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Learning Center Experience
By Jennifer Claire, BS, MSHS, MPH, CAHI, Full-Time Professor of Health Sciences
One of my most
treasured accomplishments in life is that of a medical professional. Today, I also
have the honor of taking more than 20 years of experience in the field and
sharing that with hundreds of students daily in the classroom where I teach
medical assisting and administrative medical assisting. These future medical
professionals often ask me if I will give them “real-life” or real-word
examples, and I am always more than happy to provide any knowledge and
experience I can. At the end of the day, reading a brochure on what you think
you might be doing in the field is a far different cry than hearing it
firsthand! This is up front, close, and personal—the real deal.
When anyone asks me what a medical professional does
during a typical day, a thousand things come to my mind! Perhaps though, the
first and most important thing a true medical professional needs to do is leave
all the personal aspect of one’s life at the door. The minute you walk through
the door of a medical office or any type of medical facility as a professional,
you put yourself aside for a number of hours. You commit your mind and
attention on the patients and their needs. They are counting on us to be
trained, skilled, knowledgeable, kind, compassionate, and alert. This is neither
a profession for the faint of heart nor for the selfish.
professionals can hold a number of job titles, such as:
I want to focus this
article on medical assistants and medical managers, as this is my passion and
what I love to teach. Medical assistants may perform a variety of tasks,
Each office and
facility always has their own unique twist on how they prefer duties to be
completed; however, the basics are always the same. I can still recall the day
my mom took me to the doctor when I was around 11 years old. I watched the
“lady” coming and calling patients and she seemed so nice. Even as a child, I
was impressed that this “lady” was nice because I just knew it helped the sick
people feel better. When the “lady” came to get me to see the doctor I took her
by the hand and asked her how I could do what she does? She told me she was a medical
assistant and said that I could do what she does when I grew up. I explained
how her being nice to all of the sick patients was very nice, and she told me
that being nice and caring for people was the most important part of being a
medical assistant. Clearly, that never left my heart and mind, and it shouldn’t
leave yours if you choose this profession.
There are many medical facilities who hire assistants and
managers who know how to perform both clinical and administrative skills. This
is referred to as “back office and front office.” Back office means you are working in the
clinical aspect or portion of the facility, while front office refers to
working on administrative tasks without the clinical duties.
in the front office is just as important as working in the back office. One takes
care of the patient’s physical concerns, while the other focuses on the
patients emotional and financial concerns. If anyone tries to tell you that the
front office and financial aspect of dealing with a patient is not as important
as the physical needs, tell them to deal with a patient who is upset over an
incorrect bill! Front office professionals have the important charge of
greeting a patient kindly and respectfully within seconds. This first contact with a patient comes from the front desk
via phone call or face to face and will make or break the relationship with a
medical professional has to be able to:
People may assume the
back and front office duties are completely different but truly, we cannot have
success without both.
While the desire to be a medical professional began when
I was young, it evolved as I entered my 20s. I was 21 years of age, married to
my high school sweetheart, 3 months pregnant, when my husband filed for
divorce. I was devastated but also in dire need of making sure I could support
myself and a child. I had already completed the medical assisting and certified
nursing courses, but knew I needed more. My obstetrician made sure that her
office staff charged me a lower than normal fee, and never gave me a rough time
about my bill due to my life circumstance. This made me realize the
significance of how small acts of kindness could help a patient’s entire life.
I enrolled in the nearest administrative medical course and graduated at 40
weeks pregnant with preeclampsia, high blood pressure, and hands so swollen I
could barely type!
Medical professionals usually enter this field for a
specific reason, and I have told you my reasons. Today, after 20 years working
in the field, I am honored to teach these courses at Kaplan University and, in
some way, I get to give back some of the grace that was bestowed upon me some
20 years ago. Yes, my students all get to hear the stories of my time in the
field, and when they get discouraged or overwhelmed by life, I remind them of
the greater good and all of the people they have yet to encounter and help.
I’ve never had a student give up on their education or goals of becoming a
medical professional. Perhaps they are dedicated, and most likely like me, just
have a heart to help others. I have never once regretted being a medical
professional, and should you choose this path, I doubt you will regret it
The Value of the Medical Assistant in Today’s Medical Practice
Electronic Medical Records and the Future
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And if you are considering pursuing a health sciences degree, we invite you to find out more about Kaplan University's School of Health Sciences and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.
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