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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Support is key to CAMA student’s success

April 10, 2014
After losing two of the most important people in her life, Kim soldiered on, with the help and support of her family.

Kim Houseal never took the support and encouragement she has gotten over the years from friends and family for granted. She is grateful for every bit of it, and does all she can to build her own strengths, confidence and capabilities.

Her parents, Warren and Patty, always encouraged Kim toward higher education and by the time she was eighteen, Kim had completed Dental Assisting training and was working full-time. But, dental assisting did not meet the need she felt to be in the medical field.

Kim had long admired her grandmother, Lorraine, who was a nurse and treated war-wounded military personnel during her long career. Lorraine was Kim’s source of inspiration to pursue a life in medicine.

“My earliest memory of my grandmother as a nurse was when I was in fifth grade, and I heard about everything that she did back during the war, like dressing wounds and caring for the wounded,” says Kim. “It made me want to help people in a way that you couldn’t in any other field.”

Kim lost her grandmother a year before enrolling in the Lancaster Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting program. Two months into her CAMA program, Kim’s father passed away unexpectedly. Kim, her mother and two sisters, Jessica and Cassidy, pushed forward without two of their biggest cheerleaders.

Kim focused hard on her studies and on bonding with fellow classmates. She was surprised to find so much support and camaraderie around her, from both instructors and classmates. She was always on the Dean’s List and ended her program with a 3.66 GPA.

“I was surprised at how dedicated the teachers are to helping you one-on-one,” says Kim. “And, we all (classmates) got along, talked and helped and trusted each other,” which was put to the test when it came time to perform injections and blood draws on each other.

“At first we were laughing about it, but when those needles came out, everybody got serious and professional,” says Kim.

Kim’s rapport with instructors and fellow students did not go unnoticed.

“Kim’s ability to connect with her classmates, faculty and staff is amazing,” says instructor La Shawna Poston. “If her performance in my class is any indication of how well she will succeed, Kim will do extremely well in the medical field.”

Throughout her CAMA program Kim worked part-time at a local movie theater, but she was very surprised when her Campus Director suggested she interview for a full-time front office position at Avors Medical Group. One interview later, she was hired. Fortunately, Kim only had to balance one month of full-time work with class while she completed her studies.

Today Kim enjoys the satisfaction of a career she feels was made possible by the support and encouragement of so many. Family, teachers, classmates, close friends, and her boyfriend, Enrique – all have made it possible for her to be in the medical field she so desired.

“I love the people I work with and like what I am doing, but I want to be more in the back-office,” says Kim. “They are cross-training me now, and I get to take patient vitals and be more involved in direct patient care,” she says.

Kim has some big plans of her own to extend her patient involvement.

“I plan on going back to school and start working toward my B.A.; and then maybe get into a nursing program.”

Kim is making certain that she is ready for the next phase of her life by enriching the one she is living right now.

“I love to cook, go to the gym and hike; that’s my life,” she says. Kim hits the gym five days a week; sometimes during her lunch break.

“I spend 30-40 minutes working out and eat in the 20 minutes I have left,” she says. “It helps me to be more energized throughout the day; and I don’t get that afternoon crash.”

Kim has managed to get a few co-workers to join her on 5-6 mile hikes in areas about a hour’s drive away.

“We go almost every weekend, and it helps us to get to know each other a little better,” she says.

Kim isn’t very worried about the future. She knows that she will take it a step at a time, that whatever support and encouragement she needs will be there when she needs it. Her dad’s best advice still rings true for her:

“Just be your best self and live your own dreams to create your own happiness.”

Kim has a lock on that.

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