mpisano12 Posted October 19, 2011 Share Posted October 19, 2011 A wise man once said, “When it is darkest, men see the stars”. (Ralph Waldo Emerson).Throughout my life, I had a difficult time grasping such quotations because I had, for the most part, escaped facing any great turmoil or loss. I had witnessed the passing of family members, but no one truly close to me. However, when I was 25 my grandmother, and acting second mother throughout my life, suddenly experienced loss of function and feeling in her tongue. To our disbelief, the cause was a group of malignant cells gathered in her brain around the hippocampus. My family and I were in constant support from the beginning and catered to her every need. The promise of early recognition and positive feedback from her physician only increased my “Nana’s” optimistic outlook. However, what began as a seemingly minor issue with her feeding tube quickly escalated into a fatal meningitis infection. As I sat in her hospital room, staring incredulously at my grandmother’s lifeless body in her final moments, I vividly remember questioning how this situation occurred and what could have been done to prevent it. In this painful deliberation, an even greater desire to act as a compassionate servant of the medical community was ignited. My passion to heal and facilitate to the needs of others those around me has remained steadfast throughout my life. From a young age, I was surrounded by medical professionals whom I would grow to admire. Courageous and heartbreaking stories of my mother’s life flight experiences and fascinating pediatric cases sparked my desire to become a physician. As a young and athletically driven child, I marveled at the possibility of being able to care of my childhood heroes such as Michael Jordan and Emmitt Smith. My first place science fair project even focused on the effects that fatigue has on precision in athletics, specifically free throw shooting. Throughout high school, I geared my focus towards the physical sciences in preparation for pre-med. In addition, I volunteered at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, which allowed my initial gratifying experiences serving in the medical field. Also, I took other leadership roles as a Student Ambassador and a TEC board member, which generated an even greater fervor to serve my fellow man. As pediatrics became an increasing interest of mine, my employment as a day camp counselor allowed an outlet to both learn from and care for children of many different ages and background. The HISRA program associated with the camp also allowed for me to spend ample time with the special needs children with both psychological and physical disabilities. Though I became very close to many of the children in their families, a child by the name of Clifford will always remain vivid in my memory. Clifford was like any other happy, charming 6 year old when I first met him. However, one day Clifford was taking part in a group soccer game, but seemed to be wandering and unaware of what was going on around him. In the weeks that followed, I learned that he had been diagnosed with a rare genetic disease which rapidly degraded his eyesight. As the summer progressed, the signs became more apparent, and by the time our winter camp had rolled around, Clifford had been declared legally blind. I took on the task of making Cliff feel welcome and included, such as walking him to our various activities, helping him change clothes, taking him down the waterslide, and playing his favorite board game Guess Who?. I continued my journey towards the medical field as I entered the University of Illinois as a student in their highly respected Molecular and Cellular Biology program. The endless resources and extremely gifted minds that shaped my program allowed for me to develop a wealth of knowledge. However, “To whom much is given, much is expected”, as the saying goes, and for the first time I found myself somewhere other than the top of my classes. My struggles only increased my ambition to succeed in my goals to help others. It was in this dark time that I first also began seeing an academic advisor at the career center at the U of I. Guy was the first counselor who took the time to look past my academic statistics, and take a deeper look at my strengths with building trust and relationships with people, and how that could best fit with my drive to make a difference in the medical field. It was in this painstaking self reflection that Guy first told me about physician assistant as a career choice. As I started to find potential in Physician Assistant becoming a viable career option, I was also taking my first psychology class and became engrossed in the idea of being able to care for individuals on both a physical and psychological level. So, in a fearless attempt to one up the competition, I took the steps to take on Psychology as a second major. This task ended up being more daunting that anticipated, but the diverse perspective of human beings from both a social and physical level is an asset I would never trade. Though I had taken a hiatus from formal education until recently, my candid curiosity and aspiration to aid others has never extinguished. For the past two years I have been employed at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center as part of the admitting department. Although the position does not require physical interaction with patients, we do act as a first contact for the majority of those coming into the facilities. This allows for me to make a connection with the patients and alleviate many of the concerns or questions they may have regarding their upcoming appointments. In doing so, I feel that I have gained a valuable insight as to how the general public feels about healthcare systems and what can be done to maximize its accessibility and efficiency. Also, the detail and compassion required from all staff members in order to provide competent and compassionate care while ultimately gaining the trust of the patient has become increasingly apparent. It is my feeling that without trust for your caregivers, true healing is more difficult to achieve. Along with a gaining a wealth of knowledge as an employee at a healthcare facility, I have also been able to attain valuable insights to the medical field and continuously acquire knowledge through a variety of alternate resources. As I mentioned earlier, I was able to volunteer for Saint Francis Medical Center in high school. In addition, I was able to shadow a Pediatric Surgeon for a few days and view some fascinating surgeries. The intestinal malrotation procedure I witnessed Dr. Pearl perform is still one of my most vivid memories I have from any learning or medical environment. I have also had the privilege of shadowing a Physician Assistant of Nephrology as well as the Physician for whom she worked. Have the opportunity to follow both of them on rounds and have a strong interaction with many of the patients, a true sense of poise and fulfillment was gained. In addition, I was able to extract invaluable information on working as a Physician Assistant both in a hospital and private practice setting. Physician Assistant is a calling that has resonated with me since I first learned of its existence. I believe my academic knowledge of biology and psychology along with passion for healthcare will allow me to flourish as a PA. In addition, the freedom to serve independently across many fields of medicine, while still allowing for a balance between healthcare and family is exactly the symmetry in my life I’ve been seeking Becoming a part of this field of dedicated health professionals would fulfill my aspirations of providing competent, compassionate care to individuals physically, while allowing the freedom to create lasting relationships with patients. I appreciate your consideration and look forward to studying under the guidance of your institution as I pursue the knowledge and experience needed to serve my fellow man. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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