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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Grad Q&A with Clinical Medical Assisting graduate Billie Joven

October 18, 2021

Billie Joven’s story is for all those women who think they cannot take on the work they love because there are too many obstacles in their life.  Meet Billie Joven – mother of five children (ages 4 to 17) and four stepchildren who also contracted COVID in the middle of her studies at SJVC. Billie Joven is living proof that – with SJVC supporting her all the way – she has reached her life’s dream of working in the medical field and being a model for her family.


Medical Assisting grad Billie JovenQ:  Tell us about yourself.

A:  I was the youngest of five kids, born in Porterville, CA. I still live there.


Q: When did you decide to pursue a career as a Clinical Medical Assistant?

A: Back in 2010 I went to school to become a phlebotomist –


Q: What’s that?

A: It’s someone who has training in drawing blood from a patient for lab tests and things like that. But unfortunately, I couldn’t continue; I was so sick with the pregnancy of my now 10 year old I couldn’t get clinical hours. So, I stayed home and took care of my children, nieces, and nephews.


Q: That must have been frustrating.  What kept you going?

A: I watched a lot of GREY’S ANATOMY on tv! It kept me inspired. Last year I tried again and enrolled in the Clinical Medical Assisting program at SJVC in Porterville.


Q: What was the hardest part about school?

A: Staying focused. It was really hard doing the school work while dealing with all the kids.


Q: Did you ever want to quit?

A: Yes!


Q: What kept you going?

A: My family, my boyfriend, my kids. For example, my daughter told me that I inspired her to do well at school. And the support at SJVC was always there, especially when I got COVID.


Q: Wow. Let’s talk about that.

A: I started Medical Assistant training last year, and then had to take a leave of absence because I got COVID in the spring of 2020. It was such a struggle. I was in the hospital on oxygen for 8 days. Two of my children also got it. Fortunately, once I got better, the courses I needed to catch up on didn’t start until December 2020, so I had time to recover and go back to school then. I finally graduated in May 2021.


Q: How would you describe the clinical medical assisting classes during that time?

A:  They covered all the material so well. I would have never made it if it wasn’t for my teacher Mrs. Laura Cervantes, (everyone calls her “Mrs. C), saying I could do this even while I was sick. She was such a great help; she worked with me so much – she pushed me – and it just helped me get through the worst of it.


Q: In hindsight, was there anything you feel you missed at SJVC?

A: I missed the hands-on experience of being with the students and teachers because I’m a real people person.  I wanted to go to campus, but we were restricted to online classes because of COVID. But that’s where the SJVC teachers were so good; they reached out to me no matter what. I don’t think we missed anything; they teach you about everything you’re going to be doing in the field so you’re really prepared.


Q: Do you have any advice for students in school now?

A: I would advise reading every single book and article they give you; it’s everything you’ll need to know. And… just stick with it and push through.  Set your goals and reach them. Also, I would say just know that everything is a learning process, especially if it’s hard. There’s always room for you to improve your understanding and to learn.


Q: Where are you working now?

A: I’m working right now at Aria Community Health Center in Porterville. It’s a primary care clinic; they provide Medical, Dental, Optometry, and specialty. I did my extern work at Porterville Pediatrics with Dr. Rush. I’ve mostly worked in OB clinics.


Q:  Do you have to deal with COVID patients at all?

A: Not really. We do rapid testing in one of the offices but I’m not involved with that.


Q: What do you enjoy the most about your work?

A: I like the intake part, communicating with the patients, easing their anxiety if they have any.


Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: I would like to tell all future students and current students that no matter what obstacles are thrown at them to keep pushing forward. If I could manage to reach my goals despite all the life challenges I went through anyone could.

For me, I’ll just say that giving up was not an option. And with my whole family supporting me and the faculty and staff at SJVC, I did it.  And now my youngest child wants to be a doctor when he grows up!


Q:  That’s great…

A:  Well, either that or a fireman.  We’ll see.

Read Our Career Guide On Medical Assisting in California.

Have you always wanted to work in a medical setting, but don’t want to attend school for years? Then a job as a medical assistant might be a good career for you.

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