I am currently applying to PA schools, and would welcome any feedback on my personal statement to make sure I am on the right track. As some background information, I recently graduated from JMU with my BS in health sciences on the pre-PA track. Unfortunately, my summers were spent working to save up for school, rent, bills, etc. That being said, I was unable to pursue a license or certification to achieve patient contact hours during my breaks from undergrad, and my university did not offer any classes to achieve a license or cert. My goal during school was to focus on grades, for I could make up the hours later on, but not the grades. Since graduating I have received my EMT-B certification and began running with a local rescue squad. The small amount of numbers I currently have is probably the weakest part of my application. That being said, the aim of my personal statement is to tie experiences and personal traits I have gained through out my life to the roles, responsibilities, and characteristics of a PA. I touch briefly on a few experiences that are relevant, but I believe that there cannot be a spontaneous moment where one decides to be a PA, it is more of a growth and development approach. I would like to see if others believe I am on the right path of thought. This is a preliminary draft and I am aware that the is a lot of "excessive fat" that needs to be trimmed, but I wanted to put all my ideas down first.
I welcome any feedback, even harsh if need be, on the attached personal statement. I have also attached my resume as reference for any advice or additions to the personal statement.
PA CASPA PS.docx
Post Grad Resumè copy.docx
Okay guys, this is my Personal statement. Please let me know what you think!
Thank you in advance!
The most terrifying words a person can hear from a child are words of self- harm. “I want to kill myself” are words you don’t hear from children very often, but when you do, the words haunt you. They can reach to the innermost part of your heart and soul. So, when an eight-year-old boy looks you in the eyes and says it, what does one do? The first reaction is to hug them and tell them everything will be okay. Protecting that child from the world, and its deeply dark realities would be anyone’s first reaction. However, as a medical assistant, your options are severely limited. I made sure to do my best when faced with this exact situation. I hugged him, looked him in the eyes as his mother watched, and told him he is important and deserves to live a life full of success and happiness.
As a medical assistant, I contributed an important, but indirect role in providing care. The extent of my patient contact was limited, but I was able to gain many different and rewarding skills. If I were to choose just one, it would be the empathy that grew inside of me toward those who were ill. Our practice is small, but very busy. I would often find myself performing a beautiful synchronicity of answering phone calls and patient care. Working an average thirty to forty hours a week. At times, I found myself having a challenging time balancing my home and academic life. A typical night for me was to come home at 10 pm and help my parents with my siblings. One sibling required more attention due to having a disability. For a time before graduation, I was the sole caretaker to three of my siblings, due to a family member falling terminally ill. This left me with the care of three young children, leading to a decrease in studying, academic focus, and an unsatisfactory GPA. Though my confidence wavered when my grades dipped, I re-evaluated my study habits and work-life balance and was able to better manage time with sick family and still graduate a semester early. Since graduating I have been able to reflect upon my academic past, and receive a Master’s degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology in two semesters with a 3.5 GPA. I can say without a doubt, that I have learned from my mistakes in time management. I am excited to prove to myself that my capabilities go beyond being an excellent student as I grow into becoming an exemplary PA.
As an MA, I gained insight into the patient care aspect of practicing medicine. I found myself imagining what it must be like to be on the other side of the patient-MA relationship. Curious, I decided to explore more on the subject and quickly found a physician to shadow. When the day came, I was extremely nervous. I was afraid of sounding unintelligent or misinformed. However, once I stepped into the operating room, all those doubts fluttered away, and I realized that I was where I needed to be. The doctor introduced me to his staff, including nurses and medical technicians. However, a man was introduced to me that caught my attention. He was a Physician Assistant. At the time, I was unaware of what a PA did or what the profession entailed. Throughout the triple bypass, I witnessed a man’s life being saved, and the individual who did it was a Physician Assistant. As I stood over the patient’s head, I could see the PA work through fascia and vasculature with as much confidence as any physician. However, what set him apart from them was not only the confidence he had in himself, but also the passion he had to help this patient live a longer and healthier life. I was hooked. When the experience was over I understood that there was much more to medicine than the usual doctors, nurses and pharmacists. I remembered the desire to do more for the injured boy. I knew that as a PA I could make a greater difference in the lives of my patients.
I immediately began to submerge myself in researching what duties were included in the daily routine of a Physician Assistant. Upon further exploring, I discovered the fluidity of the field. I appreciated how wonderful it must be to spend a good amount of time directly with the patients and having the ability to experience and practice all different possibilities of treating patients. After spending time shadowing and working within the healthcare field, I determined that I needed to have a scope of practice that gave me more autonomy. I can do so much more than stand behind a counter and fill prescriptions. The empathy that I feel toward the injured and sick has increased my desire to do more for them. My passion to help and serve others has not been satiated; in fact it has increased since I first learned of the PA profession.
As Oscar Wilde once said, “To define is to limit.” Limiting the medical field to Nurses and Doctors does an injustice to patients. Which is why becoming a PA has been not just a goal for me, but a journey to my purpose in life.
I was wondering if anyone is interested in swapping personal statements for review. Reply or message me. Thanks
“Code blue! Code blue! Grab the crash cart!” I will never forget how I felt when I heard those words booming in the room while working as a clinical care extender in the PACU. As one of our clinic’s patients was resting following surgery, his heart rate began to drop; the monitors surrounding him beeped ferociously. He began to go into asystole. The nurse quickly began chest compressions and called for help. Waiting for other nurses to arrive, I took over on chest compressions. Soon, the doctor arrived, taking charge of his care as I earnestly continued delivering chest compressions. I was in the zone, doing what I was trained to do. Eventually, I felt the patient's heartbeat return and he began to breathe again. He was alive! What an incredible feeling it was to be a part of a team that saved someone’s life! This dramatic moment left an indelible mark on me, but it was something much more ordinary that inspired me to become a Physician Assistant.
Fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes out of the 1,440 minutes that make up a day. That is how long it takes me to get work. In those brief 15 minutes, I see countless people sleeping on sidewalks, covered in tattered clothing, their skin stained tan from the hours spent baking under the hot sun. I see people holding up signs asking for money, desperate for help for themselves and their families. I see people digging in trash cans looking for food or cans to recycle. I see their shopping carts, filled with the only possessions they have left in the world. I see people struggling to use their canes or to steer their electric scooters as they attempt to cross the street. And I see countless people ambling along, many of whom I am sure are struggling with hypertension, diabetes, or obesity. There is a continuous need in my community for accessible, affordable healthcare and for people willing to serve the underserved. As a Physician Assistant, I know that I could play a critical role in fulfilling that need.
Since 2013 I have been a medical scribe at the healthcare clinic in my neighborhood. During these past five years, I have worked with numerous medical providers, seeing 20 to 30 patients a day for roughly 15 minutes at a time. In those 15 minutes, I have seen people break down and cry as they receive heartbreaking news or relive traumatic moments of their lives. I have also witnessed wonderful moments when patients get good test results or are simply relieved to be getting the basic medical care they need to remain healthy.
I recall a woman who came in as a walk-in patient at the end of the day. She was dirty, smelled bad, and was scarfing down a cup of oatmeal. Needless to say, she had been living on streets for quite some time. She complained that her feet were hurting, so the Physician Assistant tried to exam them. She quickly realized that the patient’s socks could not be removed without causing the patient great pain. The Physician Assistant decided to soak her feet in hot water for about 15 minutes. Eventually, she was able to get the socks off her feet, but once she did, we could both see multiple sores on feet. Clearly, this woman had lacked basic health care services for a very long time. I watched as the Physician Assistant work with nurses, medical assistants, her supervising physician, and most importantly the patient to provide as much care as possible before eventually arranging for her to go the emergency room where she could get more advanced care.
I also recall another patient who came in for a basic check-up. The doctor ran her labs and soon learned that cancer lurked in her kidneys. When she got the news, she looked scared, even shocked. I could only imagine the fear and anxiety she must have felt. What is going to happen to me? Am I going to have to go through radiation, chemo? Worse yet, am I going to die? I felt for her every day during her treatment. The good news is that she didn’t die. Sometime later, I found out the cancer had left her body. She was cured. I remembered the doctor who had treated her, whose good sense helped to catch her cancer in its early stage. I was in awe of the difference that was made in these patient’s lives, and I knew I wanted to be able to help others in the same way that they had done.
I have remained active within my community and have helped care for others over the past few years, but it has never seemed enough. In my role, I have been able to help fulfill the temporary needs of these people but have not been able to really give my whole self to create a lasting and substantial change in their lives in a way that a Physician Assistant does. I look forward to the day I can serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider, improve access to and the quality of medical care to the people I see on my drive to work every day. I want to be that person who helps people out 15 minutes a time. I want to make a difference in my community. I want to be a Physician Assistant.