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September 08, 2014

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Certified Nursing Assistant Seeks and Finds Her Challenge at ANU

Certified Nursing Assistant Seeks and Finds Her Challenge at ANU

Suzette Wise was working as a certified nursing assistant when she decided that she needed “more of a challenge," as she put it, and decided to enroll in the medical assisting degree program at the Charlottesville Campus. "I liked the flexibility in the classes," she shared. She could take either morning or evening classes which was important to Suzette. "It gave me the opportunity [to get my degree] while taking care of my kids," she explained.  She also appreciated that many of her fellow students were adults who had similar needs.

It was important to Suzette that the classes were smaller so she could focus on her school work.  "Teachers were more accessible than if I went to a ‘traditional’ college," Suzette said. Not only were her teachers more approachable, but Suzette found they brought their personal experience from working in the field to the classes, which enriched her learning beyond just textbook teaching. "Sometimes the stories they would tell you - the same thing would happen when you would get out there in reality, and at least then you would know how to approach it," she stated. She explains how in her classes her instructors taught her that it isn't just knowing what instruments to use and how to do the clinical and administrative work of medical assisting -- beyond the technical knowledge, it is also important to know your patients' common needs and complaints. "They had a lot of passion when they taught," Suzette said about her instructors, "They really cared about you succeeding and going farther."

Suzette is now putting that knowledge into practice at University of Virginia Urology. "Your day is never the same," Suzette explained. "There's always something different and always something new you get to learn." From routine check-ups and blood draws to medical procedures like cystoscopies and vasectomies, "it's a little bit of phlebotomy and surgical tech in one," she said about her day to day duties.

Suzette felt that the hands on aspect of the medical assisting program prepared her to take on the variety of work she faces at her current position. "The teachers targeted exactly what we needed to learn," she said proudly, not just in teaching her the real world experience she needed to succeed in the workplace, but also in preparing her for the Registered Medical Assistant exam that she passed with flying colors.

"I'm not done yet," Suzette stated strongly about her goals in life, and is already looking forward to becoming a Registered Nurse. "I would like to get a BSN ultimately," she stated determinedly, "But right now I'm just taking it one step at a time."

A-Suzette Wise is a medical assisting graduate of the Charlottesville Campus. 

B-Graduate Suzette Wise is employed by the Urology Department of the University of Virginia. 

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Surgical Technology Graduate Begins New Career

Surgical Technology Graduate Begins New Career

Benisa Turner graduated from the surgical technology program in July. She came to us through the Trade Act after the company that she was working for went out of business.  Jennifer Turner, director of surgical technology, said, “Benisa was an outstanding student, and took on every task she was faced with.” 

“After the company I worked for shut down, I chose to go back to school,” said Benisa. 
“I researched different programs and felt that the surgical technology program was a great fit for me. The program was challenging at times, but with the encouragement from the instructors and staff, I was able to get through it.  During the time I was in school, I had the privilege to do my externships at various hospitals.  In my senior term, I was placed at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.  Jennifer Turner, director of surgical technology, encouraged me to submit my résumé to the operating room managers before completing the program.  I followed her encouragement, submitted my résumé, and checked back with the managers on several occasions to remind them of who I am.  After graduating, I was quickly offered a position as a surgical technologist at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.  I am extremely thankful that I was able to start my new career so fast after finishing the program.”

Benisa Turner graduated in July from the Danville, Virginia Campus with a degree in surgical technology.  She is now a surgical technologist at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. 

Marvin Cash - History Instructor - Lynchburg

Marvin Cash - History Instructor - Lynchburg


American National University Difference Maker

• Marvin Cash – Difference Maker at the Lynchburg Campus

• Instructor of history courses
• Faculty Advisor to Student Activities Council

• ANU faculty member for 25 years
• Recipient of ANU Distinguished Teaching Award for the Virginia Division in 2009

• Holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History/Education from Lynchburg College

“I enjoy passing historical knowledge to others and teaching them their families’ involvement in our history.

“My greatest teaching moments are when I see the lights come on and the student knows they are an important part of their community and takes pride in self and family.

“The best thing about being part of the ANU faculty is watching students grow into mature, self-assured, productive people with careers that can aid not only their families but their communities, as well."

Marvin Cash is a Difference Maker at the Lynchburg Campus who has been a faculty member there for 25 years.


Campus Recognizes Students of the Month

Campus Recognizes Students of the Month

The Bartlett Campus recently recognized their three Students of the Month for August.  The first is Tracy McKinzie. He was nominated by a staff member who said, "He is an amazing computer student.  He knows so much about computers.  Recently, he was in a horrible car wreck and was hospitalized for a week and all he thought about during this time was coming back to school and making sure his attendance was okay and that he wasn’t going to be too far behind.  I think this shows great determination on his part.  He is currently going through therapy and he continues to have a smile on his face."  Tracy is pursuing a degree in information systems engineering (ISE).  

Todd Rivers was nominated by Instructor Homer Elam.  Todd is a student in his Organizational Management and Leadership class on Monday evenings.  "His dedication to the learning is very impressive,” said Homer.  “He is engaged in every conversation and I can tell by his mannerism that he there to learn.  Just the past Monday night he had to go to Michigan for some family issues and then drove all night to get back in time for class.  I say this to show his level of dedication.  He goes above and beyond to complete all assigned work and is very thorough in his research.  He presents his assignments in a very professional manner.  I am very impressed with this young man's performance in my class.  I can see him as a rising star someday."  Todd is set to complete his supervisory management specialist diploma this term. 

Letisha Carter was nominated by Colonious Davis, the health information management director.  “Ms. Carter is a graduating HIT student this term,” said Colonious.  “She has become a much improved student and is very serious about her studies.  She is getting excellent reviews at her extern site.  I am very excited about Ms. Carter.”

Tracy McKinzie, Todd Rivers, and Letisha Carter were named students of the month at the Bartlett Campus. 

Students First to Earn Distinction in General Studies Grant

Students First to Earn Distinction in General Studies Grant

Two students from the Dayton Area Campus, Gretchen Eslick and James McFarlane, are the first American National University students to earn a Distinction in General Studies Grant, a new grant available exclusively at American National University, which is awarded to students who achieve a score of 450 or higher on the ETS Proficiency Profile.  

The ETS Proficiency Profile is an exam given to students in Ohio who are in the final term of their associate’s degree program.  It assesses critical thinking, reading, writing, and math skills.

Gretchen, a student in the surgical technology associate’s degree program, said that receiving the award was “amazing.”  “It was really nice to see the things that I have learned and been able to retain from the whole [program],”she said.

James, a U.S. Air Force veteran, earned a diploma in the pharmacy technician program at National, then continued his education in the pharmacy technician associate’s degree program in order to increase his
opportunities for employment and career growth.

He said that he gives much of the credit for his excellent score on the test to the instructors that he’s had at American National University.  “I’d like to attribute a lot of that to the teachers here,” said James.  “A lot of teachers here will really help you, as far as being able to think for yourself and how to extrapolate information.  It definitely expands your mind and horizons.”

Gretchen Eslick and James McFarlane are the first two recipients of the American National University Distinction in General Studies grant.

Externships Lead to a Pharmacy Career

Externships Lead to a Pharmacy Career

Connie Miller found out about the Akron Area Campus by simply driving past it, made an appointment to visit, and knew that it was the institution for her.  She had already been working in the medical field as a medical office assistant and settled on pharmacy technician diploma program. 

Instructor Frances Nicholson made the biggest impact on her education.  She said that she was able to take what she did in the classroom and apply it to her externships which resulted in her hiring at Walgreens.  Connie said that the education that she received at National prepared her to take the certified pharmacy technician exam.  “I passed with flying colors,” said Connie. 

Regarding her workplace, she said that the aspect that she likes the most is that the staff is a “close knit family,” and that “everyone gets along with everyone else.”

Looking into her future five or ten years down the road, Connie plans to be a senior technician at Walgreens as there is the opportunity to do that there. 

Connie encourages anyone who is thinking about furthering their education to “take the first move, and stop-in or call.”  “School was well worth it,” she said. 

Graduate Connie Miller, a graduate of the Akron Area Campus, is a certified pharmacy technician at Walgreens Pharmacy. 

Longtime Customer Service Rep Becomes Medical Billing and Coding Graduate

Longtime Customer Service Rep Becomes Medical Billing and Coding Graduate

Mary Wilson was a customer service representative for a major auto glass company when she was told that she no longer had a job due to a loss in profits.  Her daughter encouraged her to go to back to school, she did some online research, and found the Columbus Campus of American National University. 

She met with an admissions representative and determined that studying health information management was her calling.  She found out that American National University “had been around since 1886, so they must know what they are doing,” said Mary.  She knew that she needed a smaller learning environment.  “I wanted a place where if I have a question, I’m not in a sea of 100 because 9 times out of ten, I wouldn’t ask a question because I’m in a sea of 100.” 

Her favorite class was medical terminology.  “Stephanie List is excellent,” said Mary.  “I understood everything and now know where all of the body parts are.”  Mary broke her ankle the day of exams and literally told the ER doctor which bone she had broken!  She explained to him that she had a medical exam that night and he asked if he could give her an automatic ten points because she knew the bone that she broke.  She hobbled to class and took the exam that night. 

Even though she has graduated, she still frequently returns to the Columbus Campus to sit in on classes.  She recently visited an ICD-10 class as it was not offered when she was a student.  Her instructor had told her to feel free to come back because it would get her ready for when ICD-10 is released.  (ICD-10 is a new electronic health records system that will be adopted in the near future.) 

“This was the best decision for me and I am super excited,” said Mary.  “I still have classmates here and I always tell them to call me if [they] have any questions.  I came back at 40 and graduated at 42.  I am the youngest of ten and the only one with a college degree.  If I can do it, anybody can do it.”

“I’ve made a lot of connections here,” said Mary.  “It is good for networking.”  Mary added that before she attended National, she had been out of work for two years.  “I put that associate’s degree on my résumé and I have calls (for jobs) weekly,” said Mary.  “Now that I have my degree, there are so many doors that are opened.  Coming back to school has changed me…period.  It made me more open to what I can do and what I can accomplish.”

Instructor Judith Jones said that Mary has now found permanent employment as a patient account representative with Intermedix, an ambulance and emergency medical service.  “She is tasked with submitting a patient's charges to their insurance company for reimbursement,” said Judith.  “Mary also answers an influx of telephone calls from patients explaining how their bill was processed, in an effort to determine patient responsibility.”

Mary Wilson determined that health information management was her career goal.

Business Administration-Management Graduate Owns Two Businesses

Business Administration-Management Graduate Owns Two Businesses

Kendrail Banks graduated from the Youngstown Campus in 2011 with a degree in business administration-management and is the owner of two businesses.  One is “Banks Affordable Homes” in which he purchases real estate, makes repairs, and rents the properties.  The other is “So Dog Gone Good,” a hot dog establishment that offers a multitude of toppings as well as home fries. 

A friend referred Kendrail to American National University and he said that he chose to study business because, “it is a part of me.”  He said that he is able to apply the degree to the day-to-day operations of his business in communicating with people, managing human resources, and especially business law.  “I am still holding onto my books,” added Kendrail.

His goal is to continually be hiring employees which helps his community.  He also plans to hire students and wishes to travel more.  Ultimately, he would like to be known as a tycoon!  He would tell anyone thinking about going to college to discover what they want to do in life.  He said, “You have to have something inside that will make [you] hang in there and go for it.” 

Kendrail Banks graduated from the Youngstown Campus in 2011 with a business administration-management degree.  He is the owner of two businesses. 

Student Receives Great Career News Prior to Graduation

Student Receives Great Career News Prior to Graduation

Michael Adams could be called a role model for student success after he was recently hired from his externship at Lexington’s Pain Treatment Center several weeks before completing his medical assisting program at the Lexington Campus.  Although his education at American National University helped him reach his first career goal, it’s been a journey with a few obstacles, and Michael has handled all of them with a tremendously positive attitude.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do – but I needed to work to support my children and myself.  I worked dead-end jobs and I was feeling so down and out.  When you’re in that kind of place in your life…you have to decide to make positive changes.  My guiding light thru this bad time was and always had been my mom.  The medical field was not my first choice – but my mom looked at it in a logical way – career longevity and stability.  I took her advice, enrolled at American National University, and I quickly realized I loved the classes and the medical field.

Although Michael tragically lost his mother as he began following their dream for his new career, his journey through the medical assisting program proved to be a life-changing experience.  “I absolutely loved my classes and the many new things I was learning,” said Michael.  "My instructors were terrific – always here for me and they made sure I learned all I could!”

Michael is one of many students from the Lexington Campus who have been hired from externships by the Pain Treatment Center, which was named a Distinguished Community Employer by American National University in 2013.  “I was ‘freaked out’ on my first externship day,” said Michael.  “It was scary and I wondered if I could actually do this.  My supervisor calmed me down and I’ve actually done so well…he told me two days ago they want to hire me when I finish my externship!  And I have achieved this with everyone’s help at American National University.  The support, one-on-one help, small classes – fantastic!  Everyone here made this doable for me.”

Regarding his future, Michael said, “Medical school and then becoming a medical examiner is my ultimate goal. I’m 30 years old, so I gotta go, and go now!”

Michael Adams was recently hired from his externship at the Pain Treatment Center in Lexington.

Student Returns to National with Plans to Use Her Degree to Help Others

Student Returns to National with Plans to Use Her Degree to Help Others

Derra Faulkner first enrolled at the Louisville Campus in 2003, just one month after she graduated from high school.  Although she was offered scholarships to a number of state universities, her mother didn’t want her to go to school far away from home. “I didn’t want to go to U of L, or anywhere like that,” Derra explained. “I wanted something more personable that had smaller class sizes, where I could get that one on one attention. And I wanted something close, so I came here.”

Derra’s education at American National University was temporarily put on hold when she started her family, but her admissions representative, Mozell Young, kept in contact with her over the years, and encouraged her to return to complete her degree.  This spring, she decided the time was right to finish her business administration-management program. “I came back and went directly to her and said ‘I’m ready this time,’” Derra recalled.

Determined to succeed in getting her degree, Derra often finds herself doing her homework alongside her
children.  As the mother of five, she has a passion for children, and after graduating she plans to use her business skills to help children in her community. “I love kids,” she said. “My dream is to open a boys and girls club of my own.”

Until that time, she’s enjoying providing support and encouragement to her fellow students as president of the Louisville Campus’s Student Activities Council (SAC). “Sometimes we can be our own mountains.  We can be the ones blocking ourselves,” Derra advises others. “If you believe enough in yourself, you can do whatever you want to do. Get out of your own way and go for it!”

Derra Faulkner enjoys providing support and encouragement to her fellow students as president of the Louisville Campus's Student Activities Council.

Daughter Joins Her Mother in the Nursing Program at National

Daughter Joins Her Mother in the Nursing Program at National

Rachel Bentley has always been inspired by her mother, Melissa Bentley, who enrolled in the nursing program at the Pikeville Campus to find a career caring for others.  Rachel considered pursuing a career in the medical field herself when she began working as a CNA in a nursing home.  Soon, she found that she shared her mother’s love for patient care, which confirmed her decision to become a nurse. “I realized that I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else,” Rachel said.

After recently graduating from high school, Rachel looked into nursing programs at several local colleges, and she even had a scholarship waiting for her at the University of Pikeville. But after careful consideration, she chose American National University because of her mother’s great experience in the program, and the quick two-year time frame in which she could earn her associate’s degree, thanks to National’s year-around, five-term schedule. “I liked the idea more and more,” Rachel said. “I can get done [faster], and I know they [produce] quality nurses with a quality education. They know what they’re doing when they get out.”

As a single mother, Melissa was initially drawn to the program at National because of the availability of night classes, which allowed her to continue to work as a mail carrier while she earned her degree.  But now that she’s immersed in the program, she’s impressed by the high bar that’s been set for its students. “Our nurse administrator, Denise Clements, is the hardest on us ever…but she wants you to be the best nurse you can possibly be,” Melissa said.

Melissa will be in the last term of her program when Rachel begins her program in November, and she is thrilled with her daughter’s decision to join her at National.  “She said…’I want to be a National nurse,’” Melissa recalled with a smile. “It’s exciting. To see her want this, and to see her bloom and blossom is awesome.  It’s amazing to know that I had a part in directing and encouraging her for this, because her and my son have been my biggest encouragers and my biggest support team.”

After completing their program at National, both Melissa and Rachel plan to continue their education to the master’s level or beyond.  Melissa’s goal is to someday work in endocrine education, and Rachel will pursue a career as a nurse anesthetist.

A-Melissa Bentley (l) helped inspire her daughter, Rachel Bentley (r ) to enroll in the nursing program at the Pikeville Campus.

B-Melissa Bentley has a passion for caring for others, and she hopes to someday work in the area of endocrine education.

Medical Assisting Students Serve their Community at Local Health Fair

Medical Assisting Students Serve their Community at Local Health Fair

On August 28th, medical assisting students from the Danville, Kentucky Campus conducted health screenings at their local Walmart.  Under the supervision of director of health care education Stephanie Slone and instructor Jennifer Lyon, the students performed blood pressure and blood glucose checks for more than sixty shoppers who visited their booth.

“The health fair at Walmart was a great lesson. Encouraging and challenging shoppers to allow us to test them, and [educating them on] the importance of knowing their numbers was invigorating,” said medical assisting student Melanie Caulder. “The experience was a great opportunity to practice our skills.”

Student Jessica Pike also felt that the event was a good hands-on experience, and she enjoyed the opportunity to represent American National University. “I enjoyed walking around and telling people about our school and my experience as a student at National,” she said.

Stephanie and Jennifer both felt that the students did an outstanding job performing the screenings.  “They were very professional and showed confidence in their skills,” Stephanie said.

Pictured (l) to (r) are instructor Jennifer Lyon, students Mary Adams, Melanie Caulder, Kathy Wooten, Jessica Pike, Tayler Lawson, Ciera Clements and director of health care education Stephanie Slone.  All conducted health screenings for the public at the local Walmart.

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.