After spending time in a hospital as a Red Cross volunteer, Shelby Harvey quickly realized she wanted to work in healthcare. Her interest in cardiovascular health began to grow as she learned more about the human heart.
With hopes of pursuing a career as a physician’s assistant (PA), Shelby decided it would be wise to begin earning patient care hours for her PA school applications. After transferring to UTC in Fall 2020, she heard about CPE’s Clinical Medical Assistant Academy and decided to enroll. Now, she is finishing up her undergraduate degree while working at Galen Medical Group as a medical assistant!
Marah: Why did you choose UTC’s Clinical Medical Assistant course over other similar courses?
Shelby: As a UTC student, I know that the university strives to offer reputable programs. I also liked that the UTC program is fast-paced unlike other MA programs in the Chattanooga area. The fact that I could finish the program in a few months was a huge selling point for me. From the very beginning, I felt that both Will (the program coordinator) and Suzette (the instructor) really cared about me. They want their students to succeed and treat students as individual people rather than just a number.
M: What did you enjoy most about the course?
S: My favorite skill we learned was phlebotomy, which is drawing blood. At first, I was nervous because I didn’t have any experience in that area. Miss Suzette made us all feel comfortable, though and emphasized that we were all learning together.
Also, I appreciated the diversity in the course. I enjoyed meeting different people who are all at different points in their life but have similar interests. There was another guy in the course who was 35 and pursuing a PA career, just like I am. There was a sense of ease knowing everyone was working toward the same goal of finding a job in healthcare.
M: What were your interactions with the instructor like?
S: Miss Suzette is great! She did an awesome job preparing us for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) exam. Also, she told us personal stories from working in healthcare for many years. Learning skills was much easier when she would connect what we were learning to real-world situations. She makes it clear that her goal is to help students’ succeed.
M: As an undergraduate UTC student, would you say the CMA course is manageable on top of your regular course load?
S: The course is definitely manageable. The bookwork is online during the first portion of the class, so that helped to get beforehand knowledge before going to the on-campus portion of the course. I took the course while also completing three summer undergraduate courses. I liked that the CMA course is at night because I attended my undergraduate classes and finished homework during the day—then pursued certification at night.
M: What advice would you give to someone considering taking the CMA course?
S: Have confidence in yourself. Know that it is possible to complete the course even with a busy schedule of classes or working full-time. Believe in yourself. If you do begin to feel stressed, remain calm! You are capable!
M: Is there anything else you would share about your CMA course experience?
S: The biggest thing that the class did for me was build up my confidence. I struggle with anxiety, so going into a new course with new people can be nerve-wracking for me. However, once I began the course and started getting experience, I began to feel a new sense of confidence in myself. That confidence has continued in my new CMA job.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M) serves as the marketing assistant for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, she spends time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with CPE’s customer base. During her free time, you can find her getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, she aspires to live by Mr. Feeny’s advice, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” She strives to use her passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around her.
Connect with Marah on LinkedIn.