Students in Granite Hills High School’s Medical Assisting (MA) Program are looking forward to graduation with confidence. Ten out of the sixteen students enrolled in the program have already been offered jobs in the medical field, and will begin immediately following graduation. The six remaining students either have plans to continue their education in the fall, or are in application and background process for a potential job.
The students spent the first semester of the school year completing hands-on training in class, where they learned how to check a patient’s vitals, draw blood, give injections, use an EKG, remove stitches and complete other tasks related to patient care. Students also learned about medical-related office procedures, such as insurance coverage and medical billing. During the second semester, the students participated in externships at local medical offices, where they completed 180 hours of necessary fieldwork and put their classroom experience into action.
“I came into the program wanting to do pediatrics and I ended up working at a surgeons office and I love it, “ senior Melissa Heim said. “This program opened up my options and my thoughts of maybe what I would like to do, and broadened my horizon of the options out there...It’s only made my passion for this career burn more."
In addition to learning technical skills, the students also developed valuable soft-skills such as time management, teamwork, and overall professionalism. “We’ve learned how to interact with patients, get to know coworkers…and not only become more professional in our work life but in out personal lives as well,” Sierra Beyer, senior, said.
Jennifer Sanchez-Garcia, senior, said that her experience in the program has helped her to gain confidence and to step out of her comfort zone. “I’m a really shy person, so at first it was really hard to communicate with people,” she said. “I would get nervous in the beginning, but after a while I got used to it.” Sanchez-Garcia added that she has built a good rapport with patients and now answers phones on a regular basis.
“Another thing I’ve learned is how to take constructive criticism,” Beyer said. “You have to learn how to take that, internalize it, and just be able to look past it and do things better the next time.”
While completing the Medical Assisting Program, the students have learned to balance their studies with their externships, athletics and friendships. “Work is important and so is school, but you need a stress reliever,” Beyer said.
Jennifer Hunt, medical instructor, said that she has noticed both professional and personal growth in her students over the past year and is very proud of their accomplishments. She encouraged her students to continue to learn, even after graduation. “This field is ever-changing, so even if you are done and where you want to be, you are still learning in the field. Medical is changing every single day,” she said. “It doesn’t get dull and boring.”
The Medical Assisting Program is a Career Technical Program, articulated through Victor Valley College. Students who complete this program will receive a county certificate that confirms their completion of a medical assisting program. This year’s class is the first to be eligible to complete an exam to become CMA certified through the state of California. Granite Hills will add a phlebotomy program state licensure opportunity next year.
Hunt added that students who decide to continue in their education will graduate with half of the requirements needed to gain their associate’s degree.
“This program is going to be with me for the rest of my life, whether I decide to continue my education or stay here,” Heim said. “Balancing all of the classes and everything has given me a taste of what it’s going to be like in college, balancing a job and all of the difference classes that I have to take.”
For more information about Granite Hills High School and its programs, contact 760-961-2290.