Rebecca Degagne, 2017 Medical Assistant Graduate

Success Stories

Rebecca Degagne

2017 Medical Assistant Graduate
Medical Assistant at Prima CARE


“Coming to MTTI was one of the best decisions I ever made. Maybe you are wondering if going to school to become a Medical Assistant is right for you. If I can do it as a single mom with a five-year old—you can do it, too!”

Rebecca Degagne, 2017 MTTI Medical Assistant GraduateAfter working as a CNA for six years—the last four with adults who have disabilities—I needed a change.

I always wanted to work in a doctor’s office, so I became interested in training to become a Medical Assistant. I knew a graduate of MTTI’s Automotive Technician program--Peter Montigny—who was the Gold Wrench Award Winner in his class. He told me MTTI is a really good school. I thought to myself, ‘If he can do it, I can do it!'

I went to MTTI’s website and clicked on the ‘Contact Us’ button.

Cheryl, the Admissions Rep for the Medical Assistant program called me the next day.

Enrolling in the program was a big decision for me. 

I hadn’t been to school for six or seven years, so I was a little nervous. I also wondered how, as a single mom, I could afford going back to school.

I quit work. I had child support and an affordable rent, based on income.

It was a struggle, but the program was short—only 7 months, including internship. It went by in the blink of an eye, and it was amazing!

At first it felt awkward for me to sit in class instead of working.

I had to adjust to going back to school, and having homework. I learned to focus, knowing at the program’s end I would be going into a good job. . 

My Instructor, Jennifer Carter, is very thorough; she’s a good teacher.

Good thing, because the course was more demanding than the CNA program I had taken during High School. In High School my teacher would say, ‘You need to learn these 100 abbreviations by Friday of this week.’ Ms. Jen would go more in depth, but even though it was harder, we also had more help from Ms. Jen than we had from my high school instructors. 

My classmates ranged in ages from 18 into their 50’s.

Some were just out of high school, while others had years of work and life experience. I learned at MTTI that you don’t just form friendships with people your own age. We all helped and supported one another. I loved my classmates and continue to talk with them, even now after we are out of school. 

I had to re-learn how to take vitals, compared with how I had taken them as a CNA.

Everyone teaches taking blood pressures a little differently. In high school, we pumped it up as high as we could—to 180. At MTTI we learned you don’t need to over pump. We pump up according to an individual’s brachial pulse rate.

I appreciated that in the Medical Assistant program we were given time enough time for hands-on practice.Rebecca Degagne with MTTI Instructor, Jennifer Carter

In the high school CNA program, everything had to be learned quickly, with little time to apply what we were taught. High school teachers have so many classes to teach—they are not available to help outside of your time in class with them. At MTTI, Ms. Jen was willing to help before or after class.

It’s amazing that this program gives you the opportunity to shadow different medical practices.

As I began the program, I thought I would want to work in OB GYN or Pediatrics. I was surprised that, after shadowing at a gastroenterology practice, and in a medical call center listening to them triage patients, my goals changed.

I interned in an Internal Medicine practice at Prima CARE in Fall River.

I gave injections, took vitals, performed EKGs every day; some days I performed ear lavages, flu swabs and also urine dips. I loved the internship. Doctor Bassaly likes to teach and was very helpful. Unfortunately the practice only takes interns; they didn’t have an opportunity for hire. 

After completing the internship, Prima CARE hired me to work as a float, going wherever I was needed.

I worked at their Walk-In Center for a month. Then the Vascular Surgery practice needed a float for a couple of days. I knew nothing about vascular surgery except what I had learned at school about veins and arteries. They asked me, ‘Are you good with blood? We take out veins and perform other procedures, where you may be uncomfortable if you are squeamish about blood.’ I told them I could handle seeing blood.

After working as float for the vascular surgery practice, they hired me as a full-time, permanent Medical Assistant.

I never planned to work in a vascular or surgical specialty—but it is so interesting! I assist with phlebectomy  and ablation procedures. I practice the aseptic techniques I learned at school to set up sterile fields for procedures, and to perform sterile bandaging to prevent infection.

Working in a private practice is different than working in a hospital or large medical facility.

In a hospital, the nurse sees lots of people. When a patient comes into our office, they see me—a familiar face—at their visits and during their procedures.

I love what I do now as a Medical Assistant. 

Prima Care is a great organization to work for. There are many specialties in addition to vascular that you can work in: walk-in, x-ray and labs, cardiology, gastroenterology, urology, primary care, physical therapy. The medical field always has new technologies and information to learn. I enjoy continually learning--and I especially love knowing that I am helping people as a Medical Assistant.

It’s never too late to go back to school. 

I enrolled in college at 18 but dropped out; I wasn’t ready. It has to be your time, when you are there because you want to be—not because your parents want you to go to school. 

Rebecca Degagne with her son, TrevorMTTI is like a family—they are here for you even after you graduate.

After graduating high school, I thought I would never go back to school. I loved attending MTTI and looked forward to coming to school every day. It felt more like an on-the-job training than a school program.

Coming to MTTI was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I wish I had done it even earlier. Maybe you are wondering if going to school to become a Medical Assistant is right for you. If I can do it as a single mom with a five-year old—you can do it, too!


Prima CARE, P.C.

Center for Vascular Diseases
901 South Main Street
Fall River, MA 02724
Phone: 508-673-4329
Fax:      508-679-6669