My name is Paul Alexander Gonzales, and I am currently a Physician Assistant Student living in Dallas, TX.
I was born and raised in Austin, Texas, but my family is originally from a little town outside of Austin called Lockhart, the BBQ capitol of Texas. I am the second to youngest of 5 biological siblings, but I have 2 half sisters that are also older than me. I started PA school on May 19th, 2014 at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas.
I previously worked for St. David's Medical Center in Austin, Texas while attending the University of Texas at Austin. While there, I worked on attaining my bachelor of science in biomedical engineering. During undergrad, I also did lots of volunteer work for many organizations on and off-campus, including working for Austin State Hospital. While at ASH, I worked for the education rehabilitation facility where we would hold focus groups for patients that used drugs and developed mental disorders (such as schizophrenia) or had mental disorders and used drugs to cope with them. I learned a lot about mental health and the lack of resources in the state of Texas. It fostered a desire for me to want to pursue mental health, such as psychiatry or neurology, which is why I eventually found myself at St. David's.
At St. David's Medical Center, I was a patient care technician, which is similar to a CNA, but we are trained on-the-job, and is how I originally was introduced to the physician assistant profession. After working in the ICU and Neurology units for about 2.5 years, I decided to shadow a PA & physician at Scott & White (now Baylor Scott & White) Hospital in general surgery. I was able to see the differences between the physician and PA, but also see their team-work and how their relationship meshed so well together so that they could get work accomplished much faster and efficiently. I also was able to see them both act together in clinic and in surgery, so it was a really nice dynamic that I'm not sure most people get to see anywhere else.
Before entering PA school I also was a private mathematics tutor for many years, and eventually I worked for Sylvan Learning Center the fall before PA school started. I had always wanted to teach children and I knew it would be my one opportunity to do so. Since this was a short-lived experience, I took a job with an artificial cervical disc company. While there I created presentations for physicians to present at conferences and wrote papers over the data we were receiving from the patients using our products. I basically learned a lot about degenerative disc disease and arthroplasty, and sparked my interest in neurosurgery.
Now I am attending my dream school, UT Southwestern Medical Center, about 4 years later, and I am so happy I made the decision to come here. I love Dallas and I can't wait to become a physician assistant. I am currently in the clinical phase (5th semester) and will continue to update my blog after competing each rotation, beginning with pediatrics, psychiatry, and Ob/Gyn. I will graduate in December of 2016.
This is my personal blog, and I will post about topics that I have read about in previous and current issues of PA professional, JAAPA, JPAE, and other articles I find online that may be helpful to Pre-PA students, current PA students, and practicing PA's. I hope you enjoy and let me know if you have any comments or questions for me.
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