2009 Medical Assistant Graduate
Lead Medical Office Manager & Business Manager / Medical Assistant at AdCare
“It’s a long story—since graduating from MTTI, I’ve worked as a Medical Assistant, Medical Receptionist/Biller and now as a Medical Office Manager. Somewhere in the middle, I hit a rough patch—I struggled with opiate addiction. When I let substance abuse derail my career, I felt I had thrown my integrity out the window. I knew I was capable of being a productive member of society and a medical professional. At MTTI, my Instructor had taught me to have integrity. After hitting rock bottom, I began the road back to recovery—and pushed myself to earn back my integrity.”
I came to MTTI with some real estate and medical office experience.
My friend, Kim, recommended MTTI. Kim is a Medical Office graduate; her daughter, Devon, is now a 2019 Medical Assistant graduate.
The atmosphere at MTTI is very welcoming.
We had fun, yet learned a lot. The course curriculum and hands-on skills prepare you to go into many avenues in the medical field.
At MTTI I learned how to work in a team.
My classmates and I studied together; we practiced phlebotomy and performed injections on one another. If someone was struggling, my Instructor would have everyone help one another. She taught us that each person learns at a different pace; in our class, no one was ever made to feel ‘dumb’. I brought the experience of working as a team member into the workplace.
I was hired as a Medical Assistant/Medical Receptionist at Hillside Family and Community Medicine.
Having learned both clinical and administrative skills, working in a busy practice—doing everything from taking vital signs to scheduling appointment for 5-7 doctors—was a good fit for me. Unfortunately, after a couple of doctors left the practice, I was one of two Medical Assistants they had to let go.
My next position was as a Medical Scribe for a Primary Care Physician.
Scribes accompany the doctor into the room while the doctor examines the patient. The scribe types the notes into a laptop, so that the doctor can face, and talk directly with, the patient. Not having to look at the laptop, the doctor can interact with the patient at a deeper level.
Unsure about working as a Scribe, I found I liked being the doctor’s ‘right hand’.
I documented each encounter, ordered X-rays, lab work and prescriptions—and also scheduled appointments—right from the laptop. Sometimes the doctor would turn to me and ask, “What do you think?”
We had a patient who needed two medications; his insurance only covered one.
The doctor was concerned that if he didn’t take the meds, the patient’s diabetes would not be controlled—it could be fatal.” After getting the Doctor’s permission, l called the pharmaceutical rep and said, “There’s got to be a way to get this gentleman his medication.” Helping the patient get both of his life-saving medications felt very good.
I always pushed myself to do a good job, as I had been taught at MTTI.
No one knew that I had begun taking opiates. Initially, I didn’t think it was a problem. I was managing my job and my family life; no one could tell. When it finally came to light, I had to leave my job. Fearful that Family Court might take my children away, I entered Rehab. Family Court showed me every respect.
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) saved my life.
I became an outpatient at AdCare, attended Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings and followed the 12-Step Recovery Program. At NA, they believe that you can lose the desire for drugs, and never have to use again. They offered me the hope that I didn’t have to remain an addict, and the belief that I could re-build my life.
I never again had a positive urine.
A week after my first anniversary of attending an NA meeting, I celebrated my granddaughter’s birth. During 2014, all charges were dropped and my record was expunged. In March 2019, I celebrated my 6-year anniversary of being drug-free.
I still didn’t know if I would ever again work as a medical professional.
Someone I knew in NA, said, “I think I can get you a job at RI Clinical Services.” The gentleman who gave me the job, Reinhard Straub, was in long-term recovery himself. He liked my Medical Assistant background. He has told me, “I saw something in you—you were inquisitive and hungry to learn. You understood the world of substance abuse.”
I am grateful for, and thankful to, Reinhard Straub.
He believed in me and gave me the chance to work again in the medical field I love. I started by working in the lab. Reinhard saw that I was meant to do more than collect urine. When they found out that I had learned at school to give injections, they had me give patients injections of opiate blockers. Before injecting someone, I would take a medical history and (for young adult women) conduct a pregnancy test. Once I gave the injection, I needed to continue taking vitals and monitor blood pressure.
Eventually Reinhard sold RI Clinical Services to the American Addiction Centers and opened Recovery Services of CT.
American Addiction Centers purchased AdCare. I now work for the AdCare Division, which has outpatient locations in Greenville, Portsmouth, and South Kingstown, Rhode Island. I opened the third site, in South Kingstown and became the Lead Office Manager/Business Manager for South Kingstown, Greenville and Portsmouth. As the Office Manager, I have taught Licensed Chemical Dependency Professionals (LCDP) and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) how to collect the co-pays of the clinicians, conduct check-in/check-out and collect urine, to make the office efficient.
I’ve learned that having both hands-on patient care and administrative skills are helpful to a clinician.
I wouldn’t have known how to perform any of these skills—or even the language of medicine, if I had not attended MTTI. Learning the clinical skills, people skills—and how to think outside the box—has provided the foundation on which to build a career in medicine.
Doctors depend on Medical Assistants.
We give them all of the info so they can make the diagnoses. Because of my clinical training, I know how to look for signs of underlying illness and mental health conditions. Even now, as an Office Manager, if I spot blood in a urine sample, I recognize it, and will refer the patient to a doctor. If someone is light-headed, I can take a blood pressure. When I had to revive two patients in the office using NARCAN™ (Naoxone), thank goodness I had a medical background! I knew how to take their blood pressure and observe them.
I never know what my work day will be like.
I can be in South County and get a call from another location. They’ll say, “We need you here medically, to sit with a patient, take their history and observe her or him. After taking the medical and substance abuse history, I will connect the patient to the appropriate services.
This is my calling. I belong here.
I’m more comfortable working with these patients than I have been in any other medical setting I’ve worked in.
In my mind and work, I am still making amends.
I’ve apologized to the people I hurt—my family and friends, and the Primary Care Doctor I worked for. I pay my gratitude forward by being the best employee I can and by helping other addicts and their family and friends to navigate the journey of recovery. I am doing my best to be a good mom and family member. I’ve pushed myself beyond what anyone would expect of me. Part of it is me—but a part of it is the set of skills and ethics I was taught at MTTI.