Medical Assistants Recognition Week Comes to a Close

Medical Assistants are the heart of healthcare. They are there to provide a comforting presence to their patients and assist the medical team.  Being a medical assistant is a challenging and rewarding career, but before one can become a Certified Medical Assistant, they must learn the skills necessary to provide their patients with the best care.

At South Texas Vocational Technical Institute we get the opportunity to teach and guide some of the most amazing students. Being that this past week was Medical Assistants Recognition Week, we took the time to talk to some of our Medical Assisting students about their choice of career path.

laura-moya-sqWhen asked, STVT students had many different reasons why they chose the Medical Assisting program.  Reasons like Laura Moya, Medical Assisting student, at our Weslaco location. “I’ve always been in the business of helping people. Before receiving my Texas residency, I would volunteer at a nursing home helping LVN’s with patients.” says Moya. After receiving her residency, Moya says she jumped on the opportunity to start her career and enrolled at South Texas Vo-Tech. Medical Assisting student at our McAllen location, Juan Alvarez, chose Medical Assisting because he wants to help people and he’s looking forward to climbing the ladder. Alvarez says, “I am looking further, not just becoming a medical assistant, but one day a surgeon.” MA student Monica Buentello at our Corpus Christi campus, chose Medical Assisting because she wanted to “make a difference in a person’s life.”

monica-buentello-sqTraining to be a medical assistant can be a demanding, but fulfilling endeavor. While there are many reasons that would make someone a great medical assistant. We asked some of our MA students what they would say to someone who is thinking about a career in the field. Damien Bernard from our Brownsville location said that he would tell anyone who is thinking about medical assisting as a career to “go for it.” “It would be a great learning experience and if you continue school it will come easy,” says Bernard.  MA student, Griselda Ponce, from our Weslaco location believes, “If you are a hands-on learner and have a desire to help people, then this field is for you.”

Medical Assistants Recognition Week celebrations may have come to an end, but we continue to be extremely proud of all of our students in the Medical Assisting program at each of our STVT campuses. Their on-going success will always remain our top priority, as it is for every one of our STVT students.

Are you interested in becoming a medical assistant? Fill out the form below to request info about the Medical Assisting program at the location closest to you.

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator/Blog Editor – South Texas Vocational Technical Institute

Top 5 Reasons You’ll Make a Great Medical Assistant

Careers in healthcare are on the rise, and medical assisting continues to be projected as one of the fastest growing occupations. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook for medical assistants is quite impressive. In fact, it’s projected to have a much faster than average job growth all the way through to the year 2024. From 2014 to 2024, it is expected that medical assistant employment will grow by 23%. As a result of this, you may be asking yourself – would I make a good medical assistant?

There are many traits that contribute to a person being successful as a medical assistant. Take a look at the top five reasons you’ll make a great medical assistant.

You are a Good Listener.

Listening is essential in the healthcare field. During the course of your day, you will need to listen to the needs and concerns of your patients and extract vital information to relay to the medical team. Not only will you be expected to listen to your patients, but you will also need to listen to doctors and nurses. You must be able to take instructions from them for multiple patients at a time and execute those directions properly. This is another vital skill that requires you to be able to listen carefully.

You are Compassionate. 

As a medical assistant, you are going to have patients that are experiencing many different emotions and it is an essential part of your job to be there to comfort and support them.  In some cases, your patients may be in pain or have terminal conditions that require a high level of compassion and empathy.

You Love Helping People.

 There is hardly a greater field, than healthcare for a caring person who loves to help people. As a medical assistant, you have the opportunity to have a positive impact on people every day.  Whether you are taking a patient’s history, performing a blood draw or helping a patient understand their condition, what you do really matters and has an ultimate effect on the patient’s well-being.

You Work Well Under Pressure.

Dealing with patients that have a serious illnesses, or life threatening injuries, is not easy. Being able to maintain your professional demeanor while you are under intense pressure is essential to good patient care.  In addition, working in a busy medical office can get quite hectic.  Being a medical assistant requires someone who is patient, tolerant, and in-control even when under pressure.

You are a Team Player.

 Working in healthcare means being a part of a team that includes doctors, specialists, nurses, administrators, and more. The ability to work well as a team is an integral part of being a medical assistant.  You will need to be able to work with different personalities and different skill levels in an effort to provide your patients with the most comprehensive care. Providers rely heavily upon a strong team of professionals to help everything run smoothly.

Does this sound like you? While you may not possess all of these traits yet, you can get there. If you’re ready to start your healthcare career training, we’re here to help. Check out the Medical Assisting program at STVT today to find the location closest to you.

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator/Blog Editor – South Texas Vocational Technical Institute

What Food Labels Aren’t Telling Us

Food Labels 101

You would think that if you wanted to know exactly what is in your food, you would just read the label. Think again. Although labels are supposed to be there to tell us exactly what’s in the food we’re about to purchase, they can be extremely deceiving. With consumers being more health conscious than they ever have been, food companies have figured out how to trick us with misleading claims and clever marketing phrases.

Labeling claims are carefully crafted to catch your attention and convince you that the product is healthier than it actually is. Look out for these common, but misleading phrases found on food labels.

Natural

This is possibly the most misleading term in the food industry. This does not mean that the product is healthy or even all that natural. The word “Natural” is used to reel in unaware consumers who tend to believe it means the same thing as “organic”, which it does not. In fact, when it comes to labeling foods, the term has no clear meaning and isn’t regulated by the FDA, much less, any agency. A recent survey of 1,005 adults  by Consumer Reports found that more than half of consumers usually seek out products with “natural” on the label, based on the false belief that they’re made without GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms), hormones, or artificial ingredients.

Low Fat

Food labels claiming that the product is “low fat” can be found on everything from yogurt to salad dressing. Unlike the term “natural”, the FDA does regulate when this claim can be used. This may seem to offer the assurance that the food has a significant nutritional benefit, but in fact it could be the opposite. Low fat products are processed to reduce either calories or fat and some products are simply watered down. Often when these things are removed something is added in their place, like sugar or artificial ingredients.

Cage free or Free Range

The terms “cage free” or “free range” might conjure up lovely images of happy hens frolicking around a farm yard all day, without a care in the world, but unfortunately this is not the case. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) defines free range as having exposure to the outdoors. The problem is that there are no requirements for the amount, duration or quality of the outdoor exposure. Most “free range” or “cage free” birds spend their lives in extremely over-crowded warehouses, with little exposure to the outdoors. Diseases run rampant in these conditions, due to unclean surroundings, tight quarters and contaminated feed. If you are looking for eggs or poultry from happy birds, look for “pasture raised” on the labels.

Sugar Free

Products labeled “sugar free” may not contain refined sugar, but it is often replaced with something far less healthy. “Sugar free” usually indicates the presence of artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. Aspartame, sucralose, and other artificial sweeteners can have just as many, if not more negative health effects than regular sugar. Just because a food has no added sugar, doesn’t mean that it’s sugar free! Juice, for example has no sugar added to it, but the naturally-occurring sugar in an 8 ounce glass of juice still contains anywhere from 24 to 36 grams of sugar – the equivalent of six to nine teaspoons.

Finding your way in the supermarket jungle

Making informed choices on the food that we buy for ourselves and our families can be difficult when food companies are constantly trying to mislead us, but here are a few suggestions to help you find your way:

  1. Stay informed – the best way to avoid being pulled-in by healthy-sounding deceptive marketing phrases is to become knowledgeable about the foods that you should be eating.
  2. Be skeptical – If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  3. Shop the Perimeter – The perimeter of the store is where the freshest and least processed foods are generally found, such as fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish.
  4. Keep it simple – Avoid foods that contain more than five ingredients, artificial ingredients or ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Want to see if you’ve learned a few things about food labels? Take the Web MD quiz here.

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator – Ancora Education

 

 

Land the Right Medical Assistant Job for You

Before moving to Fort Worth, I was gainfully employed as a medical assistant in Austin, Texas. The family practice employed five providers in total, three physicians and two nurse practitioners. I look back on this time fondly, as I couldn’t have found a better fit to start my career. The work was intriguing and fulfilling. I learned about differing techniques, odd medical anomalies, the inner workings of insurance companies, countless lessons on people in general, and so much more. While my professional skills and personality made me the right candidate for the position in that office, I like to think my prep work helped get my foot in the door. These are the top five things helped me land the right Medical Assistant job for me.

  1. Be a detective. Before an interview, find out everything you can about the practice. Read reviews on Yelp. Look over the company website. I even Facebook and LinkedIn stalked people that worked there after the first interview. You can prepare a list of questions for your interviewer not only to gain vital information on the position, but also to show that you care about the role. Learn about the providers. The practitioner(s) you are supporting can drastically change your job description. At one practice, the Medical Assistants were assigned to different providers daily. One Nurse Practitioner wanted me to get in and out of the rooms with little more information than the patient’s vitals and medication lists. She would get very agitated if I spent more than 5 minutes with the patient. Another doctor wanted a full medical history with vitals taken and labs processed before she entered the room. The best decision is made when you know the job, what is expected of you, and the medical personnel you will support.
  2. Know your ideal position. Some openings for Medical Assistants are desk jobs. The position requires very little face to face interaction with patients. They need someone to solely process referrals or prescription refills. Another position may have the MA only rooming patients. Most places I came across had a mix of both, but know what you want to do or are okay with doing before wasting everyone’s time. I once attended an interview with a vague job description at an allergy clinic. When I found out the position entailed being cooped up in a lab mixing homeopathic allergy tonics and Fedexing them to patients, I was no longer interested.
  3. Identify your values and trust what your gut tells you. If you don’t believe in homeopathy, you shouldn’t work for an office whose main course of treatment is homeopathy. Watch how the leaders treat other employees. If the thought of an abrasive personality in a manager makes you ill, don’t take the job. You will quit or be miserable, which would ruin an otherwise fun, interesting, and gratifying career. After moving from Austin, I hastily accepted a position with a family practice in a well-to-do neighborhood. While it was called a family practice, it was one stop shopping for some of the patients. While I was occupied with little Johnnie’s strep throat, Mrs. Cooper scowled impatiently across the lobby to get her Botox injections. My next patient would be getting his HCG injection equipment.  I was supposed to teach him how to inject the horse hormones to stave off hunger on a 500 calorie per day diet. I was annoyed by the fact that doctors were incorporating beauty treatments at a family practice, but I was horrified that a doctor’s office would embrace a dangerous and inefficient weight loss scam like the HCG diet. The practice manager explained to me that the patients wanted these things, so we had to comply to keep their business. I could not sell gimmicky healthcare and found a new job quickly.
  4. Volunteer in a medical environment. Start NOW. Lack of job experience will make a resume sparse and sad, but a year of volunteering in a hospital or nursing home can beef up the CV and get your foot in the door for an interview. This will also give you the opportunity to network in the medical community. I was a birth doula for a fantastic organization that helped women with little or no support when having a baby. It was fun, rewarding, and later got me into an amazing practice.
  5. Smile. Of course you smile when meeting for interviews, but amp it up.  Smile when you make the calls. Smile at patients in waiting rooms. Smile at the receptionist; she will hopefully be a future coworker. Smiling lowers stress, releases neurotransmitters responsible for euphoria, and makes you look more attractive and sincere. Don’t force it. If you aren’t in a cheerful mood, reference something in your mind that makes you grin. Practice smiling. I’m not making this up. Google it!

To find your ideal Medical Assistant position, be as prepared as possible. Check out the office, people, and philosophies of the practice to verify this is a position you want. Volunteer to network, look better on paper, and feel like a decent human being. Then SMILE because you will find the best opportunity for you.

Written by: Megan McCatty, IT Administrative Assistant – Ancora Education