Below I have attached the first draft of what I am sure is to be many of my personal statement for my PA school application. I would appreciate any constructive criticism you might have to offer! I am open to suggestions, and understand that this is merely the beginning of a grand metamorphosis. Your time and words are greatly valued! 🙂
Small town life in Gardnerville, Nevada means knowing everything about everybody. Small town life under the watchful eye of Grandma Bertolone means adopting everyone into your heart and home – a sentiment reiterated by the golden heart-shaped locket she wore each day, empty so there was space for everyone. And so today, I don my empty locket each morning before heading to the hospital, ready for my empty spaces to be filled with new patients, and tucking my old ones under a protective mother hen wing, for families are what you make them, and love and protection is deserved by all.
To begin with, I take care of people. It’s simple. It’s who I am, somehow indelibly ingrained in my genetics. At five, my barbies manned the “military hospital” for the wounded GI Joe dolls. At eight, I played nurse to my little sister who had been hospitalized with ITP. At ten, I helped raise my new baby brother, and nannied my two baby cousins. As a soccer captain, I kept my bag stocked with more first aid kits than actual athletic gear. As a student and friend, I became Lucy’s psychiatric booth at lunch like in Charlie Brown. The list goes on, but the personality trait never strays. I have spent my life supporting an ever growing adoptive family, and would like nothing more than to utilize and nurture that through the physician assistant profession. I have also spent my life somehow ironically entangled with the shadow of death constantly at my back, and am adamant to shirk my duties of helpless bystander, and place myself in a position to fight back.
As I’ve grown, my dreams have followed, driving me to constantly seek greater medical experiences and give further help to those who cannot help themselves. Throughout college, I was fortunate enough to shadow doctors and PAs in the ED, clinics, and even in a military hospital in Sicily. After graduating from Oregon State University, I became a medical assistant for an inner city family medicine doctor focusing on pain management, ADHD, and Suboxone. Due to the lower socioeconomic status of our patient demographics, I experienced first hand the many detriments of our health insurance system, and the necessity to relentlessly negotiate with insurance companies to provide our patients with proper care under difficult circumstances.
Subsequently, I transitioned to an internal medicine practice within a teaching hospital where I became familiar with the management of chronic diseases plaguing many of our seniors. Working with the medical residents was an invigorating experience in which I tried my utmost to ask questions in every lull of conversation or awkward pause, and tag along whenever possible to learn something new. In particular, I became a wound care assistant to our nursing supervisor who had undertaken patients with complex wounds needing almost daily care to prevent readmission to the emergency room, finding the progression of tangible results to be extremely rewarding.
Throughout these jobs, I supplemented my spare time by volunteering to cuddle babies at the NICU, caregiving for ill family members, and working in several community clinics for the uninsured.
This cornucopia of medical experiences has shaped my blurry aspirations of wanting to protect my family into a more crisp picture of how to protect them. My first priority is to not only support my patient family, but also maintain a healthy one of my own. I find that the length of medical school and stress associated with bearing the burden of autonomy may not be conducive to starting a family and devoting enough attention to them. This epiphany left me with options including being a nurse or nurse practitioner. I see myself wanting to be an integral part of “hatching a plan” for the patient, and therefore have decided against nursing due to lack of independence. And thus, I fall to the category of nurse practitioner or physician assistant in which there is neither too much nor too little autonomy. Due to my years already spent as a medical assistant, and the necessity to become an RN prior to becoming an NP, my decision to pursue a position as a PA blossomed.
Ten years from now, I see myself working as a PA in a small town similar to the one of my childhood. I envision working in a close knit primary care clinic, which treats patients comprehensively and holistically through the collaboration of in-house caretakers including psychologists, physical therapists, nutritionists, and a variety of other specialists. I dream of promoting preventative health care through community patient education services to encourage daily integration of healthy, low stress choices as a first defense rather than simple yearly screenings at the doctor’s office. Furthermore, I’d like to place particular emphasis on building trusting and individual relationships with each of my patients in order to provide the best care possible. Finally, upon transitioning fully into the profession, I would like to obtain additional education to potentially teach future PAs and give back the knowledge of my experiences.
My grandmother was a strong woman. She held her family close to her heart at all times, but what’s more, placed the weight of their burdens on her own back, provided a shoulder to lean on, an ever listening ear, and the wisdom and judgement of someone who has excelled in life. It is my hope that through her memory and my upbringing with her, I may use PA school as a tool in becoming a similar woman. And so it is with this dream that I give to you, and to all, my shoulders, my back, my ears, my wisdom, and most of all, my heart.