Brittany loved working in health care for more than 10 years, first in direct support and then as a CNA. She tells us why she returned to school to train ss a Medical Assistant at MTTI.
I felt really good about helping people who were unable to help themselves, or who didn’t have family members to help them. After training as a CNA, providing care in a nursing home was awesome—but I became too attached to the residents. When patients I cared for died, I was often the one who found them.
I wasn’t working and wanted to do something. Financially stable and having a reliable car, I was in the right space to go to school. I was ready to commit to Medical Assistant training.
Because I was planning to begin the program during COVID, Ms. Courtney and I met for my instructor interview on Zoom. We instantly connected. Knowledgeable and personable, Ms. Courtney made me feel comfortable that MTTI is a place where you can come to learn and just be yourself.
It would be a little easier for me to provide patient care as Medical Assistant than as a CNA. Depending on where I chose to work, I could be compassionate without becoming too emotionally attached. I considered training to be a nurse, but that would have taken two to four years. MTTI’s program was intense but short—only seven months. When, during the program, I experienced life challenges that might have interrupted a longer nursing program, I was able to push through the Medical Assistant program and graduate.
Ms. Courtney and I share in common some similar life challenges. My mom had breast cancer; Ms. Courtney is a breast cancer survivor. When I was only 27, I was diagnosed with infertility. Learning more about women’s health confirmed that I was on the right track. I recognized that eventually, as a Medical Assistant, I would be able to work in gynecology, and one day possibly in an infertility clinic.
She gave us so many projects and research papers on health conditions; sometimes, I thought, “’this is just too much for me.’” When I felt overwhelmed, my dedication and determination to work in the medical field definitely helped. But I give credit to Ms. Courtney for pushing us. Now that I am working, I completely understand why she gave us all of those assignments. She wanted us to really understand what we were learning.
I liked everything about the urgent care where I interned—it was a great stepping stone to working at Atmed. I’m thankful that Ms. Courtney taught us all of the skills needed, including how to give injections, draw blood and perform EKGS. At the Primary Care, I work with two awesome providers who continue to teach and challenge me. When I don’t remember something 100%, they’ll tell me to come in the next day with a list of conditions and diseases that the patient could possibly have had. At MTTI I had learned how to research, so at home after work, I get on my laptop and make that list.
The anatomy, physiology and medical terminology we learned at MTTI helps me ask the right questions to document patients’ history and why they’ve come to see the provider that day. Sometimes female patients are more comfortable having a female Medical Assistant answer their questions. Right now, we have only male providers. I’m always honest; I tell patients it is outside of a Medical Assistant’s scope of practice to diagnose their conditions. But patients appreciate that I can provide some education. I offer to come back into the room with the provider, so they can ask him their questions. The providers are great; they don’t mind me coming in, when having a woman in the room helps the patient feel little more comfortable.
As my one-year anniversary at Atmed approaches, I have patients who will call and ask for me personally. Or they’ll come in and say, “Oh my God, thank goodness you’re here today.” It’s so important that patients feel comfortable with their health care providers. I feel really good that patients trust me.
I can honestly say I’ve only had good experiences working as a Medical Assistant. I plan to work as a Medical Assistant for a long time. Someday I may go back to school for nursing—but I might not have to. In some specialty practices, they teach you so much that you don’t need to go back school.
I ‘brag’ when asked about MTTI, that Ms. Courtney gave us a real-world experience. I’ve met Medical Assistants that completed programs at schools similar to MTTI, and who have not had nearly as much hands-on training. When I tell them that we practiced stitching on pig ears, they say, “Oh, wow, really? We didn’t get to do that.” Or they tell me that they didn’t get to draw blood from actual people. Then I brag, “Wow! In the Medical Assistant program at MTTI, we do a little bit of everything.”
Top: Brittany Wray
Middle: Ms. Courtney, Brittany & Shawn Barnes (Career Services)
Bottom: Brittany on a break at Atmed Primary Care