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Personal statement- Really Rough, need some pointers

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Hey guys, just looking for some pointers on my PS. I have not edited this draft yet because I just finished it a few minutes ago. You can be as harsh as you want. Thanks!



We are born, we live, and we die. The people that we touch remember us for what we did during our life. The questions I live by are simple, “did I make a difference” and “was I the best I could possibly be?” My goal each day is to answer both of these questions with a yes. There are many ways to accomplish this but mine is by helping people. This transpires into all aspects of my life and including but not limited to, my family, friends, patients, and total strangers. Whether it is helping a friend, who I have not talked to in months, move furniture or calling a cab for a patient that was discharged and waiting with him until the cab arrived; I do what I would want others to do for me if I were in their situation. This call of moral activity is the driving force behind why to become a PA.


When entering college, I knew I wanted to be in the healthcare industry but was unsure what path to take. I have not always known that I wanted to be a PA, having only heard about the profession during my freshman year of college. After learning what a PA was and doing additional research on my own, I knew Physician Assistant was the profession that I wanted to pursue. The PAs intermediate level between a nurse and a physician seemed to fit my aspirations. After learning about how PAs actually practice medicine, the term “Physician Associate” seems more appropriate in the general setting because PAs assist less than the moniker implies. In the surgical specialties the traditional “Physician Assistant” name is much more applicable because PAs are actually assisting the physician.


Having done my research about the profession I finally had a path for my future but I stumbled. After my freshman year my grades were low and I knew that if I were to have any chance at PA school that I would have to pick myself up and continue. I realized I was solely to blame for the detritus condition of my GPA and I attribute it to my maturity at the time. I thought I could breeze through college by not going to class and studying only the day before test, I was wrong. Being raised to never give up, I knew that it was not the stumble for how one was remembered but how they picked themselves up and carried themselves afterwards that would show their true character.


My years at LSU taught me skills like how to time manage or prepare for significant moments but nothing was more educational than the skills that I learned while working healthcare jobs. I use the term skills loosely because what I am really talking about are the things that cannot be taught in a classroom; the most practical among them being the EMT. Much like any Emergency Department nurse, PA, or physician an EMT must be ready at a moments notice to respond, this creates mental toughness. When we are dispatched to a call the details are as vague as “sick person.” No matter the details I mentally prepare for each call the same way, I recall my training that teaches that ABC (airway, breathing, circulation) are first and foremost. I do not assume what could be wrong, I go through the signs and symptoms with my paramedic partner and we devise a course of action for the patient. As a team we operate together, but independently we have our own responsibilities. Many times while the paramedic is talking to the patient I begin vitals. After we get the patient into the ambulance the paramedic will begin to start an iv and my duties are to get a saline lock ready, flush the line, prepare a tegaderm to secure the catheter once the vein has been punctured, and any additional. We complete the task together, a relationship not that different from a physician and a PA or a PA and a nurse.


Commonly in hospitals a physician will have many patients under their care, enter the PA. Unaccompanied by a physician a PA will treat patients that they cannot be personally seen by a physician thus seamlessly sustaining the practice. In addition to the autonomy that a PA has, I envy the flexibility that is present in their career. By not having to specialize in one specialty a PA can easily change fields. This is not to say I plan on jumping frequently from specialty-to-specialty but if an opportunity presents itself in an area that I would like to pursue, I will not have to go through additional years of school to be allowed to practice in that discipline. Many, but not all times a PA spends more time with a patient explaining procedures or course of action than his supervising physician. Welcoming questions and responding honestly I intend build trust, respect, and give those in my care peace of mind.


As man I know that the best decision is not always the easiest. And the difficult decision is not always the most popular but if popularity is my flaw I will accept that responsibility and bare the burden. As long as I end the day with a yes to both of the questions I live by, “was I the best I could possibly be” and “did I make a difference?” As a PA if I can answer those questions, “yes” I know I can be successful.

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I like how you describe the EMT/paramedic relationship and its parallel to the PA/MD relationship. I think it shows a good understanding of what a PA is.


I would leave out the part about "Associate" being a more appropriate title. I think you're right, and probably a lot of PAs on admission committees might agree, but I don't really think the PS is the place to discuss the issue. Besides, not everybody who reads it will agree with you...I'd hate to lose a reader over a personal opinion.


I would also avoid positioning the PA as "intermediate" between the nurse and the physician. You know this isn't true: PAs practice medicine just like doctors, and nurses practice nursing...different jobs, but not necessarily levels in a hierarchy (I'm guessing this is the origin of the hated "mid-level" title).


Finally, I like that you chose not to include a dramatic anecdote that ends in an epiphany that made you want to be a PA.


I hope this helps a little. Good luck.

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