It was during my third year of college that both of my parents were diagnosed with coronary artery disease. I still remember the fear I felt as I accompanied each of them to their appointments. To my great relief, my dad did not require surgery, but was put in several medications and a strict diet plan. My mom, on the other hand, was told that she would need to undergo an angioplasty due to the amount of plaque that had built up in her arteries. According to the doctor, she was at high risk for heart attack and/or blood clots. Within a week, my mom had undergone surgery and my life as I knew it, had changed forever.
I have to be honest in that becoming my parents’ primary caretaker and putting my education on hold was not an easy decision. I was pursuing a major in chemistry and had my eyes set on becoming a physician one day. I knew that taking any kind of break could compromise my dream because such a career path would be arduous and very time consuming. In the end; however, it became clear to me that I could always pick up where I left off, but I may not get that same chance with my parents. It was the best decision I ever made.
During the course of this time, I met a number of healthcare professionals, including John, who happened to be the physician assistant that was assigned to my dad. I was intrigued because he seemed to perform all of the duties that a physician would; yet, he told me that he did not attend medical school. This notion became attractive to me because my situation had now changed, and I was no longer in a position to go to school for an extended period of time. I still had to work full time and help out my parents, not to mention wanting to start a family of my own one day. The more I learned from John, the more I became convinced that this was the right path for me.
Although I felt that this was the right path for me, I wanted to take some more time to make sure I had made the right decision. Over the next three years, I finished my degree in chemistry and gained experiences in a number of healthcare fields: physician assistant, pharmacy, dental clinic, dental laboratory, and a medical clinic. I also finished my bachelor’s degree in chemistry. The four factors that became most important for me were: patient interaction, ability to help others and improve their lives, utilization of my chemistry degree, and proper work/personal life. Now that I was ready to go back to school, I compared and contrasted the different fields, looked at pros and cons, and slowly began to narrow them down. For example, I enjoyed working in a dental clinic, but there was not enough socialization with the patients for me. On the other hand, nursing had a lot of patient interaction, but I would not be allowed to prescribe medications. If I became I pharmacist, I would certainly utilize my chemistry degree, but again, the patient interaction is very limited. Finally, I felt as though the PA degree would give me the most control over career (including being able to change my specialty) and hours.
In addition to my degree and healthcare experiences, I also worked as a tutor during my undergraduate years, assisting in classes such as chemistry, mathematics, and biology. I really enjoyed helping the students learn and found it very rewarding when I saw their grades improve. I also designed a website that included lectures, so that students would have access even when I was not available. I even took the Pharmacy Technician Certificate Exam one time in order to help a student pass his exam.
I believe that my wide range of experiences, along with my drive and determination, make me a suitable candidate for your physician assistant program at the University of Jamaica. At the same time, I believe that your program fits best with my particular needs. For one, your distance-learning program allows me to pursue my passion of becoming a physician assistant, while allowing me to stay in my hometown and continue caring for my family. Second, your part-time option gives me the opportunity to study, work, and care for my family, without feeling like I have to chose one over the other. Finally, I have looked over the courses, syllabi, and professor biographies, and feel as though they meet both my academic and professional needs.
Subsequent to reviewing the enclosed materials, it is my hope that my comprehensive knowledge base and diverse clinical experience will allow you to view me as an ideal candidate for the position. Thank you for your genuine consideration.