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Input on my Personal Statement?

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First time applying, submitting my application soon... Wish me luck! Don't be gentle, tear it to shreds.


Life can be summed into a succession of moments that shape us into the type of person we are today. Some people would have you believe that only the momentous, earth-shattering experiences shape who we are and how we view the world, but I disagree. I believe we are molded more by the strength it takes to face seemingly trivial daily troubles, and the unwavering empathy and support we provide for those in need. The latter is something I have seen from numerous physician assistants, and is the quality of care I strive to show my patients every day.


In the rehabilitation group at St. David’s Medical Center, we primarily take on those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury or stroke and work tirelessly to restore their cognitive and motor functions. As a result of their condition, many of these patients have a difficult time processing where they are and what they are going through. This is especially true for those who are predisposed to anxiety, as they have been removed from the familiarity of their homes and routines and thrust into the hustle and bustle of a hospital environment. In the absence of family, these patients will sometimes slip into a downward spiral of negative thoughts that make it difficult for them to get out of bed, and even more so to complete their everyday therapy. Some cases like this are more extreme than others; one patient on the floor suffered daily – sometimes hourly – anxiety attacks, resulting in panicked phone calls to her husband filled with her desperate pleas for him to come back and spend the day with her. On a particularly busy day, this patient’s husband had finally returned to work in an attempt to move toward normalcy in his life, which meant he wouldn’t be back until well after five that evening. To say it was trying for her would be a vast understatement.


I was assigned to a different group of patients on the floor that day, but no matter where I was on the unit I could still hear her pleading for someone to bring her husband back. Her patient care technician was running behind, and as such, her needs began to fall by the wayside. She was not assigned to me that day, but I had worked with her many times before, so I went to see if there was anything I could do for her. When I entered her room she was clearly distressed, rocking incessantly in her bed, eyes wide in panic. In an effort to help soothe her, I turned her lights down and pulled a chair up to her bed so we could talk. She immediately snatched up my hand and pulled it close to her chest like a child would with a doll. In a small voice she asked me to rub her back so she could take a nap, and after about fifteen minutes I could feel her relax into her first calm sleep of the day.


“Is there anything I can do for you? I have the time.” Just a few simple words are sometimes enough to brighten a patient’s day. Sometimes it’s just offering a hand to hold, or a back rub. I have seen physician’s assistants do this time and time again; they go out of their way to make their patients’ lives a little easier in whatever ways they can, even if it is just retrieving some ice, or a snack for the patient. It is small gestures like these and the extra time they give to their patients that have motivated me to follow the same path toward becoming a physician assistant.

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