What’s your true motivation to become a PA?

If you’re going to convey honesty and transparency in your personal narrative, it’s crucial to understand what motivates you.  It’s unlikely that your interview panel will directly ask what motivates you, but they may ask about the reasons you chose to become a PA.  If you’re just looking for notoriety, a decent salary, or for the opportunity to “help people” your motives will undoubtedly be questioned.

To present your story most effectively in your narrative and at the interview, it’s imperative that you know yourself it the context of what motivates you.  There are six major motivating factors and most people are influenced by two or three of these.  Here’s a breakdown of each factor.


Contribution is an action that seeks to improve the situation of another.  This can be a mental or physical improvement, but the overall objective is to influence the other person’s emotional state for the better through your own actions. If contributing to the well-being of others isn’t one of the main reasons driving you to become a PA, you may want to reconsider your motivations.


Growth is when you seek to grow based on your actions.  Growth is typically a result of contribution, so they have a relatively symbiotic relationship.  As we grow, we develop a greater capacity to help others and make a difference in our world. This means that if you’re motivated by growth, you’ll feel good as a caregiver because you’ll be contributing to the wellbeing of others and thus opening yourself up to endless opportunities for self-growth.


Humans are social beings and, from the moment we’re born, our developmental health depends significantly on our relationships and interactions with others.  The relationships formed between PAs and patients can be profound to the point where patients will go out of their way to thank PAs for their high level of care and attentiveness.  If you’re motivated by forging meaningful relationships with others, make sure to relay this in your narrative but frame it in a way that’s related to direct patient care.

Significance is a sense of worthiness. While self-worth can be determined in different ways for different people, everybody wants to fee unique and important in some way.  If “doing something that matters” is a driving force for becoming a PA, you’re likely motivated by the significance of your actions.  It’s important to note that the need for significance can become addicting and can negatively affect your ability to connect with others- if you don’t add a bit of humility into the mix, you risk coming off as detached or unsympathetic.

Variety is the “spice of life”.  It brings us a sense of waiting for the unexpected- an adventure lurking just around the corner.  Variety also means that you get the chance to experience a wide range of things and interact with various people from all walks of life, which pairs well with the Relationship motivation.  If you want to become a PA because every day is different and you’ll never know what to expect or because you never know who will walk (or roll) through the door, you’re most likely motivated by variety.


Assurances is the knowledge that an action will definitely result in a predictable outcome.  It’s the stability many of us crave, the desire to have all of your needs met in an expected and timely manner.  If you can identify your own needs, it’s much easier to determine the needs of another and then relate to that person in terms of having those needs met.  This leads to a powerful sense of connection and rapport.

If you know which two or three are your primary motivations, you can approach your preparation to become a PA from a place that means that most to you!  Additionally, if you know these motivating factors and focus on them during your preparatory period, your presentation and writing process will be powerful because they’ll come more naturally.