*Devon Gomes Update
MTTI Graduates at the Front-Line During the Coronavirus Outbreak:
Devon Gomes, 2019 Medical Assistant Graduate
Medical Assistant at Coastal Family Medicine in East Providence, RI
Since graduating from MTTI, Devon has been a vital part of a health team that provides comprehensive care for newborns to seniors. She shares her frontline experience during this COVID-19 pandemic—and why she continues to love being a Medical Assistant.
I never expected to be front and center during a viral epidemic.
We’re learning to provide for patients in new ways—taking it day by day. Medical practices can’t shut down. To protect patients and providers we’re screening patients over the phone. Clinicians are providing patient ‘visits’ using telemedicine; patients can video conference with a doctor or nurse using a computer, smartphone, or iPad. Some of us will be working from home using SKYPE for Business to triage patients and schedule appointments.
The stress level is exceptionally high at this time—for patients and for me.
Everyone who calls thinks they may have the virus. Everyone wants to be seen. It can be hard to triage people when they feel frightened. It’s my job is to stay calm and reassure them so I can ask questions. I’ll say, ‘Do you have a cough?’ If they answer, ‘I think so,’ I’ll ask again: ‘Do you really have a cough?’ Most patients don’t have symptoms of the Coronavirus.
I’ve always practiced cleanliness and use aseptic techniques I learned at school.
Before the outbreak, I routinely wiped things down after a visit. Now, when patients come to the office, we all wear masks--patients and practitioners. We wipe everything down—doorknobs, pens, clipboards. We all wash our hands or use hand sanitizer regularly throughout the day.
When I return home after work, I take a hot shower.
I don’t wear my work shoes in the house. I take vitamins to boost immunity. I continue washing my hands or using hand sanitizer. At home, I can relax, which helps me to stay positive while working.
I never imagined I would be doing all that I do as a Medical Assistant.
As a smaller practice, the three Medical Assistants split Office Manager duties; I’m assigned to manage immunizations. I attend the manager meetings and communicate with the RI Department of Health. I order the immunizations, maintain inventory of vaccines, check expirations dates and mark what we need to send back.
As a Medical Assistant you will be exposed to all sorts of things.
You can’t pick and choose who you will help—so make the choice about whether this is the right career for you. When a doc asks for help with a patient who has fallen, and is bleeding from an open wound so deep that you can see the shin bones, you can’t say ‘no’. You can’t be grossed out by blood You want to be confident, make the patient comfortable and to competently assist the Doctor.
I love my job. I wouldn’t give it up for anything.
Every medical practice has their own way of doing things. School prepared me 100% to work as a Medical Assistant and to continue learning on the job. I chose to become a Medical Assistant; I signed up for the risk. The main goal in medicine is treating patients and doing it right. Despite the challenges of providing patient care during the COVID-19 epidemic, I still wake up with a smile knowing I am going to be helping people.