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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Passion for helping others leads student to Medical Assistant program

April 17, 2017

Medical assisting program student Jonathan HollandJonathan Holland had not considered a career as a Medical Assistant until he spent a few years at his wife Angelica’s side during her frequent doctor’s appointments. “After all the things we had to learn about her medical conditions, that’s when I really developed a desire to become a Medical Assistant,” he says. “It helped me realize that I could do a lot more to share the knowledge I had with other people.”

Until he made that decision, Jonathan had spent a few years in fast-food and retail sales. Now he was ready to add to the A.S. Degree he had already earned at a community college with specialized education and training in the medical field.

SJVC caught his attention. “I decided on SJVC because of seeing externs (Medical Assisting and Pharmacy Technology programs’ last module for students about to graduate) out in the field, and I was impressed that their (SJVC’s) students were training in a real-world situation,” says Jonathan.

Last year, at 28 years old, Jonathan enrolled in the Medical Assisting program on the Visalia campus, and never looked back.

Jonathan was a natural for the Medical Assisting program. “Being a Medical Assistant has a lot of appeal,” he says. “I do enjoy helping people, sharing knowledge with other students, learning the technologies that are used, and the science of the medical field. I enjoy anatomy and the biology of things.”

One of the biggest surprises for Jonathan about the Medical Assisting program was the administrative component. “I didn’t expect to learn about medical insurance and how to fill out forms to make claims,” he says. “It was important because within a clinic all of us work together – the front office and back office people. When we know what each other has to do, it makes it a lot easier on all of us.”

Jonathan excelled in his Medical Assisting program, maintaining a 4.0 GPA and perfect attendance. If he was going to commit to a career serving the needs of others, he was going to start now through volunteer efforts and club memberships.

He was a member of several campus clubs, including AMTTS club (American Medical Technologist Student Society), Medical Assisting Club (officer positions), CaSSAMT’s Student of the Year, and various community service organizations that raised funds for local causes.

His Pink Pig cake recipe, handed down from his grandmother, earned him Second Place in a baking contest fundraiser. “Once you start eating it, you really want to get into it,” he laughs.

“Jonathan has a wonderful attitude each and every day,” says Kerrie Liles, Dean of Student Services at SJVC Visalia. “He takes advantage of every opportunity to broaden his understanding and grow as a person and a professional. He approached his education and training with a passion, and it has been a joy to see him fulfill his educational goals.”

Jonathan earned numerous accolades and awards along the way, but it was not easy. He worked as a fruit vendor for a local orange farm and had to spend every weekend at farmers markets in the Bay area. “Every Friday afternoon, I’d go to the ranch and pick up the work truck, drive to Sunnyvale for the night and spend the whole day Saturday at a market, then drive to another market Sunday, then back home,” he says. “Thankfully, the school schedule worked out perfectly for my work schedule.”

His greatest support came from Angelica. “As with most things, my wife was the inspiration and my motivation to go back to school and be in the Medical Assisting program,” says Jonathan. When things got tough, it was her voice he heard. “She would tell me, ‘I know that you can do this and you were meant to be here.’ That’s how we feel, that I was just meant to go to SJVC and be part of this program.”

Jonathan is about to start the final phase of his Medical Assisting program: Externship. He will put into practice all he has learned from his instructors, fellow students, and throughout his lab and classroom experiences.

He will complete his externship at the Visalia Medical Clinic, where he hopes to gain a Medical Assisting position post-graduation. “I definitely would like to work there because they have a lot of different departments and that would give me a lot of options,” says Jonathan.

Jonathan is especially interested in the clinic’s Diabetic Education department. “Once I am in an area where I can practice diabetic education, I would like to continue my education in that specialty.”

As Jonathan gets closer to completing his Medical Assisting program and beginning his new career as a Medical Assistant, he has time to reflect and offer a little advice for those just beginning their journey toward greater personal and professional success. He knows that student life is hard and that there is always the temptation to stop the struggle to get ahead.

“Try to focus more on the needs of others than your own needs,” Jonathan advises. “Make an impact on other people’s lives. Try to find a need and fill that. There’s always an opportunity to help someone out through a club on campus.”

Those who choose a profession serving the needs of others seem to carry that message with them wherever they go. And Jonathan will always lead by example.

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