way. Working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in long-term care has allowed me to be vulnerable. It has allowed me to see people for who they are in sickness and in health. My work as a CNA has prepared me for the tumultuous changes in healthcare and has molded me towards a career as a physician assistant (PA).


My journey began at the University of Minnesota Duluth as a first generation college student. Being from a divorced, low-income family of laborers and hospitality workers my parents encouraged me to remain dedicated and pursue a career full of knowledge and learning. My science coursework was rigorous, but volunteering in the emergency department exposed me to the excitement of medicine. I was able to witness firsthand the dedication and teamwork of a healthcare team. The emergency department introduced me to the PA profession and became my first real healthcare experience. After my time in the emergency department, I volunteered in the hospital inpatient pharmacy. Pharmaceutical science was interesting, but I craved the patient interactions I experienced in the emergency department.


Growing up in a small town in Minnesota with a population of 2,000, I hoped to give back one day.  The primary care shortage continues to plague many rural communities across the United States and PAs are increasingly being utilized to bridge the primary care gap. Driving to the next town when the only local clinic was scheduled out a minimum of two weeks was a regular memory from my childhood. As a PA in rural medicine, I would be able to provide higher-level care to a community in need in a cost effective way. I would be able to offset the demand for primary care services, shorten drive times to the clinic, build long-term relationships with patients, and take care of several generations of a family. Being a PA in rural medicine would allow me to individually diagnose, treat, and prescribe medications while maintaining a relationship with my supervising physician for more complicated cases.


With the desire to dig deeper into my local college community, I interned in community health under the mentorship of a Community Health PA. She worked to address health disparities amongst underserved populations and promoted preventive health and self care. While at the local soup kitchens, I realized each encounter presented a new story. People were eager to learn from me about proper nutrition, exercise, and routine medical visits as well as share their personal stories. Even though some of them did not have permanent homes or know where their next meal was coming from, they remained positive. They exposed me to the darker parts of my community and taught me as much as I taught them. Each personal story further enforced the need for access to quality, primary care for all.


The next time I stood by Margaret’s bed it was vacant. Her room was no longer filled with the warmth of her smile and her sweet kisses, but with the memories and lessons she had taught me. Each personal story teaches a lesson and shows the true vulnerability and fragility of life. I hope to share this vulnerability with my patients and healthcare team as a PA, and work to repair the darker parts of my community by providing access to quality primary care.

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