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Final draft following revisions, feedback appreciated


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This is my final draft following revisions and rewrites from myparesource. I am hoping to avoid paying for another review, and would appreciate feedback for my essay, particularly the conclusion. Thank you in advance to whoever would take time out to read my personal narrative.

My aspiration to become a physician assistant (PA) began in high school and guided my decision to pursue a degree in Athletic Training. The program focused on the orthopedic aspects of sports medicine and balanced a pre-medical curriculum with daily clinical hours. This schedule provided unique challenges, but our graduating class of six students learned how to study, practice skills and excel as a group. Several of my classmates graduated with aspirations to work in collegiate or professional sports, whereas I aimed to refine my abilities as a healthcare provider for my future as a PA. My knowledge was unexpectedly tested, and I began to recognize a pattern of my own symptoms that were familiar from a junior year lower extremity assessment lecture. The diagnosis of spinal stenosis was gut-wrenching, and my physical condition left me unable to work in the field that I had just dedicated the last four years to achieve. After months of conservative treatment options, a lumbar fusion was left as the only solution to my disability.

Following the procedure, I spent several days in the hospital under the care of an orthopedic PA named Jenn. This was not my first PA encounter as a patient, but I recognized that Jenn was involved in almost all aspects of my procedure from admission to discharge. She was initially surprised by a folder that I had prepared referencing rehabilitation protocols, but encouraged my goal to use this unique experience as a learning opportunity for my future career in medicine. This current setback became a way to apply the work ethic and determination that I had developed in college. Within three months, Jenn’s mentorship extended beyond my needs as a patient, and would guide a new opportunity to shadow PA’s in other fields of medicine.

I began shadowing in the surgical ICU of a local hospital, and my enthusiasm was recognized by the PAs and clinical students that I observed. Mike, a PA student completing his first clinical rotation, encouraged me to document each patient that we encountered so that I could be included in the department’s daily case review. I learned that a PA must fill different roles within the surgical team, at times leading the resident physicians in daily rounds or acting in support of an attending physician during an emergency procedure. Despite these extensive responsibilities, Mike and the PA team’s best quality was their empathetic approach to each patient’s care, as a PA’s role was far greater than checking boxes on a chart. This lesson captured my true ambition to become a PA, and set an example for the traits that I could put into practice once I completed my surgical rehabilitation.

Since my recovery, I have spent the last two years working as an Athletic Trainer, on a sports medicine team consisting of three Athletic Trainers, several physicians, and a PA. In addition, I have been certified as an EMT and plan to extend my experience into the field of emergency medicine in order to become well rounded as a practitioner. These experiences have tested my demeanor under pressure, particularly during ice hockey collisions as a life-threatening event can occur when you least expect it. During a particularly physical playoff game against a rival school, the puck floated into a far corner with several players in pursuit. As I stretched across the bench to gain an unobstructed view, a thunderous crack echoed in the arena and a single player remained prone on the ice. Within seconds, I had hopped over the boards and rushed to manually stabilize Mike’s neck and assess for any critical injury. I calmly told him to remain still as I ran through my checklist of cervical spine precautions. Once every test came back negative, Mike pleaded that he was okay in order to return to the game. Instead, I signaled his parents to meet us in the locker room to complete a thorough assessment. My concerns came to fruition as a familiar wave of concussion symptoms overtook Mike with an expected cry of disappointment. Mike and his parents expressed gratitude for my decision to seek further medical evaluation, but I left the rink with a sense that my care was incomplete.

While I am proud of my contributions as an Athletic Trainer, I remain fully committed to becoming a PA. Having experienced the emotional demands of a traumatic medical event, I have gained a practical perspective of the care I hope to give as a future health care provider. Throughout my personal and professional career, I have been deeply impacted by the altruistic qualities of individuals like Jenn, who has set a model representation of what I strive to become as a future PA.

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Small things I would address:

Paragraph 2 -

  • "This current setback" Just say this setback. 
  • Jenn’s mentorship extended beyond my needs as a patient, and would guide a new opportunity to shadow PA’s in other fields of medicine. This is a great sentence... but you talk about her mentorship and guidance and this new opportunity and don't reference what it is.

Some larger things. First off, it's very well written. It's obvious to me that it has been through a few drafts and each individual paragraph is well constructed. There are some really great, powerful sentences in each of them and the imagery is intriguing without being overdone. With that being said, in a way it feels disjointed. I'm also pre-PA and am applying this cycle, so take it with a grain of salt, but to me it's almost like multiple personal statements smashed into one, if that makes sense. When I started writing I had SO many ideas. I had to cut so much and it all felt important. It was hard, so I get the desire to throw everything in. Each story is really great and well written, but it feels like a series of incomplete thoughts that aren't connected to each other. 

At first it seemed as if your PS was going to be about your recovery and struggle, but you stray away from that fairly quickly. Then you talk about this experience with Jenn, and you get the reader hooked with this sentence about a mentorship, and again you stray. Then the inclusion of the hockey story in the end... it felt abrupt to me. I started the paragraph over because I thought I missed something. The story itself is great, and I feel like what you were trying to get at is that your care was incomplete and you wanted to learn more. In between the lines I see that you're gesturing towards the idea that this experience motivated you to want to be a PA, but you don't say that.

As far as the conclusion, I think it still needs work. "Having experienced the emotional demands of a traumatic medical event, I have gained a practical perspective of the care I hope to give as a future health care provider" - I think this sentence is better suited in the previous paragraph to explain why you're including the hockey story in your narrative. Then you randomly bring Jenn back in after not mentioning her for paragraphs. Again, it feels disconnected. Another thing I will say, do you really want someone else's name in the last sentence of your conclusion? I would restructure that. 

Overall I think you have something really great, it just needs to be more of a clear narrative. What are you trying to get across in each paragraph and how does it relate to your last point? Does each paragraph clearly transition into the next? Each concept and story should build on the previous. You want to fit a lot in but you still need a clear story and the space to develop each idea and conclude it. Figure out a strong theme and tie it all together nicely and you'll have something that's a lot more powerful. 

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Wow, what a thoughtful response and critique.I think you hit the nail on the head regarding each paragraph being disjointed, as I have been struggling to truly transition and connect each idea. There is a lot to digest after reading this, and I am going to go back and integrate some of your suggestions into a new draft.

Thank you so much for taking the time to go over my narrative.

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