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January 06, 2014

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Graduate Found National and the Medical Assisting Field to be a Perfect Fit

Graduate Found National and the Medical Assisting Field to be a Perfect Fit

Lindsey Hall completed her medical assisting program at the Lexington Campus in July, and after working at Baptist Internal Medicine and Endocrinology for a little over six months, she has found medical assistants are more vital to the health care field then she ever imagined.  “It’s very fast paced.  I have a lot of responsibility,” she said of her job.

Whether drawing blood, giving injections, rooming patients, updating medical records using Allscripts Electronic Health Records, or coordinating medication refills, Lindsey’s main focus is providing the best care possible for her patients.  “I love interacting with the patients…feeling like I’m making a difference in their diagnosis,” she said.  “Whenever I see I’m making a patient comfortable and relaxed, it makes it all worth it.”

Lindsey has always dreamed of a career in the medical field.  Before coming to National, she enrolled in a nursing program at a large community college, but she didn’t find it to be a good fit for her.  “I just felt like I was lost--I was just a number,” she recalled.

After being a stay-at-home mom, and later working in a daycare, she decided that minimum wage jobs were not going to suffice to support her family, and she found American National University through an internet search for medical programs in her area.  “I saw that it was local, and it was small, and it sounded like something that would be really good for me,” said Lindsey.

At National, she loved that the campus was all contained in one building, where she found everything that she needed from the library to the medical labs.  She also enjoyed the close bond she had with her fellow students in the small classes, and the hands-on learning experience that her classes provided.  “All of the professors knew me by my first name and not just by a number.  That was really my favorite part,” added Lindsey.

Working as a federal work study in the career center at National was also an important part of Lindsey’s preparation for her new career, as she increased her clerical skills and practiced her telephone etiquette.   “That really molded me, professionally.   It gave me confidence to talk to patients and doctors, and anyone I needed to talk to over the phone,” Lindsey explained. 

Her work in the career center also inspired her, as she watched career center director Cheryl Howell assist graduates in finding employment working in their field of study.  “Cheryl absolutely loves her job, and she’s very good at what she does, so it was very rewarding for me to see a graduate find a job in their field, and I felt like I was a part of that,” Lindsey said of the experience.

Lindsey’s own job search went smoothly after she conducted an externship with Baptist Family Medicine, and passed the certification test to become a registered medical assistant. “I was hired here two weeks before I graduated, so I am very blessed,” she said proudly. 

As she and her husband look forward to the birth of their third child later this year, Lindsey feels that her education has helped insure a bright future for her and her family.  “American National University really is the best thing that I could have ever done for myself.  I found the perfect school for me, and the perfect field.  I’m very happy.”

(A) Registered medical assistant Lindsey Hall enjoys making a difference in her patients' lives in her work as a registered medical assistant. 

(B) Lindsey Hall has found that her work as a registered medical assistant is vital to the medical practice where she is employed. 


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Students Excel in Medical Courses

Students Excel in Medical Courses

The Bristol Campus medical assisting students once again had a 100% pass rate for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam last term. 

A 100% pass rate on the RMA exam is not the only success that the students achieved.  Director of Healthcare Education Sheri Jesse’s Invasive Clinical Procedures class had four very dedicated students who were enrolled.  Those students not only achieved perfect attendance, but they each received an “A” in the course.   Medical assisting student Alicia Pruitt was in the class and is scheduled to graduate this July.  “The class was very informative and we will get to use our knowledge in a real world setting,” said Alicia.  “Students even volunteered to let us practice drawing blood.”

Small classes and individualized attention help contribute to student success in college.  “When you have good instruction from knowledgeable professors and perfect attendance, good grades are bound to happen,” said Alicia.

The medical assisting graduates had a 100% pass rate on the RMA exams at the Bristol Campus.  Pictured are graduates (left to right): Brittany Johnson, Instructor Sheri Jessee, Jamie Compton, and Rosetta Helton.

Campus Demonstrates the Importance of Volunteering

Campus Demonstrates the Importance of Volunteering

Volunteering can be hard, not because of the volunteer work itself, but the time one must freely give in order to do so.  If you are like most people, you are juggling work, a spouse, children, school, and extra-curricular activities, just to name a few.  So one may ask, “How can I possibly add another thing to my day, and not expect monetary payment”? Volunteerism can result in self-satisfaction, meeting interesting people, helping one to learn more about oneself and put one on the right career path, and add value to one’s résumé as employers often favor those who volunteer over those who do not.  

In order to choose an organization to volunteer for, start by making a list. Think about activities you enjoy, times you are available, talents or skills you can offer, what kinds of people you want to be working with, and what you want to learn from the experience.  Once you can answer all of these, the next step is contacting organizations that match your profile and signing up.

Recently, some of the medical students at the Lynchburg Campus chose to volunteer for the local United Way. They stuffed backpacks with food and other goodies for children to take home over the holidays.  The students freely gave their time and energy to help and hopefully added a glimpse of hope for each one of the precious children.  Often the greatest life lessons we learn are generated from charitable acts, not from a textbook, a classroom, or from an instructor. Teaching students to be well rounded individuals will be especially beneficial to them.

Medical assisting student Dominique Hilliard said, "It really shows the kids that there are other people that really care and really understand that they have a need and that they know that there's something out there that's [going to] help put a smile on their face.”

Medical students who volunteered for the Lynchburg Campus United Way backpack project are (l) to (r): Tameka Hamm, Patricia Johnson, Callie Burton, James Speake, Nina Wood, Lakeshia Morris, and Dominique Hilliard. 

Career Image Week Includes Money Management Presentation

Career Image Week Includes Money Management Presentation

Career Image Week at the Cincinnati Campus proved to be a great success.  Among the five topics presented during the week, money management was attended by many who were interested in maximizing the use of their income dollars.  Rebecca Cook, director of health information management, presented effective money management tips.  The objective was to enable a person to learn ways of living comfortably within their means.  She presented that learning effective money management begins with setting a practical goal, being mindful of how much money you have, tracking your income, and tracking your spending.  After 30 days, a person may find they actually reconsider purchases based upon need or want.  These basics of money management allow a person to take control of their money and allow them to make wise budget choices.

Rebecca Cook (center), health information management program director for the Cincinnati Campus speaks to students regarding money management.

Campus Receives Praise for Helping Military Applicants

Campus Receives Praise for Helping Military Applicants

On Tuesday, December 17th, Roman Bakke, Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) Administrator from Fort Lee, Virginia, visited the Charlottesville Campus and presented a framed “Military Appreciation” certificate to campus director Kelly Chamberlain and his staff.  The award was for aiding in the career endeavors of military applicants trying to qualify for entrance into the military service by hosting the administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test at the campus.  Mr. Bakke commented, “Kelly and his staff always go out of their way to ensure a comfortable testing environment in this pristine facility for all incoming military applicants taking the ASVAB by being flexible in working with our scheduling.”  Marvin Edwards of test control office MEPS added, “All of the military branches of service recruiters and test administrators that have come to the Charlottesville Campus rave about the professionalism and courtesy of the entire college staff.  Thank you all for all you do for the future War Fighters!  Hooah!”

Campus director Kelly Chamberlin (r) receives a certificate of appreciation from Roman Bakke of the Fort Lee Virginia Military Entrance Processing Station.

ESL Student Believes That Learning for Himself Is His First Priority

ESL Student Believes That Learning for Himself Is His First Priority

Mitab Al shammari is a new student at the Roanoke Valley Campus who is from Saudi Arabia.  Mitab found out about ANU because of a friend who told him about the ESL program. He holds a master’s degree in anthropology from a Jordanian university. 

Mitab will be transferring to Georgetown University soon to continue his studies in comparative literature and earn a doctoral degree.   He said that he enjoys “studying for his mind first [and that he] does not care about work,” but added that he will likely return to Saudi Arabia to teach at a university.  According to Dr. Eric Rothgery, ESL program director, he is a great role model for other students because of his wonderful attitude about learning. 

Mitab said that he is enjoying being in Roanoke because he likes the friendly people and the nice weather.  His favorite experience so far has been “talking with Dr. Eric”; particularly about philosophy.  (Eric holds a doctorate in religion and other degrees in theology, philosophy and religion).   Mitab has also enjoyed what he calls the “cocktail of students” in that ANU has students from other countries such as Congo, Colombia, France, and South Korea, among others. 

Mitab’s favorite ESL instructor has been Eddie Hobson-Hardy because she is so professional.  Mitab explained that he taught Arabic in high school in Saudi Arabia and because he was a teacher, he knows how difficult teaching is.  He added that Eddie has taught the ESL students not only English but also how to teach. 

Mitab said that he would recommend ANU to other international students.  He said that the reality of the American culture is much different experienced in person compared to the image that he had in his mind; just as the American image of Saudi Arabia is that the country is completely uncivilized and that the primary mode of transportation is riding camels.  He reiterated that Americans are “friendly.”

ESL student Mitab Al shammari (l) with Dr. Eric Rothgery, ESL Program Director (r). 

Company Supports Students through Externships and Employment

Company Supports Students through Externships and Employment

American National University students work hard to prepare themselves to become contributing members of their community’s workforce,  but their ultimate goal of employment would not be possible without the strong support of employers like Dr. Nawar Soda of Berea Urgent Care, who was recently named a Distinguished Community Employer by the Richmond Campus.

Dr. Soda currently employs four American National University graduates at Berea Urgent Care, and he has also accepted many students as externs in his practices, where students gain real-world experience working in a medical office.

David Lawniczak, a 2011 graduate of the Richmond Campus, is working as a registered medical assistant at Berea Urgent Care.  Before coming to National, David bounced from job to job, working in part-time and temporary positions in area factories, until he decided that he needed to return to school to help him find more stable and fulfilling employment.   

After researching several area colleges, he chose to enroll at National to train for a career in the medical field.   “It was small and that was what I needed after a long period of being out,” said David.  “All of my medical classes, I loved them.  It just seemed like it came pretty natural.”

In his job, David enjoys the variety of patients and medical conditions that he treats at the busy urgent care center. “We see everything from injuries, to the flu, to everyday standard sickness,” said David.  He added that his day includes working at the front desk, triaging patients, running labs, and other duties.

Dr. Soda feels that the American National University graduates that he has hired are well prepared for their work in his practice. “The American National University graduate is very reliable, and very appreciative of their job,” he said, adding that he would recommend National to anyone looking for training for a career in the medical field.

“I can say that I’m lucky and I like coming to work,” David said of his job. He plans to continue his education to become a registered nurse, and he feels his education at National has opened the door to a career that he loves.  “It changed my life because it actually gave me a career opportunity to be something that I want to be,” he said.

(A)-A graduate of the Richmond Campus, David Lawniczak is one of several American National University medical assisting graduates who help provide care for Dr. Nawar Soda's patients at Berea Urgent Care.

(B)- Dr. Nawar Soda and several members of the Berea Urgent Care staff gathered for a photo following the Distinguished Community Award presentation.  Pictured left to right are:  Kim Smith, graduate David Lawniczak, Dr. Nawar Soda, graduate Ally Cowan and Eulah Madden. 


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.