Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

As a patient support assistant (PSA), I play an integral role on our team. One aspect I enjoy about my job is building rapport, both with co-workers and with my patients and their families, regardless of the length of their stay. Although being a PSA has its challenges, the interpersonal connections I have made are uplifting and gratifying. My co-workers and I joke about the 8 a.m. fire alarm tests, the plethora of cords that always seem to tangle, and our love of OSU football. As I take my patients’ vitals and help them with activities of daily living, we talk. Sometimes they tell stories about their lives outside the hospital, other times they share their sadness and concerns. By pursuing a degree to become a physician assistant (PA), I will use these interpersonal experiences to help understand and treat my future patients. This degree will provide me with the tools and knowledge necessary to diagnose and form a plan of care to treat those in my patient’s condition.

After shadowing PAs, I knew it was the career for me. One experience highlights many of the reasons I am attracted to this profession. While shadowing a PA in an endocrinology practice, I met a patient who had been vomiting for several days as a result of her body rejecting new medication. I observed as the PA listened and empathized as the patient listed her concerns. The PA explained how the medication’s side effects caused the distress, and they discussed options that might be better suited for her. Afterward, she discussed these changes with a doctor to confirm her treatment plan. Through shadowing, I saw the autonomy of a PA to form relationships with patients, to educate them about their illnesses, treatment options and medications, and empower them to participate in their care decisions, all with the benefit of collaborating with the doctor. Today I am more prepared than ever to take the next step to the profession I know is as right for me as I am for it.

Kala from Pennsylvania
Marywood University