PA Training – Writing a Winning PA School Application Essay

Physician Assistant medicine is a fast growing career track, and it’s not hard to see why. PAs are in great demand due to a national shortage of primary care physicians. They make a good living, are usually able to balance work and family commitments, and do meaningful work. If you’ve decided that becoming a PA is for you, writing an impressive application essay or personal statement is crucial. The following guidelines will increase your chances of acceptance.

Learn about the program. Each school has its own priorities, likes, and dislikes, so get familiar with them. Go to the program’s website and read their mission carefully. Do they accept applicants from your state? Do they emphasize primary care or a particular specialty? Your essay should demonstrate that you are familiar with their program, and that you are a match for it.
Separate yourself from the pack. PA school applications are on the rise, so your essay should set you apart from the crowd. Develop a memorable opening to draw in readers and interest them. Relevant quotes, revealing bits of dialog, or brief anecdotes from your experiences can often serve this purpose. Avoid boring and straightforward responses, such as, “The reason I want to become a Physician Assistant is because I have always…”
Tell a (true) story. Answering with a laundry list of reasons you want to be a PA, no matter how heartfelt, won’t keep the reader interested. Instead, craft a true story about who you are and why you are the perfect candidate. Describe how your work and educational experiences have prepared you for work as a Physician Assistant, highlighting the positives. No matter what your background, you have skills that — properly worded — could be assets to a career as a PA.
Frame problems as obstacles you have overcome. In recovery? Single parent? Chained to a family business? Don’t apologize. Instead, use these situations as examples of challenges you have faced. If you got a low grade in a class, briefly explain whatever pressures you have overcome that may have contributed, and then move on. Admissions committees love to feel that they are admitting someone who has withstood great trials.
Don’t say you want to go to PA school so you can one day become a physician, or because it pays well. Even if this is true, saying so is a mistake. Physician Assistants don’t see themselves as wannabe-doctors, they don’t take pride in their work because of what it buys them, and they don’t view their field as a stepping stone to something else. Most of them would rather be a PA than a physician (just ask a few). Convince your reader that, more than anything, you want to be a PA.
Share your skills as a team player. After all, if you become a PA, you will be supervised by a physician, and you will draw on these skills daily. There isn’t much room in this field for vanity or the “lone wolf.”
Proofread, edit, proofread, edit. Put in the time to write a great essay. Read it aloud (many times, if necessary) to evaluate how it sounds. How do you come across to the reader? Do your words have impact? Fix confusing and awkward sentences, and remove unnecessary ones. Have a friend (or several) read your work and give you constructive feedback. Then take it back to the drawing board and make it even better.
Finally, stay positive and don’t apologize for who you are. Your essay should be upbeat, or at least not a downer. Few people who get in were “perfect” candidates, but all who get in put their best foot forward. It bears repeating: keep things positive.

Disputing Suicide Advocacy for the Sickly: A Model Essay in Developmental English/Writing Textbooks

“The Right to Die,” by Norman Cousins:

Published by Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and Cengage

Wordsmith–a Developmental English/Writing textbook by Pamela Arlov at Pearson Higher Education-includes “The Right to Die,” by Norman Cousins as one of its model essays in the Argument (Persuasive)/Social Issues categories. This essay is about the suicide of Dr. Henry Van Dusen and his wife, Elizabeth. They had become increasingly feeble over the years and felt that their lives were being prolonged artificially beyond human dignity. Importantly, Dr. Van Dusen had been the president of Union Theological Seminary; he was a famous voice in American Protestant ethics for over a quarter century-hardly your typical case for suicide advocacy. The caption under the article’s title states, “Suicide is traditionally considered a tragedy, even a sin. Under certain circumstances, can it be considered a triumph over a slow and painful death?”

An Internet search shows how popular this article has become. McGraw-Hill offers the essay through Primis On-Line and Cornerstones. The Familiar Essay, by Mark R. Christensen includes “The Right to Die also through Cengage. Cyberessays reports that the states of Washington and Montana passed a Right to Die law in 2009.

Dr. Van Dusen left behind a brief note asking if the individual has the obligation to go on living when all beauty, meaning, and power of life are gone. Isn’t it a misuse of medical technology to keep the terminally ill alive when there are so many hungry mouths to feed? What if there’s nothing left to give or receive from life? Why should an unnatural form of living be considered better than an unnatural way of dying?

Exercising free will can mean suicide, according to Dr. Van Dusen. A call for the exercise of free will is quite common in philosophical and theological literature, and Dr. Van Dusen wrote on free will extensively during his career. Despair and pain weren’t given as reasons for The Van Dusens’ justifying of suicide.

Importantly, Norman Cousins admits that suicide is alien to the theological tradition of the Van Dusens, as it is in most cultures. However, no comment was made in this article about the kamikaze phase in World War II Japan or the current Islamic extremists. The Van Dusens regretted that their children and grandchildren may be saddened and not accept their decision. Yet Dr. Van Dusen believed that theologians and all of us should debate his case for suicide for the terminally sickly.

In concluding, Cousins asserts, “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. The unbearable tragedy is to live without dignity or sensitivity.”

My initial reaction to this essay was shock that assisted suicide for the sickly would be a topic in a Developmental English or College Composition course, as opposed to maybe an advanced medical ethics or philosophy course. I wouldn’t risk the appearance of trying to euthanize the grandparents of remedial students. Having a disability for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) myself makes me a bit squeamish when I hear a call for suicide of the chronically ill.

Once suicide is approved under these circumstances, the cases for acceptable suicide could become extended. What if one felt he or she was too poor to have a dignified existence? The extremely poor can earn as much as $1000/month. Maybe the chronically unemployed or those with a flawed background check could make a case for their own death too. An elderly neighbor feels that there are two unforgivable sins: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and suicide. Fortunately, the former seems like the most unlikely and esoteric possible form of swearing. My neighbor’s views are probably considerably more common than advocacy for suicide of the sickly.

On another note, I wrote this article twice: 2011 & 2015–before and after getting on Medicaid/Medicare. Back in 2011, I recalled adding mullein leaves (gordolobo) to my coffee pot this morning to help my breathing. This time Mexican herbal cures worked better than traditional medicine over that week-including albuterol for my nebulizer, generic Mucinex, and prednisone. There were also some eucalyptus leaves and whole garlic pieces in that odd drip coffee bin, which had been ineffectual without the gordolobo. At least in Texas, you can buy a package of gordolobo or eucalyptus leaves for $1 each in the Mexican spice and herb section of the grocery store. Now I’m prescribed lung medicine that I never heard about previously because I have a pulmonologist.

Interesting Topics For College Admission Essays

If you are seriously considering applying to college or any graduate school, part of the preparation that you cannot ignore, aside from taking the required standardized tests, is the preparation of a well-crafted college admission essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay, as part of your application to college or grad school. This part of the application process is a measurement of your personality, and constitutes an integral part of the admissions process. With the number of applicants wanting to pursue higher education dramatically rising since the early 90’s, many colleges and post-graduate schools have imposed certain safeguards to regulate the entry of admitted applicants to their programs. The goal is to admit only candidates who hold promise and are likely to succeed in their chosen field of endeavor. The college admission essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay, is one such safeguard.

It is important, therefore, to come up with a well-polished college admission essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay. And doing so need not be a problem if you are capable of articulating your experiences in written form quite well.

What do you actually need to present in a college admission essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay? It varies actually. Some schools have several specific topics from which you are required to choose and write about. However, on the average, admissions essays usually seek to present you as an individual. This may include a listing of your past and present experiences, your nature, preferences, ideals, principles, family and social backgrounds, your school years, grades received, extracurricular activities, etc. But these are not simply listed down. The essay should seek to present these profiles in clear and specific details and preferably, accompanied with one or two related anecdotes.

The area of extracurricular activities will be of particular significance. Many admissions officers are no longer impressed with high test scores as well as high grades. They realize that these do not represent the total you. They are not satisfied with the numerical side of yourself. What they would like is to get to know more about you and the activities you got involved in, which may be presented in the college admission essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay. Specifically, they want you to present evidence that your field of expertise, for which you are seeking further studies on, is one that is very close to your heart. That being the case, you naturally do not limit your knowledge of the field to theoretical concepts in school. You go out and engage in projects wherein you are able to apply school theories in actual situations.

Such evidences, again, as written down in the college admission essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay – as the case may be, along with an excellent school record as well as a good performance in the admissions test, will persuade school administrators that you are capable of adding something significant to your selected field of study and their school in particular.

However, such evidences should not be listed down in general terms. What is usually required in many college admission essays or graduate school admission essays, including MBA essays are specifics. Detailed accounts of the off-campus undertakings that you immersed yourself in while attending school. Undertakings that are directly connected to your area of concentration. A good example would be something like the following: wanting to enter medical school, you decided to sign up, in the final year of your pre-med course, as a volunteer in the relief operations organized by the group Band-Aid to help the famine-stricken country of Ethiopia. There, your eyes were opened to the harsh reality that not everything is OK in the world. You began to acknowledge that while a number of countries may be well-off, countless others are living way below certain human standards of living. And they are in dire need, not only of food and shelter, but such other basic necessities like medicine and health care.

The college admission essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay affords you the opportunity to present yourself as someone capable of sharing something significant in a particular field, and not just a mere statistic in the same. As such, you are encouraged to get involved in extracurricular endeavors while in the midst of completing your courses of study and to cite these in your college admission essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay. This will make your piece more convincing as well as effective, as it will give solid proof that you are not merely satisfied with meeting course requirements. You are also applying in real life the lessons taught to you inside the classroom.

Alternative Medicine As An Effective Alternative to Conventional Medicine

As we progress into the twenty-first century, we have made many inroads and advances in medicine due to new discoveries in chemistry, biology, and physics. Conventional medicine, our generally accepted system of medical knowledge, is practiced almost exclusively in the United States and abroad. Using this system, medical doctors and other health professionals treat diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Conventional medicine is also known as allopathic, mainstream, modern or Western medicine.

As a technically advanced society, we have become proud of our achievements in science but modern medicine has yet to solve our health problems. There are several diseases such as cancer, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and a wide variety of serious as well as chronic diseases where a cure has been pending for many, many years. Those who are suffering with incurable illnesses, are questioning the true advancement of modern medicine, and wondering, considering the modern innovations in science, if it has really made so much progress at all. We do have everyday experience of the wonders of medical science in the areas of nuclear and emergency medicine, immunology, surgery and medical testing, and certainly these systems are extremely important, but actual disease prevention and treatment for many chronic diseases is still eluding the modern medical establishment.

There has existed a driving force behind alternative medicine for centuries, and the motivation has been to heal others. Although practitioners of alternative medicine and their patients are reporting effective results, there are some persons who propose that such medicine is fraudulent, and is being practiced by insufficient or under/uneducated persons. This certainly could be true is some cases, but has also been true regarding conventional medical doctors who have had their licenses revoked for negligence or incompetence.

If doctors were not sexists, then there would be no need to offer seminars on how to sensitively handle a woman’s pelvic exam in a “non-sexist manner.” This type of mentality is one of many reasons women especially, and men also, are turning away from their medical doctors and enlisting the help of alternative practitioners. Michael P. Annavi, Ph.D., in his essay on allopathic authority, entitled Scraps from the Table of Allopathic Power, states that “the allopathic medical industry has created a process of invalidation that promotes the ideology that knowledge is real only if it is established within this tautological framework of European thought”.

The difficulty in establishing the practices and rights of non-traditional health professionals has been thwarted for the past two centuries from those who advocate the practice of scientifically validated medicine, from the traditional medical societies, and, of course, from the medical doctors themselves. This is nothing more than systematic prejudice and racism, especially in regard to the Chinese and E. Indian medical practitioners of acupuncture and Ayurvedic medicine.

Larry Altshuler, M.D., in his book Balanced Healing, states that many alternative healing methods are simply more effective than conventional treatments are for certain conditions, and many treatments have fewer side effects and potential dangerss. Throughout his book, Dr. Altshuler discusses natural treatments he has used effectively on patients for many years. A proponent of preventative and natural medicine, Dr. Altshuler explains, for example, that there is a strong correlation between diabetes and obesity. As a truly alternative medical treatment, firstly he mentions that patients should completely avoid alcohol, which is very high in sugar content. Secondly he says to eat a balanced diet, low in refined sugars, fat, and animal products, and high in plant fiber. Thirdly he recommends the vitamins, nutrients and herbs necessary for supplementation. Lastly he recommends getting acupuncture treatments.

In the documentary film, The True Story of The Bridge on the River Kwai, Otto C. Schwarth, an American P.O.W., forced to work on the railway between Burma and Thailand during World War II, described how hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war, British and American, sick and dying of various diseases, were treated by a handful of physicians. In his interview, Mr. Schwarth, then in his eighties, recalled: “The Americans were forever grateful to Dutch medical doctor Henry Hecking. Dr. Hecking was born and raised in Indonesia by his grandmother who was an herbalist. He was our savior, actually, because he knew all the local herbs. Our group ended up having the lowest death rate on the line.

Michael Wayne, Ph.D., author of Quantum Integral Medicine, explains in his interview with Acupuncture Today: This biomedicine (conventional medicine) has been based on a model on linear determination and reductionism – approaches that see the world in very black and white terms. This approach has gotten our selves into a lot of trouble, not only with its approach to the human body, but also with its approach to solving world problems. It is very cause-and-effect oriented and is always looking to find the one ultimate cause that created the dilemma (par. 3). Modern medical science has denied the larger picture of health and healing, being induced by corporate influence and profiteering. We are presently seeing the outcomes of such corruption and greed – like war in the Mid East in an attempt to monopolize oil reserves, global warming along with the melting of the polar ice caps, and worldwide economic collapse.

It has also become an amusement of some medical doctors to criticize natural medicine and its practitioners. In an interview with an Orthopedic Surgeon in Fresno, CA (who preferred to keep his name anonymous), revealed that chiropractors are referred to, in the conservative medical world, as “pseudo-doctors.” In the early twentieth century the medical establishment fought against the profession of Chiropractic, saying that due to public welfare and protection, these types of alternative medical practitioners should not be licensed. We find that it was actually due to economic self-interest and not public welfare, or as Chiropractors state “the ermine gloves of altruism frequently conceal the brass knuckles of greed” (Whorton 138). Plainly speaking, the medical profession does not want to share its economic benefits with other medicine men. Hippocrates was also considered a heretic or “quack” of his time because the medical thinking of his day was that disease and recovery were caused or influenced by gods and demons.. Hippocrates (born 460 BC) is considered the father of Western allopathic medicine. He is credited with greatly advancing the systematic study of clinical medicine, summing up the medical knowledge of previous schools, and prescribing practices for physicians.

Twentieth-century medicine has made incredible inroads of discovery including nuclear technology for diagnosis and treatment. Although conventional medicine has made a great deal of scientific advancement, many people are still suffering from chronic debilitating diseases and incurable diseases. Allopathic medicine has hundred years of research and discovery, but does not seem to be making valuable and affordable solutions as we progress into the twenty-first century. The cost of medical treatment is staggeringly high, especially for diagnostic testing and hospitals visits. Medical practitioners are concerned not only with there own economic progress, but keeping at bay those who are not deemed worthy of the title Medical Doctor or M.D. In ancient China, the doctor was not paid for their services if a person became ill. They were only compensated for keeping patrons healthy via advice on diet, nutrition and exercise. They prescribed herbal medicines, not only for illness but for preventative health as well, so it was the healthy that supported the Chinese practitioner and not the sick. Unfortunately, in our modern society, it is the sick that provide the practitioner with a healthy income.

Modern Health Care in the Age of the Internet and Social Medicine

Are we are all “medical citizens,” embedded as potential or actual patients, with our physicians, insurer’s, pharmaceutical companies, government bodies and others in a system of societal, moral and organizational stakeholders?

Today, with the advent of the Internet, High Speed Bandwidth, Social Media, Support Groups and Self Care Protocols, patients for the first time in the history of medicine have the ability to alter the outcome of disease and illness for themselves, family members, friends and significant others.

This essay attempts to address a most compelling issue of our time. Are medical self-help groups and self-care methods helpful or are they challenges to the delivery of traditional medical care? How do they differ and what consequences arise from this debate?

Also, how has the advent of the Internet and Social media transformed the landscape of medicine? What limitations may exist in this new era of information technology and social communication? And to what degree do they challenge traditional care models? Can a patient or their advocate become more of an expert on their own medical conditions than their own physicians? The answer to this question is a resounding yes, if the patient uses all the tools now available to them.

Various published estimates unanimously indicate that hundreds of thousands of patients die and millions more are injured by medical procedures gone wrong, medication errors or their side effects and by medications improperly prescribed or not taken as directed by patients. And it is not just the infirm that suffer, but their families, their loved one’s, friends and employer’s who must suffer with the grief and change of lifestyle that so often comes with these mistakes.

Furthermore, on May 8, 2013 National Center for Policy Analysis, in a release, stated that first diagnosis error rates are increasing at an alarming rate:

• An estimated 10 percent to 20 percent of cases are misdiagnosed, which exceeds drug errors, and surgery on the wrong patient or body part, both of which receive considerably more attention.

• One report found that 28 percent of 583 diagnostic mistakes were life threatening or had resulted in death or permanent disability.

• Another study estimated that fatal diagnostic errors in United States intensive care units equal the number of breast cancer deaths each year — 40,500.

Therefore, second opinions are often necessary precautions, as are third opinions when the first two differ. In fact, Medicare and insurers often pay for third opinions under these circumstances as it saves them billions in the long run.

Prudence dictates that the “medical citizen” must beware of these pitfalls, as their lives may depend on it.

Also, with patient reviews and rating systems available right on our own smartphones, we must question whether or not physician decision making is being compromised as well. For instance, a surgeon knows that his or her treatment decisions can possibly either result in either saving a life or ending it resulting in damning social media judgements, whether legitimate or not, which can then hurt their medical practices? Does this introduce a bias that may alter or cloud a doctor’s judgement? There is no data to provide an answer as of yet.

So, are doctors becoming more risk adverse as a result of this new landscape? Physicians are now being compensated more and more based on better outcomes, lower costs, reduced re-admission rates and other variables – not staff friendliness or less waiting room times which many doctor review sites measure.

Often 5 star rating systems get few patient reviews despite the fact that the average doctor has some 2,000 patient charts (most healthy) and while it is human nature to complain when we don’t get the outcome we want, consumers are less likely to praise a positive experience because we naturally expect top service and thus neglect to post a positive patient review yet are rather far more likely to post a negative review to retaliate against the provider. So patient reviews are not a very good or objective source of fair and balanced overall rating of a doctor’s performance.

How can this dilemma be resolved especially when a surgeon does everything perfectly but the patient becomes a victim of medication errors, poor nursing compliance with medical orders or perhaps contracts a hospital born infection, or some other adverse event out of the doctor’s control even if the doctor’s work is excellent? Nevertheless these doctor review sites often blame the physician. So Patients need better tools to make judgements about their own healthcare whether it be which plan to select or which treatment option to go with given a choice.

If a patient does utilize a rating site, they should make sure it is a government site based on huge amounts of data or a private site wherein doctors nominate other doctors for their excellence and would use these “doctor’s doctors” to provide care for their very own friends and loved ones.

Doctor reviews by other sites using stupid criteria like waiting room times, friendliness of staff, waiting room decor and other questions that have nothing to do with best outcomes accomplish nothing but make money for their operators.

In modern day, it is not unusual for patients to challenge doctors when it comes to illness and disease. After all, according to Tejal Gandhi, MD, president of the National Patient Safety Foundation and associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, “Preventable medical errors persist as the No. 3 killer in the U.S. – third only to heart disease and cancer – claiming the lives of some 400,000 people each year, at a cost of over a trillion dollars a year””.

Self-help groups and self-care probably date back to the dawn of civilization when people lived cooperatively in tribal settings. These groups dealt with all life issues related to the survival and political stability of the group. The dawn of medical ethics probably dates back some 2300 years with the publication of the Hippocratic Oath.

But now the game has dramatically changed due to major technological advances in medicine and with the great advances of the Internet now being the primary source of medical information for medical consumers. And with the explosion in social media, people have the ability to communicate and share information on a scale never before foreseen or imagined.

Add to this all the new stakeholders that have entered the fray such as insurance companies, employers, managed care organizations, Obamacare, biotech companies, governments and, of course, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare policy makers. The challenges faced by the medical citizen and social policy planners have never been so daunting.

Postmodern Medicine probably arose after the institution of Medicare in 1965 when Medicare was signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson and third party payer insurance companies soon appeared thereafter. By the 1970’s the practice of medicine became the business of medicine and third party payment systems caused a surge in demand for services and the costs of healthcare delivery soared. Also, the debate over what is a disease and what is an illness now must be addressed in a sociological manner more than ever as it affects whether treatments are made available and what costs are covered by third party payers.

Self Help Groups are usually a group or set of people who all share or suffer from a similar malady which involves great personal cost and suffering for themselves and those who care for them.

Self-care is seemingly clear in meaning. We get a cut and we put a band aid on it. Have a headache, take an aspirin. But is it really so clear as pharmacy shelves that are now filled will medications that used to be available only by prescription and medical devices one can use for self-diagnosis and self-care which measure bodily functions and vital signs such as blood sugar levels, blood pressure, pulse oxygenation, etc. have resulted in patients self diagnosing and treating themselves, often without medical advice. Defibrillators are now a fixture in most large organizations where non-medical designated company personnel are trained and authorized to shock a worker’s heart in addition to CPR.

Supplies such as instant blood clotting powder, specialized bandages, diabetic compression socks that were not previously available in pharmacies, are now commonplace. But many of these products may do as much harm as good, if not used properly.

Self-care at least in many of its versions, usually includes some connection with the health care system, teaching people when they need a professional, how to do a self-examination and care for a condition without medical supervision. e.g. Changing wound dressings and bandages without the presence of a home care aid.

And with the advent of new and off-label use of FDA approved medications, televisions are awash with commercials advertising new drugs and therapies which espouse incredible benefits such as Viagra, which resulted in a stampede of male patients running to their doctors demanding buckets of the stuff, making Viagra one of the most profitable elective medications ever.

Television ads by pharmaceutical companies now target the consumer directly in order to create demand for their products, which can only be prescribed by a physician, are commonplace as well. Also, in fine print and muffled high speed speech, pharmaceutical companies attempt in these ads to disclaim liability for the fact that the medications advertised directly to consumers may have side effects that could seriously mess a person up or even cause death, while at the same time they are trying to get consumers to ask their doctors for these medications. This is a radical change in the supply chain and distribution of new pharmaceutical products and protocols.

So, what is a medical citizen to do? Turn to the Internet of course for information and Social Media discourse. The Internet is after all now the primary source of health and medical information as well as social communication.

Today, with over a hundred million American’s online with their computers, tablets, cellphones, and smart watches along with highly specialized apps, finding support is like reading a menu in a Greek diner. If can be hard to choose wisely.

The problem in discerning useful and credible information from garbage in, garbage out, or from commercial sites looking to sell goods and services targeting specific users based upon searches performed by the user and transmitted to advertisers via cookies and Flash Player LSOs.

Most people probably do OK and, undoubtedly, are using this resource responsibly. These resources can improve and maybe extend patient’s lives and allow them to find communities of other’s suffering from the same malady as them and can assist health care outcomes and help contain health care costs to society. We are now entering the world of virtualization, telemedicine, doctor and hospital rating websites and long distance robotic surgery as well as even fields like quantum medicine which seems like it comes right out of a sci-fi novel.

Where this will lead us in the future remains to be seen and cannot definitively be addressed in this essay.

This also leaves us with the issue of contested illness. As opposed to a disease, like a clogged artery that must be repaired with a stent in a catheterization laboratory by an interventional cardiologist, or an infection that must be treated with antibiotics by a physician, many illnesses are unexplained by traditional medicine, as opposed to diseases which are clearly recognized by healthcare providers. Illnesses are often easily dismissed by formal medicine resulting in denial of treatment or refusal of insurers to pay.

But the collective description of the same array of similar symptoms occurring among many thousands of individuals communicating with each other using self-help groups can lead to a change of heart in the medical establishment. Not to mention diseases that carry a social stigma with them where the patient is blamed for their own symptoms, like obesity, even though there are in fact diseases that cause obesity or depression, addiction and a host of illnesses that have not as yet been classified as diseases and for which there is no biomedical solution.

Online support groups can and have brought these conditions to the forefront, as in the case of fibromyalgia which is now recognized as a treatable disease, but for a long time was a contested illness dismissed by professionals as people too lazy to work or just seeking pain medication. What is certain is that online support groups provide people with opportunities to exchange information with each other and become experts on their medical problems.

Internet self-help groups are cost free and very effective. People helping people. It is a simple concept, especially in the age where the nuclear family is nearly extinct in western society, so people now seek out extended families. But self-help groups which are self contained and autonomous in theory are still predisposed to traditional group problems such as rivalry within the groups, inappropriate members, etc. They are also targets of commercial interests, for example when a user who does not know how to surf anonymously gets hundreds of cookies on the device they are using and then they start to receive unwanted ads by commercial interests or worse, spam and theft of private information.

Self-Help groups offer other benefits such as “Improved coping with Chronic Illness and Life Transitions, Friendship and Belonging, Spiritual Renewal, Increased Political Activism, Enhancing Civil Society and Reduced Healthcare Resource Use” (Humphreys, Keith, Social Policy, Spring 97, Vol 27 Issue 3 Pages 2-5)

That said, “social movements that consider themselves omnipotent and omniscient are often dangerous”. (Humphreys, Keith, Social Policy, Spring 97, Vol 27 Issue 3 Page 5)

You can bring a horse to water but you cannot make it drink. Many people are too set in their ways, too judgmental and have ulterior motives which can corrupt or disrupt the best intentions of the many.

Many medical professionals feel that patients playing doctor carries potentially serious risks as patients are not doctors or trained medical professionals. On the other hand, many would argue the same about professionals and professional groups which previously enjoyed unquestioned stature and in many instances took offense to being questioned or challenged.

But for a patient with a complex disease possibly accompanied by other co-morbid conditions, The Internet affords them unlimited access to research the latest medical treatments, pharmaceuticals and lot of other research that their internist may not be aware of.

With heavy patient loads a physician does not have the time to spend researching all of the worlds medical literature on new FDA approved medications and procedures. After a doctor sees a patient, often they don’t give that person’s situation another thought as they have 30 more patients to see that day plus hospital rounds.

But for the sick, if they have reasonably good intelligence and most likely they have much more time on their hands to research their specific disease or diseases that have devastated their quality or life, ability to work or career advancement, relationships all of which suffer, it is a logical assumption that with enough time and perseverance, the patient can find better treatment modalities or better doctors that can relieve most of their symptoms or possibly cure them completely.

If a patient remains docile, asks no questions, fails to review complex bills which even medical auditors cannot understand the billing codes used, then the patient will likely not receive the best possible outcome.

This issue has been thoroughly researched by the Institute of Medicine and the data resoundingly shows that informed patients consistently have better medical outcomes than patients that suffer in silence. The data is irrefutable!

So common sense dictates that patients should be proactive and learn as much as they can about their diseases or illnesses and work collaboratively with their doctors as a team, the goal being better medical care. Often physicians resist this in which case, a change of doctor may be in the best interest of the patient.

For example, mortality related to cardiac catheterization and angiography are significant enough that patients should be informed of the risks of death or major complications from the procedure or that there is an alternative called computed tomography angiography which can replace conventional coronary angiography in appropriate patients and is half the cost of the traditional procedure which is very lucrative for interventional cardiologists whereas computed tomography angiography is not. It is also a non-invasive procedure which will benefit those eligible at much less risk and a lower cost as well.

I am now speaking from personal experience because my own father, who died on Jan 26, 2006, suffered from complications that arose after a cardiac catheterization and angiography procedure that was unnecessary. A year prior to my father’s passing he had a stent placed in his left descending coronary artery which went flawlessly. Because my father was retired and living in NY he would visit all of his doctors prior to making his annual trip to Florida where he spent the winters in the sun.

This procedure was elective because his cardiologist suggested that the stent be checked before the trip. I should have known better and stopped him, since I was a patient and medical consumer advocate and researched and published reports for consumers and researched diseases for medical professionals for a living. The name of my company at the time was “Health Reports” a service of Multimedia Solutions Inc. a NY company I founded but due to later disability had to stop.

I accompanied my father on all of his doctor visits and when he went to the hospital he for this ambulatory procedure he was fine and he drove his own car to the hospital anticipating go home the same day.

His Interventional Cardiologist that did the procedure afterward said the stent was in beautiful condition but something went wrong because after the procedure my fathers extremities started turning blue from cyanosis. The doctor of course denied any relationship between the two events that happened within hours of each other.

The only possible conclusion that I could draw was that the catheter wire chipped of a piece of calcified plaque and lodged most likely in his lung as an embolism as he developed severe respiratory distress immediately after the angiogram. Now that had to be the greatest coincidence ever or a terrible medical mistake.

So a routine preventive screening where I was going to drive my dad home the same day turned into a week in the hospital after which he was moved into a step down rehabilitation facility and was expected to recover and go home.

On the evening before he was supposed to go home to continue his recovery at home, I visited him with my daughter and immediately saw something was very wrong.

Since there was only one doctor on the floor for about 50 adult residents, I practically had to physically drag the doctor to his room where his only suggestion was that he go back to the hospital. It took the ambulance 30 minutes to arrive to take hime to a major trauma hospital that was literally only a couple of hundred yards from where he was. I could have wheeled him over to the ER faster.

He died around 2 a.m. the next morning. They said he died from mesothelioma. I knew that was impossible because I never even heard the man cough once in his life or present with any of the symptoms of mesothelioma and I was in business with him for many years as well as his son.

Then, recently, when I was hospitalized in a Florida hospital for severe low potassium which was easily resolved over a few days of IV potassium infusion, a cardiologist walked into my room and said he wanted to do an angiogram just before my discharge, to check my stent that I had done a year earlier and I knew was fine and it literally became an argument because I questioned his authority. He finally admitted that the risk of death or complication during a cardiac cateterization were not insignificant. I finally agreed to a non-invasive Cardiac Ultrasound which showed absolutely nothing wrong.

And it had no relationship to why I was even in the hospital. I was released later that day and when I saw my regular cardiologist in New York, he called the other doctor a name I would rather not repeat and told me I may have saved my own life by contesting this man who I never saw before or since.

The odd thing is I only know this because I am an experienced Medical Literature Researcher but disabled.

Because too often patients are not informed of other treatment options for what ever ails them or for that matter the risks associated with many procedure options, because their doctors are simply unaware or don’t care or want to make the most money. Today, hiring an expert medical literature researcher is not a bad idea. And even a personal Patient Advocate which is a growing field for which no professional certification is required is a good idea if you can afford it because if your flat on your back and not in control and perhaps don’t even have family to help you, a personal Patient Advocate can be a good idea.

This is the new reality of healthcare. Its hard to be a practicing physician these days because of the rate of innovation, the problems of being a businessman, dealing with regulatory bodies, covering your hospitalized patients, litigation, etc. Many doctor’s can’t deal with it and quit medicine. And its getting harder.

Common sense also dictates that there is no longer a monopoly on medical information in this new era of instant information and mass communication and that transparency like revolution is a good thing once in a while.

In conclusion, as this essay attempts to address whether or not medical self help groups and self care alternatives are positive adjuncts or harmful challenges to medical care and how they contrast with one another as well as what consequences arise from such analysis, we can conclude with certainty that since the advent of the polio vaccine which brought about a tidal wave of medical advances available to help physicians cure disease, we are now in a new and ever evolving era of unprecedented advances in medicine, information and transparent social communication.

The costs of medical research and care have as a result of these advances skyrocketed to the point that medical resources have to be used in a more cost effective manner. Also, the issue of rationing medical care is one that social policy makers must give great weight to in their deliberations going forward since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The issues are so complicated that consumers have a very difficult time making decisions as to how to best care for themselves and their families. Just picking a health plan can be a nightmare for families and professionals as different plans at different prices can work towards a families’ benefit or detriment depending on their socio-economic status, health history and lifestyles.

If these developments aren’t enough to contend with, the current power of the Internet as a source of both information and now also a powerful social medium in which people can connect with one another on a mass scale must be viewed as a benefit in a system that needs checks and balances due to the entry of so many stakeholders some of whom do not have the patient’s best interests at heart but instead are motivated by greed or are simply incompetent in their professions.

Self help groups, self care and the ability of a patient, or a loved one or an advocate to be involved in the management of illness and disease must work dynamically and cooperatively with their physicians, within this new medical landscape because the genie is now out of the bottle and we can’t look back but must look forward to a system of patients and caregivers working as a team towards the goal of healing and improving the quality of life of our citizens.

So what does the future hold. The last 30 years have seen an evolutionary leap more like one would likely see in a century or more. Now with new technologies such as 3-d copying and printing, and computer aided manufacturing and new medical fields like quantum medicine which uses the principles of quantum physics to better understand biology the future possibilities are mind boggling. The Civil war was only 152 years ago. Since then mankind has progressed from a way of life that sustained civilization for some 200,000 years at an astronomical rate. Can we absorb so much change so fast?

Gene Roddenberry foresaw a future beginning in 2236, 220 years from now with the release of Star Trek which has creating a self perpetuating movement. So what is our destiny, the view of Gene Roddenberry or perhaps, James Cameron’s “the Terminator” where mankind sparks an extinction level event by accident or by terrorism. Only time and man’s ingenuity will tell.

Creating Good Impression Through Medical School Application Essays and Interviews

Med school is one of the popular destinations of students who want to continue their studies after college. Pursuing a career in the field of medicine will open various opportunities for you. A bright career is in store for the one who faces the real world equipped with a medical degree. Opportunities to reach out to people and make a difference in the community are readily available to those with medical degrees. Because of this, it is not so surprising to learn that there are hundreds or even thousands of applicants to medical school every year.

The large number of aspiring doctors make the competition to enter med school tough. This is why you have to make sure than when you prepare your application, you will stand out among other applicants. You can do this by creating a good impression that would make the admissions committee remember you more. There are two ways to grab the attention of the admissions panel. One is through medical school application essays, and the other is through the interview.

Medical school application essays

Making your essay interesting enough to make the admissions officers read it from the beginning to end is one of the keys in creating a good impression on your application. Make your essay engaging by weaving ideas smoothly and letting thoughts flow. Aside from this, you have to ensure that you create a four-dimensional portrayal of yourself on your essay. Include experiences, insights, and goals. Make sure, however, that you are sincere in describing the real you and not the just an ideal candidate for med school. The admissions officers read thousands of essays and have ways of seeing through your lies.

The interview

Wearing proper attire, being polite, and answering questions honestly are some of the things you have to do to impress the interviewers. Another very important thing that you should do is to ensure that you arrive early or on time for your interview. Being late would really tamper your good record. It is also an advantage on your part if you exude confidence. However, don’t be too confident to the point of being cocky.

Let the admissions panel know that you know well about the school and that you have chosen it carefully among others. Also don’t forget to mention the field you want to pursue. If you have a specialization in mind, perhaps you can discuss with the interviewer what made you interested in the field. This will show how responsible you are in making mature decisions in life. As a student, you can’t probably know everything, so don’t make the mistake of thinking you do by dominating the interview with only your own voice and views. Give room to discoveries and let the admissions tell you what’s in store.

Because first impressions are crucial in the application process for med school, you really have to exert effort in creating a good one. Don’t blow your chances by pretending to be someone you’re not. Focus on your strengths and always be gracious.

Medical School Admission Essays – Learn the Admission Criteria

Medical school admissions are becoming increasingly competitive, in part, because of the failing U.S. economy. Bright applicants who used to target business school or law degrees are finding those fields unstable and are turning their interest toward medicine. Consequently, stronger candidates are now pursuing a medical career, making professional medical admissions consulting increasingly important in optimizing medical applications.

Medical school admissions consulting companies come in a variety of forms. Some are larger companies that focus on admissions to several types of graduate programs – not just medicine. Others are smaller companies that provide a medical focus, but have a group of consultants. Finally, elite companies offer both the medical focus and a highly experienced consultant who works one-on-one with clients. These professionals are ex-admissions officers from respected medical institutions. They have the inside knowledge of how medical admissions work, providing personalized guidance to optimize candidate’s written materials and interview skills.

Because applicants can unknowingly undermine their chances of success with poorly compiled application materials, underdeveloped medical admission essays and inadequate interview skills, a qualified, personalized medical admissions consultant provides a great advantage.

An expert consultant can offer a variety of services to improve a medical school application:

1. AMCAS® editing. The American Medical College Application Service is a centralized application processing service for medical college applicants. Ensuring that a candidate’s activity descriptions are optimally-worded is essential for showcasing the applicants’ accomplishments to admissions committees.

2. Medical school personal statement and secondary essay editing. The AMCAS® medical college admission essay and follow up secondary essays allow the applicant to demonstrate his or her distinctiveness as a candidate. Excellent organization, format, syntax, grammar and spelling are essential.

3. Curriculum vitae (C.V.). The C.V. is a standardized medical resume that is offered to faculty to improve candidates’ letters of recommendation (LOIs), highly important factors in the medical college application process. The C.V. can also be used for the rest of the applicant’s professional career.

4. Mock interviews. Few people would take the MCAT® without practicing first. But many applicants mistakenly arrive at their medical school interviews unprepared. Being coached by an experienced professional makes an enormous difference in an applicant’s confidence and presentation to the admissions committee.