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April 21, 2014

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Medical Assisting Programs Receive Programmatic Accreditation

Medical Assisting Programs Receive Programmatic Accreditation

When Heather Moore graduates this spring with her associate’s degree from the medical assisting program at the Parkersburg Campus, she’ll enter the workforce with confidence in the quality of the education that she received thanks to the program’s recent accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Heather came to the Parkersburg Campus shortly after it opened in 2011, and today is working in an externship at Therapy Health, and Fitness as she nears the conclusion of her program.  Externships such as the one that Heather is participating in are one of the many components which are reviewed by the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB) when evaluating a program for accreditation by CAAHEP.

The medical assisting programs at the Fort Wayne and South Bend Campuses have also received accreditation by CAAHEP after extensive reviews by the MAERB.  The medical assisting programs at the Charlottesville, Columbus, Cleveland, Danville (VA), Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Nashville and Richmond Campuses were also recently reviewed by the MAERB and have been reaccredited by CAAHEP.
CAAHEP, the largest programmatic accreditor in the health care field, reviews and accredits educational programs in over twenty health science occupations.  “CAAHEP has a complete set of standards in which the student must be taught, evaluated and mastered for a program to be accredited,” explained Madeline Jones, institutional director of allied health for the Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia campuses of American National University and National College. “The accreditation process requires us to comply with a set of rigorous protocols and research-based processes for evaluating the effectiveness of our program.  The process is a voluntary method of quality assurance designed to ensure students in medical assisting programs acquire the knowledge and skills they need for entry into practice.”

Of course, every American National University and National College campus has been institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges & Schools.  While our ACICS accreditation applies to all of the degree and diploma programs offered by the college, programmatic accreditation is an optional, additional level applicable only to specific degree programs. Many programs, due to their highly technical nature, benefit from program-specific review and approval by specialized accrediting bodies.  The medical assisting program is an example of such a program, and it is National’s policy to pursue CAAHEP accreditation for all of the medical assisting programs.

The director of healthcare education at each campus works closely with the MAERB during the accreditation review.  Leah Lane, director of healthcare education at the Parkersburg Campus, said that the MAERB’s review of the program was very structured and regimented. “They go through it with a fine tooth comb,” said Leah, who worked as a trauma nurse for over 20 years before she began working at ANU.

Paula Beth Ciolek, director of healthcare education at the Richmond Campus, has worked in the medical field for 35 years, and said that her experience and credentials, as well as those of her faculty, were evaluated by the MAERB during the accreditation audit.  In addition, curriculum, lab equipment, and community involvement are also reviewed.

Beverly Lemaster, a student in the medical assisting program at the Richmond Campus, said that the that the experience and knowledge that Paula Beth brings to the classroom, as well as the reaccreditation of the program, ensures that she is well prepared for her career.  “She’s teaching us what we need before we get out there in the workforce,” she said.  “She’s there beside us the whole time.  She makes sure that we’re doing it right.”

A-Paula Beth Ciolek (r), director of healthcare education, is shown with medical assisting students at the Richmond Campus. Paula Beth worked closely with the MAERB team during the campus's evaluation for reaccreditation.

B-Leah Lane, director of health care education at the Parkersburg Campus, worked as a trauma nurse for more than 20 years before she began working at ANU. 


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Student Has Already Chosen the Right Career

Student Has Already Chosen the Right Career

Aretha Bailey, a business administration-management student at the Charlottesville Campus, began her role as a sales and services specialist with Plow & Hearth at their headquarters and distribution center located in Madison, Virginia last August and has consistently been viewed as an exemplary employee.

Plow & Hearth was founded in 1980 as a small country store and has grown into a leading retailer of products for home, hearth, yard, and garden.  The company has evolved over the past 30 years into a multi-million dollar retailer whose products cover indoor and outdoor rooms, gardens, pets, personal comfort and care, safety and emergencies, weather instruments, storage solutions, and gifts.

The management team of the distribution center decided to implement an “Employee of the Month” program to recognize their outstanding team members.  Nancy Justus, Aretha’s manager, said, “when we met to select the first recipient of the award, the entire team immediately agreed that she [Aretha] was our number one choice.”  Ms. Justus said that Aretha is viewed as a leader among management and her fellow team members and that her professionalism, calm demeanor, and commitment to serving with excellence has clearly made her a valued member of the Plow & Hearth workforce.  Ms. Justus added that Aretha has clearly chosen a career where she will excel.  She has mastered self-management and is modeling excellence for her peers.  Aretha anticipates that her education will continue to foster her professional growth and looks forward to the opportunities that will be available after she graduates.

“I am glad that I decided to return to school to study business management at ANU,” said Aretha.  “I have always pursued an interest in management and being able to hopefully one day be an entrepreneur and operate my own business.  By attending College at ANU, it has given me the opportunity to excel and expand my knowledge in the business world.  I have also gained more confidence and skills which will be necessary for me to further my career in business management.”

Student Aretha Bailey is working for the Plow & Hearth headquarters and distribution center in Madison, Virginia. 

Sharon Rodgers-Admissions Representative-Lexington

Sharon Rodgers-Admissions Representative-Lexington

Sharon Rodgers – Difference Maker at the Lexington Campus

Admissions Representative

• American National University staff member for 12 years
• Has more than 25 years of administrative, management, sales, and customer service experience

Recipient of several American National University awards, including Outstanding Achievement awards, President’s Milestone awards, and The Chairman’s Trophy

“Truly, each time I am faced with a new student in my office, it provides me with a special moment; everyone has their own story, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to help them. I strive to make a difference in students’ lives by sharing career information with them along with love, kindness, understanding, and by being available for them when they need me.

“I enjoy watching students who didn’t think they could even make it into college – much less graduate – go on to not only finish but also achieve success in their chosen careers.

“The best thing about being part of the American National University staff is that I can actually help people make a difference in not only their own lives but in their families’ lives, as well.”

Sharon Rodgers is an admissions representative for the Lexington Campus who has won several American National University awards including the President’s Milestone award and The Chairman’s Trophy.

Paralegal Students Prepare for a Criminal Trial

Paralegal Students Prepare for a Criminal Trial

Students in the paralegal program at the Roanoke Valley Campus recently had a unique opportunity to organize and stage a mock jury trial.  Instructor and practicing Roanoke attorney, Kimberly Banta assisted students Heidi Schmidt, Adam Wall, Shawna Battle, and Sharon Johnson as they presented the criminal case of Nursery Town versus Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater.

Kimberly served as the trial’s judge; Adam was the defense attorney; Shawna was the prosecuting attorney; Heidi played the role of an officer for the prosecution; and Sharon was “Lois Peter” and also testified for the prosecution.

Shawna started the trial with the opening statement from the prosecution saying that Peter Peter abducted Lois Peter in a public place and took her to his home and locked her in a bedroom.  Adam followed with the defense opening statement saying that Peter Peter pleads not guilty to the crime and the prosecution does not have enough evidence to support their charge.

Heidi testified as the officer that went to Peter Peter’s home based on a complaint from the neighbor and found Lois Peter.  Sharon testified as Lois Peter and explained that she was held in Peter Peter’s home against her will.  After a cross examination of the witnesses from the defense and the attorney’s closing statements, the trial presentations concluded and the jury was sent away for deliberations.

The jury, made up of campus director Ron Bradbury, paralegal department chair and practicing Roanoke attorney  Linda Slough, and communications manager Nancy Simmons, decided there was not enough evidence to prove Peter Peter’s guilt so they presented a not guilty verdict.

From writing out the opening and closing statements to developing questions for the witnesses, the students had done a lot of work prior to prepare for the mock trial.  “This experience was great for the students,” said paralegal department chair Linda Slough.  “They need to know what lawyers have to go through to prepare for a trial so they can better support them as paralegals.”

A- Student Adam Wall is pictured playing the part of defense attorney as he questions Heidi Schmidt who was playing the part of an officer during the Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater mock criminal trial.

B- Student Sharon Johnson is pictured as “Lois Peter” during the mock trial as she is being questioned by the defense.

Company Offers a Staggering Number of Externships to Students

Company Offers a Staggering Number of Externships to Students

Debra Romeo, surgical technology director, and Lisa Stoutemire, clinical coordinator of the Youngstown Campus, presented the Distinguished Community Employer award to representatives of Humility of Mary Health Partners.  The organization represents three of the area’s largest hospitals and has offered clinical externship assignments to 37 Surgical Technology students as well as a number of medical assisting and health information management students in the last six years.  Their affiliation agreement is the first secured by the program and remains strong.  They also currently employ four graduates of the surgical technology program.  

“American National University has a comprehensive surgical technology program that is student-centered and clinical site-friendly,” said Linda Smith, Nurse Manager, Surgery for Humility of Mary Health Partners.  “The college program provides a graduated process for preparing its students for the reality of the surgical arena.  [The operating rooms], are honored to be able to provide a clinical site for American National University’s Surgical Technology program.”

From left to right: Joanne Law, Educator at Humility of Mary Health Partners and HR – Integrated Learning;  Lisa Stoutemire, Clinical Coordinator of the Youngstown Campus; other employees of Humility of Mary Health Partners: Cindi Bishop, Interim Director of Surgical and Perioperative Services;  Linda Smith, Nurse Manager, Surgery;  Michelle Aurin, Operating Room Director.

The South Bend Clinic Receives the Distinguished Community Employer Award

The South Bend Clinic Receives the Distinguished Community Employer Award

The South Bend Campus recently presented the South Bend Clinic with the Distinguished Community Employer award.  The clinic employs a staff of 610 with more than 90 physicians at its five campuses in South Bend, Granger, Portage, Ironwood, and New Carlisle, and at its two locations in Elkhart and Berrien Springs, Michigan.  These combined facilities serve nearly 300,000 patients a year. 

It was fitting that Dee Johnson, senior human resources director, received the employer plaque for the clinic as she has served on the campus’s medical assisting advisory board and was responsible for the hiring of the first graduate with a double major in medical assisting and pharmacy technology.  “The level of academic preparation from American National University is exceptionally good,” said Ms. Johnson.  “How important it is to not just educate our students in their field of study, but also prepare them for the real world.  You can teach the technical skills, but it is very difficult to teach the soft skills.  National students must come with the professional personality to work with patients, staff, and physicians to provide a high standard of quality care in their fast paced specialty practices.” 

Mary Mathews, career center director (l); Dee Johnson, senior human resources director of the South Bend Clinic (r).

Medical Students Benefit from a Field Trip to Anatomy Lab

Medical Students Benefit from a Field Trip to Anatomy Lab

Bristol Campus students enrolled in Dr. Michael Minge’s Body Control Systems class had the opportunity to visit East Tennessee State University’s James H. Quillen College of Medicine gross anatomy lab recently.  Students viewed cadavers in order to better learn human anatomy.  The lab also displays various body parts such as the liver, heart, fingers, and even a human head split in half to show the cross-section of the brain. 

“It was very educational,” said medical assisting student Tabetha Miller.  “They allowed us to be hands-on.  We learned that each university medical student has a cadaver assigned to them until they graduate.  At the end of medical school the student learns the history of the person and is able to hold a memorial honoring that person.”

Students say that they benefit from seeing real life application in addition to what they learn from their textbooks.  The consensus after the trip was that everyone learned a great deal and found the trip very rewarding.  It is hoped that future students pursuing medical degrees at the Bristol Campus will have the opportunity to visit the anatomy lab.
Bristol Campus students are pictured in the anatomy lab with Robert Becker, the anatomy lab advisor (right).

Phlebotomy Fascinates Medical Assisting Student

Phlebotomy Fascinates Medical Assisting Student

Mackenzie Shearer became interested in phlebotomy while giving blood at a local blood bank.  “It just fascinated me,” she recalled.  After graduating from high school, she began searching for medical programs in her area and she found American National University online.

“I was deciding what I wanted to do and my next step, so I sent an email to National asking about phlebotomy. They described to me what medical assisting was…then I signed up when I brought my parents in [to visit the school] and they liked it,” she recalled of her enrollment at the Danville, Kentucky Campus.

Mackenzie chose the medical assisting program because she will be trained to draw blood and she’ll also learn to perform many other duties in both the clinical and administrative sides of a medical practice.  Phlebotomy is still her favorite part of the program, and she’s already performed more than 25 blood draws, thanks to her family. “My whole family came in and let me get my blood draws,” she said with a smile. “They’ve been very supportive.”

She’s currently completing an externship at Danville Nephrology where she said that she’s learning to adapt to the needs of every patient.  Her final step in her program will be sitting for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification exam, and she hopes to become certified as a phlebotomist, as well. “Medical is always going to be around and always needed,” Mackenzie said. “I just wanted to set myself up for a successful career.”

Medical assisting student Mackenzie Shearer is completing an externship at Danville Nephrology.

Student Makes a Big Impact on Campus

Student Makes a Big Impact on Campus

Catherine Clark is a surgical technology student at the Florence Campus who will graduate later this year.  Right now, Catherine is enjoying her Environmental Science class with Rebecca Mensch.  When Catherine was given a recycling project at the beginning of this term she had to be more creative than most students.  She already recycled at home and work, so she decided to start a recycling program on campus.

Since Catherine was depending on fellow classmates and staff to recycle, her biggest obstacle to overcome was people thinking the recycling box was too far away.  However, she did not let this deter her.  Catherine worked to recruit supporters who ended up saving used paper and then dropping it in the box once a day.  She explained that “it’s really not that hard to do, have one can for your trash and one for paper.”  In just the first week of collecting paper Catherine collected 30 pounds of recycling materials.
Catherine started recycling at home when her waste management company began providing a free recycling bin and free pick up to customers.  She thinks that recycling is here to stay because its being encouraged more and more by waste management companies.  She wants people to ‘just try it,’ start with recycling paper and see how it goes.  Catherine said, “Every little bit a person does to help the environment really does make a difference.”
Surgical technology student, Catherine Clark, began a recycling program at the Florence 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.