For me, going to the doctor’s office was always an uncomfortable experience. As a child, I would whine, cry and nearly throw a tantrum whenever it was time for me to go to the doctors. I quite literally had to be dragged there. A few years ago, I learned that the experience does not have to be as bad as I previous thought it was. After walking into the doctor’s office in rural Maine for my yearly physical, I was introduced to a Physician Assistant. This person was much more personable and easy-going than my usual physician.
I was able to better relate to this person and I felt more comfortable asking questions rather than trying to rush out of the office as soon as I possibly could. The physician assistant was able to take the time to answer my questions rather than rushing off to see another patient. My curiosity with medicine started at an early age. My parents had a drawer in the bathroom filled with gauze, Band-Aids, over-the-counter antibiotics and other various products for “doctoring” people up. Whenever someone would get hurt, I would run to the drawer and try to fix their cuts and scrapes.
I used more than a few on myself since I was sure every little scrape needed serious treatment. I would read the back of all the products and make sure that I was using them correctly. Whatever it took, I was going to take care of my “patients. ” Three and half years ago, my grandmother had a heart attack. Her brain was deprived of oxygen for too long and unfortunately if she had survived, she would have been completely brain dead. Even though it was hard to watch her die, the process was made easier by the caring and compassionate staff at the hospital.
Each and every one of her staff members was exceedingly hands on; they made her comfort as a patient, as well as our comfort as her family, their top priority. As a physician assistant, I feel it is essential to put the patients and their families first. Seeing this happen first hand, makes me want to do the same for others. Another reason I chose to study medicine is my interest in how the human body works. My favorite courses in both high school and undergraduate college were human anatomy and physiology and biology.
I could read through the books for hours and never get bored. Whenever one of the books would mention a disease, I would read the section carefully so that I could understand how the microorganism would inoculate within the body and the symptoms of the diseases. Recently, in one of my training classes, we were scheduled to do a section called PDT. When the trainer explained that it was Preventing Disease Transmission, a course about the treatment and prevention of blood borne pathogens, I replied with a very excited “YES! ” to which the trainer responded in disbelief.
Apparently, I was the only person who was enthusiastic about this section. Currently, I am working as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) for people with developmental disabilities. This has really been an experience that I feel will help my career as a Physician Assistant. Working in this field has taught me patience and understanding. When I first walked into the program I work at, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. To my surprise, I was faced with two funny guys, who love to go to the beach, listen to music and tease their staff. Working as a DSP has it’s ups and downs.
It is hard when the people you support are having a rough day and have to be restrained because they are in danger of hurting themselves, but it is all worth it when you see the smiles on their faces when they complete a task they did not think that they could do. Completing two Bachelor of Science degrees in four years has given me both the drive and background knowledge to succeed in graduate school. Simultaneously, life experiences have shown me that it is essential to be caring, and they have also given me the desire to help others. For a brief period of time, I thought that I wanted to be a pharmacist.
After watching a number of friends go through the program, I knew that this wasn’t my calling. As a pharmacist, I would have little interaction with the people I was selling medications to. I would spend hours behind a counter rather than being face-to-face, hands-on and getting to know the people I was treating. I’ve also learned my interest in medicine has more to do with putting the puzzle pieces together to diagnose the disease, and the blood and gore rather than just dispensing the drugs needed to treat the problem. For these reasons, I believe that a career as a physician assistant is the right path for me.