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"I did not always want to go into medicine" - PA school Admissions Essay


kak3521 2 / 6  
Feb 7, 2011   #1
Hi, here is the first draft of my PA school admissions essay. I want it to be unique, describe myself adequately as well as convince the reader that I do want to get into PA school more than anything. As of right now, I feel like I have too many "I"s in it. I know that this is an essay about myself, but I want it to read smoothly. Thanks in advance for all your help. Let me know what you think.

"What equipment do you need?" my supervisor yelled as I was assessing the airway of the unconscious man lying halfway under a pickup truck. I looked around as I heard this man's son screaming for me to help his father. I realized in this moment that I needed to gain control of this situation if there was any chance of helping his father. This is a familiar scene for me as a Paramedic responding to emergencies every day. There are so many uncontrollable elements when working in the field, but I have the opportunity to make the first impression to my patients and their family when they are in the midst of a crisis.

Being a Paramedic is so much more than the adrenaline rush that comes with a bad trauma. There are opportunities to educate a newly diagnosed diabetic on the difficulties of managing his blood sugar; to calm down the non-English speaking family of the three-year-old that has a bead stuck up his nose; to listen to the terminally-ill patient as she talks about her acceptance of death. This is where medicine ends and healthcare begins - with the ability to impact each and every one of my patients' lives. At this point in my life, I have found my niche in healthcare and I would like to challenge myself further. Becoming a physician assistant (PA) would allow me to continue what I love and would also provide opportunities that I do not currently have.

I did not always want to go into medicine. My undergraduate career started as a degree in Special Education. I worked with children diagnosed with Autism for four years and loved it. When I transferred to the University of North Carolina I had the opportunity to learn CPR/First Aid and that was when I was hooked - my first EMT course. I was young and had no prior knowledge of medicine. I was the student that asked, "We have a heart? Interesting, I wonder how it works." It was a challenge and I loved it. So I decided to become a Paramedic while I finished my undergraduate degree in a newly declared B.S. in Biology. To say this was an easy time in my life would be a lie. I continued a full-time schedule at the university while taking the equivalent of 12 hours at night to become a Paramedic, as well as working 24-36 hours a week as an EMT in the field. I learned a lot about time management during that period, but the heavy workload shows in a lower GPA. Though I fear the impact this may have on my acceptance to a PA program, I am proud of what I was able to accomplish by the age of 23. Though I sacrificed a higher GPA, I obtained a B.S. in Biology, became certified as a Paramedic, studied abroad in Scotland where I was able to work for the Scottish Ambulance Service and recognized by the state of North Carolina as a Level I EMT Instructor. I consider myself extremely fortunate.

Many people have asked why I chose to pursue a career as a PA instead of becoming a physician. A lot of research has gone into this decision. I have looked into becoming a nurse practitioner, a physician, a physical therapist and of course a PA. I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I want to be a PA. I love the flexibility that comes with being a PA. I have an innate need to continually challenge myself, and as a PA I will have the option to switch specialties if a new opportunity presents itself. This career choice is a financially wise decision for me; the education requires a sufficient amount of time for me to learn what I need to become an excellent healthcare provider, while not putting me in a position to spend a large part of my working years as a student. I believe becoming a PA will be very fulfilling and will allow me to settle down when I choose to start a family. As a physician assistant I will be able to work autonomously, as well as collaboratively, with other members of a healthcare team. I believe that in spite of my atypical GPA, because of my experience and passion for medicine and healthcare, I am an excellent candidate for the Physician Assistant program and I am excited to start this journey.
Monica W 1 / 1  
Feb 7, 2011   #2
PA..in the first paragraph be sure to spell out what PA stands for.
OP kak3521 2 / 6  
Feb 7, 2011   #3
Thanks, I will correct that. I also fixed my change in tense in the first couple sentences. I tend to switch between past and present when telling a story.
fresh 1 / 3  
Feb 7, 2011   #4
This job is so much more than the adrenaline rush that comes with a bad trauma, I have the opportunity to educate a newly diagnosed diabetic on the difficulties of managing their blood sugar; to calm down the non-English speaking family of the three-year-old that has a bead stuck up his nose; to listen to the terminally-ill patient as she talks about her acceptance of death.

we have to (the)ability to impact each and every one of our patients' live
OP kak3521 2 / 6  
Feb 8, 2011   #5
Thanks, I corrected both of those grammatical errors. Funny how I miss such obvious things when I stare at this essay for hours. :)
EF_Susan - / 2,364 12  
Feb 15, 2011   #6
Funny how I miss such obvious things when I stare at this essay for hours. :)

Yeah, it's the same for all of us.

You can get rid of an "I" and improve efficiency at the start here:
"What equipment do you need?" my supervisor yelled as I assessed the...

I see what you mean about the tense changes. Don't change tense within a paragraph. If you do a paragarph break, you can change tense, but not too often.

And here is a good place for a semi-colon:
This job is so much more than the adrenaline rush that comes with a bad trauma; I have the opportunity ...

:-)
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Mar 9, 2011   #7
Right. Well... in the last sentence, you can use a comma, because it is a compound sentence:
I believe that I am a good candidate for the Physician Assistant program, and I am excited to start that journey.

This is a very strong essay! The fact that you wanted special ed and switched to medicine shows your thoughtfulness. If you are willing to work hard to make it better, go read 5 recent medical journal articles that interest you. Look at the main idea of each, and see which ones are most important to you. Choose a concept to incorporate in the essay. This will show that you are already reading the stuff that medical professionals read.

The essay is already so good that you need to make that very impressive effort in order to improve it.

The essay should be just as meaningful as one of those journal articles.
OP kak3521 2 / 6  
Mar 9, 2011   #8
Thanks Kevin, although I'm not really sure what you mean by incorporating a concept from a recent medical journal article into this essay. For my job now, I already keep up with new ideas in medicine and current issues that healthcare is facing. I consider that one of my strengths, my passion for keeping up with research. Especially since medicine is ever-evolving. I'm not sure how I would add that in and if that is even what you are talking about.


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