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First draft, looking for any advice

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Thanks in advance for your help and for reading this. I have made many attempts in writing a statement and this is the first one I haven't deleted after finishing. I'm already debating getting rid of the first paragraph though. 


Many people are not fortunate enough to find what they are passionate about in life, whether it is their job or a hobby. In college many of us are steered towards a career path, unsure if we are making the right decision or will just end up bouncing around from job to job. One of my advisors pushed me towards physician assistant (PA) and I took steps while in college to make that a reality. Not until recently, as in this past summer as I filled out my applications for PA school, did I realize just how much I enjoy working in healthcare.

I am a big advocate of practice what you preach when it comes to giving patients advice on living a healthy lifestyle. No smoking, limit drinking, and exercise on a regular basis, the usual mantra. I was practicing the third by participating in an obstacle 5K race, the one where you pay money to run, attempt to go through obstacles, and get a little muddy. As I attempted the second obstacle I heard and felt the large crack of my ACL tearing. Since this was my third time dealing with a serious knee injury I knew how much time I was about to spend in various medical offices and how little time I was going to spend at work on an ambulance.

Throughout my six week recovery I only saw a PA once and while I had an excellent medical team looking out for me it was not time spent in their care that made me truly realize how much I want to spend a lifetime in healthcare. My six weeks spent at home without running a single emergency medical services (EMS) call made me realize how lucky I am to have already found my passion.

I missed coming to work with no idea just what the day had in store for me and my partner. EMS provides exposure to many different types of complaints thereby forcing the ability to keep a working knowledge of many specialties. Working in a high volume EMS system has taught me that I could never specialize in one field. As I PA I envision myself changing specialities multiple times as my career goals evolve with my patients’ needs. Working in EMS has shown me how much primary care is starved for providers, but as this need is filled I may find myself pursuing my interests in other fields such as cardiology or emergency medicine.

Along with yearning for the variety in my day I also missed the diagnostic challenges provided by some patients. We have a doctor available to call whenever we need and have a set of protocols, but we are largely on our own to steer our treatment path. A PA is not the top provider, yet they are expected to be able to make sound medical decisions on their own. The confidence to make decisions is important to any level of healthcare, however it is equally important to have the humility to know when to seek further advice. As a midlevel provider a PA must be equally adept at having both confidence and humility working in a healthcare team. Numerous times in the field, especially on scenes with multiple patients, I have had to make decisions regarding patient care even though I was not the highest level provider. However when I am unsure I consult my paramedic partner, choosing the safety of my patient over an outsider’s opinion of my ability to perform my job. Continuing my career as a PA I plan to maintain confidence and humility to provide the best care for my patients.

The most important aspect I missed though was the impact that could be made on a patient’s life and to those close to them. The opportunity to meet someone who is scared because they are severely sick or injured and use your skills, knowledge, and demeanor to help them relax is not something many get to do at work. Managing family members who are equally stressed and as such acting out of character requires finesse and determination. While physician assistants are not unique in the opportunity to make an impact on patients it is equally useful to recognize that maintaining the ability to simply talk to a patient is just as important as maintaining medical proficiency. No matter the speciality I happen to find myself in at any particular time the interactions with patients and the opportunity to make any sort of impact are an irreplaceable part of my future as a PA.

I have spent years with ups and downs making my way towards becoming a physician assistant. Inconsistent grades due to an initial lack of postgraduate direction. Frustrations after graduating attempting to secure employment to gain experience in patient care. Elation when finally getting a job in a top EMS system that would provide opportunities I will forever be grateful. Yet is was six weeks sitting at home that made me realize how much I loved the career I chose to pursue.





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Hi ncemt! I thought I would provide a little feedback for you as I remember writing my personal statement and how hard it really can be without input !! 

First off, I definitely think you should remove the first paragraph. It really doesn't do very much for your essay, one piece of advice that really helped me in writing mine, make sure every single sentence has a purpose and if it is not conducive to answering the questioning or supporting your answer-remove it! Think about all of the other essays the ADCOMS will be reading and how powerful the first opening paragraph can be, then think about yours, do you think it will truly stand out? It comes off a little apathetic especially because you outright say you didn't realize how much enjoyed working in healthcare until you were filling out your application for PA school (not a good sign- even if its true). I would definitely remove that as it can make you sound unprepared and like you haven't given this much thought until just recently. 

You sound like you've had some good experiences working in EMS -I did as well so one thing I did was elaborate on how it allowed me to see all aspects of the team that it takes to care for a patient  and how PA stood out to you for so and so reasons (elaborating on that is very important).... makes your decision sound more educated and thought out.

Some advice to structure your essay is thinking about telling it like a story, talk about the journey you have taken to get to where you are and how the experiences have brought you to the decision that being PA is is really what you want, rather than stating that someone just advised you to do it. You want to address SPECIFICALLY why you are choosing PA. If you want to start out your statement strong I suggest maybe an experience you had working in EMS or a patient that really inspired you, I'm sure you've had some awesome experiences working in EMS that you could talk about, after you come up with a good intro, then make an outline to organize how you want it to flow (as timeline of your life) and explain WHY PA.


Feel free to send me a direct message if you want any more help and good luck!! 

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I would absolutely agree with removing the first paragraph. Even if stuff like that happens to a lot of people, it's not something you want to highlight in your PS.


I do love what you wrote about missing your passion when your weren't able to work as an EMT.


I'm no expert but I've seen several PA's in the pre-PA general discussion board talk about the ability to change specialties is not as simple and accurate as us pre-PA students may think. You make it sound extremely easy to do. Maybe you can consult with one of them on how talking about that in your personal statement would be viewed.


I like your paragraph about making your own decisions on the spot but knowing when to ask for help.


Also, I think sunsfan92 gave you some excellent advice! Follow them for sure.


Good luck!

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I agree with keeping the part about missing working in EMS-being able to find satisfaction in helping people is the biggest part of being a PA and you obviously have that! Also optimistic3 made a good point about you stating that you make your own decisions but know when to ask for help, a very good quality for a PA to have! I think you really have some good content just need to polish it up a little, I'd be happy to look over another draft if you decide to write one! 

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