Amanda DaSilva, 2019 Medical Assistant Graduate
Medical Assistant at Coastal Medical
It was natural that I would want to pursue a medical career.
I was inspired by multiple family members in the medical field. After High School, I volunteered in Rhode Island Hospital’s gift shop. Then, for almost ten years, I worked in Target and CVS as a Nationally Certified Pharmacy Technician, and even provided training to onboarding Pharmacy Technicians and students.
I tried advancing my career by working in medical administrative positions.
Working as a Medical Receptionist/ Patient Service Representative at an eye care practice, I scheduled patient appointments, conducted insurance verifications, obtained prior authorizations and referrals from doctors and collected co-pays. I researched MRI safety for each patient and conducted MRI screening questions.
I wanted to grow into working more hands-on with patients.
I was also looking for better job security and a more personally rewarding career. At the eye care center, we had planned that I would be trained as a Technician. When that didn’t happen, I resigned and told my husband, ‘I’m going to go to school!’
Going to MTTI felt like the best opportunity for me.
My youngest brother had graduated MTTI’s Automotive Service Technician program. He would talk about having had a good experience at the school. I scheduled a tour and met with Cheryl in Admissions and Ms. Courtney, the Lead Medical Assistant Instructor. I liked the course and the lab—and appreciated that Ms. Courtney came from the industry. She knew the medical world and could teach us what to expect after we were hired.
At the beginning, attending school felt stressful.
I had been out of school for a while. The work load included a test every day and a unit final exam every week. Ms. Courtney was tough. I knew everything she was doing was meant to benefit us, but I felt the pressure of trying to meet her expectations. During those first weeks, my stress level escalated. I thought about quitting. Ms. Courtney urged me to stay in the program. If she hadn’t, I likely would have given up. Instead, I went home and thought, ‘I came so far to get into the program, why would I even think about quitting?’
Ms. Courtney will never know how much I appreciate her encouragement.
Throughout the program, she gave her all—blood, sweat, and tears—to get us through. Ms. Courtney gave us a calendar to follow, so we would know exactly what is expected. Once you get into a ‘groove’ it gets better. I learned how to set priorities and ‘got my groove on’!
I felt the stress again when we began the hands-on practice of phlebotomy.
I wanted to develop the best skills, but I was nervous. Ms. Courtney said that if I didn’t step up and get past my fears, I would be less prepared for entering the medical profession. Taking a deep breath, I approached my lab partner and with Ms. Courtney’s encouragement, I drew her blood.
I knew then that this was what I wanted—I wouldn’t let fear get in the way.
A couple more blood draws and I was golden! It helped to have Ms. Courtney by my side. She never gave up on us—anyone who has her as an Instructor is fortunate!
I shadowed at Coastal Medical and was planning to intern there.
Then I was selected for an internship at Lifespan. I told Coastal Medical, ‘I really like it here—you’ll see me when I’ve completed school.’ The internship in Employee Health at the hospital went well, but I didn’t have as much opportunity as I would have liked to practice all of my new skills.
As I completed my internship, I applied to Coastal Medical.
I didn’t hear back immediately. After a couple of weeks, I called to follow-up. It took another week, but because I had taken the initiative to call, I was invited to interview. Two Lead Medical Assistants interviewed me. I asked them questions to understand what I would be doing day-to-day, what skills I would be using. What kind of provider would I work with—would it be one MA to one Doc?
I was so excited to be hired where I most wanted to work.
The first day at the practice was a bit nerve-wracking. Having shadowed there, I had a sense of what to do. It’s a big office and there is a lot to learn! I continue to have questions—but they like that I am asking them; they know that I am eager to learn. Some things have to be learned in the field—for example, the way each practice handles insurance and prescriptions. At least I knew the medications because of my previous pharmacy experience and from school.
I feel I fit in here so well!
We have a great group of Doctors, Medical Assistants and Office Managers. The Medical Assistants on the team support one another. It feels like a large family. Officially I start at 8:30 am; but I’m there, by choice, at 7 am, getting rooms ready and printing reports. No one asks me to be there that early—it’s my own work ethic. If I am ready ahead of time, I won’t stress out the providers I work with. Patients won’t feel rushed—they are there for the care.
I’ve recently completed my 90 day probationary period.
I’m looking to add on a weekend per diem position in phlebotomy—just because I enjoy it. I am so happy to be working directly with people. I have a good heart. While I value my medical administrative experience, now as a Medical Assistant, I’m able to go above and beyond to help patients.
When people ask me, ‘Should I go to MTTI?’ I say, ‘Absolutely, do it!’
The Medical Assistant program is short—only 6 months—but I learned so much! MTTI offers excellent training and has amazing teachers and staff. They are always updating the curriculum to be in step with the changes in the medical field—MTTI teaches you what Medical Assistants actually do in practice.
What I learned in the program changed my personal outlook.
Every day at school I learned something new. I learned things in the program about taking better care if myself. My favorite project was about nutrition. You just don’t know what you are putting into your body! Learning about the amount of sugar and carbs in my food made me change my habits. As a Medical Assistant, I see patients everyday—some of whom are struggling with their health and aren’t able to change their medical conditions. What I’ve learned helps me take better care of myself, and also to help my family members take better care of themselves.
Going to MTTI changed my life.
I really love working as a Medical Assistant; I wouldn’t change it for anything. Now I feel like I am in a career I really want to be in—and I’m making a better living, too. Looking back, if I had to do it again, I would do it exactly the same way.