The Physician Assistant Life

31 Physician Assistant Personal Statement Examples

Below, are 31 PA school application essays and personal statements pulled from our FREE personal statement and essay collaborative comments section.

31 Physician Assistant School Essay Examples and SamplesThis is a random, unedited sample of PA school essay submissions, meant to provide you with some insight into how other applicants are approaching their personal statements. These sample essays are not meant to be examples of what (or how) you should write your personal statement.

Sue Edmondson, our chief editor at the personal statement collaborative, has left a very brief comment at the end of each essay to provide the writer with some very basic help and guidance  We offer this as a free service to all essay submissions through our comments section and it does not compare to the comprehensive editing and revision we offer through our private, paid editing service (you can read more about that here).

A great essay is seamless, it's smooth, it's fluid it's like a country road that rolls over the hills and bends through the turns like the landscape has known nothing else. It feels effortless yet, it is anything but.

After our interviews with PA school administrators, one things became extremely clear: The admissions committee wants you to cut to the chase, eliminate the drama and tell a fluid story.

Read through these example essays and take notes of what you think works and what doesn't.  Note common mistakes and common spelling errors that get people in trouble, you will see some very common trends.

Personal Statement Example 1

By: Ashley T

As the sun was going down, the rain began to fall. Alongside the road there were sirens and flashing lights next to a black vehicle; it was completely destroyed. I was unconscious, stuck inside the vehicle. EMS extricated me and transported me to the hospital.
It was not until the next day I finally woke up and tried to lift myself out of bed; the pain I felt caused me to scream, “Mom!” My mother rushed into the room, “Ashley, stop moving around, you are only going to make it more painful” she said. The expression on my face showed nothing more than a complete blank. “What happened, and why is there a sling on me?”

The ambulance took me to the hospital in our home town, and after hours passed by they told my mother that my scans and tests came back fine, put a sling on me, and sent me home … while still not fully conscious. The day after, I had follow up visits in the next city over with completely different physicians. It turned out the extent of my injuries were worse than we were told, and had to have surgery immediately. Suffering from complications following the accident was an obstacle, but the care received at the time and over the next few years during recovery made me understand the importance of skilled physicians and physician assistants (PAs).

In the past year, I have grown and learned even more than I thought I could in my current position as a medical assistant in the Neuro-otology specialty. Working as a medical assistant for the past two years has been a rewarding learning experience. One of the main priorities of my position is to take a very detailed description of the patient’s condition/chief complaint of their visit. Doing this has allowed me to gain an extensive amount of knowledge on the inner ear and vestibular system, and on how they both work in conjunction with one another. Through my work I am able to help patients and the feeling in return is an incredible sentiment. A little after I began working at the clinic, I was awarded a larger role through learning how to complete the Canalith Repositioning Maneuver on patients suffering from Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. After successful applications of the procedures, it is clear from their emotions that I make positive impacts on the patient’s daily life. The joyful smile on their faces immediately brightens my whole day.

Volunteer efforts, shadowing, and post university medical experience solidified that there was no other profession I desired more. Witnessing the team of a doctor and PA work together at Moffitt Cancer Center furthered my excitement of the position. I was captivated by their partnership and the PAs ability to simultaneously work independently. The PA spoke highly of the opportunity to study and practice multiple specialties. Through all of my learning and experience it occurred to me that my love for medicine is so broad, that it would be impossible for me to just focus on one aspect of medicine. Knowing that I have the option to experience nearly any specialty entices me, and having the opportunity to treat and diagnose patients instead of standing in the background observing would give me great pleasure.

While continuously battling the setbacks of my accident, the socioeconomic status forced upon me the task of a full time job while trying to obtain an education. The outcome of these hardships led to substandard grades in my freshman and sophomore years. Once accepted at University of South Florida I succeeded in completing all PA requirements with a vast improvement in my academics creating an upward trend in GPA through graduation. As a result of my success, I realized I had moved forward from what I thought would hold me back forever; my accident is now just a motivator for future obstacles.

With a career as a PA, I know my answer to “how was your day” will always be, “life changing.” In my work I am fortunate enough to change lives in similar ways as the PA I strive to be, which is what drives me. I am determined and will not ever abandon this dream, goal, and life purpose. Outside of my qualifications on paper, I have been told that I am a compassionate, friendly, and a strong woman. Years from today, through my growth and experience as a PA, I will evolve to be a role model for someone with the same qualities and professional objectives as I have today. I chose PA because I love working as a team. Helping others makes me feel like I have a purpose, and there is no other profession that I would rather be in. Admittance to a respectable program is not the beginning or the end … it is the next step of my journey to become a reflection of who I admire.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Ashley,

Well, you’re close, but it’s not quite there. Good job, though, overall — great opening, good explanation of your grade issues, and good conclusion. Don’t use ellipses, though, use an “em dash” if anything, and take out “respectable” in your last sentence of the essay. That’s a very odd thing to say, as if a PA program might not be respectable!

In your second paragraph, you mention you understand the importance of skilled physicians and PAs. You don’t need to put in the acronym for physician assistant. It’s commonly used enough to be acceptable without explanation. Expand on the PA portion and tell how they impacted you. Be very specific.

You can edit the second paragraph as follows to make more room:
The ambulance took me to the hospital in our home town where they took tests, put a sling on me, and sent me home. The day after, I had follow up visits and it turned out I had to have surgery immediately. Suffering from complications following the accident was an obstacle, but the care received at the time and over the next few years during recovery made me understand the importance of skilled physicians and physician assistants.

You could make the points stronger in the paragraph about your work. This sentence, “Through my work I am able to help patients and the feeling in return is an incredible sentiment” doesn’t say a whole lot. It’s not bad, it’s just not great.

I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck.

Also....

I just saw from looking at the essays you first submitted that this is your second time applying. You absolutely must specifically address what’s changed from your first application. It’s critical. So, if you have more work experience, highlight that, and what you’ve gained. If that paragraph about your work is talking about new experiences, be sure to clarify it, and definitely make it more significant, pointing out skills you’ve acquired and lessons learned.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 2

By: Ivan

A three year old boy has severe sinusitis that has caused the eyelids of his right eye to swell and his fever to spike. His mother is beginning to worry because every specialist she has visited has not been able to alleviate her child’s symptoms. It has been three days and she is at another hospital waiting to see yet another specialist. While the mother is sitting in the waiting room a passing doctor takes notice of her son and exclaims to her, “I can help this boy.” After a brief examination, the doctor informs the mother that her son has an infected sinus. The boy’s sinus is drained and he is given antibiotics to treat the infection. The mother breathes a sigh of relief; her son’s symptoms are finally mitigated.

I was the sick child in that story. That is one of my earliest memories; it was from the time when I lived in Ukraine. I still wonder how such a simple diagnosis was overlooked by several physicians; perhaps it was an example of the inadequate training healthcare professionals received in post-Cold War Ukraine. The reason I still remember that encounter is the pain and discomfort of having my sinus drained. I was conscious during the procedure and my mother had to restrain me while the doctor drained my sinus. I remember that having my sinus drained was so excruciating that I told the doctor, “When I grow up I will become a doctor so I can do this to you!” When I reminisce about that experience I still tell myself that I would like to work in health care, but my intentions are no longer vengeful.

After researching various health care professions I realized that physician assistant is the one for me. I have several reasons for pursuing a career as a PA. Firstly the PA profession has a bright future; according to the Bureau of Labor statistics employment for physician assistants is projected to grow 38 percent from 2012 to 2022. Secondly the flexibility of the PA of the profession is appealing to me; I would like to build an eclectic repertoire of experiences and skills when it comes to delivering medical care. Thirdly I would be able to work autonomously and collaboratively with a health care team to diagnose and treat individuals. The fourth and most important reason is that I would be able to directly influence people in a positive way. Working for homecare services I have had several people tell me that they prefer PAs over physicians, because physician assistants are able to take their time to effectively communicate with their patients.

I know that to become a physician assistant academic excellence is imperative so I would like to take the time to explain the discrepancies in my transcript. During my freshman and sophomore year my grades were not great and there is no excuse for that. In my first two years of college I was more concerned with socializing than I was with academia. I chose to spend most of my time going to parties and because of it my grades suffered. Although I had a lot of fun I came to the realization the fun would not last forever. I knew that to fulfill my dream of working in health care I would have to change my ways. Starting with my junior year I made school my priority and my grades improved markedly. My grades in the second two years of my college career are a reflection of me as an engaged student. I will continue striving to achieve my terminal goal of becoming a physician assistant, because I look forward to the first time a worried mother comes to the hospital with her sick child and I will be able to say, “I can help this boy!”

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Ivan,

I like your opening and the ending very much. It’s also great that you explained your lower GPA in the essay.

Where your essay loses steam is in the middle. Writing a laundry list about the role of the PA and citing statistics isn’t the way you want to spend your precious few characters and spaces in an essay such as this. The purpose is to intrigue Admissions folks enough to make them want to meet you. When I interviewed a dozen or so Admissions Directors and faculty about writing these essays, every one of them said they did not want a list of things PAs do. You make an attempt to relate some of these things to you specifically, but your statements are so general, they reveal little about you.

You work for homecare services. Have you had any contact with PAs in the context of your work? Have you done any shadowing? If you have, write about those experiences and how you were impacted by them.

I suspect you haven’t had contact with PAs or you would have talked about it. However, you can still show you’re a great candidate for a PA program. Write what you’ve learned about patient care from your work and relate that to skills you’ll need as a PA. Explain why homecare isn’t enough for you and specifically why the PA profession is.

Delete all this: “The reason I still remember that encounter is the pain and discomfort of having my sinus drained. I was conscious during the procedure and my mother had to restrain me while the doctor drained my sinus. I remember that having my sinus drained was so excruciating that I told the doctor, “When I grow up I will become a doctor so I can do this to you!” When I reminisce about that experience I still tell myself that I would like to work in health care, but my intentions are no longer vengeful.”

Hopefully you have a better reason to go into healthcare than revenge. Write about the real reasons. You can link your childhood experience of inadequate treatment to your interest in ensuring that others never experience that pain. Do it from a positive, not a negative standpoint.

I hope all this helps, and wish you the best of luck.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 3

By: Billy

Completely re-edited my PS. This draft feels alot stronger. Please let me know what you think. Thanks.

“The two most important days in your life are the day you’re born and the day you find out why”. This quote from Mark Twain comes to mind when describing why I aspire to become a Physician Assistant. The journey to finding one’s professional “why” can be tough, it can sometimes force one to settle and give up on the journey altogether but in other cases, cases of so many who have genuine love in what they do, it requires constant self-reflection, faith and unyielding determination to continue on. Early on in my academic career I lacked the maturity to grasp this concept, I wasn’t committed to the process of learning and was without intrinsic motivation to dedicate myself to it. I knew I wanted a career in medicine but when asked difficult questions of why, I could only give the generic answer, “Because I want to help people”. That reason wasn’t enough, I needed something more, something that could drive me to work night shifts and head to school immediately after, something that could push me to retake courses and pursue a Masters degree. To find this “why” I became child-like, asking many questions, majority of them beginning with why. Why was it important for me to help people through medicine? Why not a trainer, a physician or a nurse? Why not anything else?

Through this journey I began four years ago, I’ve learned that an individuals “why” is a place where one’s passions and skills meet their community’s needs and as I’ve been exposed to many facets of health, I’ve discovered my passion for fitness and health is the foundation of my “why”. The day I found this “why” came subtly, from a simple yet profound article clipping that remains posted on my wall today. A “wonder pill “ Dr. Robert Butler described, that could prevent and treat many diseases but more importantly prolong the length and quality of life. The drug was exercise and as he surmised, “If it could be packed into a pill it would the most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation”. From these words my “why” began taking shape, I began wondering what could happen to our health care system if prevention was emphasized and people were given the directions and interventions needed to not only solve their health issues but to live healthier lives. I wondered what I could do to be part of the solution, how I could play a role in delivering a care that considered multiple influences and multiple methods for treating and preventing diseases, while also advocating optimal health and well-being.

With the recent reforms to healthcare I believed that a system emphasizing prevention could become an actuality and with many people given access to it a better kind provider would be needed. Providers, in my opinion, that understands the roles of nutrition, fitness and behavior modifications on health. Providers that understand that curative or palliative methods that wait until patients are sick, in many cases beyond repair before stepping in, can no longer be a standard practice. From interning with trainers and wellness coaches in health centers, to working with nurses and techs in the hospital, to shadowing PAs and Physicians during rounds or in underserved clinics, I‘ve not only gained valuable experiences but I have been able to see exactly what makes each profession great. Each profession has aspects that interest me but as I have researched and dissected each of these careers, plucking pieces where I find my greatest skills meeting what I am passionate about, I found myself at the doorstep of a career as a Physician Assistant.

Working at Florida Hospital, I relish in the team-based effort that I’ve learned is quite necessary in providing quality care. I thoroughly enjoy my interactions with patients and working in communities where English may not be the primary language but forces you to go out and learn to become a better caregiver. I’ve learned exactly where my “why” is. It is in a profession centered on this team-based effort, it focuses on the patient and the trust between the physician and the health care team, not on the insurance, management or the business side of medicine. It is a profession whose purpose comes from improving and expanding our health care system, a field with the ability to not only diagnose and treat diseases but also with the expectation to promote health through education. It is a profession where I can be a lifetime-learner, where stagnation isn’t even a possibility, with many specialties in which I can learn. Most importantly it is a career whose role in this evolving health care system is etched to be on the front line in its delivery, the key to integrating both wellness and medicine to combat and prevent diseases. The journey to this conclusion hasn’t been easy but I am grateful because my“ why” is now simple and unmistakable. I have been placed on this earth to serve, educate and advocate wellness through medicine as a Physician Assistant. In summation, my “why” has become my favorite question.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Billy,

First before I forget, don’t capitalize physician assistant unless it’s part of a formal name. It’s best not to use contractions in an essay, either, so try to remember to write out the words. Also, quotation marks always go after punctuation, not before.

Now to the heart of the essay. You have a lot of good opportunities to convince Admissions folks that you are a great candidate for PA school, but you’ve missed most of them. You’re essentially getting ready to write what’s important, but you haven’t gotten there, yet. It isn’t until your conclusion that you articulate generally what appeals to you about the profession. In fact, most of your essay is so general, Admissions folks aren’t going to learn much about you, your skills and why the PA profession is right for you. Frankly, they don’t care what your opinion is about the state of healthcare. You use valuable space to quote Dr. Butler when you could be talking about your experience.

I agree that this is better than your first draft, but it’s still not where you want to be. Skip the generalities, focus on your experiences and leave the philosophy to discussions with your peers when you’re in PA school and after. You really need a complete rewrite, but to give you an idea, here’s how I’d edit your first paragraph:

“The two most important days in your life are the day you’re born and the day you find out why.” This quote from Mark Twain comes to mind when describing my journey to becoming a physician assistant. Early on in my academic career I lacked the maturity to grasp this concept, I wasn’t committed to the process of learning and was without intrinsic motivation to dedicate myself to it. I knew I wanted a career in medicine but when asked difficult questions of why, I could only give the generic answer, “Because I want to help people.”

Scrutinize the rest of your essay and cut the philosophy and the rhetorical questions. You’ll have a lot of space to write what’s important.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

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Personal Statement Example 4

By: Jacqui

The easiest decision I ever made was choosing to play soccer when I was seven years old. Fifteen years later, after finishing four years of Division I collegiate soccer, I made the most difficult decision thus far in my life. Knowing that I was not going to play for the U.S. Women’s National Team, I had to pursue a different dream. The summer after my college graduation, I transitioned from playing soccer to coaching, while figuring out a career path to pursue. At one of the first practices I coached, I witnessed a girl get caught up in a net and hit her head on a pole. My instincts told me to run over and help. I advised a parent to call 9-1-1 while I checked to see if the girl was alert. She was in and out of consciousness for about two minutes before she was able to look at me and tell me her name. I talked to her to keep her awake until the paramedics arrived to take over. Even while the paramedics assessed her, she did not want me to leave. I held her hand until it was time for her to be transported. In that moment, it was clear to me that helping others was my calling.

At the same time I started coaching, I began volunteering at Los Angeles Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. I shadowed emergency room (ER) doctors, orthopedic doctors, and general practitioners. Naturally, my athletic career drew me in towards Orthopedics. I spent most of my time watching how doctors, physician assistants (PAs), nurses, and technicians interacted with patients. Similar to soccer, teamwork is a key component of patient care. I was amazed at how smooth the process was to prepare for a trauma patient in the ER. It was not as chaotic as I had expected. The communications center alerted the trauma team that a 79 year-old female patient with head trauma was on its way. From there, the trauma team prepared a room for the patient. When the patient arrived, it was like watching a well-rehearsed play. Every team member knew his/her role and performed it flawlessly despite the high-pressure situation. In that moment, I felt the same adrenaline rush I got during my soccer games and knew that I had to pursue a career in the medical field. Although I was introduced to the idea of becoming a PA, my eyes were set on becoming a doctor. So, I applied for medical school.

After being rejected from medical school, I debated applying again. After shadowing PAs at Harbor-UCLA, I did research on becoming a PA. What stood out the most to me was the flexibility of a PA to work in different medical specialties. Also, in the orthopedic department, I noticed that the PAs had more time to spend with patients discussing rehabilitation options and infection prevention after their surgeries. This type of patient care was more along the lines of what I wanted to do. So, my next step was to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) to fulfill the work experience requirement for my PA application.

Working as an EMT turned out to be more meaningful than just being a pre-requisite for PA school. Whether the complaints were medical or traumatic, these patients were meeting me on the worst day of their lives. One call we had was a Spanish-speaking only patient who complained of left knee pain. Since I was the only Spanish speaker on scene, I translated for the paramedics. The medics concluded that the patient could be transported to the hospital code 2, no paramedic follow-up and no lights and sirens necessary, since it appeared to be localized knee pain. En route to the hospital, I noticed a foul smell coming from the patient. Suddenly, the patient became unresponsive so we upgraded our transport and used our lights and sirens to get there faster. Upon our arrival the patient started coming around. The triage nurse approached us and noticed the foul smell as well. The nurse had us put the patient into a bed right away and said that the patient might be septic. I thought, but where? Later that day, we checked up on the patient and found out that she was in the late stages of breast cancer. On scene, she failed to mention the open wounds she thoroughly wrapped up on her breasts because that was not her chief complaint. She also did not mention it as part of her pertinent medical history. Her knee was hurting due to osteoporosis from the cancer cells metastasizing to her bones. This call always stuck with me because it made me realize that I want to be able to diagnose and treat patients. As a PA, I would be able to do both.

All of my life experiences have led me to realize that I want to be a part of a medical team as a physician assistant. To be able to study multiple medical specialties, diagnose, and treat would allow me to come full circle in patient care. As much as I love pre-hospital care, I have always wanted to do more. Given the opportunity, as a PA, I will take on the challenges of patient care in a hospital setting and look forward to being able to follow through with all of my patients to the end of their care.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Jaqui,

Unless there’s a really good reason for saying you applied to medical school and were rejected, I’d leave all that out. Why make people wonder why you were rejected? It will take the focus off all the reasons you’d be a great PA.

I’d also leave out that helping people is your calling. If I had a dime for every time someone writes helping people is my calling or passion, I’d be a bazillionaire. It’s so overused that it’s virtually meaningless. Besides, there are a thousand careers you could have that help people — you could be a social worker, for example. If you’re going to give a reason be specific about it — what do you get out of helping people that makes you want to pursue a career in healthcare as opposed to anything else?

I’m not sure the patient example is the best. I’d like to see one where your curiosity or skills caused you to take additional steps or at least think about them. Maybe that happened in this case and you just didn’t write about it. For example, did you notify the triage nurse about the odor? Or did you wonder if perhaps she was septic and what she hadn’t told you? Make the example, whichever one you use, work for you to show you’re thinking proactively even if you can’t do anything about it.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 5

By: Emilee G

A young, cheerful volleyball player came to my training room complaining of back pain during her off-season. Two weeks later, she died from Leukemia. Two years later her brother, a former state champion football player, was diagnosed with a different type of Leukemia. He fought hard for a year, but he too succumbed to the same disease that took the life of his baby sister. A girl in her sophomore year of high school sought my advice because she was concerned about a small bump on her back. After a few weeks of observing she returned complaining of back pain along with an increase in the size of the original bump. Recognizing this was beyond my expertise, I referred her to her pediatrician, who then recommended she see another medical specialist. Following extensive testing she was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After recently dealing with the loss of two young athletes, this news was shocking. Fortunately, over the next year and a half, this young lady battled and beat the cancer in time to complete her senior year and walk across the stage at graduation with her classmates. I was elated for her, but began reflecting on the limitations of my position as an athletic trainer. These events also prompted me to evaluate my life, my career, and my goals. I felt compelled to investigate my options. After doing so, I was determined to expand my knowledge and increase my ability to serve others and decided the correct path for me was to become a Physician Assistant.

During my career thus far as an athletic trainer, I have had the privilege of working at a wide variety of locations. These include an acute care in-patient hospital, working with post surgical patients; a family practice and sports medicine office, performing initial evaluations; an outpatient therapy clinic, working with rehab patients; an orthopedic surgeon’s office, shadowing patient visits and surgeries; and many universities and high schools, working with a variety of athletic injuries. My experiences in these diverse settings have shown me the need for all degrees of medical personnel. Each field has its own purpose in the proper care of the patient. As an athletic trainer I have seen a range of injuries that I could diagnose and treat myself. But it has always been the ones that I had to refer to the team doctor that weighed on me, making me feel that I should be able to help even more. As a physician assistant, I would possess the knowledge and skills needed to diagnose and provide the care needed for my patients.

My position as the high school athletic trainer allows me to get acquainted with all of the athletes, however, to be even more effective I get involved in the community of the school and strive to learn more about the people with whom I work. For the last three years I have been a substitute teacher for the junior and senior high school. I have also volunteered for many functions that the school provides for the students including school dances, the community-based alcohol prevention program called Every 15 Minutes, and the annual junior and senior retreat which involves a true bonding experience for all participants. Developing meaningful relationships with the students enhances my effectiveness by opening lines of communication and building trust. It is my firm belief that a patient will only speak openly about a self-perceived flaw including injury with someone he or she feels comfortable. I sincerely want to be that person for my athletes now, and for my patients in the future.

The diverse injuries, illnesses, and diseases I have encountered as athletic trainer have provided me with a variety of wonderful experiences. I have witnessed both tragedy and triumph with my athletes and coaches, on and off of the field or court. Most injuries have been inconsequential in the long term, even to those experiencing the pain in the moment. They know that they will heal and progress in their sport and continue on their journey in life. Fighting for and winning state championships is all well and good, but there are far more important concerns in this life we live. I have witnessed young lives being taken, and those who battled relentlessly to overcome all obstacles, and it is these individuals who have changed how I view medicine, how I view myself, and how I view my future in the world of medicine. These people have enriched my life and have taken ahold of my heart and mind, motivating me to push forward. “Keep going. Keep fighting. Keep battling.” The powerful motto of our basketball coach living with advanced Cystic Fibrosis has been a significant incentive for me. He was told he would live a much shorter and less satisfying life, but he never gave in to his diagnosis. He made his life what he wanted it to be, overcoming many obstacles and living out his dreams. Seeing him fight for each day of his life has had tremendous influence on me. I know it is my time to fight for what I want and keep moving forward.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Emilee,

First things first. Don’t capitalize physician assistant unless it’s part of a formal name.

Now as to your essay. You’ve done a good job of outlining your skills, interest in healthcare and the limitations of your current career. But there’s nothing in here to say why you’ve decided on the PA profession. Yes, it will help you diagnose and treat patients, but so would becoming a doctor. So write more specifically about your reasons for choosing to become a PA. You’ve set up a perfect place to do so, right before your last sentence in your first paragraph. You must have had some kind of contact with PAs to know that’s what you want to do. Write about that if it applies.

So you’ll need to cut to give yourself space for the additional information. The third and forth paragraph are both good places to cut. If I were editing your essay, I’d cut things from those paragraphs even if you didn’t need the space. Remember, your goal is to convince Admissions folks that you know what the profession entails and that it’s right for you. That’s where you need to focus.

Here’s how I’d edit your third paragraph:
My position as the high school athletic trainer allows me to get acquainted with all of the athletes, however, to be even more effective, I strive to learn more about the people with whom I work. For the last three years I have been a substitute teacher and volunteered at functions. Developing relationships with the students enhances my effectiveness by opening lines of communication and building trust. It is my firm belief that a patient will only speak openly with someone he or she feels comfortable. I want to be that person.

I hope this helps.

Best of luck.
Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 6

By: A Johns

I would really appreciate if someone could tell me if I’m hitting any of the right points in my essay!

The door flew open and slammed against the adjacent wall. The room was dark and all I could make out were figures and the noise of chatter and children crying. As my eyes adjusted to the sharp contrast in darkness from the blaring sun outside, I made my way to the counter. “Sign in,” said a voice and I looked down to see a chewed up pin and a pile of ripped up pieces of paper, on which I wrote my name and date of birth. The voice came out again “have a seat; we’ll call you when we’re ready.” I turned to see a room, no bigger than a two bedroom apartment, full of young women and children of various ages. I took a seat and waited for my turn to be seen at my local health department.

As an adolescent without health insurance, I have seen first-hand the demand for providers that can offer available healthcare. My experiences at the local health department made me dread going, never knowing if I would see the same provider again. Like many others in my situation, I just stopped going. After these experiences, I knew I wanted to be the stability for the underprivileged and financially burdened.

I began my role in healthcare as a pharmacy technician. It was this job that solidified my interests in the science of medicine. It was also this exposure which showed me that primary care providers play a huge role in the health system. However, it was not until I began working in registration for the Emergency Department of my local hospital that I could see just how important this role is; patients sitting for hours to be seen for a fever and headache because they do not have any other option for healthcare.

These observations pushed me to continue in medicine. After moving home to pursue this career, I climbed my way from a unit secretary to a patient care technician where I had my first hands-on experiences with patients. I remember a particular incident where while I was assisting a patient to the bathroom, she began sweating and complaining of blurred vision. I immediately called for someone to come in so I could check her blood sugar levels; it was 37 mg/Dl. With the nurse by my side, we got Ms. Kay safely to the bed and began treating her with intravenous glucose. I was so excited and proud of myself for recognizing the symptoms and being able to react without hesitation. It is moments like this one that I recognize my desires are not only to treat patients, but also diagnose illnesses.

After working closely with many health providers for nearly ten years, none stood out to me like Mike, a physician assistant on the cardiothoracic surgery unit. I have seen him take the extra time to go over every medication a patient had not only to ensure there was no drug interactions but to explain and write down the uses of each for when they returned home. When this patient needs a refill, instead of asking for “the little blue pill,” they will confidently ask for their blood pressure medication. Understanding these problems and taking the time to address them through patient education and support can greatly improve the quality of life for those in our communities. PAs help to carry out this idea of preventive medicine over episodic care as a team.

A team-based care system is very important to me. I learned the value of a solid support network while struggling after the death of my cousin. The pain of losing my best friend, and the personal disappointment I felt after failing two semesters, made it difficult for me to continue on my career path confidently. However, with the backing and trust of my peers, much like a PA in their practice, I was able to push forward and overcome these trials. I was taught stress-management and determination through these hardships and they will aid me as I endeavor this challenging and evolving career as a PA.

With my professional training in the medical field, I have a good understanding and appreciate everyone’s roles in healthcare. We come from several backgrounds and experiences that allow us to integrate together and ultimately provide better patient care. I am confident in my ability to translate my skills into my studies as well as future practice and become a successful PA. I am also confident in my ability to relate and help close the gap in available healthcare as a primary care provider.

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Suggestions and Revisions

You’ve done a good job covering many of the important points of an essay. The way you handled your failing grades was deft. (I was very sorry to learn the circumstances — the loss of your cousin).

The concluding and opening, though, needs some tweaking. The conclusion could be much stronger. You don’t want to have an “also” in there. It’s a weak word. The opening needs more work, there’s a typo for one and it’s too dramatic. It’s not believable that it would be so dark inside that your eyes would need to adjust and you couldn’t see the person at the desk. It sounds as if you’re in an underground cave.

Here’s what I’d suggest you do with that first paragraph with this caveat — I’ve added some words to illustrate my point — you’ll write it in your own words:
“Inside the small, dimly lit, crowded room, there was noisy chatter and the sound of crying children. I made my way to the counter. “Sign in,” the woman said, and I looked down to see a chewed on pen and a pile of ripped pieces of paper. On one, I wrote my name and date of birth. “Sit,” she said. “We’ll call you when we’re ready.” I took a seat and waited for my turn to be seen at my local health department.”

I hope this helps, and wish you the best of luck.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 7

By: Dani R

“My chest hurts.” Anyone in the medical field knows this is a statement that cannot simply be brushed off. Mary was a patient we brought to and from dialysis three times a week. At the young age of 88, her mind was starting to go and her history of CVA rendered her hemiplegic, reliant on us for transport. Mary would stare through us and continue conversations with her late husband, insist she was being rained on while in the ambulance, and manipulate us into doing things we would never consider for another patient, i.e. adjust pillows an absurd amount of times, and hold her limp arm in the air for the entirety of the 40 minute transport, leaving you down a full PCR. But, it was Mary, and Mary held a special place in our hearts just out of sheer desire to please her in the slightest- never successfully, might I add. Mary complained about everything, but nothing at the same time. So, that Thursday afternoon when she nonchalantly stated she had chest pain, it raised some red flags. With a trainee on board, the three man crew opted to run the patient to the ER three miles up the road, emergent, rather than waiting for ALS. I ran the call, naturally, it was Mary, and she was my patient. Vitals stable, patient denies breathing difficulty and any other symptoms. During the two minute transport I called in the report over the wail of the sirens, “history of CVA and… CVA. Mary look at me. Increased facial drooping; stoke alert, pulling in now.” Mary always had facial drooping, slurring, and left sided weakness, but it was worse. I’ve taken her every week for six months, but this time I was sitting on her right side. We took her straight to CT, and I have not since seen her. Mary was my patient, and everyone knew it.

We hear “life is too short” all the time, but how many people have been on scene after a heartbroken mother rolled over on her four-month-old, and you work that child like its your own, knowing she’s been down too long. As a healthcare provider, you have those patients that make it all worth it; That remind you why you keep going back for the MVAs, amputations, overdoses, three year old with fishhook in his eye, 2 year old down a flight of stairs, Alzheimer’s patient who doesn’t understand why they’re being strapped to the stretcher, 302 who pulls a gun, pancreatic cancer patient who vomits blood on you while you’re at the bottom of the stairchair and there’s not a thing you can do about it until you get down two more flights of stairs. My ambulance is my office. EMS has given me more experience, hope and disappointment than I could have ever asked for as an undergraduate. It has done nothing short of fuel my desire for advancement in the medical field.

“The contest is a lion fight. So chin up, put your shoulders back, walk proud, strut a little. Don’t lick your wounds. Celebrate them. The scars you bear are the sign of a competitor. You’re in a lion’s fight. Just because you didn’t win, doesn’t mean you don’t know how to roar.” The countless hours of procrastination watching the medical inaccuracies of Grey’s Anatomy, the breathtaking visuals in House MD, and the thrill of ER, have, if nothing else, given me hope. Hope that someone will see past my mediocre GPA and undergraduate transcript, and afford me the second chance I know I deserve. I proved my capability and motivation in high school and my last two years of college when I refocused my goals and plan. I am ready, prepared, and willing to do whatever it takes to reach my aspiration of providing the highest quality care of which I am capable. If you are not ready at this moment to put faith in me, I will do whatever it takes to get to that point, whether it be retaking classes, or investing another $40,000 in my education to excel in a post-baccalaureate program. After years of dabbling in medical occupations, I have finally found the one I want, and my desire to live and learn has never been stronger.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Dani,

You had me completely engaged until your last paragraph. I had a couple of editing quibbles, but nothing huge.

For me the connection between the inaccuracies of TV shows and the hope that people will overlook your mediocre grades didn’t work at all. Nor do I think you should say,”If you are not ready at this moment to put faith in me, I will do whatever it takes to get to that point, whether it be retaking classes, or investing another $40,000 in my education to excel in a post-baccalaureate program.” If you think you need to retake classes to be accepted into a program, just start doing it, and put that in your essay. Otherwise, leave all that out. For one, an Admissions person is not going to contact you and say, “By the way, Dani, if you want to be a PA, you’ll need to do . . .” Frankly, it’s all odd sounding. If your grades meet the minimum requirements then you can say that although your grades aren’t the best, but you believe your experiences outweighs your less than exemplary GPA.

Instead, talk about why you want to be a PA instead of continuing to do what you do. You never even mention the profession! You write that you never saw Mary again. What a perfect place to talk about how that would be different if you were her PA. You can cut some of the first and second paragraph to make additional room if needed.

Here’s what I’d do with your conclusion (with a caveat — I’ve added some words to illustrate the points you can make. You’d use your own words):

“I hope that Admissions will see past my mediocre GPA and afford me the chance I know I deserve. I have proven my capability and motivation during my last two years of college when I refocused my goals, and through my professional experiences. I am ready to do what it takes to reach my aspiration of providing the highest quality care of which I am capable. After years of dabbling in medical occupations, I have finally found the one I want.”

I hope this helps.

Best of luck.
Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 8

By: Heidi P

I have since reworked my essay and would prefer that the second copy be considered if possible. I am about 150 characters over the limit and I am not sure what to cut or where. I also am working on conveying the message of why I want to be a PA and what I can offer that is unique. Any help is greatly appreciated!

I’ve learned a lot of important lessons while shadowing a physician assistant in the emergency room this summer: always clean up your own sharps, communicate with other ER staff members to effectively work as a team, never talk about how “quiet” a day is, and that a warm blanket and a smile go a long way in patient care. Most importantly, I learned how much I love coming in to the hospital each day, excited to interact with a wide variety of patients and have a positive impact, no matter how small, in their healthcare experience. Shadowing in a level II trauma center granted me opportunities to develop my own personal philosophy about patient care, as well as furthered my desire to pursue a career as a PA in this field. My biggest inspiration to become a PA, however, started well before I ever shadowed in a hospital but from something much closer to home.

It was the summer before my final year at Miami when I got the text from my dad. He had been sick for a few weeks and finally went to the hospital for routine blood work. Doctor’s visits used to be rare for him, as he is an ER physician and seemed to never get sick. When the results came in, they immediately admitted him to Cleveland Clinic Main Campus. He told me he was fine and not to worry, all while joking about getting a room with the Indians game on, so I believed him. The next morning his tests were back – he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. His first thirty days of routine high-volume chemotherapy were cut short when he acquired an infection and spiraled into total organ failure. He was in the ICU for roughly two months, during which time he drifted in and out of comas and had, as he phrased it, “a visit from every specialist except gynecology.” When he finally regained consciousness after two weeks of dialysis, he was so weak he could not sit up unassisted so he spent two more months at an inpatient rehabilitation facility before he was finally allowed to come home on Christmas Eve.

It was the best present a girl could ask for, but not without its challenges. He was still very weak and wheelchair-bound. He had to take handfuls of pills several times a day, and needed his blood sugar checked before each meal due to the steroids. The house had to be regularly scrubbed from top to bottom due to his low neutrophil count. When I was younger and my mother suffered two strokes, my father had been the one that had kept our family together. Our upside down world felt like a nightmare. I learned to do fingersticks and insulin injections gently, so as not to bruise his paper-thin skin. I taught him how to flush his PICC line when it became clogged (a trick I learned from my own experience with IV antibiotics to treat osteomyelitis a year prior). When he started walking, I learned to block his knees with my hands so he wouldn’t fall too far forward after he lost most of his proprioception and motor control from peripheral neuropathy.

I had a tough choice to make: return to school and continue pursuing my degree, or stay home and help my mother. I stayed in Cleveland for as long as I could, but eventually went back to school the day before spring semester started. I continued to come home as often as I could. Our schedule wasn’t the only thing that changed – because my father was unable to work, our lifestyle changed considerably due to the financial strain from hospital bills. We now considered ease of access everywhere we travelled to make sure it was safe for his wheelchair. One night, my mother confided that she had never spent so much time with my father in the entirety of their marriage. Cancer is not only a physical fight but a myriad of battles that accompany the diagnosis. Standing strong with my family through all of these hurdles has helped me to develop a comprehensive and unique perspective on the challenges that health issues bring to patients and their families.

My father has since returned to work in the ER, and continues to greet patients with a smile, grateful to be alive and healthy enough to practice medicine. Even before my father got sick, I was in love with medicine, too. From a young age, I questioned the world around me with a thirst for answers that never waned. As I learned body systems in anatomy and physiology, I looked at illness and injury as a puzzle waiting to be solved. When I was taking care of my dad, he told me I should look into PA school. He said “if you love medicine and actually want to spend time with patients, become a Physician Assistant.” In my time shadowing in the Emergency Department, I have found this to be very true. While the doctors intercept phone calls from specialists and chart lengthy notes, the PAs are in the room with patients, performing a review of symptoms or suturing lacerations all while keeping the patient informed and calm to ameliorate stress levels. The positive impact on the patient care experience is palpable. I want to apply the same compassion and understanding that I have acquired during my own family’s experiences and those from shadowing in the emergency room in order to better someone else’s health care experience.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Heidi,

First, I was very relieved to read that your dad is back to work. You and your family have been through extraordinary ordeals. However, despite how well written they are (and this is a great essay from a writing/storytelling point of view), the telling of those could be cut back. When I interviewed Admissions Directors and faculty from across the country about these essays, they all said they care less about family illness experiences and more about current patient experiences. In your case, dealing with your dad’s cancer was recent enough to be significant and count as recent experiences, but you could cut back to add some information. Specifically, you say that you’ve developed your own personal philosophy about patient care, yet haven’t written what it is. That’s a topic you could expand, using your experiences in the ED to exemplify it.

There are sentences here and there that could be cut to give you room or even to get you down to your CASPA limit if you decide not to add anything. Here are some examples:

“He told me he was fine and not to worry, all while joking about getting a room with the Indians game on, so I believed him.”

“Our schedule wasn’t the only thing that changed – because my father was unable to work, our lifestyle changed considerably due to the financial strain from hospital bills. We now considered ease of access everywhere we travelled to make sure it was safe for his wheelchair. One night, my mother confided that she had never spent so much time with my father in the entirety of their marriage.”

“From a young age, I questioned the world around me with a thirst for answers that never waned.”

“(a trick I learned from my own experience with IV antibiotics to treat osteomyelitis a year prior).”

“I had a tough choice to make: return to school and continue pursuing my degree, or stay home and help my mother.”

Just by eliminating those few sentences, you gain over 700 characters and spaces. (Remember, both count). If you go through your essay and scrutinize every word to see if it’s necessary, you’ll retain the character and heart of your essay and still have room to expand on your philosophy of patient care.

By the way, don’t capitalize physician assistant unless it’s part of a formal name.

I hope this helps and wish you (and your family) the best.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 9

By: Shawna

“Whether you know it or not, you do have the power to touch the lives of everyone you encounter and make their day just a little bit better.” I once heard a resident named Mary console her peer who was feeling useless with this small piece of advice. Mary had lived at Lutheran Home for about 5 years. She had the warmest smile that spread across her face and seemed to tell a story. It was a smile that reminded me of the kind smile my grandmother used to have. I remember thinking that this woman truly amazed me and seemed to have an uncanny ability to comfort others. Mary was a selfless, compassionate woman that I admired very much. One day I learned that Mary had fallen while trying to transfer into the shower and had injured her arm and had hit her head. This incident, followed by more health issues, seemed to be the start to her declined orientation and abilities. Mary was put on bed rest, slowly began to lose her appetite and began to have pain. For the next few months, I was happy when I was assigned to care for Mary because the statement I had witnessed truly came to life. Mary was not always well taken care of and had no family visitors in her last days. Many times I would try to check in to ensure her comfort, sit with her in my free time or reproach Mary when she had refused a meal to get her to eat a little more. In the end, small things like holding her had, being there for her and talking to her undoubtedly made her day just a little better. Mary taught me to be patient, respectful and compassionate to each and every person I encounter and I have truly witnessed the improvement that this approach provides in the healing process. I believe that this manner is essential to being a remarkable physician assistant.

I first learned about the Physician Assistant career when I began working at University of Massachusetts Memorial Hospital, and the model resonated strongly with my life’s motivation. I am passionate about relationship building, quality time with people, and the flexibility to be a lifelong learner. I love the idea of a reduced burden on the PA’s because it allows focus on and development of their strengths. I know in my deepest core that this profession is what I am meant to do. Yes I am hardworking, ambitious and a team player, but what makes me distinctly qualified to pursue a professional degree as a physician assistant is my humanity and kindness that I have learned through my experiences. To me, a physician’s assistant serves her patients, her doctor and her community with respect and compassion.

There are an immeasurable amount of moments that I have experienced in patient care that have inspired my career choice. In memory of Mary, and every patient who has individually touched my everyday life I have found my passion with this humanity. I always take the time to be with my patients, understand their point of view, form a connection with them and give them the best quality care I can possibly provide. I have been involved in direct patient care in different settings for 3 years and find great joy every day I go to work. To be able to influence a person’s everyday life is a blessing and gives me my inner peace. There is no greater reward in life than to share your love and compassion with the world to make everyone else’s life just a little bit better.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Shawna,

I’m going to start my comments with the exact same cautions I gave to Andrea in the essay below: Before I forget, physician assistant isn’t capitalized unless it’s part of a formal name, such as the name of an actual school. Even worse, and something you should absolutely never do is call the profession, “physician’s assistant.” That’s not the name of the profession. As I’m sure you know it’s physician assistant. If you make it plural, it’s physician assistants or if possessive, physician assistant’s. Every Admissions Director and faculty member i interviewed about writing these essays said getting the name of the profession wrong is a big red flag.

Now to the heart of your essay. First, the good stuff. You story about Mary is lovely, and although it needs editing, it’s a good way to start your essay. You also start to tell about why you want to be a PA, and that’s great.

Now the not so great stuff. In your paragraph about why you want to be a PA, you write, “I love the idea of a reduced burden on the PA’s because it allows focus on and development of their strengths.” I don’t have any idea what you mean by this and I doubt Admissions folks will either. If you try to explain what you mean, it will probably not serve you well in the essay, so leave that sentence out. I’ll jump to the conclusion, and tell you that the words “In memory of Mary, and every patient who has individually touched my everyday life,” are so overused, they’re meaningless. Cut this whole sentence (the last part doesn’t really make sense as it’s written — I know what you’re trying to say, but you haven’t quite gotten it right). You don’t need it, anyway because it doesn’t help your essay.

I hate to say this, because it’s the theme of your essay, but almost every single person who writes a PA essay says they’ve learned humanity and kindness through their experiences. So that definitely doesn’t make you different from other candidates. It’s great to mention those things, just don’t qualify them by suggesting it makes you different from other candidates because it doesn’t.

If you’ve shadowed or had contact with PAs through your work, use those experiences to tell more about why you want to be a PA. That would really add depth to your essay. You’ll have to cut down on the Mary story, but that’s okay — there’s a lot of extra writing there.

Here’s how I’d edit your conclusion (mostly using your words, just rearranged):

“In my three years of direct patient care, I have experienced innumerable moments such as those with Mary, that have inspired my career choice. I always spend time with my patients, understand their points of view, form a connection with them, and give them the best quality care I can possibly provide. There is no greater reward in life than to share your love and compassion with the world to make everyone else’s life just a little bit better.”

Now you’ll add a sentence to the conclusion about how being a PA will allow you to do these things. Otherwise it reads as if you love what you’re doing and it’s the job for you.

I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 10

By: Andrea B

My journey to Physician’s Assistant school started three years ago when my life was an utter mess. I was in an unsatisfying relationship, in a career that made me completely miserable, and I suffered from headaches everyday from the stress of dealing with these issues. I knew I was not where I was supposed to be in life.

I freed myself from my unsatisfying relationship. The timing may not have been perfect, as I ended the relationship two months before our wedding, but I know I saved myself years of heartache. Four months after ending my engagement, I was laid off from my job. Shortly after being laid off, I had a seizure due to the headache medicine that I had been taking everyday prior to being laid off. This confirmed to me that I needed a career change.

I have never been at a loss for ambition, but my recent experience gave me pause as to the direction I should go. One day a trusted advisor asked me if I had ever thought of becoming a doctor or a physician’s assistant. At first, I dismissed the idea because I knew not only would I have to go back to school, I would have to take challenging classes such as chemistry. The thought of taking chemistry and math-related classes intimidated me. The fear of financial and academic failure made me consider what I needed and wanted. After researching and comparing physicians, nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants, I felt a genuine interest in the PA field. The length of time in school, the cost of schooling, the level of autonomy, and the ability to explore specialties are a few reasons why becoming a PA is appealing. For a time, I avoided making a decision for fear of making the wrong one. I especially wrestled with knowing that if I went back to school, I’d have to take classes that I took as an undergraduate over twelve years ago. However, indecision due to fear was robbing me of my time and thrusting into me paralyzing thoughts of what may never happen.

In the interest of challenging my fear, I decided to volunteer with a local fire and rescue station to obtain my EMT-B certification. Additionally, I began taking classes that I thought I might struggle with. Logically, I thought, if I could love being in this fast paced healthcare setting and continue to find the motivation to undertake some of the most challenging classes of my college career, I’d be reassured I was on the right path.

Returning to school was not easy. I did have to withdraw from college chemistry my first semester as I was overwhelmed with change. I was a bit rusty and needed to ease into the semester so that I could practice the habits that make me a great student. Once I found my footing, I enrolled in college chemistry again, and I really enjoyed it. I felt as if my mind was expanding and I was learning things that I once thought I could not easily learn. My confidence soared, and I wondered what all my apprehension and anxiety was about.

Obtaining my EMT-Basic certification, volunteering, and returning to school to conquer my most demanding classes to date has been one of the most rewarding decisions of my life. Becoming an EMT-B has allowed me to learn fundamental healthcare such as conducting patient assessments and history, understanding anatomy and physiology concepts, and communicating with patients. The EMS field has rendered me more open-minded and tolerant, allowing me to treat people of all different socioeconomic status, education levels, and ethnicities. I have seen a very human side of people I otherwise would not.

I now have a clear picture of what I want, I’m driven and know what I want to achieve. I have grown professionally and personally while providing compassionate care to others and pushing myself to an extent that I did not think was possible. In addition, since returning to school I realize that I enjoy confronting my fears and I am better at challenging myself and learning new things than when I was in my teens and twenties. I am eager to take this desire to the next level, striving ever to enrich my life with the challenges that only a profession in the physician’s assistant field can bring.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Andrea,

Before I forget, physician assistant isn’t capitalized unless it’s part of a formal name, such as the name of an actual school. Even worse, and something you should absolutely never do is call the profession, “physician’s assistant.” That’s not the name of the profession. As I’m sure you know it’s physician assistant. If you make it plural, it’s physician assistants or if possessive, physician assistant’s. Every Admissions Director and faculty member i interviewed about writing these essays said getting the name of the profession wrong is a big red flag.

Your essay has some very good writing and information. It explains your journey and discloses some of the difficulties you’ve had with returning to school. Your persistence speaks highly of your determination, and that’s excellent.

Still there are things to work on. First I’d recommend you cut the entire second paragraph. It’s not helpful, it’s not relevant and would probably make Admissions Directors wonder a little bit about your judgment and skills. Although calling off your wedding was assuredly the right thing, you don’t have the space to explain why you did it two months before. I’m also sure there were reasons you were laid off that didn’t have anything to do with your abilities, but you don’t have room to explain that either. There’s no need for any of that in your essay.

When you start your third paragraph, you refer to a “recent experience” essentially as a reason you decided to pursue a career as a PA. So you must tell what that experience was.

You need to talk more about why you’ve chosen the PA profession. Now that you’ve been in the real world of healthcare, talk about some of your interactions with PAs and why you’re sure you’ve made the right decision to pursue this career. You’ll need to cut more to do that, which shouldn’t be hard.

For example this is how I’d edit your fifth paragraph:

“Returning to school was not easy. I did have to withdraw from college chemistry my first semester as I was a bit rusty and needed to practice the habits that make me a great student. Once I found my footing, I enrolled in college chemistry again, and I really enjoyed it. I felt as if my mind was expanding and I was learning things that I once thought I could not easily learn.”

Use the same scrutiny with your other paragraphs and you’ll have plenty of room to write the most important part of the essay — why you want to be a PA and why you’ll be a great one.

I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 11

By: Renee

My strongest memory of my “abuelita” involves her, in tears, recounting her fathers’ refusal to allow her to study medicine because she was a woman. Perhaps this story remains so clear on account of her dementia driven repetitiveness, but I suspect it was my emotional response of longing for a calling as strong as hers. Where we did share the same love of crossword puzzles and literature, I never felt physician was the right career for me- despite her grandmotherly insistence. Today I am confident that Physician Assistant (PA) is the answer to a question I have been asking myself for a long time now. What will I dedicate my life to? As a student oscillating between a career in medicine and international development it was unclear which path best fit my character and career goals. Following my passions led me to find the PA occupation. It is a combination of everything I am interested in: biology, health education and public service.

My fascination with the human body led me to major in Physiology and Neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). This course of study inspired and challenged me as it combined my interest in biology and enthusiasm for problem solving. A Biochemistry course presented more of a challenge than others. I immediately retook the course learning a valuable lesson- that personal growth comes from challenges. With this lesson in mind I decided to enter post graduate life through the toughest challenge I could imagine- volunteering for two years in a third world country.
In an effort to pursue my interest in both health and international development I joined the Peace Corps. Furthermore this allowed me to work for an organization whose philosophy I could believe in. The Peace Corps attempts to make a real difference in the lives of real people. Within months of living in rural Ecuador I took notice and was inspired by the tangible and immediate impact made by medical professionals.

Eager to join them I jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with a rural health clinic. Some of my responsibilities included taking patient histories and vital signs, providing hands on assistance to the gynecologist and developing a community health education program. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the research, creativity and problem solving it took to develop and implement health education that would really reach the people I was trying to help. Whether facilitating workshops, consulting in the clinic, or in home visits, I thrived on patient interaction with people from vastly different backgrounds. I found that one thing is universal; everyone wants to feel heard. A good practitioner first needs to be a good listener. I also found that my lack of medical knowledge at times left me feeling helpless like when I was unable to help a woman who approached me after a family planning workshop. We were in a community hours away from medical care. She had persistent vaginal bleeding since giving birth three months prior. It struck me that there was little I could do without a medical degree. This experience, and others like it, inspired me to further my education to become a medical practitioner.

Since my return from the Peace Corps I enthusiastically pursued the PA profession. I completed the remaining pre requisites with high marks, took an accelerated EMT course at UCLA, volunteered in the emergency room (ER) and shadowed a number of PAs. One PA, Jeremy, has been a particularly impactful role model. He maintains strong, trusting relationships with the patients. He is extremely knowledgeable, unhurried, and personable as he meets patient needs. It is no wonder they request him as their primary care practitioner and I hope to practice with the same skill one day. All of my shadowing experiences reaffirmed my career objectives most align with that of a PA, where I can focus on the care and treatment of my patients, without the added responsibility of owning my own business.

Whereas Peace Corps ignited my passion for a career in medicine and shadowing in the family practice opened my eyes to the PA profession, working as an emergency room technician (ER Tech) has cemented my desire to become a PA. In addition to my ER Tech duties I am a certified Spanish interpreter. Every day I am fortunate enough to work closely with a large staff of PAs, physicians and nurses. Often times I interpret for the same patient throughout their entire visit. Through these interactions I have developed a great deal of appreciation for the PAs. As they typically treat less acute patients they can spend more time on patient education. The most meaningful part of my job is ensuring patients receive quality medical care regardless of their language or education. An unexpected benefit has resulted from the doctors, PAs and nurses recognizing my enthusiasm for learning and sharing their medical knowledge to help me realize my dream of one day becoming a PA.

A theme of helping the medically underserved has developed over the course of my adult life. Unequivocally it is my calling to continue this gratifying work as PA in primary care. I am confident I will succeed in your program because of my dedication to finishing everything that I start and desire to learn. I am an exceptional candidate due to my multi-cultural perspective, years of experience in bilingual patient care and commitment to the physician assistant profession. Upon completion of Physician Assistant school I will be the first in my generation of 36 cousins to receive a graduate education. My abuelita would be brimming with pride.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Renee,

I liked your story about your abuelita. It’s an engaging opening and coming full circle in your conclusion is great.

Your essay has a lot of good things, in fact too many. It’s 5573 characters and spaces, which is 573 over the CASPA limit, so things have to go.

Start by scrutinizing every word and seeing what can go. There are quite a few unnecessary sentences. This one for example, “Where we did share the same love of crossword puzzles and literature, I never felt physician was the right career for me — despite her grandmotherly insistence.” It’s sweet, but unnecessary. If you had the space, sure you’d leave it, but since you’re over the word count, sweet gets cut so substance remains. But if you decide to use it, the dash should be an “em dash.” Hold the shift and option keys, then press the dash key.

Take these two for example, “Furthermore this allowed me to work for an organization whose philosophy I could believe in. The Peace Corps attempts to make a real difference in the lives of real people.” Your opinion about the Peace Corps and talking about the benefit of the organization doesn’t do a thing for your essay, and distracts from the content. It’s like taking a left turn, realizing you made a mistake and having to stop and turn around.

This is an awkward sentence and could be cut, “I am confident I will succeed in your program because of my dedication to finishing everything that I start and desire to learn.” Your next sentence is much, much stronger, and you’ve essentially said much of the same throughout your essay.

I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 12

By: Ashley

Dirt. Coating the curve of my ear, the lining of my nostrils, and sticking to my overheated, salty skin; it’s present with every inhale of breath. The Mexican sun beats heat upon my sunburnt shoulders. A Spanish-speaking boy pulls me into the dirt to sit cross-legged across from each other while he teaches me a rhythmic hand-slapping game. I notice his leg is angled awkwardly as if he is compensating for a weak spot on his calf. Peering over his lap, I catch a glimpse of a silver dollar sized pus-filled bump. He shies away. Why should he trust a church volunteer building houses in Mexico? I’m powerless to help this young boy, powerless to heal him. I feel helpless.

Ice. Melting and seeping into woolen gloves, encasing my freezing fingers. The wind races across my cheeks, slips in the cracks of my jacket and scarf. I am in Detroit. The man with the bare, wrinkled hand grasps my arm with a crinkly smile. He is a veteran who feels more at home in this dark, concrete corner in downtown Detroit than any hospital. He bends to show me his swelling feet with red whelps racing along his shins. Why does he trust me? I am just a volunteer at a soup kitchen, powerless to heal him. I feel helpless.

Droplets. Clinging and racing down the tip of a large tropical leaf, splashing onto my arm through a rusty metal window. Horns honk. Bells dance. Touts clamor for my attention. Amid the wet, tropical heat, people move in every direction atop a carpet of trash lining the streets. I’m sitting on a crowded, sweltering bus outside Delhi, India. A young beggar drags himself up the metal steps of the bus. One elbow in front of the other, he slowly crawls up the aisle. He attempts to pull himself into my lap, dried blood and dirt matting his head, flies swarming his ears, thigh stumps dangling off the edge of the seat. Although I shouldn’t, I help him over my lap to the seat beside me, tears streaming down my face. Money will not help him. Money would just encourage him to persuade a few coins off the next tourist that comes along. I’m sure he trusts no one even though he pretends to engage me, for he sees me as a target rather than as a backpacker volunteering anywhere an extra set of hands is needed along my travels. I am powerless to heal him. I feel helpless.

All three of these experiences are just snapshots of the times I have felt helpless. Helplessness began as a child and older sister, coming from a single mother family with no health insurance, no college degrees and the emptiest cart in line at the local grocery store; helplessness has ended as I have risen above unlikely odds, returning to college after the experiences of volunteer work locally, across the U.S. and across the globe.

I have had the opportunity to work and volunteer in orphanages and local medical clinics serving the underprivileged within multiple countries. I have had a taste of what it is like to treat wounds, to assist in transporting the wounded, to sit comfortingly beside the bed of a woman with resistant tuberculosis as she took her last breaths. I have worked alongside many health professionals along the way, but the physician assistants stood out to me. They were versatile and compassionate, spending the majority of their time with the patients. Most adapted to every new circumstance and smoothly transitioned between specialties in the field. Every encounter with a patient or a physician assistant has fueled my ambition and fever for more knowledge and skills, leading me back to re-enrolling in college.

My transcript break between immature teenager and driven adult taught me inalienable concepts such as sacrifice, pain, hard work, appreciation, compassion, integrity and determination. I nurtured my passions and discovered my strengths and weaknesses. Six years after leaving college and four years after returning, I am now the first college graduate in my family, having worked my way through as a restaurant server depending on academic scholarships and tips. On each break in between semesters I have continued my volunteer work locally, in Thailand, and in Haiti. In the upcoming year, I have secured a position as an emergency room technician and will also complete a Pre-PA internship through Gapmedic in Tanzania in the spring to continue to prepare for a Physician Assistant Program.

In the memory of every human connection I have made along my journey, having both been a member of as wells as served the underprivileged, I will continue my drive and ambition toward Physician Assistant Studies in hopes I can continue to become a little less helpless.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Ashley,

All your rewriting has paid off. This is an excellent essay. The conclusion though, isn’t as strong as the rest of the essay. “In the memory of” is really overused. You don’t need it. (There was a typo — “wells” but that portion of the sentence was awkward, anyway). Instead leave it at this with a new word for one of the “continue/s” (You don’t want to repeat that word in the last sentence of your essay): “Every human connection I have made along my journey continues to my drive and ambition toward Physician Assistant Studies, in hopes I can continue to become a little less helpless.” Even better, would be a change in focus in the last few words to those you’ll help instead of keeping it self-focused. (I know that’s what you meant, it doesn’t read that way).

Great job overall!

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 13

By: Sudheer

When I look back over the last several years of my life, I never foresaw myself considering a second career. However, several exciting and fulfilling experiences that I had over the last few years have led to my decision to pursue dentistry as a career.

A future in the health care field was a natural choice for me, coming from a family of health care workers. I also had a flair for biology right from my school days and my interest in holistic medicine found me choosing a career in homeopathic medicine. I have striven hard to keep myself among the top 10% of the class and my curiosity and interest in the human body and diseases that affect it has grown by leaps and bounds during my years of homeopathic medical training.

The motivation behind me, to become a health care professional was being a victim to see the sufferings faced my Grand Father who was a lung cancer patient (mesothelioma). Since we were residing at a rural area in India, my Grand Father had to travel for more than 2 hours to get medical care. Shortness of breath due to pleural effusion, chest pain and the sufferings after chemotherapy, all these annoying hardship which he suffered motivated me of becoming a health care professional in future.

Moreover the kindness and care the Doctors, and other healthcare professionals showed towards him, made him to overcome the sufferings, had always motivated me to continue being passionate about my healthcare career in spite of all difficulties in this pathway. There was nothing the medicine can do in his late 80s, unless giving him support and joyful time in his remaining days. I still remember the Physician and his assistant who always visited him and advised to be bold and prepared to face everything. He trusted his care group .Their words made his last moments of death a peaceful one. From that day onwards, I had no other thought of what to become in future.

My fiance, a software engineer, had made plans to immigrate to the United States and pursue further training in Java. When I told him about my interest in medical field, he immediately encouraged me to apply to PA school once we reached America. After all, America was the land of opportunity- a place where you could set out to achieve whatever dreams you may have in your heart. During my husband’s training, he mentioned to me that he had several co-workers who were engineers or lawyers, who successfully made medicine their second career. Elated by his encouragement and excited about the prospect of becoming a PA, I planned to complete the prerequisites to PA school with a 4.0 GPA. I learned quickly to manage my time efficiently between taking care of my kids and studying for my course work.
My rotation in the holistic clinic in our final year of homeopathic school has also greatly influenced me. Life stress and unhealthy habits cause most of today’s illnesses. I found that although most physicians do an excellent job of counseling patients on which drugs to take, they spend little time talking about healthy life habits. The prospect of treating the patient as a whole rather than his or her complains alone was, to me, the way to go.

I am especially interested in being a physician assistant in the field of Internal Medicine. The physician assistant, to me, is like a detective, gathering all the clues and arriving at a logical diagnosis. Since it is so broad, and since its sub-specialties are so well developed, I believe that Internal Medicine is the most challenging of all specialties

Charisma is a trait difficult to learn but from my childhood days, I have practiced to gain very quickly the attention, respect and trust of others by a good smile. Being a good team player, excellent communication skills, my passion and my dedication helped me providing good quality care to my patients. The rewards that come from improving the patients’ quality of life have motivated me to become an influential and successful healthcare professional and I assure this would add to my Physician assistant Program as well.

With all these experiences in medical field and my intense desire to continue as a healthcare professional, I hope, specifically, Physician Assistant would be a perfect match. Patience and persistence are essential twins needed in healthcare profession and hope I have achieved it during my clinical experience. Through my healthcare experiences, I have grown not only as healthcare professional, but also an individual. I have become a great listener, an assertive partner, and a positive worker to the patients and healthcare team which are important attributes for a Physician Assistant. Determination, perseverance and hard work have taught me how to succeed throughout life. Along with my passion for medicine and healing people, my desire to provide quality care to underserved communities, my life experiences have shaped my values and beliefs into the person I am today which has motivated me to be an influential and successful Physician Assistant in future.

I am very much attracted to the career of being a Physician Assistant. I want to help as many people as I can. The medical field is not easy in any way; from the vigorous studying to the emotional attachment to a patient. I know that I am prepared, and will be even more equipped once a Physician Assistant. I believe ‘The future should always be seen as bright and optimistic. I always believe in positive thinking. The Power of Positive Thinking, I prefer the positives in my personal and everyday lives. I want to become a Physician Assistant to provide excellent healthcare for my patients. With all my experiences inside and outside of the United States, I strongly believe that I will make a great Physician Assistant.
Having lived and studied in Middle east (Dubai and Abudhabi), India and now in the United States, I can speak Malayalam, Hindi and English and I believe that I can enrich the cultural diversity of the class. To become a Physician Assistant, requires life-long hard work, persistence, patience, dedication and above all, the right kind of right temperament. I believe that my training in homeopathic medicine gives me a unique and different perspective on patient care, that when combined with my training as a Physician Assistant can be invaluable in delivering excellent patient care. I hope to not only treat my patients, but also their family member’s wounded spirits.

I look forward to the next stage in my professional life with great enthusiasm. Thank you for your consideration.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Sudheer,

You have some great talents and skills — your ability to speak several languages and your diverse background will take you far. Unfortunately, an essay written like this will not allow people to see those the way they need to.

First, your second sentence of the essay is, “However, several exciting and fulfilling experiences that I had over the last few years have led to my decision to pursue dentistry as a career.” That just about made me stop reading right there. This is a PA school application! Cut the entire first paragraph.

Second your character and space count is over 6500, and the CASPA limit is 5000. So right off the bat, much must be cut from your essay to fit the guidelines.

Most importantly, your essay is confusing in many aspects. I don’t often say this for obvious reasons, but it really needs professional editing. There are grammar and structure problems (not surprising since American English is not your first language) throughout. By the way, this is how you spell “grandfather” and physician assistant isn’t capitalized unless it’s in a formal name.

Normally, I’d edit a sample paragraph, but your essay needs a more thorough edit than I can offer here. I’d recommend you do the one-on-one sessions with Duke for this. I know it’s expensive, but he can walk you through what your essay needs and help you organize it. At a minimum, I would suggest you sign up for the one-time edit. You want your essay to reflect your many good skills and qualities, and this just doesn’t do it.

Sorry I couldn’t be of more help here.

I wish you the best.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 14

By: Helen

I would love some feedback on my essay! I am just over 4500 characters, so I have a little wiggle room for editing

From an older sister caring for seven little sibling to an in-charge paramedic, my life has been full of unique experiences that have molded me into the healthcare provider I am today. I never thought I would seek to further my education past a baccalaureate level, after all, my higher education was supposed to prepare me for an inevitable role as a stay-at-home wife and mother. However, working as a paramedic and earning a degree Emergency Health Sciences has awoken a passion for medicine that drives me forward. As I work on the ambulance I am constantly plagued by my desire to do more for my patients. This insatiable desire to expand my knowledge in order to effectively help the ill and injured provides my motivation for becoming a physician assistant.

As the second oldest in a family of nine children, homeschooled in a small religious subculture, my academic journey has been anything but normal. My parents taught me to be both an independent learner and a teacher to my siblings. Although my parents emphasized rigorous academics, my time as a child was split balancing schoolwork and caring for my younger siblings. I poignantly remember sitting at the kitchen table teaching myself biology late into the evening, tired after a long day of babysitting my siblings. I tried to study earlier, but my mother had been busy, leaving me with little time for school until the children were tucked into bed. As I struggled to stay awake the thought of a career in the medical field seemed like a pipe dream. Little did I know, those days spent studying index cards while cooking dinner and wiping little noses taught me invaluable skills in time management, responsibility, and empathy. These skills have proven to be the key to success in both my education and career as a paramedic.

After I completed my EMT-Basic certification in high school, I knew my future lay in the medical field. In an attempt to follow my parents’ requirement to enter a course of study deemed “appropriate” for a woman, I began pursuing a degree in nursing. During the first semester of my freshman year, my family fell on difficult financial times and I had to develop a backup plan. Feeling the weight of responsibility to ease the financial strain on my family, I utilized credit by exam to test out of my remaining core curriculum and entered a fast-paced paramedic program.

Becoming a paramedic has proven to be the most formative decision in my life thus far. As the youngest in-charge paramedic at my company, I once again felt a heavy weight of responsibility as I stretched my leadership skills to new levels. Not only is the in-charge paramedic responsible for patient care decisions, my EMT partner and local first responders look to me for direction and scene management. The skills I acquired caring for my family have served me well, as I was recently promoted to a field training officer. Not only has my job allowed me to break free from the familial constraints that hindered a career in medicine, it has taught me the true purpose of healthcare. Emergency medicine is not merely a job; it is an opportunity to touch the lives of others during times of pain and suffering. The physical, mental, and emotional stress of being a paramedic pushes me to a critical level where I am forced to overcome these obstacles or fail my patients. Faced with chaos and life and death situations I must garner all my time management and mental capacities to provide rapid, accurate, and empathetic care to my patients. These challenges have sharpened my intellect, but more importantly they have made me a stronger and more compassionate person.

Interacting with individuals of all ages and walks of life has caused my studies to come alive and fuels my desire to continue my education as a physician assistant. Diseases are no longer a list of diagnostic criteria in a textbook; they take on faces and names with tangible struggles and symptoms. These experiences have opened my eyes to a level of suffering too compelling to dismiss. I must be more and know more so that I may do more. Working with these patients, I feel restrained by my knowledge and skill level. I once thought that earning my degree in emergency medicine would serve to break these restraints, but the opposite has occurred. The more I learn the more I realize how vast the study of medicine is, and my ardor to continue my education grows. Becoming a physician assistant is my opportunity to break these restraints and continue onward in a life dedicated to learning and service to the ill and injured.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Helen,

Overall, this is very well done. I love some of the images of you with your siblings. I can see it all perfectly.

There are however, a few issues. In the very first sentence, for example, you left the “s” off siblings. It’s a small point, but important — Admissions folks expect you to pay attention to detail (details can be the difference between life and death as you know), and an error right off the bat is a red flag. Those are hard to catch — it’s very difficult to be our own editors, so be sure to have someone proofread your essay before you send it in.

Then there’s the overwriting (melodrama). Phrases and words like “awoken a passion,” “plagued” “insatiable” “fueled” “poignantly” are distracting, and instead of creating impact, they lessen it. Speak plain English and you’ll be a lot better off.

Your essay is focused on emergency medicine. I would recommend that you write some about the expanded practice the PA profession affords. You could shorten the second paragraph to accommodate additional information — the second and third sentences are essentially the same. I would cut the second. You could also skip the information about your parents wanting you to go into nursing and how you started down that path if you need the space. It’s not particularly helpful to the essay.

Otherwise, you’ve made good points and written them well.

I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 15

By: Jennifer

This is my first draft please let me know how I am doing.

In the Honduran heat, my volunteer team from Georgia Southern University was hard at work to build a new school for the children of a small Honduran village. The children had never had easy access to education due to the fact that the nearest school was miles away, and the walk was dangerous. As I spoke with one of the women from the village, in the little bit of Spanish I knew at the time, she informed me that not only was education lacking, but also they did not have regular access to healthcare. Since the village had no electricity or modern technologies, reaching a healthcare provider in an emergency would take too long for the patient. Many people suffered from easily treated illnesses due to the shortage of providers.

When I returned to the United States, I began to see that there are many individuals who have difficulty receiving the healthcare that they need. I continued to notice a need when I completed a medical internship in rural south Georgia during my undergraduate years. In every clinic, I noticed that the schedule was booked with patients and the phone constantly rang with people needing treatment. Due to the growing population and a shortage of primary care physicians, this has become a significant problem in many areas in the United States. My desire is to work along with others to serve in areas of need both domestically and globally to improve the health of individuals.

In order to achieve this goal, a career in the medical field would allow me to make this difference. When making the decision of what career in the medical field I wanted, I examined who I am and what I enjoy in life. I enjoy interacting with people and learning about them as individuals. One cannot support the entire wellness of the patient without taking into consideration who the person is as a unique individual. When I worked as an anesthesia technician, I would talk to the patients prior to surgery. I spoke to them about their families and what they enjoyed in life to calm their nerves. When the time came to transport them to the operating room, most patients were smiling and ready for the surgery.

Through my shadowing experiences, I noticed that physician assistants (PA) had a strong connection with their patients. For example, in the emergency room I observed a PA talk to a woman for thirty minutes trying to calm her down and assure her that she was in no danger. This close relationship is what allows patients to trust their providers and feel comfortable enough to reveal all the pieces of their case.

I have been exposed to a variety of medical situations through employment and experience as an anesthesia technician, a shadow of both doctors and PAs, a medical scribe and a volunteer at a medical clinic. What I have learned in these situations has inspired me to become a physician assistant. As I continue my path no matter where I am in the world, I hope to continue to learn about the individuals around me and provide the best patient care possible.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Jennifer,

It sounds as if you have quite a bit of experience, which is excellent. The problem with your essay is that it reads more like a report than a personal statement. With the different things you’ve done, you have great opportunities to write a really engaging essay.

So, with the first paragraph, instead of making it documentary sounding, tell what you observed. Did the people show signs of untreated diseases or injuries — crooked limbs are just one thing that comes to mind from untreated broken bones. What about a lack of dental care (Did people have swollen faces from infections? Teeth missing)? I realize you were there to build a school, but certainly you observed things healthcare related. Write those descriptions. You can do the same with your paragraph about your internship in rural Georgia.

Highlight your experiences with PAs so you write a convincing essay about why the profession appeals to you and why you’re right for the profession. You’ve got the experience, now your job is to put it on paper.

Your essay as written isn’t one that I can pull out a paragraph to edit because it needs to be redone with the things I’ve mentioned. Don’t feel bad — writing is rewriting!

I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 16

By: Angela

There is something wrong. “Are you feeling alright?” I ask Joe, the patient I was helping get back into bed after a walk in the hallway. Seated on the edge of his bed, his face is crunched and his breathing is labored. This isn’t normal for Joe who just laughed with me about being able to sprint out of here when he is discharged from the hospital. “I’m not sure, my back all the sudden hurts pretty bad.” Scenarios flash through my mind, but all my better judgment leads to nothing too serious with that sort of complaint. Maybe he needs a pain pill, does he have a past injury that gives him pain, are the hospital beds hard on his back, all these questions run through my mind. I look at Joe and then I look behind me at Maria, Joe’s wife, who is in his room and in an infallible instant her eyes are wide and she calls out his name, “Joe?!” I can almost feel her fear jump to me as I turn my head back and Joe’s head falls forward and his shoulders slump forward into me. My next moves were quick and purposeful; all the while my head was frantic and chaotic. I lay him down while yelling, “CODE! HELP! CALL A CODE!” I’m on top of Joe, my hands automatically start compressing his chest, and I’m counting, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…. I hear commotion behind me and someone in a white coat slides in to take my place without either of us saying a word or skipping a compression.

Next time I’m going to be the one in the white coat, taking over the situation with the right skills and knowledge, doing everything I can to save the patient. Joe had been my patient the last three days, and as most do, I built a relationship with him as his patient care technician. I felt a certain disconnect when I wasn’t able to stay with him during his code. There is a relationship with patients that is brought to another level when you are their physician assistant. You have a level of knowledge, and expertise that your patients trust you enough to come to you when they are sick and at their worst. There is an understanding of when you are in my care I will do everything possible to get you better. To gain this trust and connectivity along with the expertise are my motivation. (Give me your hardships and I will give you rest.)

In order to build these relationships there needs to be a strong foundation and basic understanding of emotions and effective communication. One of the first places I started to assemble my foundation was my first job as a certified nursing assistant, CNA, in a locked unit for dementia and alzheimer patients. I learned everyone has a past, a family, and a story to tell, even if they cannot remember it. One develops tenderness when caring for someone who can no longer care for themselves, but understands they were once independent, strong, and capable. A concern for their well being during these difficult years of their life develops along with compassion to give them the best care you capable of. There are times when you are caring for someone who is shouting at you, or laughing for no reason, or in hysterics. What I learned is there are messages in this, and knowing the person is knowing how to break this down to get at what they are truly telling you.

I spent time abroad in Kenya helping a local community build a new school, where I saw destitution, the effects of poverty, and disease. To see underneath ones circumstances was something I came to understand in order to have a real connection and understanding of the people we were helping. There is so much more to a person then their day to day life, there is a history, there are dreams, there is struggle, there is a fire to live and provide for themselves and families. There was a moment where girls my age were admiring my hair and clothes that I realized we are no different. It dawned on me that their circumstance of no shelter, scarce food, and little education could very well be mine. I started to try and understand their feelings and situations, which opened a new world of rapport and exchange between us.

Virginia Mason Hospital is the crescendo to my experience as a CNA. There is nothing like the dynamic of a busy hospital floor, and working on the cardiac/telemetry unit brought everything I had previously learned onto a new level. I experience patients from all walks and paths of life, all with different stories and different reasons that bring them to our floor. Where the nursing home taught the importance of the connection between care provider and patient, VM showed me the critical need to be able to operate in a highly dynamic and intense environment. Where prioritizing tasks, effective communication, and team work were an absolute job essential. I have no doubt that these skills will translate seamlessly into being a physician assistant.

The experience I have gained is revealing my appetite for knowledge to know more about how to effectively care for others. However, my scope as a CNA is limiting. There is an absolute need inside me that has been started that I now know it is time to move on with my story and take my career to the next level. However, going back to school will have its challenges. For almost my entire academic career I have worked either full time or part time, generating income. Once I start the MEDEX program this will not be an option. My household is going to lose an income and will be entirely dependent on my husband’s income. The challenge lies in the readjustments that will need to take place in our financial lives. They won’t be impossible by any means, but they will most likely be difficult to adjust to. There will also be time taken from my personal life that would otherwise be spent with my husband and family. To me this is just as valuable as money if not more so, but this also presents an opportunity to become creative with the time we do spend together and if anything makes it more special. My family understands my drive to be in the MEDEX program, and they will do nothing but support and hold me up to do what I need to succeed.

The support I have from my family has showed me that the pressure and demands of school combined with work can become a mountain that looks impossible to climb over. I think providing a family-like support atmosphere to my fellow classmates in the MEDEX program could be extremely beneficial .The classmates I will be with are going to become my second family. Being there for my classmates for help, as a listener, encourager, and identifying with them by going through the same struggles they might be experiencing is something I look forward to.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Angela,

The second essay is off to a much better start than the first — for one you’re not plagiarizing Stephen, intentional or not!

There are a several problems with your essay. For one, it’s way over the CASPA limit of 5000 characters and spaces with a count of 6549. It also jumps around and lacks transitions.

That being said, the essay potentially has a good start with the Joe story, but you’ll have to clean up the writing. The story doesn’t always make sense, and some of the writing is disjointed. Below is what I’d do with the first part of your opening paragraph. (A few of the words are mine, and they’re just to illustrate the points I’m trying to make. You’d use your own words). By the way, don’t use two types of punctuation in a sentence like you did here: “Joe?!”

“Are you feeling alright?” I ask Joe, the patient I was helping get back into bed after a walk in the hallway. Seated on the edge of his bed, his face is crunched and his breathing is labored. This isn’t normal for Joe who just laughed with me about being able to sprint out of here when he is discharged from the hospital. “I’m not sure, my back all of the sudden hurts pretty bad.” I look at Joe and then I look behind me at Maria, Joe’s wife. Her eyes are wide and she calls out his name, “Joe?” I can almost feel her fear as I turn my head back to Joe and his head falls forward and he slumps into me. My next moves were quick and purposeful; even thought the thoughts inside my head were frantic and chaotic.”

What this does is not only eliminate unnecessary detail, it helps the story make more sense. You don’t need the first sentence at all, but the implication with or without it, is that there’s something serious going on. So when you write you think it might be the hospital bed that is causing his pain, I wonder why you’d put that in when we know what follows. Frankly, it makes it look like you were missing something big. We all have thoughts flash through our minds, hoping things aren’t as bad as they really are, but you haven’t prefaced you sentence with anything to tell us that’s what was happening to you. Some of the word choices didn’t make sense, either. This is an example: ” . . .in an infallible instant her eyes are wide . . .” Infallible is not the proper word to use here.

I usually don’t suggest professional editing for obvious reasons, but I think you could really benefit from it. I’m not saying this to be mean and I hope it doesn’t hurt your feelings, but the essay needs a lot of work.

Of course, it could be you’re still in the early stages of drafting and you’ll clean it up!

At any rate, I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 17

By: Diana

For so long, I ignored the idea that I could be successful in the medical profession. For the past ten years I worked fulltime in a management position with a Franchisee of Panera Bread. I worked throughout college while earning my bachelors degree for interpersonal communication. After graduating, I was successful in my position as a Director of Training for Panera Bread. Through these years I spent committed to Panera, the part I loved the most about the experience was working with the numerous managers and their people to reach their goals operationally, and build a family within.

Although I learned a lot about work ethic and leadership with my time at Panera Bread I always felt that I was capable of accomplishing a lot more and contributing more to society. I think this was something I’ve always wanted, but didn’t have the confidence to do. Growing up, I watched my mother as a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse. We would visit her often at the hospital, and get a chance to see the premature babies that she cared for. More times than I could count, parents would tell me how wonderful my mom was to them and they wouldn’t have been able to get through this time without her. She was able to touch so many lives by not only caring for their health but also connecting to them on an emotional level. She made a difference in their lives that they will always remember. She was an inspiration in that regard, and that is what I aspire to accomplish by becoming a physician assistant (PA).

Becoming a PA will allow me to make a difference by doing something I already know I’m great at – helping people in a time of need. I have always been great at helping when someone is injured or hurting. It is a natural instinct for me to come to the rescue of others and do everything in my power to make them better. For example, during one of my shifts, a shift supervisor, Alexis, burned her forearm very badly on the rack oven door while putting in bagels. She was in so much pain and frightened by the shock of it. I quickly rushed to her and ran cold water over her arm, while talking to her to keep her calm and even managing to make her laugh. Once the pain calmed down, I applied burn spray and bandaged her up. This experience, and others like it, felt natural and made me consider changing career paths.

I want to become a PA to know how to properly take care of others that I already have the urge to help. I have spent time shadowing PAs as well as their physicians, and learned there is a harmonious partnership between the two. It’s not just the PA working for the physician, but working together towards one goal – helping the patient. This is the type of environment that makes me excited to become a PA. I am also excited about the multitude of opportunities that becoming a PA would allow for. Be it traveling to underdeveloped countries to provide care or donate time to the less fortunate, or even becoming a mentor to future PAs along their journey.

I know it’s an unconventional route to decide at 30 years old to give up a successful career in exchange for an entirely different path, but I truly believe this is what I was meant to do. I’m fortunate enough to have the support of my husband and family to help me accomplish this goal and I’m determined to see it through.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Diana,

Congratulations on having the courage to pursue a goal that’s been tugging at you for all these years.

To convince Admissions folks you’re a great candidate for PA school, your essay needs some work. For one, I’d start it off this way (with a caveat — some of the words are mine and they’re just to illustrate the point): For so long, I ignored the idea that I could be successful in the medical profession, ten years to be exact, while I worked fulltime in a management position with a franchisee of Panera Bread. Although I learned a lot about work ethic and leadership with my time there, I always felt that I was capable of accomplishing and contributing more to society. A career in healthcare was something I’ve always wanted, but didn’t have the confidence to do it.” Then you have to explain why you always wanted a healthcare career and what changed for you to decide to pursue it.

Then I’d delete the rest of the first paragraph. If your mother is the reason you wanted to be in healthcare, you can briefly mention her work, and I mean briefly. Otherwise, the rest of that paragraph goes, too.

The example of Alexis is okay, but it’s not that compelling. You could cut that way down or even cut it completely. Admissions folks will be far more interested to find out why you specifically chose the PA profession. Use can use some of your shadowing experiences to paint that picture. By doing so, you’ll create the opportunity to tie the skills you’ve gained in a management position to those you’ll need as a PA.

I hope this helps and wish you the best.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 18

By: Samantha Lee

When I was little, a pencil and paintbrush were extensions of my fingers. I couldn’t say my ABC’s or count to 23, but with a box of crayons, 1,000 words were at my fingertips. In kindergarten, my teachers couldn’t stop me from doodling sloppy circles and smiley faces all over my notes. Until one day there was finally a subject that put my hobbies and talents to use: science.

I loved science because it was fascinating, constantly changing, and allowed me to expand my mind further than my imagination. Each science class brought a new world of knowledge, excitement, and change. As Galapagos turtles and finches were adapting in my head, my artwork was evolving as well. Erase, focus, sketch, erase, focus, sketch—a discipline that became ingrained in me. Overtime, with enough practice and patience, those smiley faces transformed into soccer balls and sunflowers.

It wasn’t until I attended an event at my sister’s medical school called A Day in the Life of a Medical Student that I was finally able to unite my interests. Unlike most people who turned away from the site of exposed organs or pinched their nose from the stench of formaldehyde, I perused the bodily exhibits, too excited to feel disturbed or nauseous. I performed my first surgery on a pig’s foot, ensuring the sutures perfect distances apart, resembling the laces of a football. From that day on, I was hooked; I left knowing that I would pursue a career in medicine. At home, those sunflower sketches started sprouting into cell cycles and circulatory systems.

My education and experiences at West Virginia University solidified my path to becoming a physician assistant. I studied a variety of subjects such as epigenetics, ecology, evolution, virology, microbiology, and comparative anatomy. I was prompted to think in ways I never had before; instead of giving up when I failed, I looked for new approaches and remained resilient. When I reattempted organic chemistry, I flipped, expanded, and reduced carbon rings all over the page until a solution was met. To my surprise, I found that I loved tutoring my classmates; whether it was drawing the virus life cycle step-by-step on a whiteboard or making a video tutorial of an anatomy dissection from start to finish, teaching through art became my new passion. Shifting among a wide array of talents, interests, and studies, my versatility is similar to physician assistants, who have the ability to transfer their knowledge and skills from one specialty to another. With my experience at WVU, I can take a problem flip it, expand it, and reduce it until I reach an innovative solution that doctors and patients expect from their physician assistants.

Hahn Medical Practices was where I met the Michelangelo’s and Da Vinci’s of dermatology. My experience there has afforded me the opportunity to shadow these outstanding artists—surgical physician assistants. In one particular instance of a Moh’s Surgery I remember entering a room, startled to find a patient with no skin on the majority of her left cheek and half of her nose. Calm and collected, the PA carefully prepared and drew out the skin flap on her forehead to replace the cancer-ridden skin. When the PA asked me to assist her, I jumped at the chance, both intrigued and ready for whatever would happen next. I assisted the PA as she cut the skin flap in the correct shape, twisted the flap over the nose, and secured it with interrupted stitches. When the patient came back a month later, she was cancer free and looking better than ever.

The patient’s turnout was not only the result of the PA’s amazing suturing ability, but also because of her warm, personable, reassuring attitude towards the patients—personality traits I both admired and to which I could relate. Looking back, compared to the PA’s stitches, the pig I sutured years ago looked more like I had butchered the pig’s foot. Ever since that day, I’ve yearned to transform that butchered foot into football laces, just like how my sloppy circles evolved into cell cycles and circulatory systems.

Being a surgical physician assistant is like being a sculptor, except instead of clay, marble, or granite, the medium is skin, human flesh, and tissue. The piece of art is not just some sculpture sitting in a museum; it’s a walking, talking, living, breathing human being. My patients would benefit from my situational awareness, my interest in a multitude of subjects, my compassion to teach, my attention to detail, and my steady hands that were once used for painting. In the future, my goal is to add a scalpel and needle driver to my tool kit so I can truly make an impact on my patient’s lives through art. I believe I embody what Albert Einstein meant when he said, “the greatest scientists are artists as well”.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Samantha,

This is a clever essay, well done and complete. Truthfully, I wouldn’t change a thing — this is a winner!

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 19

By: Kaela

It was my first time leaving the country and I had no idea what to expect. Nestled in the backseat of my grandparents Cadillac as we headed south, away from Phoenix towards the Mexican border, I pictured Mexico. At 8 years old, my idea of this exotic country involved coconut trees and an ocean that extended beyond the curve of the earth. Movies and stories filled my head with visions of brightly colored clothing, wooden carts full of fruit, and happy families like mine. As we drove through the security checkpoints into the town of Nogales, my preconceived notions were proven exactly that, notions. Dirty streets lined with shanties were filled with people of all ages begging for money. The amount of physical suffering sent me reeling. My most vivid memory from the trip was of an older man hobbling on crutches, crying out in agony from the pain of a poorly amputated leg. For the first time in my life I saw poverty, on a level that I could never have imagined previously, but afterwards would never be able to forget.

That was the first of many moments when a fire was lit inside me and I knew that I had to find a career that involved helping people. I never forgot my experience in Nogales. It provided me with a sense of gratitude for my education and good fortune, and I felt compelled to pay it forward and help others. This desire to help people led me to explore many avenues of study but that one that absolutely stuck was science. After gaining hands on experience in a chemical engineering lab at UW Madison, I became excited to explore the research aspect of medicine. This led me to my current position doing research on virus driven lymphomas at the Medical College of Wisconsin. The challenge of designing, performing and analyzing experiments in a logical way has been both exciting and beneficial for my personal growth.

After shadowing in hospitals and working with patients at an optometrist’s office, it didn’t take long to realize that while I love research, I belong working with patients face to face. Working and building relationships with people who are different than myself is exactly what I hope to find in a career. Shadowing allowed me to observe the teamwork and trust that exists between the physician and the physician assistant (PA), and it was clear early on that my personality best fit in that role. As someone who has a wide range of interests and an eagerness to continue learning, I love that over the lifetime of this career there are opportunities to work in different specialties.

There are many characteristics that are similar between the roles of a researcher and a PA. First, working in an academic hospital has allowed me access to shadow PAs in many departments as well as attend lectures given by clinicians and researchers. Witnessing the collaborative network that exists in health care, I quickly learned that my ability to act as both a team player and work independently fit perfectly with the PA role. In addition, the PA works under the supervision of an authority figure much like a researcher and the Principal Investigator. After a year of working in this setting, I know I not only enjoy working in this position, but I am most confident and do my best work.
Secondly, my aptitude for analysis has improved from carrying out research and will be important to have when diagnosing patients. Learning to connect pieces of information learned from multiple papers to hypothesize a single mechanism in cell biology is similar to identifying problems patients present with. It is also crucial to have communication skills to successfully interact with the patient and health care members. Finally, I’ve observed that there are routine medical procedures that the PA must perform or assist a physician with. Much like the daily laboratory tasks involved with research, I know that I enjoy this type of work.

A career in medicine is challenging, especially an accelerated program such as physician assistant. Success in this profession requires passion, dedication and intelligence. In the year it’s been since I’ve graduated from college the growth I’ve experienced as both a person and an academic through managing a research career, patient care experience, and classes have made me absolutely certain that this is a program in which I can absolutely excel.

Returning to a city similar to Nogales as a PA is more than something I want to accomplish, it’s something I feel absolutely compelled to bring about. I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of helplessness looking at people, in such desperate need of help and medical attention, and being able to offer them nothing. I have been fortunate enough to receive a quality education, and I am determined to use that knowledge to help people from a diverse background get the quality health care they deserve.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Kaela,

Overall, you’ve got a good start to your essay. You plant the seed for your interest in medicine and give the chronology of your journey to this point in a cohesive way.

I’m not convinced that comparing the role of a researcher to that of a PA trait by trait is the best use of your space. You’ve shadowed PAs — why not use some of those experiences to show the things you’ve talked about and then tie those to your skills? It will make your essay far more interesting. You’re good at writing descriptions — you showed that in your opening paragraph, so take advantage of your skills to liven up your essay.

By the way, the second sentence of the fourth paragraph, “First, working in an academic hospital has allowed me access to shadow PAs in many departments as well as attend lectures given by clinicians and researchers,” which doesn’t fit at all in light of your first sentence of that paragraph, “There are many characteristics that are similar between the roles of a researcher and a PA.”

Your first paragraph is a little too long, and there’s a grammar error right off the bat — my grandparents Cadillac” should be “my grandparent’s Cadillac.” When I talked with Admissions Directors and faculty from across the country they all said grammar errors should not happen in these essays. They’re looking for people who are careful and detailed oriented, so a small error can make a difference.

This is how I’d edit the first paragraph:
It was my first time leaving the country and at 8-years old I had no idea what to expect. Nestled in the backseat of my grandparent’s Cadillac, we headed south towards the Mexican border. As we drove through the security checkpoints into the town of Nogales, I saw dirty streets lined with shanties and people of all ages begging for money. My most vivid memory from the trip was of an older man hobbling on crutches, crying out in agony from the pain of a poorly amputated leg. For the first time in my life I saw physical suffering and poverty on a level that I could never have imagined, but afterwards would never be able to forget.

I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 20

By: Cheryl

Several experiences have directed my decision to become a PA. Most recently was dealing with my father’s cancer diagnosis and treatment. I have three siblings and none of them believed that chemotherapy would be an inconvenience for an 82 year old to tackle. Out of the four children I was the only one compelled to step up and dedicate the time and resources to help this powerful and independent man to understand a disease that could end his life prematurely. I moved from North Carolina to Florida to help him deal with the diagnosis, the biopsy, the many chemotherapy treatments, etc. Prior to this illness, Dad had never been in a hospital except for the birth of his kids! Researching his type of blood cancer, finding a specialist to treat the lymphoma and leukemia, providing all transportation, medical document interpretation (my father is Turkish), and comprehensive home care, ultimately made me a tougher person. Years of patient interaction and treatment planning with my dental hygiene career, and dealing with self-esteem issues with individuals in the medical cosmetic industry did not prepare me to see my Dad, this unshakeable rock in my life, suffer. Looking into my dad’s eyes and reading his pain, and feeling inadequate to provide relief propelled me to research his disease further. I found a physician at the Moffet Cancer Research Hospital in Tampa, Florida who specialized in Dad’s type of leukemia. Conversing with the physician and his PA’s, challenging them with the research questions I had, resulted in better care for my dad. Dad is now in remission from both cancers and may soon be taken off all chemotherapy drugs. This experience has taught me humility and to never to give up the fight to beat a disease; to perservere and truly believe in the power of love.
I briefly mentioned the self-esteem issues iI witnessed while working in plastic surgery/cosmetic medicine. This is another area that has directed my career towards seeking a PA degree. Aging is a fact of life but in todays world so many people fear it and embrace cosmetic medicine to gracefully accept the process. So many of my patients have had their life transformed by the clearing their facial conditions, like severe acne (especially my two daughters), or by electing corrective procedures. To have many of these patients personally come back to thank me, crying tears of joy to see themselves in a new and positive way; to witness them have more self confidence and go on to live life and not hid from it. These experiences are worth more to me than money.

Working three jobs as a single parent, having two daughters and balancing life is tough. Taking night classes in order to pursue my dreams is what I have chosen to do and what I have to do to get accepted into a PA program. I currently work with three PA’s in a family practice setting have shadowed them individually. They all exhibit caring and compassion towards their patients along with strong intellect to diagnosis and treatment plan. I want to be able to provide this service to my future patients. My experience in working one on one with patients in dental hygiene, in plastic surgery, and in my own skin care facility has developed skills that will serve me well as a PA.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Cheryl,

First, it’s wonderful what you did for your dad, and to have a positive outcome makes it all worthwhile. The lengthy details, however are unnecessary, especially the negative references to your siblings. This is certainly not the place to make those kinds of comments. Nor is it the place to talk about the need to challenge doctors and PAs in order to get better care for your father — the PA profession is what you’re hoping to enter. You don’t want it to sound as if you think they don’t do good work.

The whole paragraph about the cosmetic/plastic surgery can go except for talking about how you’re glad to help people change their lives. Other than that, it doesn’t have anything to do with why you want to be a PA.

You finally start to talk about the important things in your last paragraph (which by the way, has a sentence that doesn’t make sense —”I currently work with three PA’s in a family practice setting have shadowed them individually.”), but you miss a great opportunity to describe them in action, why the role of the PA appeals to you in more detail, and the specific skills you have that will make you a great PA.

Your essay needs to be redone with the proper focus in mind. You want to convince Admissions folks that you understand the profession and tell them why you want to be a PA and why you’ll be a good one. You’ve made huge sacrifices to prepare for PA school — you have three kids, you’ve gone back to school and you work full-time. Talk about your dedication and determination, your ability to manage time and pay attention to detail. What have you learned about patient care in your dental hygiene/plastic surgery work. What makes you want to do more?

Take a look at the preview of our book on the website and read some of the other essays and comments to get a better idea of what needs to be done.

I hope this helps.

Best of luck.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 21

By: Emily Brown

On a sweltering July day, fourteen-year-old Francis walked nine miles to a rural Zambian hospital. She walked alone. I listened as Dr. Thuma, an American doctor at Macha Mission Hospital delivered the news of her progressing HIV/AIDS illness. I spent the summer of 2014 shadowing and working as a research intern under this passionate and resourceful doctor. For me, Francis put a name and face to the ugly epidemic of HIV/AIDS. Her story made the dismal statistics come to life.

Because of Francis’ dwindling CD4 count, beginning anti-retroviral treatment was a necessity. Dr. Thuma patiently explained to Francis that she needed to get started on medications as soon as possible. He would have to see her frequently in the coming weeks to monitor her progress and side effects. ART could not be given without this close supervision. She immediately turned down treatment arguing that she could not repeatedly make the long journey to the hospital.

When Dr. Thuma left the room to find a counselor, I spoke up in broken Chitonga. I asked for her name and age and replied with my own, reaching the extent of my language knowledge quickly. We smiled at each other, but I could see the fear in her eyes. Francis had seen far too much loss in her short years.

Through the Zambian counselor, Francis revealed that three months earlier her mother had died 300 feet from where we sat. A suffering HIV/AIDS patient, Francis’ mother’s body was overwhelmed by illness. Francis was an AIDS orphan. I held back tears as Francis’ story unfolded. Because of her limited resources and the lack of available HIV/AIDS care closer to her home, Francis left the hospital without treatment that day. My heart broke as she walked out of the exam room. Her CD4 count would continue to decline along with her prognosis for a long life.

I believe people everywhere should always have access to adequate medical care. Where you live should not determine whether you live. The PA profession was created to make healthcare more available in rural and underserved areas. As a PA, I would be eager to help people like Francis. I want to serve those that need medical attention, but don’t have the means to obtain it whether in rural Zambia, the inner city of Atlanta, or the backwoods of Arkansas. Widening the availability of great medical care is crucial to improving public health, a necessity across this country and the world. I want to be on the front lines of that undertaking as a physician assistant.

I met David while he received his first chemotherapy treatment. On this day, his eyes held the same brand of fear as Francis’ had in the Zambian hospital. As a person comes to grips with his serious illness, a distinct privilege is presented to the care team surrounding him. Doctors, PAs, and nurses carry enormous influence over the way their patients will cope with their illness. An optimistic care team that is attentive and thoughtful can make all the difference in the patient’s experience with illness. As a healthcare provider, I would be very careful to insure that patients felt cared for and that their needs were met. The nurses on the oncology floor inspired me with their kindness and gentle manner. I was thrilled to see David’s fear ease as he came back in the following weeks to continue his treatment.

I have spent many hours volunteering and shadowing in very different settings. The clean, modern exam rooms at a dermatology office in Arkansas and the dingy, concrete surgery rooms in Zambia have one thing in common. They are places that I hold dear. In those rooms, I learned about myself. I learned that I am not content to stand by and watch while patients are hurting. It goes against my nature to see suffering and not move to lessen it. In those rooms, I found myself biting my tongue and holding my hands behind my back because I wanted to comfort and reassure uneasy patients and their families. As a PA, those desires could be fully realized. I want to be a physician assistant to heal the hurting and serve the overlooked. I want to help patients face sickness or injury without the fear that Francis held—to watch them overcome it as David did.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Emily,

Beautiful job on your essay. It’s clear you’ve spent a great deal of time on it, so I get to be picky instead of general.

You could cut quite a bit of the information about Francis — it takes over half the essay, and you’ll be able to make the same points with less information. I trust that you’ll be able to figure it out. Then you’ll have room to make your essay more PA-centric.

Name the clinic/hospital (or at least its location) where David was treated, and instead of talking about the inspiration you derived from the nurses on the oncology floor, use a PA related experience.

You’ll want to weave into your essay specifics about why you’ve chosen the PA profession.

Other than that, bravo!

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 22

By: Jessica

I stepped down from the bus and right before me stood an old building with broken windows and paint peeling from the walls. “I thought we were going to a clinic,” I said in my head confusingly and sure enough, our guide led us into the tattered building. I walked through the door and saw a physician running around seeing patient with no one else to aid him. “Is there anyone else helping him?” I asked my classmate. She shrugged and she too had a puzzled look on her face. After quite some time the physician walked up to our class. I could see that his eyes yearned for sleep but he had a genuine smile on his face. He took us on a short tour of the small facility, which was the only healthcare facility for many, many miles, and he was one of the few physicians that worked there. The rooms looked as the outside did and the equipment looked out of date. During the tour, he mentioned that he had been on duty for almost 48 hours straight. I could not believe that he had been working consistently for that long and was still standing. It amazed me to see the effort and dedication he was showing to his patients and to our class. It made me realize that I wanted to help others as he was – I wanted to make an impact on someone’s life and I plan to do so by becoming a physician assistant.

The previously described scenario occurred during a summer study abroad course in Costa Rica. That was the moment I realized why I want to pursue the medical field. After that time, I obtained jobs as a medical assistant and medical scribe at multiple maternal fetal medicine offices such as the ***** and *****. During the years as a medical assistant and scribe I have been able to become acquainted with the healthcare field as well as improve my skills as a healthcare employee.

As a medical scribe I have been able to observe multiple highly trained and specialized physicians and assess their thought processes and perspectives. For example, at ***** we see high risk obstetric patients during their pregnancy. My routine is to review the patient’s chart ahead of time and assess what may need to be done that day, such as glucose gestational screens or vaccines. When the patient arrives I obtain their vitals and obtain how the patient is doing. I then relay patient’s problem list and information to the physician. Together, we assess the patient and I am informed of what additional things may need to be required such as an EKG or a referral to a specialist. During this time, I am able to learn what questions to ask the patient to better diagnose them, what information that the patient relays is relevant, and what needs to occur after the pertinent information is received. Because I currently work with four physicians I am able to get a grasp of different perspectives and approaches on patient care. In addition to seeing patients with the physicians, I also scribe the appointment reports. By scribing the reports I have been able to improve my writing skills through learning the SOAP (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan) format.

Furthermore, by working in a medical setting I have learned that I enjoy working in a team setting but can also work alone. As a medical assistant there are many tasks to be done in one day and with team work as well as individual work I am able to accomplish these tasks. While working in a team I have learned that communication is key to making the work day flow smoothly. I work one-on-one with the doctors as well as work with other medical assistants, sonographers, the administrative staff, and other OB/GYN offices.

Being a medical assistant has also brought out the compassionate personality in me. I enjoy my job and working with patients. As I see the patient throughout the pregnancy, I get to learn their background and observe the diversity between each patient. I come from a big, loving family and working as a medical assistant I treat the patient how I would like someone to treat my family member.

I enjoy working in the maternal fetal medicine specialty because it has taught me to think and act quickly in urgent situations. It also encourages me because I am not working with one life but multiply lives. However, I am only familiar with this specialty and I would like to broaden my knowledge. There are many things that I have still yet to encounter and I believe that during the physician assistant academia I will be able to get acquainted with other aspects and I will enjoy the mobility that physician assistants have.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Jessica,

The opening of your essay is engaging, although it has some awkward phrasing and a few grammar errors (be scrupulous about those — the last thing you want to do it send in an essay with basic grammar mistakes). And you do a good job of detailing the skills you’ve developed and some of your qualities.

You’re missing important information, though. There’s nothing in this essay that tells Admissions folks why you’re specifically choosing the PA profession as opposed to any other profession apart from wanting to broaden your knowledge and you enjoy mobility. That’s not enough and because the essay is lacking that information, you can’t write a strong conclusion, yet.

Have you worked with PAs? Shadowed any? If so, write about those experiences to show you understand the role of a PA and why it’s right for you. You don’t need to write so many details about the exact role you play as an assistant and scribe. Your instincts are good as far as using the work you do to outline your skills, but you can still eliminate much of the detail to leave room for the things you need to write about.

To buy you space and rid the first paragraph of awkwardness and grammar issues, here’s how I’d edit it, with my standard caveat — some words are mine and are just to illustrate my point. You’d use your own words:

I stepped down from the bus and stood in front of an old building with broken windows and paint peeling from the walls. I had thought we were going to a clinic and wondered why our guide was leading us into the tattered building. As we walked through the door, I saw a physician running from one patient to another. No one aided him. As soon as he could, he stopped to give us a tour. During a tour of the run-down facility, he mentioned that he had been on duty for almost 48 hours straight. It amazed me to see the effort and dedication he was showing to his patients and to our class. It made me realize that I wanted to help others as he was and I plan to do so by becoming a physician assistant.

Scrutinize each word and cut those those are general and don’t help Admissions folks get to know you. Before submitting, have someone proof it carefully for grammar errors and awkwardness. I always have my husband edit my articles, even after more than 15 years of professional writing. It’s hard to catch our own mistakes.

I hope all this helps and wish you good luck.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 23

By: Amanda

It started with a little boy and a hamster. During high school I worked at a local pet store. It was a typical after school/weekend job but one that allowed me to interact with animals. I was known at the store to have a gift of helping people decide what pet really best suited their wants and not just “what was cute.” One day a little boy came in convinced he wanted a hamster. I talked with him and his mom for over an hour about pro and cons of small rodent ownership and discerned that in fact a guinea pig was a better pet for the kind of interaction he wanted. The boy was so excited about his new “piggy” and was happily choosing accessories when his mom took me aside. She thanked me profusely, amazed at the level of commitment I’d given to helping this family choose a pet. She happened to work at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and gave me her card. She worked somewhere in the bowels of administration but she wanted me to contact the research department.

The follow up earned me a job working in children’s medicine research. It was a relatively simple job but a profoundly emotional one. One of my studies was testing treatment protocols for cancerous tumors. These tumors were removed from patients in the hospital, the cells injected into the mice and allowed to propagate. The hairless mice grew monstrous purple, ulcerating tumors and quickly over took most of their bodies. Many eventually struggled to move, emburdened by the weight and size of the tumors. Daily I cared for these sad creatures. I strived to make what time they had comfortable. I learned to push my discomfort and emotion aside for the needs of these hopeless tenants. Working in animal research is heartbreaking. Every day was a new step forward or two steps back, a giant leap forward only to be greeted by a giant wall of negative results. Every day that I saw those mice, I thought of the sick children mere yards from my lab, ill from the same tumors in my mice. I thought of their parents, and their siblings, their future’s, their dreams. Every day it made me want to work that much harder, and every day I grieved the failures.

During my time at Children’s hospital I was in school earning my bachelor’s degree in Clinical Laboratory Science. Science has always been a home for me. My father is a food scientist and he recruited my help at the ripe age of three. He would bring me to his lab and I would help him weigh out various compounds and seal sample bags. It was this first experiences with the lab that always made it feel a safe and friendly place to work. In high school I tutored chemistry and biology and lead an after-school science club. From here the leap to clinical laboratory science was a simple one. I was drawn to the puzzles. As a medical laboratory scientist my job is to determine which microbe is making you sick, or which antibody you’ve made after your blood transfusion or what blood chemistry is abnormal so doctors can treat you effectively. Nothing is more rewarding than finding that malarial parasite in a red blood cell under the microscope when you have a patient with cyclic fevers and a travel history.
During college I worked for a veterinarian. After my time at Children’s I wanted some more patient exposure. I started out as just an assistant, handling pets for procedures and exams but even this basic job taught me the art of the patient interview. Getting an H&P isn’t always as clear cut as one would think, especially in veterinary medicine. But during my time at the vet’s office, I learned how to steer the conversation with pointed questions to get the medical information that I knew the doctor would want based on the presenting complaint. Soon after starting, I was promoted to a surgical assistant where I learned to draw blood, place catheters, intubate, monitor the patients under and after anesthesia, clean and prep the operating suite, surgical site prep and would provide traction or anything else the doctors needed. Along with the obvious learning of medical procedures, this was a job that particularly taught me how to function in a medical community. Each doctor had their own likes and dislikes. One liked the surgical area shaved wide while another’s didn’t, suture preferences, instrument preferences, the list goes on. I had to remember each preference along with my other duties to make each day successful. I have a great ability to remember facts and procedures and this enabled me to foster an acute attention to detail. Because of this I was awarded the more complex cases to assist with. I was picked to assist with surgeries on birds of prey that would come in from the Raptor rescue. I was also picked to assist with the river otters from the Newport Aquarium. I also became a specialist in the exotic pets and was charged with education of new owners to the specific needs of their new pets. I loved this part of my job the most. Being an advocate for the animal made me feel good. I knew that after they left an information session with me that they would really know how to best care for that animal.
Once I graduated with my Bachelors of Clinical Laboratory Science, it was back to human medicine and back to the lab. I love being a Medical Lab Scientist but I always left that something was lacking. My favorite days were when the medical student would come down and I could teach them something under the microscope, or when I doctor would call down and ask to consult about additional testing that could prove insightful. I wanted more. I could give more.

I heard about my current job through a school acquaintance and jumped on it immediately. I work in the lab for free-standing Emergency room. While my primary duties are those in that lab, I also have been able to gain patient interactions. My veterinary experience as well as my professional laboratory experience has made me comfortable drawing blood, assisting with wound cleaning/suturing, splinting, and even assisting with codes. Obviously I am a minor player, but this has really opened me up to know that I can be more. My desire to become a Physician’s assistant became clear while working in the emergency room. I work in my community. I usually run to work, that is how close I am to home. I want to help these people. I am both fascinated by their ailments and driven to help them get better. With the advent of the heroin/opiate epidemic that is particularly devastating in my community, I have seen many young and old alike die from overdose. I want to be that first step on their way to recovery. I want to heal my community. Being a mother of three young kids has taught me to not be judgmental of where people are in their life right now. Working in emergency medicine has only solidified that philosophy. The most well behaved kid will still have tantrums, the kindest person might steal for drugs. I have learned to view the patient and their circumstances separately. Who they are right now in my emergency room at 3am is not who they might be tomorrow or who they were yesterday. But they need care now and that’s what I want to be for them.

While I haven’t always been the little girl who dreamed of being a doctor when she grew up, I have always loved helping people and the science of medicine. I believe my professional experiences have set me up to be very successful as a physician’s assistant. I have learned compassion and loss from working animal research. I have developed patient skills from working in both animal surgery and human emergency medicine. And I feel strongly that my diagnostic skills learned from my eight years as a Medical Laboratory Scientist have paved the way for me to finally be more. I can also help you find the perfect hamster.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Amanda,

Well, I have to say, I loved your last line — it made me laugh, so thank you for that.

Unfortunately, the essay has a number of problems, not the least of which is calling the profession “physician’s assistant.” The correct name is “physician assistant.” When I interviewed Admissions Directors and faculty from across the country about these essays, they all said getting the name of the profession wrong was a huge red flag that the applicant is unfamiliar with the profession.

When I read your essay, that’s what I wondered, and here’s why — there’s nothing to tell me or Admissions folks why you want to be a PA as opposed to any other healthcare provider. There’s also nothing that shows you understand the role of a PA. Have you shadowed PAs? Had one as a provider? If so, write about those experiences. Even if you haven’t had contact with PAs, you’ll need to detail why you’re interested in the profession. The one positive is you’ve outlined many of the skills and qualities you have that would make you a great PA (good job there), so that’s not an issue. But the other things are.

To really help you, I’d need to do much more editing than I do for free here. Much of your essay must be cut to give you the space to include the missing pieces. Just to give you an example of what you need to do, here’s how I’d cut in the few sentences:

It started with a little boy and a hamster. During high school I worked at a local pet store. It One day a little boy came in convinced he wanted a hamster. I talked with him and his mom for over an hour about pro and cons of small rodent ownership and discerned that a guinea pig was a better pet for the kind of interaction he wanted. His mom thanked me profusely, amazed at the level of commitment I’d given to helping this family choose a pet. She happened to work at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and gave me her card.

I hope this gives you an idea of what you need to do.

Best of luck.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 24

By: Merna Wilson

Everyday is a blessing to be grasped wholeheartedly. It is our duty to fill that day with a confident and hopeful reason. As a young girl, I have always wanted to be somewhere in the medical field but my heart was not set on a specific occupation. Throughout high school, everyone told me that whatever I decide then was not going to be set in stone. After taking many career quizzes and teachers’ advices, I decided that it was too early for me to know what I wanted to do. I thought freshmen year of college will bring along all the maturity and thoughts needed to decide such a big decision. Therefore, I set aside all the career options that were ahead of me and decided to step into college not knowing where the future will take me. At that point, my journey towards becoming a physician assistant started.

During the course of my freshmen year, I did not have a heavy work load. Everything seemed smooth to the peek. Keeping up with my classes along with having a perfect social life was easy to maintain despite the fact that it affected my health because I used to not get enough sleep. Once freshmen year ended, everything shifted around. I decided to take summer classes at Tennessee Technological University which was two hours away from home. As I was used to during the normal semesters of my freshmen year, I drove back home to Nashville every two days to go to church, see my family, do community service, and socialize with my friends. I wish I knew that summer classes are much more compressed than the normal semester and that the classes I signed up for were not as easy as I thought. After failing my first college course, unexpectedly, I still did not learn my lesson.

As my junior year approached, the first semester went exactly like my summer. Nothing changed except that I dedicated more time to community service when I drove back to Nashville. Slowly, I lost control over all my grades and my GPA dropped much lower than I ever expected. At that point, I was not sure what happened. All I could think of was the question: Why is this happening to me? What am I missing? I realized that I did serve more during this semester but I lost track of my priorities. I lost track of who I was as a person and what my goals were. I decided that pursuing my career will make me a much more successful individual that can serve the community with a lot more than what I was doing. I took it upon myself that in the very few semester hours left until graduation, I will change things and put forth effort and dedication.

To start this compacted journey right, I made a list of the ways that would help me better myself as an individual and through which I would be capable of helping my community in a more successful manner later. I decided that being a Physician Assistant was the career for me after a long searching process.Being an autonomous scholar, and additionally a people oriented person; I feel that I am appropriate, not only for a vocation in the restorative field, however for a lifetime profession as a Physician Assistant. Aside from the fact that it is a medical field career, being a physician assistant will enable me to purse a job that lets me offer all what God gave me for the service of others in all aspects of knowledge and care. To reach that goal, I wrote a list of the classes that I didn’t do well in and re took every single one of them. I also became a certified Nurse Assistant the summer of my junior year to gain the knowledge and experience of the patient care field. I volunteered throughout the year at every free clinic that I knew about. I was focused only on studying and my CNA volunteering. Finally, I also joined the medical chemistry club at my university and showed up to every meeting that they held. I did all that I could so that the time I wasted in vain can be restored through hard work and effort. I ended up graduating college a year early and maintained a job in the healthcare field.

The goal of becoming a physician assistant has changed my life and contributed to who I am as a person right now. The change came from within me. The path I have set for myself is the only way that I will be successful and will be able to serve the underserved with the knowledge that physician assistant school will give me. The journey may not have started right when I was young, but it later shaped every step I took towards becoming a physician assistant.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Merna,

I won’t try to sugarcoat this, your essay needs a lot of work.

I would avoid opening with a “platitude” instead try to find a different tactic, the entire opening paragraph needs to be rebuilt and re-worded. It fails to grab the readers attention and I found myself skimming from the start. You will want to focus on this part first, I would recommend you change direction completely.

This sentence is one example in particular: “I thought freshmen year of college will bring along all the maturity and thoughts needed to decide such a big decision.” Avoid word repetition, there is a word tense discrepancy as well.

“As my junior year approached, the first semester went exactly like my summer. Nothing changed except that I dedicated more time to community service when I drove back to Nashville”

– What type of community service were you doing? This is what the admissions committee needs to know.

When we interviewed admissions directors they all said they like to hear how you got from point A to point Z, here is a quote from the pre-release version of our book:

“The essay needs to be about the applicant. When three-quarters of an essay describes a PA’s job, we don’t learn anything about the applicant,” Landel says. “Instead fo-cus on what you’ve done that has led you to seek out the PA profession. Key in on the experiences that brought you to the fork in the road and tell us why you took the path to PA.”

“Applicants need to tell a real story about how they got to the point of applying, based upon numerous events that led to this career choice. Come up with a list of personality traits needed in healthcare work — empathy, a desire to help others,” Perrino says. “Tie events in your life to developing the attributes and traits that will make you a good PA. One sentence is often enough. For example, ‘I was an athlete and learned to work with a team.’ We like to hear about the individualized journey. You need to show me who you are and what you have to contribute. It can be as simple as developing the list of your traits into sentences.”

I think the key statement here is “One sentence is often enough.” You have described your story in detail but have gotten lost in the details and spoken in too many platitudes without giving us strong concrete examples.

“Being an autonomous scholar, and additionally a people oriented person; I feel that I am appropriate, not only for a vocation in the restorative field, however for a lifetime profession as a Physician Assistant.”

I am sorry if I am coming across sounding harsh, this is not my goal, but I can tell you have a lot of passion, drive and experience and I am not sure this essay does you justice.

– Stephen

Personal Statement Example 25

By: Steve Collins

One of my most vivid memories as an EMT was only after working for a few weeks. It happened while giving a report to a trauma team in MGH’s ER. The details of the call escape me, but what I do remember is just how nervous I was trying to relate the patient’s problems to 10 people staring at me. As I was struggling to pronounce medications and drawing a blank, a very calm and collected doctor proceeded to ask me questions and guide me through giving my report. What would have been one of the most embarrassing moments of my life was prevented by a young doctor. When I thanked him afterwards, “Thanks Doctor,” he told me he wasn’t a doctor, but a Physician Assistant (remove capitalization of “physician assistant” in this case) (PA) student. It wasn’t at that time that I realized I wanted to become a PA, but that moment stuck in my mind as the kind of person I wanted to be during an emergency. I wanted to be a practitioner that is calm and someone who people come to for support and guidance.

It wasn’t until I stopped working as an EMT and went back to school that I realized I wanted to work in medicine for the rest of my life. The saying, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder” accurately describes what occurred while I was attending UMass Lowell. The decision was made to make a career of medicine (consider “I made the decision to pursue a career in medicine), but I wasn’t sure in what field I would. (You should consider reworking the entire last sentence) At the time I was studying neglected tropical diseases in a Parasitology course when it dawned on me. I wanted to work in the areas of the world that don’t receive the vaccines or treatments we do here in the U.S. I wanted to work in an area where I could make the biggest impact in someone’s life. I want to volunteer/work on the Mercy Ship. I felt that to work on the Mercy Ship and make a difference I needed to be a higher level of care than just an EMT. From researching online I realized working as a PA is greatly rewarding both at work and in life. The variety of specialties, the freedom outside of work, and to be honest, the pay, all speak to me of a quality of life we all dream of. Recalling the calmness and guidance received from that PA student years ago are what really drove home being a PA.

Being a PA would allow me to work alongside doctors treating and helping patients with a wide variety of ailments. It would allow me to travel to places where medical treatment isn’t normally available. Traveling to these places allow practitioners to treat diseases that are all but wiped out here in the United States. Working as a PA gives us the ability to help people, but also allots for a quality of life at home away from work that most people dream of.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Steve,

I added a couple very quick recommendations in bold within the body of your essay in the original comment.

I like your opening, it is not overly dramatic and is a good personal account of what drove you to become a PA. This is a very good start.

It is in the body of the paragraph where you wonder a bit, so this is what is going to need the most work. There are some basic grammar and punctuation errors that need attention. A simple correction (which I highlighted in bold above) is the need to remove the capitalization of “physician assistant”. This is a common mistake I made for years (and still do) but in this instance it would be lower case.

I always wanted to do Mercy Ships as well, believe it or not, it is also one reason I pursued a career in medicine, guess what? I believe that Mercy Ship still doesn’t accept PAs. Neither does Doctors Without Borders. I haven’t checked in a couple years, but you may want to call Mercy Ship and confirm that this is even a possibility. Not that it is a huge deal, because there are many other possibilities, but you just want to show that you have done your research and have a clear path. The good news is they accept EMTs Here is a list of “qualified” medical practitioners: http://volunteer.mercyships.org/volunteer/volunteer-faqs/

Make sure to avoid platitudes such as: Being a PA would allow me to work alongside doctors treating and helping patients with a wide variety of ailments. It would allow me to travel to places where medical treatment isn’t normally available”. Use examples instead, they highlight what you have done which prove you understand the statements you made above. Take a look at this post for some more examples:http://www.thepalife.com/mistakes

I believe you are onto a great start here!

– Stephen

Personal Statement Example 26

By: Michelle

As a seventeen year old, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed high school graduate I was ready to take on college and begin my career. A mere two months in, I was less than thrilled with my Nutrition major, which would, according to my disgruntled professors, effectively stick me behind a desk for the rest of my life and possibly never save a life. I lost interest and searched for something else. In my second year, I joined the military. I wanted to save lives and saw becoming a combat medic as my chance. At the end of training, I was still devoid of any real experience. I was introduced to the emergency medical services, and I eagerly jumped right into paramedic school. I immediately felt at home. Early in my career, my decision was affirmed because of the call that changed it all.

I quickly sat up as the tones went off inside the truck. It was 0642 and my partner and I received a ‘Respiratory Distress’ call just 18 minutes before clocking out. The sirens blared through my foggy morning haze and as I logged in the chart information I realized this was my patient.

We arrived at a house on a steep hill; I cautiously walked in the dimly lit house, stepping over several children to get to my patient. She was young, mid-forties and sitting on a cooler, a fan in her face and grasping her chest. “I. Can’t. Breathe.” I placed the monitor on the floor, careful not to disturb the roaches, and listened to her lung sounds. “Ma’am, take a deep breath.” Crackles. Fluid everywhere. Bubbles in a milkshake. I picked up the monitor without even turning it on, turned to fire personnel, “Can you carry her out?” Her family members followed close behind and urged me to help their “baby.” They stood on the porch, waited and watched my every move. Once on the stretcher, I managed to get a blood pressure as they rolled her down the hill. “198/112, get her in the truck I’ll get the C-PAP set up.” I scrambled to get in the ambulance and rummage through the jump bag to get the right mask. I handed my partner the nitroglycerin, he sprayed while I prepared to seal the mask on her face. There’s a face these patients make, one when they don’t understand if they should trust you. I tried to calm her down, “Sweetie, it’s going to uncomfortable but it’s going to help.” She nodded. My partner held the mask while I secured it. “Get a line set up for me.” Tony opened the bag while I wiped the sweat from her arms. The electrodes barely stuck. He handed me the saline lock and I tied the constricting band. “Is it easier to breathe?” She nodded no, “Tony turn the peep up please. And I’m good to go.” He climbed out the back and no firefighters were in sight, they had all left for end of shift. Finally we were on the road, speeding through lights and past morning traffic. As I got flash from my IV I looked up and she had lost consciousness.

Time slowed down. My hands fumbled to secure her IV and I snatched the mask off, she was no longer breathing. I lowered the stretcher, felt for a pulse and began bagging her, but her pulse was already weak. I felt again and there was nothing. She coded. I began compressions but I was alone. Keep pushing. Who was going to bag her? Push faster. Algorithms raced through my mind, I yelled to my partner to call in the code, I couldn’t even reach the radio, the C-PAP was still whistling on the floor. The drugs were out of reach. I extended my hand under the stretcher and opened the non-rebreather and plugged the tubing to the portable. Pulse? Nothing, keep pushing. I held the mask on her face and pushed with my left hand. We were backing up into the bay. We’re here. Sweat dripped from my forehead and elbows and Tony swung the back doors open. I stepped on the stretcher while co-workers wheeled her in and I continued pushing. The PA took over before the doctor made it to the room. Her mothers’ face flashed in my mind. “Help my baby.” I gave report as they pushed epinephrine. I worked with closely with this PA and he saw me tired, glistening and out of breath. “She’s got a pulse.” I snapped back. I watched them intubate her and stabilize her in ways I wasn’t able to in the truck. Later that morning she was fighting her intubation tube.

That was the first patient I ever brought back. It was not my most technical call, I did not intubate or administer drugs, and she was certainly not the most difficult IV attempt but that was a pivotal day for me. Despite my military training and my experience as a paramedic, that was the day I discovered my passion. Since then, I have had smoother, more complex calls and I have thrived. The autonomy afforded to me coupled with my scope of practice allow me to treat my patients according to my differential diagnoses; an aspect that once frightened me, now draws me in. I sincerely love my job, but I want to be able to do more for my patients. It took years but I have found my path and it does not end here. I am ready for the next challenge. I am prepared to become a Physician Assistant.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Michelle,

I really like your opening, you very quickly and concisely present yourself in a manner that gives you credibility and focusses on your experiences. Very well done! The story needs to be shortened and in this case I think I would limit it to one paragraph. Make your point and then move on. Elaborate on other experiences, I know you have a lot to showcase so don’t leave this out. If you can do this and wrap it up in the conclusion you will have the workings of a very well written essay!

– Stephen

Personal Statement Example 27

By: Grace S.

“When I realized that I wanted a career in healthcare, I knew it would be a challenging journey. I developed a jealousy for my peers who would express that they could remember the exact moment they were inspired to become a healthcare professional courtesy of some major life experience, because my inspiration did not come that plainly. It was not until halfway through my undergraduate career that I was able to clarify my decision to become a physician assistant (PA), but it is a decision that will satisfy my most innate desires to be a professional who cares for others, practices critical thinking, is part of a team, and is able to maintain a full family life.

Growing up in a rural elementary school, I thought that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. Why would I not want to be a teacher? I excelled academically at an early age, and my teachers gave me dutiful recognition. I was excited to hear my name called to walk to the front of the gym full of parents and students to receive paper certificates. My teachers were my friends, encouragers, and exalters. I knew that I wanted to make people feel the way they made me feel– cared for, loved, and admired.

My aspiration to become an educator lasted into my high school years. However, when I began taking core science courses, I found that my mind did not just thrive, it thirsted for the systematic, challenging puzzles that explain the natural phenomenon required for life on Earth. My senior year of high school, I took an advanced chemistry course and enjoyed it so much that I left for college in pursuit of a career in pharmacy.

After a few semesters of college chemistry lab work, I decided that working behind the counter in a pharmacy or a research laboratory would not satisfy my need for human connection and I longed for biological application of the concepts I studied in chemistry. I became a pre-med student of biology and fell more in love with every additional instance of understanding how dependent all the basic concepts of science are and how all the courses I had taken finally melded together to create the larger scheme of the human body, its systems, and humans’ role in sustaining the Earth.

Around the same time my interest in the physical sciences was realized, my father’s battle with chronic back pain also peaked. Before I was even alive, he had collapsed two lumbar discs training with the Air Force, but was able to continue his service and also became a patrol officer in Charlotte, NC. By the time I finished high school, however, he had experienced several re-injuries and surgeries and had to find a job that would depend less on his body and more on his brain. Our family found ourselves in Kansas, where my father began a government job and I began my undergraduate career. Here, my father was able to control his increasing pain through a regimen prescribed by a pain management specialist. Part of that regimen was regular exercise, which he did by running. I took on his running routine as well as a way to manage the stress of college and work. In this way, our relationship was strengthened in a way it was not able to as I was growing up and he was pursuing his own undergraduate degree, working to support our family, and serving deployments overseas. We even ran our first road race together on Independence Day 2011.

When my father’s government job was removed from the budget 2 years later, my family was once again faced with relocation across several states, this time to Maryland. As a 19 year old with no roots in Kansas, I moved with my family. Through the process of moving, I learned several lessons about adapting the 5-year plan I had envisioned when I graduated high school. I endured a year of online community college courses while I acquired in-state residency, worked in food service, and jumped through the hoops required to transfer colleges. I learned lessons in flexibility and perseverance. I also soon learned about the differences in state health care systems. As it turned out, the regulation of pain management drugs, which my father was accustomed to being prescribed, were much more tightly regulated in Maryland. It took months for his new pain management physician to trust him and his magnitude of pain, and even then he could not be prescribed the amount of pain medication it takes to lower his pain to a level which is enjoyable to live in or even function. My father was no longer able to bear running and began living around his medication schedule– his quality of life dropped significantly. I know that there has to be a better solution to the management of pain like what my father and others experience everyday, and I want to be a part of that it. I can do this through the study of medicine, both preventative and therapeutic. I pains me every time I stop to think about the amount of pain my father lives in and how it controls his life, and this is the fuel I use to push myself when learning challenging concepts and struggling to study.

At the same time my father’s condition was deteriorating, I started working as a medical scribe in the emergency department (ED) at Baltimore Washington Medical Center (BWMC). This job forced me to expand my knowledge of medical terminology before I could start in the ED and afforded me the opportunity of learning even more terminology as I was exposed to a range of medical encounters in the ED. This job also gave me a solid understanding of the human resource system of care in hospitals and is where I was able to clarify my desire to become a PA instead of pursuing medical school. Through discussion with the doctors and PAs that I scribed for, I learned about the adaptability of the PA profession which will help me to fulfill the national demand for primary care, but will also allow me to specialize in pain management or another specialty that may inspire me. When speaking with the female PAs and physicians, I also learned that as a PA it is more plausible to build an enjoyable, family-centered life and have a dedicated career in medicine where I can help others live healthier, more fulfilling lives with their own families.

My work as an EMT since graduating college has bolstered my desire to be a PA. I have had the opportunity to treat and transport a variety of patients which brings me great joy. The suspense that builds as I approach each call excites me as I get to apply the basic medical knowledge I have to help a person in need of not only medical attention, but also emotional reassurance.

I believe that being a PA will allow all my characteristics of compassion and adaptability to excel and will fulfill my desire for critical thinking. The PA profession will also bestow me the luxury of thriving with a professional life and a family life, both which will benefit from my passion to care for others, making the part of their life which I will be privileged to be a part of the best that it can possibly be.”

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Grace,

Your essay starts off strong, but you begin to lose steam when you start talking about your father. I’m very sorry to hear about his struggles, and a brief mention is fine because it’s one of the motivations you have There’s far too much detail there, and it needs to be cut. Not only because it bogs down your essay — you’re at 6900 plus characters and spaces — almost 2000 over the CASPA limit. Those paragraphs need a lot of editing. In fact, I’d eliminate the entire entire fifth paragraph (you’ll weave in the information in first line in the next paragraph).

Here’s how I’d edit the next paragraph (with a caveat — some of the words are mine, which are just to illustrate my points. You’d use your own words):

When I was 19, my father’s government job relocated to Maryland. As a 19-year old with no roots in Kansas where we were living, I moved with my family. Through the process of moving, I learned several lessons about adapting the five-year plan I had envisioned when I graduated high school. I endured a year of online community college courses while I acquired in-state residency, worked in food service, and jumped through the hoops required to transfer colleges. From these experiences, I learned lessons in flexibility and perseverance.

I also soon learned about the differences in state health care systems. It was highlighted when my father dealt with managing his chronic back pain. It took months for his new pain management physician to trust him, and his quality of life suffered. I know there has to be a better solution to the management of pain like what my father and others experience everyday, and I want to be a part of that it. I can do this through the study of medicine and as a PA, both with prevention and by therapeutic means. This is the fuel I use to push myself when learning challenging concepts and struggling to study.

Do the same with your the rest of your essay and you’ll be in good shape.

I hope this helps and wish you the best.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 28

By: Amanda

I had always viewed death as abysmal and impending; believing it was disrespectful to continue living as though they had never existed.

I watched in awe as a woman was wheeled into the trauma bay, she had been found unresponsive and eight months pregnant. Able to watch from behind the glass, I was amazed at the calm and fluidity in the room as they assessed the woman while attempting to revive her. The team worked tirelessly to no avail; it was evident the woman was not coming back. They now had to deliver the unborn child before it too was lost. With the pediatric trauma team not yet arrived, they had to act. Without hesitation, the physician assistant (PA) began to perform an emergency C-section. I later learned that the PA had spent six years prior working in Obstetrics. The pediatric team flew in soon thereafter and, with precision, was able to take over. The baby was delivered, revived, and rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

When my cousin, whom was like my sister, died I began to follow my creed and stopped living myself. Through my grief, my grades plummeted, twice. I witnessed and felt the passion, compassion, and determination that day. More than that, I learned an important lesson about death. The team showed me what a support network during struggle could do. That wonderful woman taught me that giving up cannot be an option. My shortcomings became my motivation; experiences my perception; and pain my appreciation.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Amanda,

A tough job indeed, but you manage to cover quite a bit of territory. It’s a bit disjointed and awkward, and you have some grammar errors. Here’s what I suggest (keep in mind that I used a couple of my own words — you’ll use words your words:

I watched in awe as a woman was wheeled into the trauma bay, she had been found unresponsive and eight months pregnant. Able to watch from behind the glass, I was amazed at the calm and fluidity in the room as the team assessed the woman while attempting to revive her. They worked tirelessly to no avail; it was evident the woman was not coming back. Now had to deliver the unborn child before it too was lost. Without hesitation, the physician assistant began an emergency C-section. I later learned that he had spent six years prior working in Obstetrics. The pediatric team flew in soon thereafter and with took over. The baby was delivered, revived, and rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

I had always viewed death as abysmal and impending; believing it was disrespectful to continue living as though the dead never existed. When my cousin, who was like my sister, died, I began to follow my creed and stopped living myself. Grieving, my grades plummeted, twice. That day in the trauma bay, I witnessed and felt the passion, compassion, and determination. More than that, I learned an important lesson about death. The team showed me what a support network during struggle could do, that giving up cannot be an option. My shortcomings became my motivation; my experience brought changed perception and appreciation for life and a desire to (here add something that fits for you that’s PA/healthcare related. You’ll have the words to do it).

Best of luck.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 29

By: Miriam

Sometimes one goes through life without expecting to make a difference in another person’s life. My inspiration of becoming a physician assistant dates back to one summer when my aunt and baby cousin decided to visit my family from Florida. At that time, I was about 16 years of age living in *. A couple days after resting, my cousin who was a year and three-months old, began to feel sick and started coughing. Since this was no surprise to my aunt, we continued enjoying our time together. Around three o’clock AM two days later, my aunt was waking my cousin up to administer the cough medicine. At this point, she was taken by surprise of the baby’s temperature. After checking his temperature, she found it to be 104.5 F. She had no idea what to do at that point so she rushed to the room where my mother and I slept and started banging on the door. Since I am a light sleeper, I heard my aunt yelling for help and suddenly jumped out of bed. As I opened the door, I saw tears sliding down her cheeks and she was crying asking me to get help. I asked what happened as we both ran to my cousins’ room and she said his temperature was very high and was not sure if he would make it. She also mentioned that clinics and hospitals would take too long since all doctors’offices were closed at the moment. I remember feeling anxious as the pressure around me was building up. By the time my mother woke up, I rushed myself to the bathroom yelling to bring my cousin in there. Thinking that cold water would be our only solution, I filled up the tub quickly while undressing my baby cousin. After that, I soaked his entire body into the cold water as he cried and shivered into my hands. I had no choice except leaving him submerged in the water for a couple minutes. As I felt his body temperature reaching equilibrium, I softly picked him up and placed him into a dry towel. I noticed I had an audience and that my baby cousin was no longer crying. My aunt at this point was redressing him with a smile on her face while thanking me. By that time, everyone began to relax and went back to bed. The next morning we visited the doctor and told him about the incident. He responded by saying, “There could not have been any other solution. You saved the child’s life.” When I heard this news, I felt accomplished and overwhelmed for saving my baby cousin’s life. My aunt was filled with so much joy after hearing this that she started tearing. After a fulfilling experience of saving my cousin life, I feel I have become very driven and passionate about serving others in a medical perspective. I was able to turn a mortifying event such as this one into an inspiration and realized that it was a calling to bes in the healthcare. Indirectly developing patient care experience as a teenager impacted my mental outlook on medicine and my personal interest in that field.

I had gone through high school knowing that I wanted to dedicate my life to medicine. My GPA of 3.65 was very consistent all throughout my four years of high school, which had given me hope for achieving my goal to work in the health care. I was unfamiliar with what careers choices I had, but I knew I wanted to take part of caring for ill patients. Coming from a first generation family to complete high school and be interested in college was highly unusual. Both my parents did not have the opportunity to attend college, leaving them with only a high school diploma. This did not stop me from being determined to persevere and shape my future. However, there was the burden of dealing with the unfamiliarity of planning for college and the many career degrees. Also being the oldest child, I found it more challenging to understand and research about the college process and requirements compared to my average peers who come from a family of doctors and engineers. I had to make an extra effort to understand how to become an acceptable college student. With the help of my high school counselors and college advisors, I was able to expand my options towards my future career and become more familiar with the college procedures. I am proud to be a part of a country that gives you hope to become someone, and create something out of oneself regardless of circumstances or family history.

Meanwhile, as soon as I received the opportunity to step foot in a hospital as an information desk volunteer at *, I took that chance. Even though I had not yet expanded my experiences in the medical field, this helped me gain clarification towards my overall vision. Surprisingly, I became comfortable in that environment. While greeting and guiding individuals for five hours a day may sounds bland and tedious, it was about the interactions and trust formed between the visitors and I. From that day on, I began to learn about myself and how I relish helping individuals who are too sick to care for themselves. I then protracted my ability to spend time with children who didn’t have someone to look after and became a child life volunteer. This was by far the most heart felting position due to experiencing such neglect for infants and young children. The hardest part was seeing these children who came from broken homes ache in pain knowing that their family is not around to care. These children and infants either have parents who were busy at work or were simply neglecting them. I had the opportunity to spend time playing games, watching cartoons and retracting their attention from being sick by giving them my full undivided attention.

At the age of eighteen, I was grateful enough to begin working as an employee in the transport department. Even though it was a beginning position, I really enjoyed the connection I was creating with each patient as we were in route. It was not about transporting patients, but rather making each patient feel at ease while on their way to discovering a potential disease or disorder that they do not want to hear. I felt it was my job to take their mind off of how saddening the results could be by building a comfortable relationship, as it is integral to the process of healing. It had never occurred to me that I do make a difference in each patient’s life by doing my job. A simple action of transporting a patient has a powerful healing effect temporarily transforming ill patients into a vibrant healthy state. Patients always come in hospitals not aware what will take place or what results they will encounter. Many of the times, it is the same patients who are constantly being admitted to the hospital. As a result, I had made it a goal of mine to individually make a difference in as many lives as possible by being a positive advocate. Even though, not every patient comes in with a positive state of mind, staying fervent and exposing compassion towards them is one way patients feel cared for.

Upon entering college, I had placed myself on the pre-medical track without being familiar with the career choices available to me. However, I had in mind that patient centered care was my main interest. As I continued my education at *, I quickly learned about potential career options. Drawing near the end of my junior year of college, I encountered a Physician Assistant at a medical office that my mother had been visiting. I had the chance to speak with a current employed PA about their role and became more familiar. The idea of collaborating with a physician as partners to provide excellent patient care inadvertently sparked my interest to discover more about this career. Even though the undergrad degree for becoming a physician slightly differs from a physician assistant, I was fortunate enough to complete my undergrad degree using the same classes. Once I had graduated, I accepted a position in the same hospital as a medical imaging assistant in MRI. This position was different than transporting because it is more personal attention towards each patient. I am more involved with patients and their purpose for being in the hospital. The main focus of my position is to physically and mentally prepare the patient and make them as comfortable as possible to be scanned for an MRI. This includes many factors from reviewing patient history to reason for visit. After being involved in this position, I noticed I am learning more and more about the steps health care workers must proceed with to provide the best care for patients. Through this position, I realized that patients’ needs must come first. Many patients struggle with receiving an MRI test and require some type of sedation such as Ativan, Valium, Propofol or even anesthesia due to claustrophobia. I also have seen and assisted with many procedures and protocols such as anesthesia cases, lumbar punctures and prepare each patient for their scan by verbally and physically screening them. The interactions I encountered will be a beneficial tool as a future physician assistant due to the high amount of profound insight I gained.

After spending many years working for * and considering all my options, I solidified my decision to becoming a Physician Assistant in the Emergency room. Since the emergency room is overwhelming and a fasted paced setting, any health care provider can be capable of handling it with the right type of attitude and compassion. Meanwhile, during my shadowing experience with* who is a PA in the emergency room at *, I observed him from his initial encounters with each patient to the diagnosis of their condition. Light procedures were also performed during my shadowing experience such as varies stitching, and rectal exams. * allowed me to reach out to him as he showed me his daily routine of obtaining medical history of the patient, performing physical examination, and discussing reason for visit with the patient as he analyzes the condition. He then orders varies necessary laboratory analysis and tests to help bring the PA and the supervising physician to a conclusion in forming a differential diagnosis. As a medical provider, I believe it is necessary to also educate the patient about their services and how they relate to their diagnosis. PA * became a paradigm to me, as I was impressed with his combination of the compassionate towards his patients, medical knowledge expertise and participation in educating each patient about their condition. As a result of my participation with *, I became fascinated with that position. Everything about the setting, I enjoyed dearly and felt capable of working and making a difference in. The emergency room is very different than the rest of the hospital due to the multiple different cases taking place at once. This calls for potential chaos but I enjoy being able to treat critical patients who come in with a variety of illnesses.

Therefore, the combination of my own personal family experience, working in a hospital for multiple years and shadowing a physician assistant have served to corroborate and enhance my interest to becoming an emergency room Physician Assistant. While I know that the PA program has become very competitive over the last couple years, I am ready to prove to myself that I am capable of conquering that challenge. I am confident I have the ability and perseverance to be successful as I achieve my goal and nothing can detain me from it. I have always been the type of person who overcomes any obstacle I come across to achieve success. I know I will be an outstanding PA as I always have been a continuing learner with compassion and ambition towards the growth of medicine. My ambition is to use my medical understanding and knowledge skills to eventually serve a less fortune population abroad. It has always been a dream of mine to travel to third world countries such as Africa or South America and provide free medical treatment where it is truly needed. Lacking not only food, shelter and clothing but most importantly the medical attention, these struggling groups do not deserve to live this way while Americans are taking advantage of the healthcare system. Therefore, when referring to a health care provider, they should encompass much more than being intelligent; rather exposing a genuine drive towards another persons’ life and being able to courageously face the uncertainty of medicine. Altering our focus of patient care does not only depend on the culture and social factors but providers must also alter their emotional and psychological approach towards point of care. As a result, I want to make the change throughout the healthcare system by displaying a provider who is devoted and compassionate about the health concerns of others.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Miriam,

Normally, I would offer editing suggestions to show how things could be done better, but your essay is at 12,573 characters and spaces, so far over the CASPA 5000 limit that essentially it all needs to be rewritten. You could start by making the first paragraph just a few sentences long. When I interviewed Admissions Directors and faculty from across the country, all said they care less about the details of personal experiences (especially those that occurred at a young age) and more about adult experiences, healthcare related if possible.

Here’s the edited first paragraph:

My inspiration for becoming a physician assistant dates back to the summer I was 16, and my aunt and baby cousin were visiting. Three days after their arrival, at 3 AM, my aunt woke us. The baby had a temperature of 104.5 F and she had no idea what to do. Thinking that cold water was the solution, I soaked him in a tub until he cooled. When a doctor examined him later, he said, “You saved the child’s life.” At that point, I decided that healthcare was my calling.”

You’ll have to make some big decisions for the rest of your essay!

I hope this helps.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 30

By: Kimberly

“Is there any reason you need to stay in the hospital?”

“I’m hurting.”

“That is not a reason. I’m discharging you this morning. I will see you in one week.”
By the time I replied with “What?” the surgeon was gone.

It had only been a little over 34 hours since he had first opened up my abdomen to reverse a nissen fundoplication and then performed a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery on me. I had yet to see the incision due to the dressings and abdominal binder, but I knew it was nine inches long and contained a lot of staples. I also knew that moving of any kind was extremely painful and the narcotics only eased the pain slightly. And yet the surgeon had me get up every three hours to walk the nursing unit no matter the time of day. So when he wanted to discharge me from the hospital so soon post-surgery, and without my pain managed adequately, I was shocked.

The shock I had at that moment was due to the surgeon’s abruptness and lack of bedside manner. I was used to his straightforwardness during the quick 5-minute pre-operative appointments. He was a busy doctor. I understood that. But when people are in such a vulnerable state as they are post-surgery, their medical providers need to have compassion and empathy for them. Otherwise, what is the point of working in health care? Money isn’t everything: Helping people is.

As a child, I was taught to treat others as I would like to be treated. No matter how or when it’s learned, caring for the human condition is the basic requirement for any health care worker. If I hurt, I would hope my provider has enough compassion to alleviate it. If I fail, I would hope my provider has enough empathy and patience to listen and understand how I feel.

Although I’m not allowed to do much in my current role as a rehab aide, the patient care I do provide shows my compassion for others. Refilling a cup of water for a thirsty patient, covering a cold patient with warmed blankets, or taking the time to sit and listen to a lonely patient — it’s those little things that show I care. Occasionally, there are times when I help a patient relax during a stressful test or procedure by focusing on their pursed-lip breathing (“smell the flowers, blow out the candles”). Those days tend to be my favorite at the hospital, knowing that my assistance mattered.

Besides showing compassion to the patients at the hospital, I am also empathic and patient. I understand how difficult life can seem when ailing physically and/or emotionally because I’ve been there, too. I’ve also watched friends and family struggle with diagnoses like diabetes or heart disease. Some have worked hard to manage or overcome their illnesses while others have given up slowly and died. I tend to understand and get along with the most disagreeable patients, especially the grumpy old men as they remind me of my grandfathers. In the past, I have had family members, nurses, or the patients themselves compliment me on my patience.

Although working as a rehab aide these past 10 years has been both rewarding and tough, it isn’t where I want to stay professionally. I want to do more in the health care industry and be challenged on a daily basis. My original plan was to finish my masters of science degree then become a clinical exercise physiologist. As I was finishing my thesis, the economy tanked and I had to change my plan because finding work in that profession became more difficult. I understood and accepted that I had to return to school in order to fulfill this new goal. I had just finished being a graduate student and knew that I could do it again. It was at that time I had to choose my new path.

I needed to choose a career that would use my past education as well as complement my character and personality. The master’s degree I previously earned had given me a foundation. It would be a shame to start from scratch and not build upon that foundation into a different career in health care. I also needed to find a career that wasn’t so specific and would allow me to see patients of a more general nature. I want to be part of a team and have the option to ask questions if needed. I also want a career where I am able to spend more time with my patients educating and answering their health questions. Doctors are incredibly busy and at times unapproachable. I want my patients to feel at ease talking to me and not feel rushed. Becoming a nurse practitioner is not an option because I do not have a background in nursing. After spending time researching my options, I decided that becoming a physician assistant would best fit my career goals as well as complement my personality.

This is my new plan. Once I finish school, I will pass the PANCE on the first try. As a physician assistant, I will use my compassion, empathy and patience to build positive relationships and allow my patients to feel comfortable discussing their health issues with me. I have been a graduate student before and succeeded. I will do it again.

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Suggestions and Revisions

Hi Kimberly,

Yikes, what a horrible experience with the surgeon. It’s a good opening, but you could eliminate these sentences: “I had yet to see the incision due to the dressings and abdominal binder, but I knew it was nine inches long and contained a lot of staples. I also knew that moving of any kind was extremely painful and the narcotics only eased the pain slightly. And yet the surgeon had me get up every three hours to walk the nursing unit no matter the time of day.” You don’t need them.

The biggest problem is the writing about how you decided to become a PA. It’s all framed in the negative — the economy tanked so you couldn’t pursue your first choice, you can’t be a nurse practitioner because you don’t have a background in nursing, “it would be a shame to start from scratch and not build upon that foundation into a different career in health care.”

It sounds as if pursuing a career as a PA is last resort, not a first choice, which is definitely not going to convince Admissions folks this is really what you want to do. Concluding the essay with “This is my new plan. Once I finish school, I will pass the PANCE on the first try” is not strong, interesting or persuasive.

You’ll need to rewrite your essay from a positive point of view.

I hope this helps and wish you the best of luck.

Sue Edmondson (The Physician Assistant Personal Statement Collaborative)

Personal Statement Example 31

Now it is time to submit yours!

I hope these sample essays have given you something in the form of comparison. Creating memorable content that will wow the admissions committed is difficult for sure, but not impossible. Take your time formulating a plan and organizing your thoughts. Make a list of what is important to you, use this to create an outline and topics for your paragraphs.

If you would like some help consider submitting your essay through our personal statement and essay collaborative or in the comments section.

We are here to help!

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