Clinical Medical Assisting student lands a job mid-way through her program
Jamie Bueno was expecting to work part-time at House of Bagels throughout her Clinical Medical Assisting program on the Atascadero campus. She was good with that. She was 20 years old, living at home with her parents and getting by financially. But she was also looking forward to the time she would complete the program, earn her certifications and enjoy all the benefits of a full-time position in her career field.
Since she was a little girl, Jamie knew she wanted to be in the health care profession. But she found out during her high school years that the intense study commitment of a medical career might push it out of reach. “I started slacking and my grades started dropping,” says Jamie. “They were OK, but not medical school level.”
After graduating high school, she focused on working, saving a little money and enjoying her freedom. But her parents, Lili and Jaime, pushed her to go to college. Jamie went to community college for her general education classes and sort of slid into the Early Childhood Education field of study. Working with kids sounded like something she would enjoy.
“I was almost done getting my associate’s degree, but I didn’t feel like that was for me,” she says. “Everyone else was talking about wanting to go into the school teacher direction, but I didn’t want to be sitting in classes all day!”
A co-worker mentioned that his wife had enrolled at SJVC in Atascadero and that Jamie should check out their medical program. “I made an appointment and they were really nice and helpful, but I was skeptical about it,” she says. “How could I get what I needed in just 9 months?” [The SJVC Atascadero Clinical Medical Assisting program can be completed in as few as 9 months.]
Jamie toured the campus and her first impression was positive. “They had all the professional equipment, [and] the certificates you get right on the wall. They show you the uniforms you will wear and help you find a job and everything. I started enrolling that same day and started the program two weeks later.”
Jamie learned something about herself that she had never realized before. She learns best by doing. “I’m a visual, hands-on kind of person,” she says. “Whatever they were teaching us, we can put into practice right in the classroom. We do venipunctures, injections and practice taking vitals on each other.”
And, just like that, Jamie’s academic achievements matched her newfound enthusiasm. “Honestly, I was surprised at how I’m doing so good with all my exams and my homework,” she says. Although she did get a little shaky – literally – in a couple of situations.
“The first time I did venipuncture (blood draw), I was kind of freaking out because I knew what I had to do but hadn’t done it before. I was working on a classmate and she told me I’d better be gentle and not hurt her. I tried to keep my hands as steady as possible, but they wanted to shake, and I was sweating like crazy. She is still speaking to me so that means I did good, I hope.”
This was the moment when Jamie would know with complete certainty if a medical career was the fit she hoped for. “I honestly don’t have any doubts about this,” she says. “When I look at myself, I think ‘OMG, I’m actually going in the right path.’”
Career Services Advisor Barbara Holt recognized Jamie’s talent and talked to her about applying for a part-time position in a cardiologist’s office. Although Jamie wasn’t scheduled to graduate until this June, Barbara felt she was ready for an entry-level medical assistant position.
“Barbara had a job that she thought might be great for me, so we sent a resume and heard back that same day,” says Jamie. “I met with the lead medical assistant, the office manager, then with Dr. Stevens and I went home. I was home about 30 minutes when they called me. I started work the next Monday.”
Before she had even started the externship, the part of her hands-on training that provides real-world experience in an active medical office, she was part of a team of health care professionals.
And House of Bagels was in her rear-view mirror.
Jamie continues to excel at school, earning a 4.0 GPA and finding good friends in her fellow classmates. “We get together and study for exams and when someone’s upset, we try to motivate each other to get through the day,” says Jamie.
Even with all the success Jamie has experienced in her Clinical Medical Assisting program and new job, she was surprised to be invited to speak at the new Atascadero campus’ ribbon-cutting event. And scared. “I’m terrible when it comes to public speaking and have a tendency to speak really fast,” she admits. “On the day of the ceremony, I had doubts and thought I just can’t do this. My friends told me to relax, that I would be fine and, I don’t know how, but I did it.”
Jamie’s message to the crowd was heart-felt. She said in part: “Here at SJVC, everyone is willing to help one another out. Once you become part of this school, you become a part of a family. The staff here have always been supportive since the start. They are always trying their best to make sure you are learning everything needed for the field you are going for. They make sure that you are prepared before actually sending you on to the real world. I am hoping the rest of the students and also any future students that will attend here will enjoy this experience just as I have.”
Jamie’s story was an inspiration to many. Her own inspiration comes from her parents. “I know they’ve wanted us (their children) to do something in life and have a career, so in a way I have to do this for them.”
She hopes to further her career options and opportunities by one day getting the education, training and certifications needed to become a registered nurse. But, right now, Jamie is very content with her accomplishments and wants to enjoy this moment.
Important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rates of students who attended SJVC can be found here.
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