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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Medical Office Administration student takes her classroom out on the road

October 6, 2020

Medical Office Administration student takes her classroom out on the roadDistance learning took on a whole new meaning when Courtney Moore decided she would combine her Medical Office Administration program’s virtual classroom with a three-state road trip with her teenage daughter, Luci.

“It was towards the end of one of our modules and I’d gotten ahead in the class, so I thought ‘why be cooped up in my room doing homework when I could be outside seeing the world and then doing my homework?’ We took off (from Rancho Mirage) up 101 North (freeway) to the Redwoods, Oregon and Washington camping,” says Courtney. “We could be gone two weeks or a month; we would just go with the flow and see how it goes.”

It went surprisingly well. Whether they were in a hotel or camping, Wi-Fi allowed Courtney to follow faculty lectures. “I always needed to have all my books open in front of me,” she says. “For one thing, there’s nothing that is going to get in the way of my schooling; that’s my number one priority.”

The coronavirus spurred many states to mandate public and private education facilities move from on-campus classes to virtual classrooms just before Courtney began her certificate program. “I never even went to campus because of CoVid,” she says. “I signed up thinking, ok, I’m going to school and every day I’m going to be there from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30. But on the day we were supposed to start classes, we wound up just going there to pick up books.”

It had been 20-years since Courtney sat in a classroom, so she was a little nervous about not having an instructor right in front of her in case she had questions. “That’s the kind of learner I am, so I had to work through all of that,” she explains. Her self-confidence kicked in. “It’s life, and there’s constant changes; and I can either sit there and cry about it, or I can hop on the boat and just go with it.” She made the jump. “It’s been a wonderful journey,” she says in retrospect.

It is a journey that did not have a positive start. After holding supervisor and management positions for a company for over 22-years, Courtney sustained a work injury that interfered with her ability to sustain hours of standing, stooping and reaching that were necessary for her work. She was forced to leave her job and consider something entirely different.

“I looked online, found SJVC and filled out an application,” says Courtney. “I got a phone call and had an appointment with Lexie (Admissions Representative) on the Rancho Mirage campus the next day.”

Courtney was initially interested in the Clinical Medical Assisting program, but Lexie had another idea for her. “She suggested Medical Office Administration because it would be more sit-down and not having to stand a lot,” says Courtney. “Also, I’d had lots of managerial experience and had been doing payrolls, scheduling, cash management and inventory for about 30-years.” She found a career match.

She also found that she enjoyed the freedom online classes afforded her. “I had to let go of the interaction component, but I do try to stay involved with the class too. At the end of the day it’s the knowledge I get.”

Courtney struggled a bit with the technical parts of distance learning. “I’m a very visual learner and not very computer savvy. It took me a couple of weeks before I actually got comfortable in how to do the courses and doing drop boxes; and now I feel like it’s a walk in the park.”

Courtney needed the boost of self-confidence that the Medical Office Administration program success brought her. It was just what she needed to put some distance between her and the professional and personal hardships that had just delivered a one-two punch.

“From November last year my life turned upside down,” says Courtney. “That’s when I decided to end a relationship and we had to move out. My mom, Kathe, had just moved in with us and we had to live in a hotel for three weeks before we found a place. With my back situation (pain from injury) I had to figure hard stuff out.  I’ve worked since I was 16-years old and have never been without a job, but Workers Comp cut me off and I had no income. It was the worst time of my entire existence.”

She found her focus – and her way out – with a new career direction. School was demanding, sometimes overwhelming, but it gave Courtney more than she expected. “I’m trusting me. I think it’s helped me learn and grow as a person. For once I let myself experience confidence.”

The material she studied intrigued her. “I love finding the billing codes,” she says. “There’s so much that goes with it, and the satisfaction – when you get it – is so rewarding.”

On-campus classes have resumed now, and Courtney is adjusting to that big change. “I honestly felt like we had been in the class for the whole time. It was a very smooth and comfortable transition. When you go into class, an office or work, you set the tone for how it’s going to be by how you present yourself. Your patients or your coworkers know if you walk in with a negative attitude. People can read that. I think it is important to go into any situation positive.”

Courtney will carry that attitude wherever she goes. “I have a soulful need to connect. At the end of the day, that’s what I crave, what I want. To know you can go into a place and make someone’s day.”

Courtney completes her MOA program in November and will get to spread that positive energy where it can do the greatest good. She hopes to work in a private medical practice office where she can treat patients, medical personnel and coworkers to her own brand of positivity.

Her influence might be felt a little closer to home, as well. “I think Luci is proud of where I’m at and what I’m doing, but she wouldn’t say anything,” Courtney laughs. “The women in my family are very headstrong and don’t show a lot of emotion.”

But the shared space of a road trip and first-hand witnessing of her mom’s determination may have expanded Luci’s own future ambitions.

“She’s been talking about being a surgeon and what I’m doing will be such a good start to help her get to where she’s going in the medical field,” says Courtney. “And that’s an awesome goal to have. She watches videos on YouTube on types of (medical) procedures and doesn’t get grossed out by them. If that’s what you want, you go for it and don’t let anything stop you.”

Courtney does not see a life of regret for her daughter. “If I could change anything, I would have stayed in school and would have found some sort of a career, instead of settling for ‘Ok, it’s a job and it pays the bills’.”

Courtney and Luci’s road trip put them on more than one new path. Courtney strengthen her career path but it was also a path to emotional healing and greater self-confidence. Nature has a way of giving just what you need – and something you may not realize you needed.

“After the road trip I was so in love with the beauty of the trees and the water,” says Courtney. “We went from the desert sand to green. That’s all I think about now. It’s been a few weeks and I haven’t been camping. It’s time to go!”

Life is the trip you make it. Take it from Courtney.

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