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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Clinical Medical Assisting student makes big changes

December 5, 2013
This year was a big one for Bates and her family, with lots of life-altering changes.

Deana Bates started this year with two life-altering decisions: weight loss surgery and college. Her interest in helping others through a career in the medical field forced a realization. At 240-lbs. it was not practical for Deana to be “constantly moving around with patients,” performing the physical requirements of a position in healthcare. She also knew that her constant back pain would be stressed beyond the limit.

“You can’t really tell people to be healthy if you’re unhealthy,” says Deana, adding the psychological element.

She had the weight loss surgery in January and enrolled in SJVC’s CMA certificate program in April. In the last 10-months Deana has lost 85-lbs. She also just completed her Online program with a 4.0 GPA and beginning-to-end inclusion on the Dean’s List. She does not feel as though she accomplished this on her own, however.

“SJVC has been an amazing experience,” says Deana. “I never would have been able to do this without the support I got from my teachers and advisors.”

First in her family to go to college, Deana earned her success, as well as effusive praise for her efforts. “Deana sets the example of what an online student should be, in the way that she engages in class with other students, as well as her instructors,” says Pam Soto, Student Advisor. The whole online experience surprised Deana.

“I got the same education I would have gotten if I was sitting in a classroom with 50-students,” she says about the  “thorough coursework”. “But, I was still able to take care of my children, my family; and that was so important.”

Deana’s husband, Kenneth, and their four children ages 6 to 11, have been in her corner all the way. It could not have been easy for Kenneth who, as a beverage delivery person, starts his work-day at 1:30 AM and does not usually get home until early afternoon.

“I wanted to help my husband take care of us and contribute more to our family,” says Deana. “We wanted to get out of living paycheck-to-paycheck.”

The Bates’ are closing out this year in a very different place than where they started. That is especially true for Deana whose transition from a size 22 to a size 10-12 is life and mood altering. Bouts of depression and low-energy are in the rear-view mirror now; and when she looks into a real mirror she see’s into the future.

“Looking in the mirror, I don’t recognize the person looking back at me,” says Deana. “Seeing myself now, I can wonder what I want to do for the rest of my life.” Many more career doors are open.

Deana worked for a group of cardiologists during her externship and developed a strong affinity for that specialty. She has her hopes pinned on a local heart hospital where she lives in Chandler, TX and will focus her job search there after the first of the year. Deana’s extern site manager has already agreed to write a recommendation for her.

“Deana will make an excellent CMA,” says instructor Carol Williams. “Her contribution to her new employer will consist of respect, honesty, dependability and compassion, to name a few.”

Next year might prove to be on equal ground with the positive changes of this year. The Bates’ hope to move to a new house where they can finally enjoy the comforts of their shared commitments and sacrifices. If, after a while, they want to stretch even higher, Deana has a quiet plan.

“I want to go back to school and become an R.N.,” she says. “But, right now I don’t want to miss out on anything while the kids are little.”


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