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May 18, 2012

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Successful Externs Become Successful Employees at HMG

Successful Externs Become Successful Employees at HMG

Holston Medical Group (HMG) has provided quality medical care to patients since its founding in 1977. Barsha Grant, LPN Nurse Manager, has worked for HMG for 18 years and oversees 160 nursing staff (a number of whom are National College graduates) who work with HMG providers located throughout the northeast corner of Tennessee.

Throughout her years of experience as a manager, Barsha shares that key attributes she looks for in measuring a good worker are initiative and an eager willingness to learn. “It seems to me a lot of National students have that initiative and want to do well,” Barsha says – stating that several of her National employees come to her recommended highly by the providers and nurses they train with in their externships with the HMG offices.

“The biggest thing with [National] students is – they come here, they do their externship here, we really get to see them in action,” she shares, explaining the mutual benefit for the students and HMG. “All the employees we have hired from [National] have been those exceptional externs.” For the students, it’s a great opportunity to get hands-on experience and exercise the knowledge they have gained in their program at National. “They truly appreciate the opportunity to come here and learn,” Barsha says, and they get a good feel for what fields they are interested in and what specialties they may excel at.

Barsha says that National’s students come well prepared and give HMG the opportunity to pick the best for future employees. “As a company, [National] turns out some of the better [medical assisting] students,” she states, “Obviously, that’s why we have so many of them that work here!” Considering that Barsha recently hired eleven medical assistants from Bristol Campus, it’s clear that she means what she says. (Look for these students to be featured throughout the next couple of weeks in the National News.)

With a mission of not just providing quality medical care, but care that “exceeds patient expectations and builds lasting relationships,” HMG recognizes that starts with how they treat their employees. “It’s a very family oriented foundation – team oriented from the front to the back,” Barsha shares about the work culture at HMG. It’s a sense of community that students find themselves falling into step with easily. “I love everything about my job at HMG!” says Tonya Reynolds, a National medical assisting graduate who now works as a primary nurse, echoing the sentiment of several students who now work for HMG.

Director of Health Care Education Sheri Jessee consults with Barsha Grant, LPN Nurse Manager, at the HMG Medical Plaza.

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HMG Employees Found Success Through National College

HMG Employees Found Success Through National College

Before deciding to go to college, Stacey Frear (left) worked a variety of jobs in customer service. Although she enjoyed the interaction with people she knew she wanted a change in field. After considering her options, she chose the medical assisting degree program at the Bristol Campus – in part because National College made the transition into her program easier by accepting credits she had earned in prior schooling. This meant cutting down on costs and wasted time retaking classes on material she already knew. She quickly found that National not only was the most efficient, quality answer to her educational goals, but she enjoyed “meeting great people” including some of her fellow graduates who are now co-workers! Successfully employed at Holston Medical Group, she states: “I love orthopedics and the people I work with.” In the next 5 to 10 years she could see herself “possibly teaching in the medical field,” inspired by some of her great instructors like Director of Health Care Education Sheri Jessee.

Tonya Reynolds (right) came to National looking to further her education in a career that would allow her to spend more time with her children in the evening and on holidays. As a mom, it was also important for her to have a supportive structure at school that would encourage her in her studies in the midst of a busy family life. She found that National’s community atmosphere gave her what she needed, and she picked it over colleges in the area because she preferred smaller classes with more one-on-one attention from her instructors. She notes several instructors who had a deep impact on her, particularly Director of Health Care Education Sheri Jessee. “Mrs. Jessee was an awesome instructor,” Tonya states proudly, “She made class fun along with teaching us very important job skills.” Two years later – successfully employed in the career of her dreams, Tonya says “I love everything about my job at Holston Medical Group!” She looks forward to advancing in her field and in her education. “I am proud to be a National graduate!” she says with enthusiasm, “It was an awesome learning experience.”

Graduate Comes Back to Career Fair, This Time as an Advocate for Her Employer

Graduate Comes Back to Career Fair, This Time as an Advocate for Her Employer

Graduate Stacy Scott found a great job after her graduation from the medical billing and coding program at the Bristol Campus. She is the new office manager for Miller Family & Sports Chiropractic where she handles billing and payments as well as schedules appointments.

Stacy wanted to find a career in the medical billing field because she thought the healthcare industry was growing and she enjoyed the behind the scenes clerical work in that environment. She began a search for a medical billing and coding training program and chose National because it gave her the opportunity to attend a class in person (compared to online programs) as well as the job placement assistance. She is glad she chose National because she liked the one-on-one instruction and felt the faculty was knowledgeable and helpful.

On April 25th, Stacy attended the Bristol Campus career fair but not as a job seeker – as an employer representative, together with her boss, Dr. Heith Miller. She got the opportunity to speak to students about her own success and even promote her new business as a great place to work.

“The bulk of our practice is family health care, but I do specialize in sports injury,” noted Dr. Miller, who has trained under one of the country’s leading sports medicine chiropractors. “A lot of the same procedures, a lot of the same techniques that the Olympians are getting treated with, I’m also offering here at our office.”

Dr. Miller described the attributes that led him to hire Stacy. “What I was looking for was, obviously someone with a great personality…I needed someone who was knowledgeable in the field of billing,” he explained. “I needed someone who could come in and basically start work, that I didn’t have to sit down and walk them through all the steps.” Dr. Miller noted that he conducted about 40 interviews before ultimately choosing Stacy as the best candidate.

Stacy Scott with the owner of the practice Dr. Heith Miller at the Bristol Campus Career Fair.

Medical Assisting Practice Suture Removals on Instructor

Medical Assisting Practice Suture Removals on Instructor

There isn’t a better endorsement of a student’s work than their instructor allowing then to perform the very procedure she taught them on her own foot. That is exactly what happened when Director of Health Care Education Beth Laurenz had to undergo surgery on her foot. She took some of her medical assisting students from the Columbus Campus with her to a doctor’s appointment when she had her stitches removed. Beth’s doctor allowed the students to remove the stitches. He assisted them throughout the procedure, giving them helpful advice as they performed a procedure that they will likely have to do after they graduate and enter the field as professionals. Student Eric Stevens was very appreciative of this opportunity. He said, “It was very exciting to get to apply some of what we learned in class to a real situation.”

Eric Stevens is pictured removing stitches from Director of Health Care Education Beth Laurenz’s foot.

Information Systems Engineering Students Visit a Super Computer

Information Systems Engineering Students Visit a Super Computer

On May 2nd, students at the Danville, Virginia Campus in Instructor John Aaron’s Network Fundamentals class took a field trip to the Noblis facility in the “River District” of Downtown Danville. The Noblis facility is the home of the Cray SMT2 supercomputer, which offers a level of computing power that is rarely found outside of federal laboratories and academic settings. It has a 100 terabyte storage capacity, operating on 128 nodes. John jumped at the chance to take his class to the Noblis facility.

Students found the trip to be highly informative as it related directly to what they were studying in class. The ability of the supercomputer to calculate with unbelievable speed brings to the computing world tremendous possibilities, not only for Noblis, but also in the possibility of those that work in the computer fields. The students asked numerous questions which were graciously answered by host Phillip Hayes, Jr., one of the software engineers for the Center for Applied High Performance Computing. Mr. Hayes’s presentation was highly informative.

Pictured during the Noblis field trip are students (back row, l to r) Michael Cox, Keith Trotter, Vincent Pierce Parker, Virginia Hylton, Brady Brown, (front row) Instructor John Aaron and Director of IT Programs Anthony Hogue.

Surgical Technology Students Form New Club

Surgical Technology Students Form New Club

A new club has been formed for students in the surgical technology degree program at the Youngstown Campus – the SRG Excellence Club. Under the guidance of Program Director Deb Romeo, the purpose of the new club is to build a network for students at every level of the program. Club members are discussing the possibilities of mentoring, tutoring, and a book swap. They have also proposed to reorganize the student mailboxes to Campus Director Mike Boyle. In addition, the club would like to get involved with community projects like the gLove campaign to assist the local battered women’s shelter and Adopt-A-Resident at a local extended care facility for the holidays. Club members will represent the surgical technology program at new student orientation, welcoming incoming students and encouraging them to be involved in school activities. The group has invited other medical programs on campus to form their own clubs and plans to challenge programs to a classroom window decorating competition in the near future.

Pictured are surgical technology students that are members of the SRG Excellence Club

Soon-to-be-Graduates Practice their Interviewing Skills

Soon-to-be-Graduates Practice their Interviewing Skills

Graduating students at the Princeton Campus were recently given the opportunity to participate in mock interviews with Stephanie Dillon of the Pocahontas State Correctional Center. During this activity, each student was required to dress appropriately, present a finished résumé with a cover letter, and participate in the mock interview. The experience of a real-life interview is valuable for students preparing to enter the workforce, but perhaps the most valuable part of the experience is the feedback they receive about how they performed. After completing the interview process, Ms. Dillon critiqued the students, explaining to them what they did well and what areas needed improvement. “This experience builds confidence and helps them see what they should work on. It also lets them see their strengths,” Ms. Dillon said of the National students. “The more experience they have with this, the easier and less stressful this process will become for them.”

Christopher Lester, medical office assistant student, is pictured in a mock interview with Stephanie Dillon.

Hopefuls Land Interviews at Career Fair

Hopefuls Land Interviews at Career Fair

Many students recently roamed the halls of the Madison Campus dressed for success in search of job opportunities. They were participating in the spring career fair organized by Career Center Director Michelle Lydon.

With their well-crafted résumés in hand, students had the opportunity to meet with approximately 20 different companies that visited the campus for the event including UPS, Sam’s Club, T-Mobile, Care All Home Services, Doctor’s Value Vision, Regions Bank, FSNB Bank, American General, Tennessee Credit Union, Pizza Hut, staffing services, and many other top companies.

Because of a connection made at the career fair, student Simmie Aaron Story got a job with Doctor’s Value Vision. Twelve other students were awarded job interviews and possible job opportunities with the companies they impressed at the career fair.

Michelle is pleased with the success of the career fair and said, “It was great to see many of our students explore lots of career possibilities with companies that are looking to hire professionals who have studied hard to prepare for their chosen career fields.”

Representatives from CareAll Home Care Services are pictured at the Madison Campus career fair.

Discovery of New Talents Prompts Graduate’s Return to School

Discovery of New Talents Prompts Graduate’s Return to School

Jeanette April, a graduate from the Danville, Kentucky Campus, enjoys working from her home where she performs computer medical coding for Outcomes Health Information Solutions. She first came to National in 2003 when the factory where she worked shut down. Jeanette qualified for tuition assistance under the Trade Act, for workers who have been negatively affected by international trade.

“I chose to go to school. I wanted to get out of factory life and into something that was going to be more rewarding and stable,” she recalled.

Jeanette encouraged her daughter, Tiffany Scharbrough, to return to school with her. The mother and daughter team completed the medical assisting associate’s degree program together. “It was a good learning environment for me and it shows because I’ve done well.”

Jeanette was hired as a medical assistant by Danville Pediatrics after completing her externship with the practice. “I was ecstatic because I went to school for it and I earned it,” she said.

While working for the practice, Jeanette found that she had an interest in billing and coding and she returned to National and earned diplomas from the medical billing and coding and administrative office professional programs. She said that she has a natural affinity for memorizing codes and numbers. “Numbers just stick in my head,” she shared.

Jeanette is now using that love for numbers as a student in National’s accounting degree program online. “You have to be more disciplined,” she said of the online courses which fit well into her busy scheduled. She plans to use the skills she’s learning in the program to work in tax preparation.

“It worked wonders for me and I think of them as family,” Jeanette said of her time at National. “I have a rewarding career. I firmly believe that you’re never too old to learn.”

New Career for Numbers Expert

New Career for Numbers Expert

Kimberly Shane will be receiving her bachelors’ degree from the business administration-accounting program at the Lexington Campus when she walks across the stage at graduation next week. She said she will be making that walk with a brand new and exciting life.

“I was going through a very rough time in my life…and I knew I was the only one who could change my circumstances,” Kimberly said. “As a single parent, I knew this was going to be very challenging but I wanted to be able to take care of my family and myself and I was determined to do just that.” She earned an associate’s degree in 2010 and was determined to get a bachelor’s degree too. “Now that I’ve earned my degrees, I can do what I set out to do – take care of my family.”

Kimberly knew she wanted to pursue accounting when she visited campus for the first time. Her parents owned their own business and, as a child, she was always fascinated with numbers. “I always loved numbers and math. It was like a big puzzle for me and it was easy for me.” Accounting was a natural choice.

Kimberly credits her success to the small classes and individualized attention from her instructors. She explained, “You’re not just a face [at National]. You are someone the instructors know and work very hard with.”

Kimberly interviewed for a job with B&W Awning the week of her final exams and she was hired. “This happened due to my excellent training and from the hard work of my Career Center Director Cheryl Howell.”

(L to R) Kimberly Shane is pictured with her new employer, Larry Gillespie with B & W Awning.

Soldier-Turned-Student Reflects on Freedom

Soldier-Turned-Student Reflects on Freedom

In observance of Armed Forces Day, the Florence Campus recently held an essay contest with the theme, “What Freedom Means to Me.” Students Bobby Cook, Nannette Frederick, and Matt Linneman (pictured) were awarded certificates and gift cards at the Armed Forces Ceremony held on May 7th.

When Matt saw the contest announcement, he knew that he wanted to share his thoughts on the meaning of freedom. As a member of the U.S. Army stationed in Germany from 1977-1979, Matt saw first-hand what it was like for individuals who have been denied their basic freedoms by a communist totalitarian state. He visited the Berlin Wall and saw how citizens of Communist East Berlin were separated from their friends and relatives in democratic West Berlin. He saw the Wall as a symbol of the denial of freedom where East Berliners were deprived of the basic freedoms that so many Americans take for granted: freedom of speech, press, assembly, and religion. In his essay, Matt emphasized the impact of President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to Americans to, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Matt said that is the call that he has followed during his military service in Germany and Afghanistan over the last 30 years.

Students Plant Trees and Adopt Bald Eagle and Polar Bear In Honor of Earth Day

Students Plant Trees and Adopt Bald Eagle and Polar Bear In Honor of Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day on April 22nd, Richmond Campus students in Instructor Amber Middleton’s Environmental Science class adopted a bald eagle and a polar bear through the Defenders of Wildlife organization. They also planted 6 trees in the Atlantic Rain Forest in Brazil. The adoption of the bald eagle helps protect America’s symbol from illegal killing and habitat destruction. Scientists predict that American polar bears could face extinction in the next 50 years. So by adopting a polar bear the students are helping give the polar bears permanent protection in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Business administration-management student Megan Lowery feels the project and her environmental science class have made a huge impact on her life. She said, “By adopting the animals and having the trees planted was just a small way that I could help give back to the earth that I use every day. I have learned so much in my class especially how important it is to save the earth for future generations.”

Students in the Environmental Science class are pictured celebrating Earth Day.

National is Key to Furthering Graduate’s Career

National is Key to Furthering Graduate’s Career

After working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) for six years, Richmond student Ashley Young (pictured) knew that she belonged in the medical field. But she also knew that she needed to further her education if she wanted to advance in her career. “It’s low-paying but it’s also physical and intense,” she said of her job as a CNA.

Ashley saw that there was a growing demand for medical assistants in doctor’s offices and even in factories where they assist with wellness initiatives. “I just really enjoy the medical field. I can’t see myself doing anything else.”

She attended Eastern Kentucky University and Bluegrass Community and Technical College, but she didn’t follow through and complete her program until she came to National.

“[National] is a lot different than a big university,” she explained. “The teachers get to know you on a personal level. In bigger schools you don’t get that personal feeling—you’re just a number.”

Toward the end of her program, she had several classes with Director of Health Care Education Paula Beth Ciolek who worked closely with her to find the best extern site for her when the time came. The physical medicine and rehabilitation practice where she was placed was such a perfect fit that she was offered a job during her externship.

Ashley knew that the externship was an opportunity to prove herself to the employer and she says that her hard work paid off. “I enjoyed being here and they definitely needed another [medical assistant] here,” she said of the practice that’s located just a couple of miles from her home. “I worked really hard to show them that I was serious about what I was doing.”

Ashley enjoys that every day at the practice is different. “I definitely like the environment of the doctor’s office and building relationships with the patients,” she said of her new career. She said that she’ll be proud and thankful when she walks across the stage at graduation this month. “Follow through with it. Don’t give up when it gets hard,” she advised current students. “If you finish it’s worth the outcome."

Committee Strives to Improve Program

Committee Strives to Improve Program

On Thursday, May 10th, Stephanie Walker, director of the surgical technology degree program at the Louisville Campus, held a Program Academic Committee (PAC) meeting. Made up of health care professionals, staff, faculty, and students, the Surgical Technology PAC meets twice a year to discuss ways to improve the program and to meet standards set by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) and by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

“The Program Academic Committees are required by our accreditation to give an outside perspective on how the program assesses its community needs for surgical technology,” explained Stephanie. “Our committee members are very involved in the outcomes of our program and all are devoted to our students’ future from job placement to promoting our programs success to future students. We have such great members--each one has vast knowledge of the program and gives excellent advice that makes my job easier. They each come from different communities of interest, so they all have different perspectives to share.”

During this most recent meeting, committee members offered suggestions on how to assist students in preparing for the certified surgical technologist exam and how to increase graduate placement.

Dr. William Hymes, M.D., a local surgeon and PAC member, is impressed with the dedication that Stephanie has shown to the surgical technology program and by the way National continues to strive to improve the program. “[American National University] services a clientele that really needs skill and education to get a decent pay check and that’s very hard to come by for a lot of people,” said Dr. Hymes. “I like the way [National] is trying to make things better and meet all your benchmarks. I think that it’s just very noble.”

The National News is a biweekly publication designed to share the success and academic accomplishments of students and graduates from American National University and National College. For more information, contact the Communications Department.

In accordance with the regulations of the Tennessee Higher Education Council, all references to "American National University" refer to "National College" in the state of Tennessee.