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Take 2 on Narrative

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I appreciate any and all criticism.


Becoming a firefighter was a challenge I took head on like the many other challenges I’ve taken on in my life. I trained hard for the physical and academic demands of the job. I overcame the emotions and fears of not knowing if I was strong enough. Along the way I challenged myself and my fellow recruits to push our limits. One of the proudest moments of my life was the ceremony when my oldest son pinned my firefighter badge on my uniform. But my story doesn’t begin there.

Several years ago someone close to me passed away. I arrived first and performed CPR.  I felt so inadequate and was disappointed at myself for not knowing how to save this person. I never again wanted to be in a situation where I couldn’t help, I decided to enroll in an EMT class. As a class requirement, I worked a shift with the fire department. My first patient was a teenage girl with an altered level of consciousness. I had zero patient care experience and was overwhelmed. I felt that I was more in the way and that I had nothing to offer the team. I did what comes naturally to me and began to talk to the patient.  The way I was able to connect with her made an impression on me. That day I fell in love with Emergency Services.

I continued my education and achieved my EMT-Intermediate certification, but it wasn’t enough. I went on to the much more challenging paramedic program. I spent thousands of hours in clinical rotations and was able to see far more than the back of the ambulance. It was such a fulfilling experience to deliver babies one day and work at the burn unit the next. I loved the diversity and the challenges each area provided.

Shortly before completing Paramedic school I was hired as a Reserve Paramedic for Sandy City Fire Department. I rallied enough interest among the volunteers and our superiors to convince our Training Captain to host a fire academy for the Medical Reserve Program. It was an exciting time in my life. I would have a chance to push myself out of my comfort zone into many unknowns.

I was assigned boots, a helmet, and turnouts too big to fit. I was about to learn what it was like to break into a burning building with heavy tools, push through the smoke and flames, rescue the trapped victim and provide medical aid. I learned many knew skills associated with firefighting and I learned the importance of teamwork. I also learned that I could conquer anything.

During the three years I served with Sandy, a large portion of our emergency calls were non-emergent.   These patients not only take resources away from emergent calls, they are costing the community unnecessary expenses. I see the potential of having PAs in pre-hospital settings. As a PA in the field I could assess the patient, give the patient the same care they would receive in the hospital, or initiate transport to the appropriate facility.  I could also serve the community by visiting private residences for patient evaluations or other non-transport needs.  I could provide medical care to those who would not otherwise get it.

I currently work as a Paramedic at the Utah State Prison.  It is a dangerous environment where every one of my patients have been convicted of a serious crime. As part of my training I went to Police Officer Standard Training. I learned to defend myself, I felt the pain associated with mace, I learned about the legal system and I learned how to deescalate dangerous situations. The skills I learned are not only helpful at the prison, but in everyday life. My patients at the prison are the population that society has forgotten. The majority of these people would not get the medical care they needed if they were not in prison. It is my job to assess the needs of my patients and ensure they are treated appropriately. Even though they are criminals I maintain high ethical standards in the way I treat them.  

What excites me the most about the physician assistant position is the knowledge it provides, diversity it offers and the teamwork that it involves. I believe my training, experiences, and ambitions coincide with a physician assistant’s and have prepared me for this challenge.  As a PA I will be able to combine my passion for learning, my love for EMS and my desire to serve others. I am eager to start the next chapter of my story. 

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This essay doesn't address the prompt...that is, it doesn't explain why you're interested in becoming a PA. I think that's the most important thing you can do in a PS. Obviously, it's best to avoid saying "I want to be a PA because...." but that's probably better than not answering the question at all.

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