Kayla Brimmer, 2014 Medical Assistant Graduate
Medical Assistant at Neurosurgery Associates
With Donna Manchester, Office Manager
“I can’t say enough great things about Kayla. If I could just clone her! In five years, I’ll be training Kayla on office management skills—I’ve even started to show her some now. If Kayla wants to, in the future, she can be managing a specialty practice.” —Donna Manchester
Kayla came to MTTI shortly after giving birth to her baby.
“I wanted to make a better life for myself and for my daughter. My mom works in the medical field—she started out as a CNA and Medical Assistant. I decided to go to school to prepare for a medical career. “
Once she started school, Kayla loved it.
“I am grateful to my parents, who helped by caring for my daughter while I was in class. I enrolled in the part-time evening program. I could go into school early to get extra help from my Instructor, or study right before an exam.”
Learning new skills was sometimes nerve-wracking for Kayla—especially phlebotomy.
“I worried, ‘What if I don’t get it right, and hurt someone?’ After first practicing on the ‘fake arm’ and then on another student, drawing blood felt natural. Another surprise was that, although I didn’t like needles as a patient, I really liked giving injections clinically—especially when I realized that I was able to make people comfortable during the procedure.”
Kayla completed an internship-to-hire at Barrington Urgent Care, and worked there for 4-5 months.
“I used all of the skills I had been taught at school. I gave injections, performed tests (flu, mono, strep) and administered nebulizer treatments. The Urgent Care went through a lot of changes; after they left the Blue Cross Network, patient flow slowed and I was laid off. “
MTTI’s Career Services emailed Kayla about a job opening at Neurosurgery Associates.
“They were looking for a Medical Assistant. I thought I might want to work at another urgent care. When I interviewed and was offered the position, I jumped at the opportunity to work for a top Rhode Island Neurosurgeon.”
Kayla is part of a team with Donna, Dr. Saris and the Physician Assistant, Rodd.
“Working in a neurosurgery practice, I’ve learned a lot about surgical procedures, the brain and the spine. I’ve had the opportunity to see diagnostic images of a brain tumor and disk extrusions. As in any new Medical Assistant position, I’ve had to learn more terminology for the specialty practice I work in.”
Kayla works ‘front and back’, performing clinical and administrative functions for the practice.
“I enter patient demographics and document the encounters, schedule appointments and surgeries. I go into the rooms with patients to take their histories and vital signs. We use eClinicalWorks EHR (Electronic Health Records), which I had begun learning at Barrington Urgent Care. I did have to learn how the Doctor and the team like to do things—that is always specific to the practice. Donna has been great to work with and learn from. She’s always there to support me.”
Donna qualified, “If you only like the clinical side, this might not be the right office for you.”
“You might find a ‘clinical only’ position in another Neurosurgery office, where they have patients every day. Dr. Saris and Rodd are in surgery two days a week. On those days, we handle a lot of paperwork—scheduling patient appointments and MRIs, getting surgical authorizations. Everything now requires prior authorization. Some of the billing crosses over, too. Kayla has to know all of the insurances.”
Kayla offered, “Neurosurgery patients can be very emotional.”
“Patients may be scared about procedures or may come to us in a lot of pain. I love interacting with patients and comforting them when they are frightened. As a Medical Assistant, I want help patients through their appointment by making them as comfortable as I can. I also want to stay calm and remain professional when a patient is feeling angry.
Donna praised Kayla’s patient care skills: “She is able to handle difficult patients extremely well.”
“The practice’s approach to surgery is conservative. Patients may become upset if we do not immediately schedule surgery.” Donna and Kayla explained, “We won’t prescribe narcotics prior to surgery. We have them go through physical therapy and pain management (with injections) first. If the interventions we refer them to don’t resolve the pain, we’ll order a follow-up MRI and re-evaluate the need for surgery.”
Kayla added, “We make extra efforts to make the patient comfortable.”
“We try to get the referrals quickly from their primary care physician. We do our best to explain why we recommend they do not have surgery right away. Some patients are happy to have avoided surgery. For those that do have surgery, it’s a great experience to see them feeling better afterwards—to have them be more comfortable in their bodies. I love when I hear them say, ‘I feel great. Thank you so much.’ ”
Kayla described being in the Medical Assistant program at MTTI as an ‘overall great experience’.
“I had an Instructor who was always there for you—no matter what you needed. My classmates also helped one another. We all had kids. When we could, we would get together to study. I remain friends with some of my former classmates.”
Kayla recommends MTTI—especially for the hands-on training.
"I definitely got enough training at school to prepare me for working in a medical practice. I had to work hard to be in school—studying and taking tests—while taking care of a 3-month old. In the end, what I got out of the program was worth every bit of effort I put into it.”
Becoming a Medical Assistant changed Kalya's life 'tremendously'.
“My boyfriend, daughter and I now have our own place to live. I have a car. I’m able to financially support my daughter and provide everything she needs. At six years old, my daughter is proud of her Medical Assistant mom. She has her own ‘play’ stethoscope. One day, I had my work stethoscope at home. She listened to my heartbeat and tried taking my blood pressure. I recognized then that I am a positive role model for her. Seeing me successful as a Medical Assistant gives her the message that she, too, will be able to make a good life, and one day have a career she loves.”
“MTTI graduates have become a valuable part of our practice. In my experience, MTTI graduates come out of the program with the best training skill sets. I appreciate how you include practitioners and employers in Program Advisory Committee meetings. I like knowing what you are teaching and how you take our suggestions (to continuously update the program). I found it especially helpful at this last meeting to go into the classroom and lab—and see how students interact. I believe MTTI is one of the better schools. I can see how hard all of you work to make it that way.” –Donna Manchester