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New Personal Statement - Criticism Welcome

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Everyone in medicine has “war stories”. The memories they recount, both fond and calamitous, which revolve around patients and situations while they provided care. As I have listened to the stories over the years, I remember the medical providers that had cared for me long before I was involved in medicine at any capacity.

Growing up in a single parent home, on welfare, with six children begged for accidents. My family frequented the local ER. Before our father passed, my family had carbon monoxide poisoning. I remember the ambulance ride and my disgust for the oxygen mask. Another time I had self-administered an entire bottle of Robitussin as a toddler. I do not forget the sticky EKG electrodes in the ER bed and how uncomfortable they made me. In a later instance, I visited my mother in the ICU following an infection after abdominal surgery. I cannot remember the faces, but I remember how providers in these situations made my family and me feel.

These may have provided some influence into my prospective career choice, but they had also propelled me to give back. As a child I know numerous people who did more than was required to help my family. I volunteered at a hospital, aided a local women’s shelter, and eventually joined the fire department as a means to help others the same way that others helped my family.  I was looking to repay the debt of keeping my siblings and myself thriving, let alone alive, all these years.

            I had not felt like I was making a difference, that was, until “Gimpy”. That was the affectionate name of a patient I had met through the clinical setting. She was middle aged and hobbled into the office in tears. She had both hands on her cane bearing the weight of her body. As the doctor discussed her condition, he told her she needed a hip replacement. Somewhere during the visit she mentioned she walked to the office that day from her house. I pulled her aside and asked her to wait in the lobby until I finished my work so I could drive her home. She asked, “Why would you do that? You don’t even know me.” I think back to that moment without knowing which of us was taken aback more, she or I.

            As promised I drove her home. Although I knew from her chart that she was a past intravenous drug user and bipolar, she explained her past to me. My father suffered from the same mental illness and I offered this personal information to her. She lived in a group home with other women in her program. We kept in contact through her operation. She was the type of patient that needed extra help. She was trying desperately on her own, but needed direction. She often told me she was scared. I helped make sure her scripts were filled. I delivered a Christmas tree donated by my volunteer fire company, to her for the holidays. I took her to an appointment when we had over two feet of snow. She thanks me often and I say “no problem”. “Gimpy” is no longer as appropriate now as it was the day we met.

            There are several patients like her that I remember, which made me realize that my purpose was not just providing physical care, but mental and emotional stability. As an adult I came to realized how much my mother received care in that way as well. As a medical provider learning from others, I have observed how human even the most respected and revered providers become with difficult patients. I understand the efforts it takes to adequately care for patients with calamitous social situations and poor mental health.

Your life work should be a delicate balance of obsession and dedication. I am dedicated to serving my community in the same way, if not better, that it had served me when I needed it most. I continue to strive to deliver the extra dose of reality for the patients that need it most. Through my personal experience I am able to effectively communicate with these patients. I hope that one day there is a person that crosses my path in a time of need that is able to remember how I gave them attention, direction, and comfort when they were confused and needy.

It is my desire to pursue a career as a physician assistant to extend my current ability to care for patients. By increasing my scope of practice I hope to be able to reach more patients and provide care at a higher level. I have considered multiple professions, but have learned that physician assistant is most suiting for me. As a scribe I have learned to anticipate the needs of physician and work steps ahead of them to improve quality and efficiency. Although I enjoy caring for my patients in the capacity of an EMT, I often wonder about their outcome. The diagnostic and analytical aspects of medicine are deeply intriguing. I also consider myself a lifetime learner and find the ability to change specialties most enticing about the career.

As a physician assistant I would consider being surgical first assist, a provider to under-served communities, and/or working with organizations such as Operation Walk or Doctor’s Without Borders. There are a plethora of opportunities that I would be able to pursue being a physician assistant. It does not matter how I give back, but rather that I am able to use my talents and enjoy the process of improving the lives of others. 

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