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Strength and weaknesses, for some reason, is a topic that is hard for me to write about. I have started this paper numerous times only to hit the backspace key before a sentence is completed. Even though it is hard for me to do sometimes, by identifying my strengths and weaknesses, it will help me become more successful not only in my professional career, but my personal life as well. A positive aspect towards life is what keeps a person growing physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. Therefore, by reinforcing personal strengths, my mind will remain positive which will help me to continue a healthy, prosperous, and productive life. On the other hand, weaknesses need to be dealt with accordingly so that I can accomplish my goals and not let myself or my fellow co-workers down.
I have learned through my many years of schooling and being in the work environment that successful leaders understand and strive on their personal strengths, while searching for employees that will help balance out their weaknesses. There are many lessons we can learn in life from our parents, teachers, pastors, mentors, etc. but, the most important lesson has to come from within myself. I have realized over the years that as I continue to develop as a successful professional it is beneficial for me to learn who I am, as well as, have the ability to recognize and grow from my own strengths and weaknesses. One of my many goals in life is to continue to reinforce my strengths and strive to overcome my weaknesses. In doing this, I will find happiness within myself and become more successful not only in my professional life, but my personal life as well.
It is amazing how a person's personality profile can change in a years time. In August 2008, I got accepted into the Wingate University Physician Assistant Program and during orientation that year I had to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator online. Initially, I wasn't excited about taking the personality profile because I have taken them in the past and it really didn't tell me much about me and how I functioned in the society as a whole. After taking the test, my results revealed that I was an ESFP, which is classified as a performer. These results were totally different from the ones that I have received in the past. I guess people do change.
The biggest change that I noticed right off was the fact that I was classified as an extrovert. I have always been an introvert growing up and I feel like I still tend to lean more to that side of the fence. It is amazing how, depending on the day, you can change from an extrovert to introvert, sensor to intuitive, thinker to feeler, and judger to perceiver. I just recently took the Modified Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory and my results were different than they were a year ago. Now, I am classified as an ISFJ, which is a nurturer. After reading the personality portraits of both types, I tend to agree more with the nurturer description of myself and not the performer side of things. However, I do accept the fact that I will have some form of all the personality traits, especially if I want to continue being a well rounded individual and be open to change, growth, and development of myself and my professional career.
I have learned over the past year that I am an introvert. I tend to listen more than I talk, keep my excitement and enthusiasm to myself, always think carefully before I speak, and would prefer being on the sidelines instead of being the center of attention. The only extrovert traits that I now seem to possess is always being on the go and I love to meet people and participate in all the fun and exciting activities. I am definitely a sensing type of person. No matter how many tests I take, I always score the same. I love to learn new things by observation, focus on actual experiences instead of the possibilities, behave practically, value realism and common sense, and rely on past experiences. As far as feelings go, I score off the charts in that category. I have always been the one to decide more with my heart, notice when people need support, deal with people compassionately, and like to show appreciation for other people. The last change that I noticed from my previous tests is that over the years I have went from a perceiver to a judger. I think a lot of that has to do with growing up and getting older, and hopefully more mature. A judger is someone who enjoys finishing things, is settled and organized, and likes having a checking off "to do" list. I have found over the years that my check off list keeps my sanity, especially, when I have multiple things that need to be completed in a timely manner. The list helps me prioritize and keeps me on task.
If I think long and hard, I am sure there are many interpersonal relationships that come to mind when dealing with my strengths and weaknesses. The main one that comes to mind is my dedication toward my career and my social support network for family and friends. Dedication is definitely one of my personal strengths. I take my schooling and job very seriously. When a task or assignment is given to me, it is not just my goal to complete the project, but to strive to complete it with perfection.
Another strength that comes to mind is that I make myself flexible and try to compromise as much as I can with co-workers. I believe that everyone's opinion is important and by listening to what another person has to say could possibly make my job easier or make the project I am working on more beneficial and educational to people following in my footsteps. I am not compromising to "suck up" to my co-workers or supervisor by no means, I am just trying to maximize my resources, do what is best for the company, and remain dedicated to the profession that I am involved in at the same time.
Teamwork is a strength that I place on top of the totem pole of life. Most people think that I am talking about all the sports teams that I have been involved with in the past as well as the present. To me, being a member of a team goes far beyond the sports field. The most important team that I am a part of is my faith in God. I have learned that through the years, God has always been there for me and will continue to be there for me no matter what the situation may be. I can always talk to him and I know he is always listening to what I am saying. He doesn't judge me, he allows me to live my life and learn from my mistakes, but also shows me the way by taking my hand and leading me down the path that will help me see the world and succeed in life's adventures. He is the leader of my team. Family and friends are another team that I treasure dearly. I am fortunate in that I have a family and several great friends that love me and support me no matter what curve balls I may be swinging at on a daily basis. They are always there to cheer me up, encourage me, and support me every step of the way. No matter what team I am own, it requires a lot of dedication, and I am the type of person that is willing to go above and beyond for the success and benefit of my team.
On the other side of the fence, I also have interpersonal weaknesses that I need to overcome. I feel like my biggest weakness is the inability to express myself for fear of hurting the people that I love. I am the type of person that will listen intently, but refrain from talking about my opinions, thoughts, or beliefs for fear that other people will judge me or think differently of me. I am more of a peacemaker and I do not like to rock the boat so a lot of times I will not say what is on my mind. I will just suppress the feelings that I am experiencing and deal with them later on down the road. I have found that exercising and playing sports is a great outlet for me to release my fears, thoughts, and frustrations. I am working each day to try and overcome this weakness. I am trying not to worry as much about what others will think of me if and when I express my points of view. I need to learn how to respect myself first and have learned that in order for me to be able to do this I can't continue holding back my thoughts. By doing this, I am not being true to myself. My plan is to start with my family and friends, because I feel safe around them and I know they will not hold back if I am being too blunt with my thoughts or ideas. Once I feel confident around the people that I trust and love, I will move forward to my teams outside my family. I know that in order to be successful in the workplace and on my team, I need to be able to communicate efficiently with each member so that the job can be completed in a timely manner and done right the first time. I have to be open to positive and negative criticism and do what is right for the company, instead of what I may or may not agree with at the time.
The past several months of clinical rotations have taught me a lot about who I am and what my strengths and weaknesses are within the medical profession. I am in my fourth rotation, and if you would have asked me before I started in August what I thought my worst rotation would be, I would have said women's health without a doubt. I was dreading that rotation with a passion and was glad it was going to be the first one so I could get it out of the way. Now looking back, that is by far one of the best rotations I have endured so far. I learned that my strengths are not necessarily my ability to perform the clinical skills that I have been taught, it is more my ability to interact with the patients and staff to take care of each individual patient and their needs. I have been taught the skills that it takes to perform an exam, but until you are out there in the field actually doing the work, you never know if that is going to be a strength that you will excel with or a weakness that you will have to conquer. Fortunately for me, patient and staff interaction is one of my strong points.
One of my major areas of weakness is having the confidence to perform the skills that I have been taught. I have come to the realization, especially with this rotation, that a lot of people do not want to see students nor do they trust what I am trying to convey to them. By being a student, you must be confident in your skills or the patients will see right through you and not want to listen to what you need or want to tell them. At the practice I am at, the nursing assistants ask each patient if it is okay if I come in the room, talk to them, ask questions, and assess their problems. It is hard sometimes standing outside the door and hearing the words that they prefer not to see a student because they want a real "doctor". I have heard that several times and that can definitely lower your confidence level for the next room that you enter. I keep telling myself that not everyone feels that way and I am a competent student and will be a great PA when I graduate. Each day that goes by, I try to find that inner confidence and tell myself that I will be a great PA and try to learn more and more about medicine so I can achieve that goal. My confidence level isn't always the greatest on the inside, but I continue to put the smile on my face, show compassion, and also know when to ask for help when I need it.
When I was applying for PA school my thoughts were to pursue the areas of trauma, cardiology, and orthopedics. I am the type of person that thrives on the excitement and rush of having to deal with an emergency type setting. These three areas can be a life and death situation and you have to act quickly and appropriately to do what you think will save the persons life. To me, that was my ideal job. I wanted to save people. I have not had the opportunity yet to rotate in these various professions, so I cannot say for sure that I will still go down one of these three pathways when I graduate. However, I have learned that there are more aspects of medicine besides the emergency situations. Hospice is one rotation that I went into thinking I don't understand how people do that day in and day out. After being there for five weeks, I took more out of that rotation than any of the other three that I have been a part of. It was very moving and meaningful for me to learn how to control pain issues and to make my patient comfortable so they can pass from this world in a peaceful manner. Death is very hard at times, but being at Hospice taught me that you do not have to die a long and painful death. There are special people out there that can help keep a loved one from hurting and allows them to enter the Kingdom of God with a smile on their face knowing they are going home to be with other loved ones and our Savior Jesus Christ. Interacting with the families of these patients and just listening to their stories made me realize that I am special for what I am doing and I do make a difference in the lives of others. I have decided that I am going to keep my options open and see where my heart leads me as I continue to grow and develop during the next eleven months.
Everyone has a personal growth plan whether it deals with looking forward to retiring, helping people, or doing the least amount of work for the most amount of pay. My personal growth plan is in constant change which I think is beneficial for me to keep growing. For me to continue climbing up the success ladder I need to alter my plans on a continual basis so that I don't get burnt out or lose sight of my goals. About nine years ago, I was told that I was not smart enough to apply and get accepted into PA school. I spent many years wondering, questioning, and believing that I was not smart enough, so instead of applying, I gave up on the thought for fear of embarrassment. The thoughts of applying never left my brain, but I would not act or pursue my dreams because I didn't want to hear the words "I told you so". At that point my personal growth plan was buried somewhere down deep and I found myself not growing mentally or physically. I was just settling with various jobs and trying to find something to make me happy. After ten years of trying to find happiness in a job I decided to dig up my growth plan, add water, and see if the seeds would grow. As you can see now, I am in my second year of school and have grown tremendously as a person. I have learned that no matter what my growth plan is right now it will continue to change so that I will continue to grow and not just settle on second best. Currently, my growth plan in a nutshell is to excel with each rotation, learn new information, apply the information learned, graduate school, and pass my national boards. After all of that happens there are endless opportunities for me to grow to include becoming a surgeon, specializing in an area, or possibly becoming a PA educator so I can teach future students to become practitioners just like I have been taught. I am on an extension ladder and I will continue to climb as long as I have dreams, aspirations and goals, as well as support from God, family and friends.
This is my last year of PA school and I am going to do everything I can to become a better person as well as continue to learn and grow as a physician assistant. I am going to continue to focus on my weaknesses and overcome them one at a time. I have had some great preceptors so far and I spend numerous hours observing and working with them to gain the knowledge that I need to practice on my own in the future. I will continue to ask questions, research topics, and gain confidence in my skills as a practitioner. I will continue working on my strengths as well by communicating with staff and patients to come up with the best treatments possible for the situation that I am dealt with.
I truly believe that I will be a great physician assistant and I am excited about the fact that I am in my last year of school. It has been a long and stressful program to date, but I have enjoyed every minute of it. I am glad that I made the decision to attend Wingate University because the staff have been wonderful and have helped make me the person that I am today. I thank them for believing in me and giving me the chance to become a physician assistant by accepting me into their program. Each day that passes, I am getting closer and closer to my dream that I have had since I was in high school. Before long, that dream will be a reality and I am looking forward to the day that I accept my first job as a physician assistant.
In conclusion, this paper has made me think about a lot of things in my past as well as my future besides my strengths and weaknesses. There have been many times in the past year that I have gotten frustrated, tired, stressed and wanted to give up. I am glad that I didn't. This paper has helped me get re-focused, energized and excited about my last year of school. I will continue to grow and develop, move forward with a positive attitude, and be the best person I can be. I find it fitting that my favorite bible verse sums up this paper in a nutshell. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13. December 2010, here I come!