Nicolas suffers from a severe form of spastic cerebral palsy. For two years, I worked with him in a technology-augmented classroom for nonverbal students at Oakland High School. Although trained as a math teacher, I was suddenly diapering and hand-feeding another human being, with needs that I could intuit but not understand. I began to want to do more for this child, and was inspired by his providers who could discern and meet those needs. Motivated to offer further help, but unsure how to begin, a friend suggested I volunteer at a hospital.
This suggestion was eye-opening because, for the first time, I realized a profession in medicine was attainable. As a first generation college student from a working class family, life was more about survival than grand expectations for my future. Medicine was an inaccessible and revered profession, a vocation reserved for others. However, after seeing the needs in my students’ lives, and the extent to which medical professionals could improve their patients ' lives, I decided to take up medicine as my own calling.
During my two years at a Cardiac Step Down Unit, I eagerly shadowed and learned from nurses and doctors. I spent many hours wit...
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...to be a PA is also driven by a larger interest in public health. As an avid surfer, one of my concerns has been water quality in coastal communities. I participate in a grassroots environmental organization called Surfrider. As the only volunteer-run lab of its kind in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, each weekend I travel to Santa Cruz, performing epidemiological research on indicator bacteria for marine exposure illness.
I believe PAs have a critical role in the rapidly changing field of clinical medicine as primary care providers. I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience since caring for Nicolas, but have much more to learn. After many years of singular focus and determination, I am eager and ready for the chance to serve those communities where there is a genuine need. I am ready to immerse myself in the challenges of becoming a primary care PA-C.
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