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Struggling with personal statement - help/guidance greatly appreciated

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Howdy everyone.  I am so glad I have found this forum, it has proven to be immensely helpful.  However, I am a bit discouraged.  I am not a terribly gifted writer and am struggling to piece together a decent story for my personal statement.  I will attach what I have written as a rough draft and would really love any and all criticism, guidance, and advice.  I will certainly pay it forward once I get it finished.  Do not be afraid to be overly critical, I assure I can handle it and welcome all comments. Also, I am appx. 1000 characters over so if you see places I can trim out I am all for it.


Thank You in advance




I am used to seeing patients as numbers and raw data; rarely do they have faces, personality or emotions.  I am used to seeing the diagnoses and making sure that they correlate with the values that I have measured in the lab.  I am not used to seeing how these lab results or other news effects the patient.  I have grown accustomed to viewing patients as a collection of this scientific system; composed of blood counts and chemistry panels that all add up to paint a clinical representation of a face that I would never see.  All of this changed when I started shadowing a local physician assistant.


After my first day with a physician assistant I became instantly aware that patients were far more complex and nuanced than the laboratory data that I had identified them with all of these years.  Along with several clinical presentations I was able to see how a physician assistant at a little rural clinic could make a large impact on his patient’s lives.  The PA was there not only to provide medical advice and medication, but to also care for these patients.  I saw the PA of this rural clinic provide emotional support for a patient that was on the verge of giving up.  She had been given a colostomy bag after a bowel resection that she badly wanted to be removed.  However, as a consequence of her prolonged hospital stay the patient developed several large clots in her legs.  The surgeon would not reverse the colostomy until the clots cleared up.  The patient had been in and out of the clinic for several months and upon this visit it was clear that she was not eating or drinking to avoid having to empty her colostomy bag.  It was disheartening to see this woman give up the fight for her own health.  The physician assistant was dismayed, but he was not about to give up hope on his patient.  After weekly visits with the patient, phone calls to the surgeon, and one after hours meeting with the GI doctor the physician assistant was able to come to an understanding with the surgeon and a plan was put in to place to reverse the colostomy.  This was all initiated by the physician assistant.  The patient would have had to wait for several more months, but the PA took it upon his shoulders to go above and beyond to advocate for his patient.  He was there for her fighting for her health when she had no fight left.  I watched, over the course of a couple of months, as the physician assistant empathized with the patient, urged the patient to eat, assured the patient that her condition would get better, and eventually celebrated with the patient when the hoped for outcome was achieved. This was a side of medicine that I was not used to seeing; it was so intimate, personal, and ultimately very rewarding for the physician assistant and the patient.



Being in a clinical lab for four years did teach me several things that will help me in my journey to becoming a physician assistant.  As a clinical laboratory scientist I have experience interpreting laboratory results, I often communicate with a large healthcare team, and I have grown accustomed to the fast paced high pressure society that is present in the hospital setting. While working night shift in a level II trauma center stressful, fast paced shifts were not uncommon.  In numerous trauma instances, I am not only the one collecting blood from trauma victims, from gunshot wounds to strokes, but I am also the one leading the charge back in the lab to ensure the urgent testing and ultimate delivery of blood products that could potentially save patient lives.  One of the most critical cases I ever saw was a male in his mid-fifties.  A fellow medical technologist and I were going about our nightly when the trauma was called.  In that instant we dropped everything and sprang into action, operating so efficiently that the motions were effortless.  I snapped off my lab coat, grabbed a phlebotomy tray, and was out the door on my way to the emergency department.  Upon entering the patient’s room, I was somewhat taken aback at the rather calm demeanor of the man lying before me.  He was conversing in calm, even tones with the physician regaling his daily duties as a small farmer.  I was tempted to slow down and wait for a nurse to start an IV, but I had been taken by surprise too many times before.  I introduced myself, performed the necessary double identification, and collected all of the blood that we would need back in the lab to work up whatever the physician needed.  I returned to the lab just as my partner was answering the phone.  The doctor had decided to initiate a massive transfusion protocol. It turns out that the patient had a dissecting aortic aneurysm and was on his way to the operating room.  After eight hours of preparing upwards of 36 units of blood, 16 units of plasma, 3 platelets, and 2 units of cryoprecipitate the anesthesiologist finally ended the massive transfusion protocol.  The patient was being taken to the unit, and thanks to the surgeons and trauma team, he had survived the surgery and was in stable condition.


It may sound terrible to admit this, but those were the nights that I loved.  I was able to put all of my training to use.  I was the one to collect the blood to perform the initial lab work up on the patient.  I, along with my partner, successfully communicated with the trauma team to provide not only blood products, but valuable laboratory data to help guide the team at the patient’s bedside how to provide optimal care.  This is the part of my job that I love and ultimately what draws me to the Physician Assistant profession.  I love being able to gather all of the data that I assay in the lab to put together the clinical picture that will help drive the patient’s care.  I want to be able to use the knowledge I already have regarding human physiology and laboratory testing to create personalized treatment plans for patients.  I want to take my caring for patients to their bedside, I long for the interaction that I saw at that little rural clinic while shadowing a Physician Assistant.  I want to be there for my community in a tangible way.  I want to care for my community, and that is why I want to be a physician assistant.

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