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I am hoping to submit my CASPA application within the week, and was wondering if anybody could provide feedback on my personal statement as it now stands? Any comments would be INCREDIBLY appreciated!! Thank you in advance, and good luck to all who are applying this cycle!




In most households, “People” or “Time” graces the coffee tables of living rooms. At our house, it was the “New England Journal of Medicine”. My mother is a professor in a Nurse Practitioner graduate program, and has served clientele in family planning clinics, university health care, and geriatrics during her career as an NP. Where most grandfathers take their grandchildren fishing, my grandfather (a general surgeon) took me on tours of the hospital and operating room. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.


Since graduating with a degree in neuroscience and Spanish, I obtained my EMT at both the state and national level, and worked as a Teaching Assistant for the Northeastern University EMT class. I volunteered in emergency rooms and ICUs. I set up and ran a neuroscience lab at Boston College in conjunction with a professor, and learned that while I enjoyed performing surgeries in the lab, humans provide more patient feedback than lab animals. At Riverbend Hospital, I became certified in hyperbaric medicine, and became the lead hyperbaric technologist within three months. I have continued to work in hyberbaric medicine on a team with physicians, nurses, wound care technicians, and LPNs at Adventist Medical Center, and really enjoy it. Ready to step up to the big leagues, I am pursuing a career as a PA for three reasons: patients, challenge, and purpose.


The average hyperbaric patient that comes through our doors spends three hours a day, five days a week for eight weeks with us, so we spend considerable time with each patient. In our practice, we are given the opportunity to heal their active wounds and work towards prevention as well. Shirley¹ is one such patient that has benefitted from this system. Shirley was known throughout the hospital for her co-morbidities and non-compliance. When she was referred to our department for treatment of radiation cystitis, we informed Shirley that she would need to quit smoking and eliminate her beloved 32-ounce cherry cokes laced with chocolate syrup from her diet. The first two weeks were a test of patience, but we built a relationship that enabled her to complete the full 40 treatments. When Shirley returned for a follow-up, her symptoms from radiation cystitis were resolved, she had remained smoke-free, and she was following her wound care directives and managing her diabetes. For me, this is what it’s all about. I have seen that is possible to have a greater impact on patient outcomes if I take the time to establish a foundation of trust. A physician assistant career will enable me to establish this type of relationship with patients, and simultaneously give me the skills and capabilities to make an even larger impact on patient outcomes.


I like a challenge, and pursuing a PA career certainly meets that need. The academic training and practicum in a PA program are rigorous, and I am confident I can rise to the challenge. I am academically inclined (my seven transcripts are a testament to that), and the PA profession places a premium on continuous learning. My experience in lab settings at Davidson and Boston College developed technical skills in surgery, and references can attest to my fine motor skills. Compared with an NP program, I believe the academic rigor of a PA program (more similar in nature to M.D. training than NP programs) and the technical hands on skills required of PA’s are more up my alley. I am tenacious and driven, and have the skills and temperament to be a PA at the highest level of play.


A career can last 45 years, so it’s a good idea to find something you really like to do. I want a career where I have the ability to work towards continuous improvement, stay challenged, and change people’s lives for the better. It sounds trite, but each step towards becoming a PA has convinced me that this is exactly what I want to do. While I work well with physicians and love working on a team with physicians, I believe a PA career as opposed to one as a physician enables me to spend more time with patients. Even my mother (herself an NP) believes that the PA style of education is better suited for my learning style than an NP program, and will provide me with a greater foundation of knowledge. I am confident I can be professionally satisfied in the role as a physician assistant throughout my career. Most importantly, I am 100% aligned with the mission of a PA.


In our family, “PMA” (positive mental attitude) is the phrase we invoke when the going gets tough- getting lost in the wilderness on a backcountry hike, facing a tough competitor in a sporting event, or dealing with a personal setback. Time and again, it was PMA that enabled me to be tenacious, and to summon sufficient grit to overcome the obstacles thrown in my path. I have taken this attitude in my journey towards becoming a PA. Since college, I have been on a five year journey to position myself to apply to PA programs: I have finished my PA pre-requisites, shadowed PA’s, ER techs, and physicians in order to understand everyone’s role in the health care system, and gained experience in patient care. With each step, I become more convinced that becoming a PA is the best fit for me. I am committed to becoming a great PA, and one who will make a difference. I can’t wait to start.

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although it makes for interesting reading, there are those who might discriminate against you based on your association with an NP professor(your mom). not saying it's appropriate, but it is out there. might want to consider "my mother is a professor in a college of nursing(which is true). if you read around these boards a bit you will find lots of folks who consider np's to be the devil incarnate. otherwise I like the rest of your essay andd think you will be successful in the admissions process. good luck.

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