Growing up, I was never treated by a physician, let alone a physician’s assistant. At school, other kids would stare at me in wide-eyed disbelief when I told them I had never been to the doctor. “You never get sick?!” I would shyly explain that of course, I get sick, just like them. I’d contract a cold once or twice a year, and I’d even gotten the flu and strep throat. Still, my parents never took me to see a doctor.
Ever since I can remember, my mother renounced processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, and added sugars. I couldn’t understand as much as the next person why my mother wouldn’t pack Lunchables in my lunchbox and instead make me a healthy meal in a Tupperware container. I relished having playdates after school where I could snack on Gushers and Fruit by the Foot at my friend’s homes instead of fruit leathers and fig newtons. My parents always emphasize alternative medicine, focusing on quality nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. My mother was raised in a setting where modern medicine was never the automatic go-to. Her mother treated her with powerful herbal remedies, and she raised me the same way. I grew up in a home where when you caught a cold, you were treated with Echinacea and Goldenseal root instead of Tylenol and Sudafed.
In June 2017, my father started experiencing chest pain. In August, he was rushed to the hospital to find out he had unknowingly suffered from multiple heart attacks and would require interventional surgery at only 54 years old. Not only did his PA provide him with exceptional care, but created a relationship with him and was able to make him laugh when he needed it most. I observed my father’s PA truly listening to his concerns while showing him care and compassion.
My mother fueled my passion for nutrition which is the reason I ended up pursuing a degree in Nutrition Health Sciences. My father’s health however fueled my passion for modern medicine. As I brainstormed ideas of what potential careers I might decide to follow, I had to ask myself some important questions. What would make me happy? And in what profession could I help people at the same time? Why I want to be a physician assistant?
Before my father’s heart attacks, I had barely spent time in a hospital. While I was there, I witnessed physicians and Pas's collaborative relationship and watched how my father’s PA was able to help him independently. While I don’t believe you need to be saving lives to have a fulfilling career, I believe you must be passionate about what you do. Here lies the true reason why I want to be a physician assistant.
- American Academy of Physician Assistants. (2021). What is a PA? Retrieved from https://www.aapa.org/what-is-a-pa/
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2021). Nursing and nursing education statistics. Retrieved from https://www.aacnnursing.org/News-Information/Fact-Sheets/Nursing-and-Nursing-Education-Statistics
- American Heart Association. (2021). Heart attack symptoms in women. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/warning-signs-of-a-heart-attack/heart-attack-symptoms-in-women
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (2020-2025). Retrieved from https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/
- Echinacea. (2021). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/echinacea
- Goldenseal. (2021). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/goldenseal
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Physician assistant: Careers, salary, and more. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/physician-assistant/what-is-a-pa
- National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. (2021). About PAs. Retrieved from https://www.nccpa.net/about
- World Health Organization. (2021). Traditional medicine. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/health-topics/traditional-medicine#tab=tab_1