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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Medical Office Administration Graduate Gets Hired During COVID-19

September 8, 2020

SJVC Medical Office Administration Graduate Andrea JohnsonWhen Andrea Johnson found the Medical Office Administration program at SJVC, she says it was simply the right time, place, and thing for her. She had been looking into different programs in the medical field, including ultrasound tech and nursing programs—but nothing she found was quite working for her schedule, true interests, or had an acceptable commute for her. Then she filled out an online questionnaire for SJVC; soon after, she received a call from career services.

“They were so nice,” Andrea recalls. “They showed me the program, answered my questions, and it just felt like the right place. The staff was kind, the financial counselor was so positive, I loved the environment, and it worked with my schedule.”

Andrea then began the nine-month Medical Office Administration program; she graduated in May of 2020.

“Everyone at SJVC gave me a lot of support from the beginning,” she explains. “There were a lot of women, too, who were on this journey with me. After about the first week of classes, I realized how different it was from any other schooling I’d experienced. It felt like a family and we were in it together, we shared in successes together—that was huge.”

Andrea says one of her teachers, Ms. Terry Castle, had a great influence on her.

“She was so supportive, sensitive, and genuinely cared about her students,” Andrea says. “It made a huge difference.”

During externship, Andrea found a job at Radiology Associates in Templeton, where she now works as a medical records clerk. She was not expecting to be hired because of COVID-19, but when two jobs suddenly became available, she applied, had an interview, and was hired on the spot. She finished out her externship while training for her new job.

“I was so happy to have an externship, especially in the middle of Covid; the experience was invaluable, and I never expected a job to come out of it,” she explains. “I really wanted to be out in the field even if it didn’t lead to anything. I was very thankful that it did.”

Andrea’s job tracks down prior exams for radiology techs and doctors so they can make comparisons to the current exam, and also handles legal issues for the department, such as subpoenas and requests for records. Her department also gets requests from other facilities looking for mutual patient’s priors to be mailed, Emixed or sent via LifeImage—a secure way to electronically send medical images and reports.

 “I search for records from other facilities; sometimes there is a bit of detective work to find a patient’s prior studies,” she says. “At times I have to do a lot of research to track things down; it can be like a scavenger hunt to find what’s needed, and sometimes it’s more detailed work I’m doing. I really enjoy that it’s something different all the time.”

Andrea loves her job; she has great coworkers, enjoys the challenge and variety of her responsibilities, and feels confident that she found a career truly fit for her.

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