2019 Medical Assistant Graduate
Medical Assistant at Coastal Family Medicine in East Providence, RI
Growing up, I always wanted to be in healthcare.
During high school, I was in a biomed program that prepared me to be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). We performed EKGs, became certified in CPR and First Aid, learned how to help patients with their medications and to manage their catheters. During my last year in high s school, I worked in a nursing home.
I liked helping people, but decided that being a CNA was not for me.
I tried, but it made me sad to see that people living in the nursing home felt lonely.
Afterwards, I had a series of customer service and administrative jobs.
I managed a Save-A lot grocery store. At the ACI, I handled inmate accounts, helping them make purchases; it was a rough environment. Working at a lighting store, I learned to manage accounts payable and accounts receivable, plus how to wire lights on the showroom floor.
I kept thinking about training for a medical career.
I didn’t necessarily believe that I could make this happen.
One day, while playing Xbox online, a guy joined in the game.
We talked over the microphone; he told me he lived in Louisiana. Austin and I began “dating” through social media, webcam meetings and phone conversations.
After a year of dating online, Austin moved to Rhode Island to live with me.
I had been in love with him for a year—but when we first met in person I was scared to look at him.
I thought, “What if meeting me in person, he doesn’t like me?”
Austin told me, “You look beautiful.” That’s what I needed to hear. I finally looked up at him and knew everything was going to be all right.
I began to believe that anything can happen.
One day you connect with someone online who lives across the country. You think you’ll never meet—and then it’s five years that you’ve been making a life together.
I started telling myself ‘someday I’ll find a way to go back to school’.
I still felt I couldn’t afford to stop working. After first living with my mom, Austin and I got our own apartment. I was making good money at my job. We needed that income to pay our living expenses. I could have gone to school at night while working, but didn’t think I could do my best work that way.
Returning to my job one day after vacation, I was laid off.
I knew it would be difficult to find a job that paid as well. I was tired of working at jobs I didn’t like. I wanted to do work that I loved.
One day I woke up and thought, ‘You’ve wanted to go back to school—just do it!’
I talked with Austin. We looked at our bills. He told me, “We’re going to struggle, but I want you to do what you want to do. “
I visited MTTI, signed up and started class.
I knew about MTTI from my mom; I called her and asked her to visit the school with me. I met with Amy in Admissions and also interviewed with the Lead Medical Assistant Instructor, Ms. Jen. A class had just started. Because I had a CNA background, they thought I could make-up two weeks of work I had missed.
I worked hard to make up missed work, while learning what was being taught in class.
My classmates were skeptical about my late start. They didn’t know that I was making up all of the work they had done during those first weeks. I felt stressed and alone.
I stayed late after class, and some days, stayed with the night class to catch up on the work.
I remained focused and pushed through. Ms. Diane and Ms. Courtney helped me. There was no room for failure. I told myself—‘You’re paying for this—you have to make it a success.’
I needed to bridge the distance between me and my classmates.
I thought that if they heard that I had made up the missed work—and how much I struggled to do it—they would better accept me.
I sat down and talked openly with each classmate.
When I let them in and showed them my personality, we clicked. It helps to be part of a class that stands together, in which everyone one helps each other.
I loved the hands-on clinical skills and labs—and the projects I did with my classmates.
Everyone at MTTI makes the school feel like family—the school even held a Halloween costume party and honored us with a Student Appreciation Day.
I scheduled extra shadow days to decide where I wanted to intern.
I was unsure if I wanted to intern in Urgent Care, Pediatrics or another type of practice. I knew from working on cadavers in high school that surgical procedures interested me—and that I don’t have a weak stomach or a fear of seeing blood. I wanted to be where I could work hands-on, using all of my skills.
After 7 shadows, I chose the Coastal Family Medicine practice on Wampanoag Trail in East Providence.
They see patients from newborns to seniors, and do pretty much everything. I expected the internship would start off slowly. The first week, they gave me a laptop and had me performing many clinical skills, including giving patients flu shots.
I was hired after my second week of internship.
Because they trusted me, I felt comfortable very quickly. The doctors I work for teach me to help with many procedures, including cauterizing umbilical cords. I conduct vision and hearing tests during well-child visits and assist with annual physical exams for adult patients.
Now I wake up with a smile on my face—excited—wondering what I’ll be doing that day.
Doing what I love every day makes me feel like a better person. I may come home tired at the end of the day—but I know I have succeeded, because I have helped people.
I appreciate everyone who supported me.
I thank Ms. Courtney for pushing me; without her, I might have given up. She and Ms. Diane were always there to teach me a skill, or to bring me up when I was feeling down. I am grateful for the love and encouragement that my mom and my boyfriend, Austin, gave me.
Returning to school helped me have faith in my abilities.
Going to MTTI showed me I have a lot more to bring to the table that I thought. I recognize now that I can pretty much do anything I want to.
If you are thinking about going back to school—just do it.
You won’t regret it. Medical Assisting is a great career. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make good things happen, you will fill yourself—and the world--with hope.
Middle Photo: Devon (left, back row) with her classmates and Instructor, Ms. Diane.