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When I was 10 years old and seven years into my cheerleading career, I fell doing a front handspring-my first of 17 injuries. Upon telling my parents about the accident, they did not believe anything was wrong and thought I was being dramatic. I suffered for almost two weeks before receiving medical attention; my wrist was placed in a hard cast for six weeks due to a fractured growth plate.  Once the day came to get my cast taken off, I was excited to be free, but terrified at the sight of the saw. A young woman who worked in the doctor’s office ran the saw across her arm to assure me it was harmless. Then, she removed my cast and showed me my x-rays. I later found out this woman was a physician assistant (PA). I had always known I wanted to spend my life helping others, but was unsure in what capacity. However, after this visit to the orthopedist I began to realize my interest in medicine and the level of compassion I received from the PA.  


Many more visits with her over the years confirmed my ambitions to be a PA.  During those visits we not only discussed my various treatment plans, but also details about her profession. After one of my appointments with her, I rushed home, grabbed my laptop and began researching what it meant to be a PA.  I came to realize this was a profession I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. It had every aspect I wanted in a career: the ability to practice medicine, help others, and explore different fields. I was so happy she had introduced me to the idea of having such a meaningful career. Being a PA will allow me to establish a deep, personal relationship with my patients, which is very important to me, while also being able to treat their medical conditions.


My adolescent years were filled with much more than the typical bad hair days, blemishes, and boy drama. Throughout my childhood I was constantly moving because my parents, who were never married, could not afford to pay our rent- they were always fighting over money. Starting at a very young age I can remember my parents asking me if they were to ever separate who I would want to live with, this was a joke to them. One night the summer before my freshman year of high school I came home from my aunt’s to find that cruel joke had become a harsh reality. My parents were separating, but my mother told me I was not welcome to go with her and walked out of my life. Several months later I lost my 19-year-old cousin to suicide and had to put my childhood dog to sleep. Then the worst hit, my dad was laid off and could no longer afford to pay rent on his own. I had to go live with a friend for my junior and senior year of high school. Early in my senior year a very dear childhood friend passed away in a car accident. After moving away for college I was diagnosed with depression, which at first affected my grades because I did not know how to manage it on my own. Once my medication and treatment was under control my grades improved and I started doing more to pursue my dreams. All of these events devastated me and posed possible obstacles in my path towards my dream. However, I refused to let them stand in my way, I never lost sight of my end goal, instead I used these hardships as motivation. Every trauma I went through was another reason I wanted to become a PA and help others so they would not have to go through these horrible experiences.


A little over a year and a half ago, I began to work as a patient transporter at Baltimore Washington Medical Center. My job allowed me to see a glimpse of every department including: Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry, Intensive Care, Surgery, Cardiology, and Pediatrics.  I became fascinated and interested in every field of medicine and knew I wanted a career that would allow me to explore the many different departments.  While my personal experience with injuries has left me with a passion for orthopedics, my health care experiences in other fields including pain management and emergency medicine have also been very appealing to me. I loved the adrenaline and exhilaration in the Emergency Room and seeing the relief that pain management provides those with chronic medical aliments. I have shadowed PAs in numerous specialties as they practiced medicine, performed procedures, and assisted with surgery all of which assured me that this is the path I want to take. From these experiences, watching abscesses be drained, lacerations be repaired and even surgeries I know I am prepared to be exposed to all the sights and smells one may seen in the medical field.


In my experience as a medical scribe and patient care technician I have seen countless interactions between patients and doctors or PAs. I have learned first hand that every day in the medical field is an easy one; patients will pass away, be rude, uncooperative, and seem ungrateful. My first experience in a code blue situation hit me hard; I even shed a tear for a complete stranger. Since then I have been in numerous codes without shedding another tear. I have learned it is important to always remind myself we did all that we could for the patient and they are no longer suffering. Just a few weeks ago I had a patient get in my face, screaming, and cursing. This makes for a hard day at work, but I know that everyone has been through different experiences in life affecting their behaviors. While it may not have been easy, I let it go and continued caring for that man just as I would any other patient. For every difficult patient I have come across there has always been at least one who makes all the stress of being a full time student with two part time jobs worthwhile. Last week, I was caring for this elderly woman who kept experiencing set backs in her recovery. I spent a lot of time comforting her and her family to ensure her stay was the best it could be. When she was finally discharged from the hospital she hugged me and told me how much she appreciated all I had done for her during such a hard time. This is the way in which I wish to practice medicine; I want to help treat the patients but also ensure their comfort throughout the intimidating process.


My compassionate personality and life experiences have led me to my decision of becoming a PA. I will approach this new journey the same as all of my past endeavors; I will do everything in my power to achieve my goals. I have never let anything stand in the way of reaching the goals I set for myself. Those hardships instead became another source of motivation to keep pushing harder towards my dream. I want to dedicate my life to helping others get through treatment of their various medical ailments while establishing a comforting, yet professional, relationship with them. 

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