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Why I Want to Become a Physician Assistant

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?” The common answer is typically a teacher, firefighter, or astronaut. For me, born into a family that has owned and operated a small horticulture business since 1926, I envisioned myself as a local business manager. Upon entering the University of Arizona, my intent was to obtain a degree in business. However, after completing my pre-business courses and a summer job working in retail, I found myself apathetic. Lacking motivation and feeling dull, I veered off course and switched my major to molecular and cellular biology. Economics and accounting suddenly gave way to ecology and anatomy. With each course, I discovered a spectrum of possibilities that injected a new excitement into my education. I found myself fascinated with the evolution, challenges, and boldness of science.

It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to shadow an endocrinologist that I was reassured of my decision to choose science. During one particular encounter, I remember standing nervously in a procedure room, not knowing where to go, what I could touch, of what I was about to see. However, my nerves were nothing compared to the patient who felt glued to the procedure chair due to his fear of needles. I observed how the endocrinologist provided comfort by discussing the procedure in detail, answering every question, and calmly waiting until the patient’s nerves were alleviated. He then proceeded with the ultrasound-guided thyroid biopsy. In that moment, I witnessed the combination of care and science, I sensed a new passion, I knew I would pursue a career in medicine.

My experiences as a medical scribe validated my path to becoming a physician assistant. I worked with many providers, mainly those in primary care and general surgery. Each had their own style of writing, preferences and ways of teaching. In the beginning, there was criticism surrounding my finished work. However, instead of detaching myself from the situation, I looked for new approaches and remained committed. When I reattempted my work, I asked more questions, viewed more examples and worked section by section with the providers until a common ground was found. This ultimately opened a line of communication which in turn became the basis of a collaborative relationship and efficient clinical setting. Later on, as a medical scribe trainer, I was able to modify these essential qualities for each new scribe in order for them to successfully transition into their new work. I became more versatile, working with different providers, patients, and specialties, which is an essential quality that physician assistants are able to use when transferring their skills from one specialty to another. From my experience as a medical scribe, I remain resilient and know I can persevere through difficult circumstances, which are qualities physicians and patients anticipate of their physician assistants.

Hospital Socorro De Lo Alto in the backcountry of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, was where I participated in an international medical mission. Not only was I exposed to surgeons, anesthetists and nurses, but this experience afforded me the opportunity to shadow a surgical physician assistant. During one particular case for an inguinal hernia repair, I remember watching the PA naturally mold to the Honduran surgeon’s preferences in order to create a homogenous surgical team. When she asked me to assist her, there was no hesitation, as we measured and positioned the mesh. The patient’s inguinal hernia that was long overdue was finally repaired. From early morning pre-operative clinic to late night discharge rounds, I experienced the vast array of duties the surgical PA encountered. I observed how she overcame the language barrier, limited medical supplies, and unfamiliar surroundings in order to provide a level of healthcare that many of the patients have never received. I realized that her sense of compassion, work ethic, and determination are qualities that I both admire and can relate to.

These experiences have taught me that it’s not just about what you want to be when you grow up, but what do you want to be remembered for? I have learned that within medicine I want to be remembered as a holistic physician assistant. One whose attention to detail, passion for teaching, and determination to overcome adversity, made each patient feel well informed and ensured each patient received the best care possible. I am eager to challenge myself as a physician assistant in order to continue adding and building upon these qualities. 

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Why I Want To Become A Physician Assistant. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from
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