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First draft---please critique!!!

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            When I was seven years old, my parents were told that I needed heart surgery. At that early age I viewed health care professionals as modern-day superheroes who could cure anything with a simple procedure, medication, or injection, just as they did for my heart. However, during my work as a medical scribe in the emergency department, I realized that the hospital is not always the magical place of recovery that I had imagined. While charting on my very first patient I witnessed inevitability that medical providers face every day: death. I became aware of the fact that although medicine can certainly prolong life, death is inexorable because of the limitations of the human body. Nevertheless, this experience was one of the most influential aspects in my decision to pursue a career as a physician assistant. While the physician rushed out of the room to move on to the next patient, the PA spent time answering questions from the family and making them feel more at ease. It was during this time that I decided I wanted to be able to work more closely with patients than the physician has time to do.

            After spending two years in the emergency department I began to explore the function of physician assistant’s in various fields, including oncology clinical research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. I found myself drawn to the breast cancer patients as my mother had recently won her battle with this terrible disease, and I accepted a position as a clinical research coordinator in the division of breast oncology. As a research coordinator I was able to interact directly with PA’s and observe their role in the healthcare team. Once again, the physician assistant was able to spend considerably more time with the patient than the physician, which was especially important given the severity of the disease and the uncertainty of the research therapy. Not only was I drawn to the idea of being able to take more time with patients, I was intrigued by the PA’s ability to make decisions autonomously but also having the opportunity to work collaboratively with other providers.


            While I enjoyed working in research, I missed the amount of personal contact I got with the patients in the emergency department. This led me to my current position as a physician facilitator in the urgent care setting. My experience as a physician facilitator has clarified my image of a PA’s role in health care, as well as given me a better hands-on experience in the field. I am responsible for assessing patients, ordering the proper tests based off of the assessments, and dispensing medication, among various other patient-care related tasks. Additionally, I have become familiar with medical terminology as well as the breadth of medical illness and how patient disposition is made. I feel that this work continues to help me develop techniques for communicating and interacting with patients that will help me in my career as a physician assistant.


Throughout my healthcare career I have had exposure to a diverse patient population as well as a variety of specialties, which will make a significant contribution to my success as a physician assistant. My desire to become a PA stems from a working knowledge of their role in health care and I am committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve my goal.

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