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Reapplicant rough draft--need suggestions!

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I am applying to PA school for the second time, and I just rewrote my personal statement from scratch. This is my rough draft, and it's wayyyy too long, but I'm not sure where I should cut things out or add in things that would be better. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated! I want it to be perfect! Thanks.




I have always been fascinated with the medical field, as evidenced by the Fisher-Price toy medical kit that I toted around with me as a child. However, my true desire to serve others through medicine began when I was 12 years old. It was at this time that my grandfather had been admitted to the hospital for a transient ischemic attack (TIA). While there, the doctors discovered he would need to have his aortic valve replaced with a porcine aortic valve. I loved being there with him, watching and listening as doctors and nurses came in and out, explaining his options, sharing their vast wealth of knowledge with us, and making sure that my grandfather was comfortable. I admired those professionals, and inspired by their dedication, I vowed that someday I would be able to help others the way those doctors and nurses helped my family. When my grandfather came home, I made it my personal duty to get the man who taught me how to ride a bike back on his feet. I encouraged him to do his exercises and make progress each and every day, and in turn, he encouraged me to pursue a career in medicine.


When I first began my college career, I desperately wanted to become a doctor. My interests were in medicine and I knew that I would only be happy in a career where I could interact with people on a daily basis. I thought I had my mind made up, but by sophomore year, I had a change in heart. I wanted to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner. I was accepted and enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, while continuing to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences to give me a broader scope of knowledge in the medical field. After a number of nursing classes, I realized that I was more interested in the medical model of care delivery than in the nursing model. Back to the drawing board I went, looking for a career that could offer me exactly what I was looking for. I had heard of a physician assistant (PA) before, but I did not truly understand their role in the medical field until a PA treated me at my doctor’s office. I asked her about what she did and if she liked it, and I decided to do some more investigation once I got home. Everything that I had heard and read sounded like my dream career, a perfect match for what I was looking for. Flexibility, both in the lifestyle and in the way a PA is able to change specialties, is important to me. I am always up for a challenge, and the PA profession is certainly challenging and ultimately rewarding. The respect and autonomy that a PA has is also important to me, as I am an independent and motivated individual.


As an aspiring medical professional who understands the role innovation plays in advancing the medical field, I have sought out multiple opportunities to do research. I worked in a developmental biology laboratory throughout my college career, where I learned a lot of technical skills, as well as the importance of persistence, creative thinking, and collaborating with a team. In the summer of 2010, I was afforded the opportunity to study abroad in Tanzania for six weeks to conduct an independent research project of my own design. I wanted to learn about AIDS patients who were co-infected with Tuberculosis, which is a major problem there in the ongoing battle against HIV/AIDS. I arranged interviews, collected data, and assisted at the Nyakahanga District Hospital Care and Treatment Clinic everyday in order to investigate the effectiveness of and compliance with the treatment for this specific co-infection. While the hospital staff was required to speak English, the patients only spoke Swahili, so communicating with them was a challenge as I only had a basic understanding of their language. Regardless of this, I learned so much about AIDS and Tuberculosis, the Tanzanian health care model, and most importantly, the power of hope. Saying this experience was life-changing and eye-opening would be an understatement. The people there are so resilient, and the staff is so compassionate, dedicated, and driven. While we have more resources in America to care for our patients, sometimes I think we lack basic compassion. I hope to demonstrate the compassion I saw in Tanzania when I practice here in America, and I dream of the day when I can go back to help. This opportunity also made it clear to me how important the issue of access is. Even here in America, underserved communities often do not get the care they need or simply cannot access care because of finances or geography. While this is much more obvious in Tanzania, it is a problem in our country as well. Physician assistants can improve this by bridging the divide between the individual and the specialist.


While I was initially devastated that I missed my first opportunity to get into PA school, it afforded me the opportunity to become a better candidate, more prepared, determined, and absolutely certain of my decision this time around. I have spent the past year working as a Nursing Assistant at a major hospital in Pittsburgh, where I am able to interact with, collaborate with, and even establish friendships with other health care providers. I enjoy getting to spend time at the bedside, chatting with patients and caring for them in their time of need, but I am constantly looking to take on more responsibility. After taking a class at the hospital, I was promoted to a Patient Care Technician, which means I have more technical responsibilities in the care of my patients. I now have a better understanding of the logistics of health care, how things work, medical terminology, and the role everyone plays in caring for the patient. Shadowing a PA at the hospital, I learned a lot about the profession and the responsibilities I will someday be faced with. She has served as a role model for me as I grow more and more excited to pursue my own career as a physician assistant.


Each experience I have had in my life now helps to confirm that the PA profession is the perfect fit for me. The ability to attend PA school will equip me with the proper knowledge and skills to become a successful and fulfilled health care provider, who is able to positively impact the lives of those around me.

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