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“Does anyone speak Polish?” The director of rehabilitation was concerned about a recently admitted Parkinson’s disease patient who was failing to take her medication and who was anxious and confused following her recent diagnosis and admission to the acute rehabilitation facility where I was a volunteer worker. Being a Polish speaker, I was able to communicate with the patient and to persuade her of the need to take her medication and undertake her rehabilitation exercises. She was one of many patients at the nursing home suffering, or recovering from, a variety of conditions such as dementia, stroke, athralgia, pulmonary disease, knee replacement or a recent fall. I assisted physical and occupational therapists with exercise training modalities and undertook escort duties. I learned a great deal from this experience, the main one of which was probably the almost magically reassuring effect of a smile or a squeezed hand.
I have not been directly involved in healthcare provision, however I have a significant academic, working and volunteer background in health sciences; primarily in Nutrition, Exercise Science and Psychology. I hold a BS in Nutrition and Exercise Sciences and an MS in Exercise Physiology. I have substantial experience of working with, or observing the work of, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurse practitioners, dieticians and physicians.
My interest in extending my work into healthcare was fired during an internship at the Cayuga Center for Healthy Living and the experience of shadowing physicians. The CCHL takes a holistic approach by targeting modifiable risk factors such as diet, physical activity, stress and smoking in the care of chronic disease. I was exposed to patients suffering many diseases that affect a large and growing proportion of the population such as bariatric, cardiac, pulmonary and diabetic patients. It was heartening to see that the program also worked with those at risk to prevent the onset of these diseases, an example of effective preventative medicine which I hope to emulate in my future work. In my activities I have become very aware that the US population is rapidly aging and that this will involve healthcare professionals in new and difficult challenges. I have worked with elderly patients who exhibit the kinds of conditions that will become increasingly prevalent. I believe that my knowledge of Exercise Physiology will be of great relevance in treating the elderly and extending their independent lives.
I am drawn to the role of PA because it is primarily about providing access to healthcare in circumstances where they might not do so otherwise and because the role offers a substantial degree of autonomy. While wanting to make a living, my primary aim is to make a positive difference in people’s lives. I can think of few better ways of doing so than by becoming a PA. My work and voluntary activity has always involved working directly with people who have needed help and I find great satisfaction in providing it. I now wish to extend my skills and knowledge to fulfill my potential for providing care.
It may be relevant to state that my current qualifications were gained when I was employed and sometimes in two jobs. I regard that ability to maintain a solid GPA in the face of this situation to be an indication of my diligence and intelligence and of further academic potential. I undertake to apply myself fully to the program and to do everything necessary to excel within it.
I am aware that healthcare requires a high degree of cultural awareness and sensitivity. I have happily studied and worked with people of many cultural and social backgrounds; I have enjoyed doing so and look forward to extending this experience within the program. I speak Spanish and Polish and visit Poland frequently though I am not otherwise very well travelled outside of the US.
I know that there will be many well qualified applicants for the program. However, I believe that I am an excellent candidate. I have proved my diligence and intelligence by obtaining sound qualifications under adverse conditions; I have practical experience in health related work that is relevant to the program and will enable me to provide useful insights to my class; I believe that I have the personal characteristics that will enable me to be an excellent PA. My main recommendation is a passionate desire to acquire the skills and knowledge to enable me to become a highly skilled and effective PA in order to help people to the extent of my potential and especially the underserved, elderly and vulnerable.