Grad Q&A with Medical Office Administration graduate and mom of six, Victoria Brady
Victoria Brady was both nervous and excited to begin the job search for a position in her new Medical Office Administration field. She would begin as soon as she completed her program’s 5-week externship at Yosemite Bone and Joint.
SJVC’s Career Services Advisors had prepared her to look and present her most professional self so that potential employers would be eager to have her on their medical office support team. Turns out, a manager at her extern site had already made that connection and put an employment offer on the table her last day at the facility.
At 35-years old, Victoria has taken a long and winding road to get to this moment of career success. There were starts and stops all along the way, but there was never any doubt in her mind that she would get to this very point.
What kinds of jobs did you have before you focused on a role in the medical community?
I worked warehouse jobs, retail, UPS, Amazon, nothing I was really proud of. I always liked to help people and I’d heard that the medical field was always booming. It wouldn’t be boring like warehouse work where you do the exact same thing every day. And working in a doctor’s office is something I could be proud of.
I just knew I wanted to do something with my life. I wanted to start something for my kids (Albert-19, Adalyna-16, Ariana-15, Adea-11, Fernando-8 and Alexander-18 months) to follow instead of failure.
Why did you choose San Joaquin Valley College?
They had a good reputation in Modesto. I’d been to visit a couple of other career colleges and I didn’t feel like they were for me. It felt like the others were in it for my money. SJVC was so interested in my success. Everybody there – Felicia in Financial Aid and my Admissions person (Advisor) – made me feel like I was at home. They asked me ‘Do you need ride-share; we have that available’. From other places I’d checked to go to, everybody seemed really caring. It was actually a surprise to me.
What was the best thing about the Medical Office Administration program for you?
It sounds crazy but I really made a connection with my instructors and the other students. When you’re a parent, your life is pretty much consumed with children. I don’t have many friends, so just to talk with other women and interact with the teachers was cool.
Our teacher shared things you just can’t learn in a book, like the experiences she went through and what she learned. She also taught us about insurances (medical), coding and what to expect in a working environment. But she also taught us to be friendly, to care about the patients and to make them feel more like they are important, and you care about what they feel.
She gave us her cell phone number if we had any questions about homework or wanted to text her when we passed a test. She would tell me, ‘I knew you could do it’. It made me feel that if she believed in me, I could believe in myself more, too.
You had some major obstacles that nearly derailed your MOA program, right?
I went through two modules at SJVC when I had so many family responsibilities that I had to take a break. Then, after I came back, I had transportation issues and took another break. I came back for one module then took a leave of absence (LOA) for almost a year because I had a baby (Alexander). I went back to school when my son was two weeks old
This time I was going to put all my time and effort into it, with the help of Matthew (boyfriend/partner and Alexander’s dad). He told me, ‘If you push through it, you will be where you want to be.’ Whatever I needed, he was there for me.
What did that support feel like?
Matthew was my biggest support person. He was teaching the kids to be self-sufficient and would tell them, ‘If you make a mess, you clean up after yourself’. He fed Alexander and changed diapers. He had household rules, too. He made sure the house was quiet and the kids settled down when I needed to study for a test. I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it without him, honestly. He is my life partner and we’re in it together.
What made you keep pushing toward completing your MOA program education?
I’m the only person in my family to have graduated high school and I never went to any other type of schooling. Nobody (in that family) has done anything with their life. I wanted to break that cycle in my own family, I wanted to start something new.
I don’t want my kids to think that being unemployed and sitting on their butt all day is ok. I want them to get used to the idea that you go to school, better yourself and get a career – something that you’re passionate about, that makes you happy. I want them to think that this is something normal for them to do – to go to college and have a plan for their lives.
What is your workday like?
I’m a referral administrator for an orthopedic surgeon and several other providers. A patient might be referred to us with a broken hand, carpal tunnel syndrome or other bone or joint-related issue, and I enter them into the system. I might answer patient questions about what kind of insurance we take and who needs authorization. I enter everything into our system and might schedule patient x-rays or other consultations or treatments. My job duties have increased, and I have trained several other people.
What does your career future look like?
I have a yearly review coming up and there’s hinting about a raise. That’s pretty cool! I see surgery schedulers; they make a good amount of money and there’s always a chance for that. I could even get into management. Our manager says she sees a lot of potential in me.
Anything you would change about your education and career accomplishments?
I would have done it sooner. But I feel like everything happens when it’s supposed to.
How has this success affected your life and that of your family?
I wanted my kids to see that you don’t start something and not finish it. No matter how hard it gets, or how many obstacles are in your way, you just keep pushing.
It’s nice to have a life after work. Some jobs it’s where you have to do overtime after you’re already there for 12-hours. You just go home to sleep then go back to work. Eight to five and weekends off is perfect for me to go out and do stuff with the family.
Matthew has four kids that we have during the summer and who come over all the time (age range: 8 to 16). One of the things that makes all of this so rewarding is when you have great people to share your success with.
Learn about a career working in a medical office
Medical secretaries and administrative assistants perform a wide range of tasks that are essential to keeping a medical office running smoothly. Find out if this is the right career path for you!
Our RN to BSN program is a Bachelors degree completion option for Registered Nurses.