Rita Miranda, 2018 Medical Assistant Graduate
Registered Medical Assistant & Medical Assistant at Reliant Medical Group
“Harder than caring for any patient is to care for your own child who has cancer. I made a promise to my daughter before she died that I would go back to school.”
I always put my kids first—and put myself on the back burner.
I was 16 when I had my first child, married at 17. I’ve been married to my soulmate for 28 years; I’m a mom of five—and a grandmother. My husband and my children have been my greatest support throughout my journey.
For almost 25 years, I dreamed of getting into the medical field.
I’ve had a lot of obstacles thrown at me. I worked through them, determined to follow my dreams and reach my goals.
My biggest inspiration was my second child—my daughter, Ashley.
She was 16 months old when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor—an astrocytoma. Before her third birthday, she had endured 30 doses of chemo and radiation and 25 surgeries.
I became my daughter’s primary caretaker.
I cleaned her endotracheal tube to help her breathe, and managed the J-tube, for feeding her directly through her stomach.
As a mother, I am supposed to protect my daughter; why couldn’t my love save her?
She had all of the medical treatments possible. She never gave up—never stopped smiling. My love for her—even for her to have been born—saved me. That love gave me the courage to keep fighting for her life—and later for myself, when I decided to go to school.
Of the many ups and downs in life, the toughest was letting go of my daughter.
Ashley was born on November 21, 1991. On November 15, 1994 she passed away. Ashley was here to teach me; now she is my guardian angel. She is always with me, and continues to guide me to where I need to go.
More difficult than caring for any patient is to care for your own child who has cancer.
I made a promise to my daughter before she died that I would go back to school.
Urged to move forward by my son, Josh, I earned my GED when I was 43.
Afterwards, I completed RIRAL’s Transition to College in Woonsocket with good grades. I went to CCRI for a couple of years. Then I stopped taking classes so that I could help my daughter with her pregnancy.
I was looking for Medical Assistant classes.
I checked out all of the area schools. I could have earned a degree at another school in 1 – 2 years. I knew people who did not like their experience there—and it was expensive.
At MTTI I could “fast-track” to complete the program in 7 months.
In addition to the Medical Assistant diploma, I could also earn Certificates in Phlebotomy and EKG.
I fell in love with MTTI.
Coming to MTTI was the best decision ever.
We were very well trained at MTTI.
Everyone learns at their own pace. My instructor, Ms. Jen didn’t move on until everyone was comfortable with what we had covered. She also gave us one-on-one help. It’s not just a job to her—her passion for teaching inspired my passion to become a medical assistant.
The most difficult part of my Medical Assistant training was learning Phlebotomy.
I had been petrified of needles in the past—and I didn’t want to hurt anyone.
Ms. Jen is very compassionate and caring—as well as knowledgeable.
She eased us into phlebotomy—there was no pressure. She helped us relax and overcome our fears. She would say, to me, ‘Rita, breathe.’
Overcoming my fear of needles, so that I could draw blood from patients, felt incredible.
While in school I kept saying “sorry” when I had to practice phlebotomy on someone. Now I tell patients that it will ‘just pinch a little bit’. I am getting additional training to certify at my jobsite. I’m comfortable doing this because I did it first at MTTI.
I became a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) before completing MTTI’s program.
I took the American Medical Technologist’s exam while still in school. I studied and studied--and passed! It’s so exciting to have my RMA card.
I interned at Brookside Medical Associates / Ocean State Primary Care.
I got up at 5 am to arrive there at 6:30 am, and then worked until 5 or 6 pm. I was trained by a fantastic Medical Assistant. Unfortunately, they didn’t have an open position at the time.
Shawn, the Career Services Specialist, was phenomenal.
He helped me with my resume and connected me with employers. He called Reliant Medical Group. I went in to shadow, to see if it was the right fit. It was a match made in heaven.
At Reliant Medical Group, I am part of a team.
I work with one provider, one nurse and one Patient Service Specialist secretary. I put patients into rooms, take vital signs, do patient assessments, perform phlebotomy and lab tests, including strep and urine testing. Soon I will be giving immunizations.
Every day is a new adventure; I will always be learning.
I was hired at my first Medical Assistant job at 45. I never in the past would have believed I would be here. At one point I didn’t think I was smart enough to do this.
It is never too late to go back to school.
I wanted to be a role model for my kids—so they know that, because I did this, they can make their own dreams and goals come true. Most special to me is that I can look at my husband, kids and grandkids and see that they are proud of me. It makes all of the work I did to get here worth it.
This is my passion.
When I’m doing what I love to do, it’s not a day of work. It is a day of caring for people. It feels good to know that I am helping patients feel better.