Kerri Thro - An MTTI Success Story

Success Stories

Kerri Thro

Medical Assistant 2013 Graduate
Medical Assistant at Rhode Island Medical Associates in Bristol

“If you are looking for a Medical Assistant program, at MTTI you not only get book smarts but the hands-on and role playing you need to be successful in the field. Throughout the whole process—from Admissions through the classroom to Career Services—everybody was helpful and nice. School wasn’t stressful, which is important because that helped me learn. I always had a good time.”

Even during High School, Kerri knew she wanted to be a Medical Assistant. When she became pregnant at 16, Kerri didn’t give up—she just delayed her dream. Both she and her boyfriend lived with her parents. They finished High School and worked at jobs. Kerri was only 17 when their son was born. 

After graduating High School, Kerri, together with her brother, decided to buy a three-family house. Her parents refinanced their own house and took out a loan to give Kerri and her brother the 20% down payment. “My family is my backbone—we’re close. We do things for each other—if there is a way to do it, we will. They help with my kids. Without them I don’t know what I would do.”

Kerri couldn’t financially afford college after High School.

“I had a son and daughter; I decided to be a stay-at-home mom for seven years. I loved caring for and teaching my kids. Once they started pre-school, it was time for mom to go back to school.”

“I looked into a few different programs—and had an appointment with another school. When I visited MTTI, I met John in Admissions. During the tour he gave me, I liked the amount of hands-on I saw in the classroom and lab. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just looking at pictures in a book—I wanted to do things.”

I liked MTTI’s program because you learn venipuncture as part of Medical Assisting.

In the clinics, I gained confidence as I learned to draw blood from family and friends who volunteered. I completed 50 venipunctures and 25 capillary sticks to earn the Phlebotomy Certificate. Now that I am working, I am very comfortable with a needle in my hand.”

During the program, I always felt that I could talk to my instructor.

I was comfortable participating in class discussions—even when my answer to a question was incorrect."

Three months after I began school, things were going well. I was juggling my Medical Assistant studies with caring for the kids. I loved coming to school. On the 13th of January, I spent the day cleaning my house, because the whole class was coming to study for our Endocrine Unit exam. I left my house to pick up my kids.

When I returned home, two hours before my classmates were expected to arrive, my three-family home was on fire; it burned to the ground.

Fortunately my family and my tenants were all out of the house when the fire began—but not my pets.”

I called my classmate, Jean, and said, ‘You can’t come here—my house is on fire!’ Jean called another student and together they reached out to the other class members. The last student I personally called said, ‘I’m stuck in traffic because of a fire in your area.’ I said to her, “I know--it’s my house.”

The fire was Friday evening. I missed school on Monday and Tuesday. I returned to school on Wednesday.

My books, notes and scrubs were all lost in the fire. I asked my husband, “How am I going to afford new books and scrubs?”

When I arrived at class, everyone hugged me. My instructor handed me new books, and the school gave me new scrubs at no charge. My classmates had copies of notes and hand-outs for me.

I was offered a Leave-of-Absence but I said, ‘I don’t want to leave.

I started with these girls and I want to finish with them.’ I needed to come to school. Outside of school it was overwhelming—the phone was always ringing with calls from insurance companies, the Fire Marshall, the Police… I would come to school and for four hours, I would turn off my phone. My mind was too busy learning about Medical Assisting to think about the fire. I was having a good time with the girls in my class.”

You have to recognize that someone out there always has it worse. I still have my husband and kids. The saddest result of the fire was that I lost my animals; my kids and I struggled with their loss.”

We had this horrible thing happen, but it showed me how much good there is in the world.

The whole community—even strangers—held fundraisers and handed me checks. I was used to being the person that helped other people; being the recipient of help from others was humbling.”

Mayor Will Flanagan and other city officials held a press conference and made sure everyone affected by the fire received help. Mayor Flanagan came to talk with us about storage—because people were contributing so much we didn’t have a place to put it. I also received a Scholarship from the Fall River Chapter of Dollars for Scholars for maintaining high grades in the face of personal hardship.  And, as a result of our situation, the Firefighters Wives Association was founded. They are prepared to provide clothing and hygiene packages to people in need.

The fire also inspired my personal mission. I had always wanted to help people, but now I desired even more to give to others.

All the support I received, and my own motivation, made learning in the classroom come easily to me—but I was still nervous about going out to internship. I had never worked in a medical office; I temporarily ‘lost’ my confidence.  On my first day of internship at Highland Pediatrics, I felt a little ill—but then the day flew by. I recognized that everything they expected me to do I had learned at school, so I knew it would be fine.

When the internship site didn’t have an opportunity for hire, it was a little disappointing. I live in an area where a lot of practices have become part of hospital health care systems, which requires that I apply on-line and wait to be contacted for an interview. However, I had learned at school to drop off resumes at local practices. When you are still in the classroom, you sometimes don’t make time to drop off resumes. When you recognize that you don’t have a job as you complete your internship, it suddenly feels important. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

A classmate had just completed internship and began working at RI Medical Associates, where they regularly hire MTTI graduates.

She thought there might be another opening. I drove to Bristol and recognized that it really wasn’t difficult to commute from Fall River. I called the Career Services Representative, Susanne who knows the practice manager. She sent my resume with some positive information about me, and they contacted me for an interview. Susanne was a big help at every step—she was the first person I called when I got the job offer.

I was nervous on the first day of my new job (but not as much as at internship). Now I am a Medical Assistant for a dermatologist.

I really like learning new procedures, like Blue Light Therapy for acne and sun damage. The doctor places a lot of confidence in her Medical Assistants—she lets MAs do suture removal and assist with biopsies. The doctor explains everything she does. She has high expectations and wants you to be on your game, because as an MA you are doing an important job.”

The other day, while I was driving to work, I was smiling. Drivers looking at me must have thought I was strange, smiling to myself—but that’s ok, because I love what I do. I am truly happy.