For certified medical assistant Jaime Myers, her job fulfills a lifelong desire to help people. For Patrick Menzies, chief executive officer at Boulder Medical Center P.C., medical assistants are “an enormous part of our organization.” There are several reasons why:
First, as Colorado hospitals have shifted to bachelor-degree RNs, that has shaken up the employee mix. Hospitals are using medical assistants as adjuncts to RN leadership. Multiple medical assistants can work under this supervisory setup in many medical departments.
Second, with economic pressures on all providers, certified medical assistants provide a budgetary alternative while working within their scope of practice.
Third, Medicare and Medicaid allow certified medical assistants to enter data in the Computerized Physician Order Entry. Essentially, this is electronic health records rather than paper charts.
And fourth, in outpatient settings, you will find medical assistants receiving patients, taking vitals, and listening to a patient’s medical issues to document as a physician wants them to do.
All these reasons add to the demand for medical assistants. At Menzies’ Boulder Medical Center, for example, he counts four openings. The center already employs 47 medical assistants.
Becoming a certified medical assistant, then, combines what for many people is a desire to help people with the need to be a respected part of a health-care team.
An Internship Becomes a Job
Jaime turned her internship placement while in the Medical Assisting and Office Technology Program at Front Range into her job after graduation. She is a certified medical assistant at Gandolph Health Care in Lafayette.
She says she gets to do everything that medical assistants are allowed to do, from drawing blood and giving shots to billing and taking medical histories and vital signs.
“I always wanted to help people,” Jaime says, so she considered various careers. “I talked with my own family provider because I decided I wanted something in health care.”
As a certified medical assistant, Jaime got her foot in the health-care field. At some point, she may want to become a physician assistant. For now, she is grateful for the education and support she received at Front Range.
“The teachers – Dr. Kari (Williams), Catherine (Moore), and Elaine (Kartes), were all so supportive and helpful,” Jaime says. “They did their best to make sure everyone got through.”
Jaime also had help from Family Self-Sufficiency in Boulder County. Like many community college students, Jaime found that “life happens.” When her daughter was born three years ago, she left college and entered the workforce. “Actually, I never thought I’d get back to college,” she says.
Her Family Self-Sufficiency counselor steered her to Front Range because its graduates can earn “the right credential.” Jaime graduated in 2016 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Office Technology with a concentration in Medical Assisting.
Medical Assisting is Accredited
Front Range’s program prepares students to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant exam from the American Association of Medical Assistants. That’s one of the added benefits of being a student in a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. You have the opportunity to sit for a top-level national certification. Jaime passed with a 97 percent score.
A Career in Medical Assisting
Like Jaime, some medical assistants see the job as a stepping stone to another level of care. Others want to stay as medical assistants. In either case, certified medical assistants are in demand. A great career awaits.