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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Medical Assisting Graduate From SJVC Porterville Helping Patients Through The Door

August 4, 2020

Vanessa SJVC MA graduateVanessa Bermudez is excited about her new job; she recently began working as a patient registration clerk in the emergency room at Sierra View Hospital in Porterville, CA. Although ERs are typically fast-paced and hectic, she says things there are slower than usual because of COVID-19.

“But it being a little slow right now is a good thing,” Vanessa says, good-naturedly. “Because I’m still learning, and the pace right now gives me time to do that.”

Vanessa graduated from the Clinical Medical Assisting Program at SJVC in November of 2019. She knew she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field and began in the Registered Nursing (RN) program, but in the interest of getting to work sooner, she decided to instead first complete the Clinical Medical Assisting program—since the certificate program can be completed in as few as nine months.

“I loved the hands-on training at SJVC,” Vanessa says. “I liked getting the experience with blood draws and injections, and the learning schedule was flexible for me while I was working.”

Vanessa worked at a retail/pharmacy store throughout her time in the certificate program, and continues to work there when she is not at the hospital. She works part-time right now at both.

“The hospital has new employment opportunities all the time,” she explains. “My employer is already encouraging me to apply to things that come up—full-time work in different areas.”

At her new job, Vanessa’s role is to register people as they come into the ER—many times these are COVID-19 patients. She and her co-workers in the ER registration area wear masks and keep distance from patients as much as possible.

“Whenever we get a COVID patient, we don’t interact,” she explains. “One of the things I have to do is to get consent from a patient before they see a doctor. Lots of times that’s verbal if they are too out of breath (to interact further), or if I cannot get close to them.”

For patients that do not speak English, Vanessa helps get a certified medical translator on the phone to communicate with them. She works alongside a nurse, who does triage.

Vanessa is enjoying her new job and the people she works with, including two new hires who are also medical assistants. She hopes to go back to SJVC for their RN program!

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