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February 11, 2013

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Graduate Found Rewarding New Career with Medical Assisting Degree

Graduate Found Rewarding New Career with Medical Assisting Degree

There was little doubt when the National News reported that recent Bartlett Campus graduate Adelaide Warnock achieved a perfect score on her Registered Medical Assistant examination (see the December 10, 2012 issue), a job offer couldn’t be far behind. And sure enough, one was, as she was recently hired by Mid-South Minimally Invasive OB-GYN Services.

Adelaide ultimately came to the Bartlett Campus because of her husband, who is in the military but attended college in Virginia. When returning to Virginia to visit family, Adelaide said they would always drive by National’s flagship Roanoke Valley Campus. “When we were [in Memphis], and I was thinking of going back to school, I saw you had a [campus] here,” she related. “National has been around for a long time, I know they have a good reputation…I had faith in [National].”

Like many other National graduates, tragedy had a hand in leading Adelaide to her career. Inspired by the caregivers who treated her father when he was struggling with cancer, Adelaide decided a career in health career was where she needed to be. “I just felt that I needed to give back,” Adelaide explained. Her grandmother, a registered nurse, also gave her reason to pursue a medical career. The timing was right, as her husband neared military retirement and her children entered school.

As a military spouse, Adelaide qualified for GI Bill benefits through her husband, in addition to National’s exclusive Armed Services Recognition Grant and Blue Ribbon Grant. She received Tennessee Student Assistance Award funding as well, all helping to keep her educational costs minimal.

“I look forward to making a difference in patient care,” said Adelaide. “My experiences at National gave me all the necessary tools to succeed.”

Adelaide Warnock (pictured) looks forward to a new career in the medical field.

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Taking Her Degree and Her Career to the Next Level

Taking Her Degree and Her Career to the Next Level

Melissa Phillips Puckett advanced in her accounting career as she advanced in her education at American National University. She earned an associate’s degree in business administration - accounting at the Richmond Campus, then continued her education at the Lexington Campus where she earned her bachelor’s degree.

Melissa is using her education as an accounting assistant for God’s Pantry Food Bank. She enjoys working in the two-person accounting office, directly under the non-profit company’s finance director. Melissa said she likes that her daily duties vary between accounts payable, bank reconciliations, benefits enrollment, and more.

Melissa began her career in the accounting field working in accounts receivable for Clear Channel Communications where she was hired just before she finished her associate’s degree. After researching earnings for those who hold a bachelor’s degree versus an associate’s degree, she decided to return to National. “I looked at the stats of one versus the other and it’s a big difference,” she explained.

Her bachelor’s degree, combined with her experience in the field, gave her the foundation she needed to step up to a new level in her career. “Now, what I like best about my job is that I’m able to use my education and voice my ideas on how things are done, based on what I’ve learned.”

Sandi Everhard, finance director for God’s Pantry Food Bank, said that Melissa was hired just as they were expanding some of their accounting functions. “She has been a great addition to our staff,” said Sandi.

Melissa is happy to be working in a stable career as she and her husband look forward to the arrival of their first baby in the spring. She feels that there is plenty of room for growth in her career with God’s Pantry Food Bank.

Sandi Everhard, finance director for God’s Pantry Food Bank, is pictured in the bottom photo on the left with Melissa Phillips Puckett.

Students Gain Valuable Experience During Externships

Students Gain Valuable Experience During Externships

Two students from the medical assisting degree program at the Danville, Kentucky Campus, Jessie Mullins and Melissa Clark, have just completed valuable externships where they had the opportunity to work side-by-side with professionals and gain hands-on experience in local medical offices. Medical assisting students are required to complete an externship before graduation from their program at American National University.

Jessie was placed with Commonwealth Cancer Center in Danville for her externship. She assisted with patient scheduling, filing documents, obtaining insurance pre-certifications, and updating patient charts. She also worked in the clinical side of the practice where she took patients’ vitals and drew blood. She enjoyed her experience working with the patients and the staff at Commonwealth Cancer Center and she hopes to someday become the office manager of a fast-paced doctor’s office.

Melissa, who travels two hours to attend classes at National, worked as an extern for Winchester, Patton, and Burgess, PSC in Whitley City, where she also performed a variety of duties like Jessie. “I became more confident with doing vitals,” she said of her experience with the practice. Melissa also enjoyed meeting new people each day during her time in her externship.

Pictured are soon-to-be new medical assistants Melissa Clark (left) and Jessie Mullins (right).

Employers Offer Advice on Making a Good First Impression at a Job Fair

Employers Offer Advice on Making a Good First Impression at a Job Fair

On Tuesday, January 29th, the Louisville Campus Career Center hosted its first job fair of the year with a wide variety of participating employers that had openings in management, banking, healthcare, customer service, and more. American National University students and graduates were encouraged to attend so they could establish networking connections in their career fields. Members of the community were invited to attend as well.

Skye Verdon, who works in staffing and development for Jen Care Neighborhood Medical Centers, conducted on-site interviews and skills assessments during the job fair. She said that she looks for a big smile and good eye contact when she meets a job candidate. “I want someone who is confident in their skills, someone who’s excited to join the team,” said Ms. Verdon.

Pharmacist Gina Guarino, with Kroger Pharmacy, was at the career fair seeking candidates for pharmacy technician openings. She said that it is important to wear professional attire when participating in a job fair. “How they’re dressed makes a big first impression,” said Ms. Guarino regarding the job fair attendees.

Kenithia Rorer with US Bank, who is also a student in the campus’s business administration-management program, advised students to show their personality and ability to interact well with others during an interview. “When it comes to customer service, it’s about being a people person,” she advised.

No matter what industry the human resources representatives were from, they all agreed that a career fair can serve as a great opportunity for job seekers to make a good first impression on an employer, which could ultimately lead to a job offer.

Skye Verdon and Julie Hoffman (seated left to right), with JenCare Neighborhood Medical Centers, is pictured in the top photo talking with a career fair participant about job openings. Gina Guarino (right) with Kroger Pharmacy, is pictured in the bottom photo talking with a career fair participant about pharmacy technician openings with her company.

From LPN to RN

From LPN to RN

Deborah Cox, a graduate from the nursing associate’s degree program at the Pikeville Campus, decided to go back to school 30 years after she became a licensed practical nurse (LPN). She had dreams of returning to school to become a registered nurse but she wasn’t able to pursue an education because her husband’s job required them to move frequently.

“When I [started working] in the hospital, I found out that everybody had to answer to the RN and that she was the one with all of the responsibility,” she recalled. “That’s when I knew that’s what I wanted to be.”

When they moved to Kentucky, she finally found the time and the college that she needed to get a degree and become a registered nurse. “I liked the small size - you have more contact with the instructors,” she said of her classes at American National University.

Deborah graduated from National in November of 2012, passed her nursing boards, and was recently hired by Spalding Regional Hospital in Griffin, Georgia, where she previously worked as an LPN early in her nursing career. She couldn’t be happier to start her new career. “At 58 years old, I graduated RN school from American National University,” she said enthusiastically. “I feel very prepared for my first exciting RN job in the emergency room.”

Deborah Cox (left) is pictured as she receives her nursing pin from instructor Denise Hylton during the Pikeville Campus Nursing Pinning Ceremony that was held in November.

Students Put Classroom Knowledge to Work and Repair Campus Equipment

Students Put Classroom Knowledge to Work and Repair Campus Equipment

On Thursday, January 31st, students in the Implementing and Troubleshooting OS Technology class at the Lexington Campus had an opportunity to demonstrate their skills in a troubleshooting assignment. They were given various faulty equipment and they had to diagnose the problem and fix it.

Through this assignment, the students repaired and re-installed software drivers for two of the campus’s printers. They enjoyed the opportunity to fix something the campus can use again. Student Jentry Moore said, “I learned a lot in the lab and being able to see problems that you read about in the textbook really helped me to connect the book to real life.”

Pictured are students Josh Mattingly (sitting), Jentry Moore, and Pam Buford repairing a printer for a class assignment.

Demelece Stewart – Difference Maker for the Indianapolis Campus

Demelece Stewart – Difference Maker for the Indianapolis Campus

Demelece Stewart, pictured assisting business administration student Anthony Barron, at the Indianapolis Campus

Department Chair for the Business Administration Management and Accounting programs


  • American National University instructor since 2011
  • Has worked in the accounting field for over 13 years


  • Began her accounting career in the U.S. Army on active duty as an accounting specialist
  • Worked as an accountant for the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree and an MBA specializing in accounting from Indiana Wesleyan University

I became involved with American National University because I was enthralled with the mission of the college. As an educator, it is imperative for me to be dedicated in empowering my students with knowledge that they could apply to their career choice and family while impacting social change.

My greatest reward as an instructor is to have a student start my class with uncertainty about their success in learning accounting, and by the end of the course they have mastered the subject matter.

Local Medical Group Helps Students Prepare for New Careers

Local Medical Group Helps Students Prepare for New Careers

The Knoxville Campus recently recognized Summit Medical Group with a Distinguished Community Employer Award. Summit was formed in 1995 by 37 Knoxville physicians and has become the largest primary care organization in East Tennessee. Currently, Summit Medical Group has about 220 physicians in 55 office locations and 5 hospitals serving patients in 11 counties in the East Tennessee region. Summit has become recognized as a regional leader in medical management and innovation.

Several National College students have completed externships with Summit where they are able to put their classroom knowledge to use in a real medical setting. Former director of health care education Rhonda Epps, who was recently promoted to regional director of healthcare education, said the campus is fortunate to have a partnership with Summit Medical Group. “Our students learn so much and truly develop through Summit’s devotion to our community.”

Summit Medical Group has also hired several graduates of the National College medical assisting program. Kable Nunnaly, recruiting and staffing coordinator, has found a great resource in this partnership: “We have found their students to be professional and knowledgeable. Summit Medical Group looks forward to strengthening its partnership with National College in the years to come.”

Director of healthcare education Rhonda Epps (left) and career center director Shay Riggs (right) are pictured presenting a plaque of appreciation to Kable Nunnally with Summit Medical Group.

Personal Computer Repair Workshop

Personal Computer Repair Workshop

George Warren, a student in the information systems engineering degree (ISE) program at the Bartlett Campus, recently gained valuable hands-on training at a PC workshop instructed by Nolyn Johnson, the campus’s director of IT programs.

George came to National looking for a change. “The two-year [ISE] program was what I needed to better myself,” he said.

During the workshop, George, and other participating students, practiced working on and updating security software. Workshop participants were able to practice what they were being taught in a real technical setting. Nolyn is planning another workshop in the near future for students to continue building on this knowledge.

As he plans for graduation in April, this practical experience will be a great addition to George’s résumé as he begins his job search and prepares to start his new career.

George Warren is pictured working on a computer during instructor Nolyn Johnson’s PC workshop at the Bartlett Campus.

MedOne is Valuable Partner for Medical Assisting Program

MedOne is Valuable Partner for Medical Assisting Program

The Bristol Campus recently recognized Med-One of Tennessee as a Distinguished Community Employer. In the last seven years, the urgent care provider has hosted many students in the National College medical assisting program as externs, providing them an opportunity to get hands-on experience in a real medical office. Terry Gross, one of two externs currently working there, is grateful for the opportunity to get practical experience. “I love the fact that I really get to use all of the skills I have gained in class, like phlebotomy and [giving] injections,” he said.

“The National College medical assisting students are really great and even the physicians comment on their skills and work ethic,” said Joyce St. John, Med-One office manager and National graduate.

Med-One has also offered employment to several National graduates over the years. In fact, more than 75% of the current staff are graduates of National College. Graduate Ruth Ann Vandyke works at the front desk and loves her job: “I love working here!”

National’s director of healthcare education Sheri Jesse is pictured on the left presenting a Distinguished Community Employer Plaque to Med-One staff members (l to r) Joyce St. John, Donna Helton, Kimberly Keith, and Miranda Brooks. Joyce, Kimberly, and Miranda are all graduates of National College.

Students Network and Gain Industry Knowledge at Statewide Conference

Students Network and Gain Industry Knowledge at Statewide Conference

On November 12th, students from the Roanoke Valley Campus medical assisting program had the opportunity to participate in the Virginia Society of Medical Assistants (VSMA) Fall Seminar educational sessions.

During the seminar, students Stephanie Young, Jamealia Lee, and Felicia Henley, along with graduate Tamika Lawson, participated in workshops covering a wide range of topics. They learned about operations of a new ambulatory care clinic; participated in an interactive group session on Bridging the Gap between generations; and, attended a presentation on disaster awareness. They also put their book knowledge to use in challenges with fellow students and medical assisting professionals. Tamika and her partner won one of the competitions.

Tamika and M.J. Williams, director of healthcare education at the Roanoke Valley Campus, also attended the VSMA state conference that was held last March. Their participation in the event was recently featured in the January-February 2013 issue of CMA Today, a magazine published by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) which covers medical assisting trends and issues. In the article titled “Point the Way—Get Students into the AAMA Groove,” Tamika discussed how attending the statewide conferences is a great learning experience that brings the profession to life for her and confirms that she’s on the right career path.

M.J. shared in the article that many of the students who attend the VSMA conferences see the benefits of membership and stay involved in the organization as professionals. She said that their participation in the conferences demonstrates to employers that they are committed to staying up-to-date on advancements in their field. This is why she encourages her students to stay involved, even after they graduate and are settled in their new careers.

Tamika Lawson is pictured on the right in the top photo with her partner at the VSMA Fall conference. In the bottom photo, National College students Felicia Henley, Stephanie Young, Jamalia Lee, director of healthcare education M.J. Williams, and VSMA member Kathy Nixon are pictured at the VSMA Fall conference.

Student Accompanies Instructors at the Capitol to Advocate for Surgical Technology Certification

Student Accompanies Instructors at the Capitol to Advocate for Surgical Technology Certification

On January 23rd, representatives from the Danville, Virginia Campus participated in a legislative “Hill Day” in Richmond to fight for a cause they believe in. Student Felicia Thompson, surgical technology program director Kim Joyce, and clinical coordinator Jennifer Turner joined other surgical technologists and surgical assistants from around the state to talk with members of the Committee on Education and Health sub-committee for Health Professions in support of Virginia Senate Bill 858 (SB 858).

State Senator Harry Blevins introduced SB 858 which would require all surgical assistants to be licensed and all surgical technologists to be certified to work in the operating room. Senator Blevins introduced this bill last year but it did not make it through the sub-committee. During their Hill Day visit, the surgical professionals met with each senator or their legislative aide on the sub –committee to advocate in support of SB 858. They explained how they felt the bill was important to ensure the best possible care for patients. This law has been passed in eight states including Texas and, most recently, Massachusetts.

Pictured are (l to r) Kim Joyce, Felicia Thompson, and Jennifer Turner.

Graduate Combines Education and Experience for a Successful Career

Graduate Combines Education and Experience for a Successful Career

After her husband passed away unexpectedly, Ellen Bull needed to find a job that would support her and her daughter. For the past ten years, she had been a stay-at-home mom. Prior to that, she worked in various office positions in the medical field.

Ellen had hopes of finding employment with a good salary and benefits but she decided she would need some new job skills to make that possible. “I was going to have to be employed, but I wanted to [study] a field that I was interested in.” She enrolled in the medical billing and coding program at the Lynchburg Campus.

In just a few weeks after graduation, she found herself going on job interviews. With her work experience, career training, and positive professional attitude, Ellen received several job offers. She accepted an offer with an established medical practice with multiple offices and opportunities for advancement.

“National College was a good resource for me,” said Ellen. “I was very intimidated to go back to school [but] I felt completely comfortable within the first couple of weeks of my first term. The instructors were great. I felt everyone wanted to see me succeed and that was proven.”

Ellen Bull is pictured at in her office at her new job.

Diploma Graduate Manages Accounts for the Florida Gators and Hendrick Motor Sports

Diploma Graduate Manages Accounts for the Florida Gators and Hendrick Motor Sports

After being laid off from his job at a fabrication shop, Greg England decided it was time to go to college and prepare for a new career. He chose the accounting office assistant diploma program at the Princeton Campus and graduated in a year. He returned to the campus a year later and earned a business administration diploma.

Shortly after graduating with his first diploma, Greg was hired as a cash receipts associate with JANPAK Solutions in Bluefield, West Virginia. Now he is working as an accounts receivable coordinator and manages accounts for organizations such as the Florida Gators, Hendrick Motor Sports, and Bristol Motor Speedway. His supervisors have joked with him saying they had thrown him into a shark tank to see if he could handle it.

Lisa Graham, accounts payable team leader, and Deborah Greer, controller/assistant secretary, agree that Greg is a pleasure to work with as he is eager to accept new challenges and always has a positive attitude. The feeling is mutual for Greg. He said JANPAK is a good company to work for because they appreciate their employees. He said he feels like he will be there for a long time.

Greg, pictured at his desk at JANPAK, praises National College for his education and said he is grateful for the staff and faculty that helped him succeed.

Medical Assisting Student Gets Hired as a Phlebotomist Before Graduation

Medical Assisting Student Gets Hired as a Phlebotomist Before Graduation

Medical assisting student, Janeen Hogue, has a lot to be proud of. In addition to pursuing her associate’s degree in medical assisting at the Parkersburg Campus, she recently found employment as a phlebotomist. As part of her program, she chose elective classes in phlebotomy and completed an externship that helped her gain valuable experience in the field.

“I was worried I wouldn’t like the phlebotomy classes, but it turns out I was pretty good at it,” said Janeen. “My instructor helped me conquer my fears and through a lot of practice I was able to become very comfortable with the techniques.” Janeen is currently working at Camden Clark Medical Center, which is where she completed her externship.

In her new job, Janeen spends her time collecting specimens from outpatients, inpatients, and emergency room patients. She also works with trauma patients and those receiving same-day surgery. She is continuing to learn new and interesting techniques from dealing with difficult blood draws.

Although Janeen still has some time before she graduates, she is thrilled at the opportunity to work with patients and gain on-the-job-experience. “This is a great opportunity to get my foot in the door with a reputable hospital,” she said. “This will give future employers something to look at when I finish my degree in medical assisting.”

Janeen Hogue (pictured) was hired through her externship before she finished her medical assisting degree program.

Local Hospital Partners with Campus to Enrich Student Experience

Local Hospital Partners with Campus to Enrich Student Experience

The Martinsville Campus recently named Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County as a Distinguished Community Employer. On February 5th, campus representatives presented a plaque of appreciation for this honor to recognize their support of employee education.

Memorial Hospital offers a full range of medical services including emergency care, surgical services, cancer treatment, rehabilitation, and more. They have proven to be an invaluable partner to the Martinsville Campus, providing externships for students in the medical coding and pharmacy technician programs. They have also hired many National College graduates.

Grady W. (Skip) Philips, III, the hospital’s chief executive officer, graciously accepted the plaque: “I appreciate the award from National College, and I want to thank the students and graduates from National College who have worked in different positions at Memorial Hospital over the years.”

National College students are enhancing their skills to enter in the workforce and fill jobs that are in high demand in their local communities. Support from area employers like Memorial Hospital is crucial in helping students achieve their career goals.

Martinsville Campus career center director Annette Lawson is pictured on the left presenting a plaque to Grady W. (Skip) Philips, III, the hospital’s chief executive officer, and Leslie Adams, human resources recruiter and National College graduate.

Campus Honors Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Campus Honors Martin Luther King Jr. Day

On January 21st, the Dayton Area Campus hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration event in honor of the national holiday. During the celebration, Renee Smith, program director for the health information technology program, spoke to an assembly of students and staff about Rev. King and his life from birth to age 21. She detailed his formative years explaining his higher education accomplishments and the beginning of his ministry.

Director of healthcare education Derrick Parks recounted significant events in Rev. King’s life until his death at age 39. Students also participated in the assembly by reading excerpts from important speeches including Rev. King’s letter from a Birmingham jail; his “I Have a Dream” speech from 1963; his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964; and his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech from 1968.

Director of healthcare education Derrick Parks is pictured speaking to a crowd of students, faculty, and staff about Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. at the campus’s MLK celebration event.

Students of Surgical Technology Program Practice their Technique in Simulated Operating Room

Students of Surgical Technology Program Practice their Technique in Simulated Operating Room

In the final weeks of the Surgical Procedures II course, students at the Akron Area Campus recently had to put their skills to the test in a simulated environment. As part of a class assignment, they put on their scrubs (also known as “gowning and gloving”), prepared surgical instruments, and practiced proper operating room procedures.

Many of these students have already started working as externs for nearby hospitals. Assignments such as these help them prepare for what is expected of them during their externship.

“It is great to have a fully functioning operating room here on campus to continue perfecting our skills,” said student Shannon Baldasare. “The hands-on experience we got in the lab definitely carried over into the externship.”

Pictured are surgical technology students (l to r) Shannon Baldasare, Nichole Cooper, and Cassandra Cooper demonstrating proper surgical techniques in the fully functioning operating room at the Akron Area campus.

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.