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March 21, 2016


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SPOTLIGHT ON SUCCESS

Patient Interaction Never Grows Old for Ten-Year Veteran of Medical Assisting Field

Patient Interaction Never Grows Old for Ten-Year Veteran of Medical Assisting Field

As clinical team lead at Seasons of Kingsport, Candace Gracia enjoys caring for her patients—from teens, to expectant mothers, to women in their senior years. “We take care of every season of a woman’s life,” she explained.

A former stay-at-home mom, Candace was ready to begin the next season of her own life when she enrolled in the medical assisting program at the Bristol Campus. She was inspired to enter the medical assisting field when she saw that the medical assistants in her doctor’s office got the most contact with patients. 

Now, over ten years later, Candace has advanced from certified medical assistant to clinical team lead, and she still loves the opportunity to build relationships with her patients of all ages. “I get to know my patients,” she shared. “With our younger patients, our moms, we get to follow them through their pregnancy.  We get to see them really often.”

“The day that I graduated, the last day of my externship, the director of nursing…she came to me and offered me a job.”

Her days at Seasons, a Holston Medical Group (HMG) obstetrics and gynecology practice, are extremely busy as she assists the physician that she works with and oversees other medical assistants in the practice. “At nine o’clock our patients start and we go until lunch time,” she said, as she lists injections, fetal monitoring, pulling charts, and scheduling surgeries as just a few of the duties that she performs.

Although there are new advances in the medical field every day, Candace feels the skills that she initially gained through her hands-on training at National College put her on the track for career success. “My instructors were great. We had a lot of fun,” she shared, adding that she scored high on her exam to become a certified medical assistant.

The externship with HMG that she participated in as part of her program was also key to her success.  “The day that I graduated, the last day of my externship, the director of nursing…she came to me and offered me a job,” she recalled.

Today, Candace is playing a part in the careers of the externs from National College that she supervises, as they get their first in-field experience under her watch.  Eventually, she sees herself transitioning into an administrative position, but for now, she’s still enjoying every minute of her fulfilling career. “I love my job,” she declared. “As long as my provider is here, I’ll be right here with him.”

Photos A & B-Bristol Campus graduate Candace Gracia’s days are busy at Seasons of Kingsport where she works as the clinical team lead for the practice.

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LYNCHBURG
Hands-On Instruction Gives Students Skills and Confidence for Real World

Hands-On Instruction Gives Students Skills and Confidence for Real World

One of the hallmarks of an ANU education is the unique emphasis on hands-on instruction. Allowing students the opportunity to practice what they have heard about in class lectures or read about in textbooks is often the piece of the puzzle that clicks everything into place and brings the lesson into focus for students.

In the medical assisting program, students have a number of opportunities to gain hands-on experience, including clinical rotations, externships, and in-class lab exercises. Medical assisting students in the Invasive Clinical Procedures class at the Lynchburg Campus recently got to experience the benefits of the hands-on curriculum as they practiced their phlebotomy skills by performing blood draws and sticks on each other.

“I didn't feel as nervous as I thought I would to draw blood. We work together as a team and give each other encouragement.”

Student Lisa Fusco appreciates these opportunities. “The smaller class size has been a wonderful advantage at ANU,” she stated. “I didn’t feel as nervous as I thought I would to draw blood. We work together as a team and give each other encouragement.”

Her classmate Crystal Pannell agrees. “It really helps to learn the hands-on techniques of the lab when you can demonstrate on your classmates and have fun learning together,” she shared. “Invasive Clinical Procedures class with these girls and our wonderful instructor, Mrs. [Sue] Coleman, is going to be extremely helpful in the medical assisting field.”

A- Medical assisting student Tameka Glover performs a blood draw on fellow student Lisa Fusco during their Invasive Clinical Procedures class.

B- Student Lisa Fusco draws blood from classmate Crystal Pannell, who feels demonstrating lab skills on each other helps with learning the hands-on techniques. 


LEXINGTON
Four Children Serve As Motivation For Lexington Student

Four Children Serve As Motivation For Lexington Student

Daphne Stout, a busy mother of four, graduated from the pharmacy technician diploma program at the ANU Lexington Campus in 2005, and has returned to earn her associate’s degree in medical assisting.

Daphne first came to ANU to find a better paying career. “As a single mom, I had to pursue a career and that required some specialized training. I had to provide for my children and myself, and a low-paying job was not going to be sufficient,” Daphne shared. “My children were getting older and I also wanted to be an inspiration to them--to show them you can do anything you set your mind to.”

After graduating from ANU and working as a pharmacy technician, Daphne realized she wanted to pursue another medical career. 

“The instructors go out of their way to teach us ‘real-world' information that we will need in our careers.”

“I love ANU and I knew this was the right decision. The schedule allows me to work part-time and raise my children, and also pursue my medical assisting degree,” she explained. “Everyone here is so supportive and encouraging. The instructors go out of their way to teach us ‘real-world’ information that we will need in our careers.”

After earning her degree in medical assisting, Daphne would eventually like to work in pediatric cardiology and plans to one day continue her education to become an RN. “Yes, things are challenging at times, but I am determined to do this for my children and myself,” Daphne stated with a smile. “The medical field is perfect for me.”

Photo A-After earning her diploma in the pharmacy technician program at ANU and working in the field, Daphne Stout is continuing her education in the medical assisting program at the ANU Lexington Campus.

Photo B-Daphne (right) is pictured in the ANU lab with Amanda Sweat, director of health science education at the Lexington Campus.  


ROANOKE VALLEY
Couple from Saudi Arabia Chooses to Study at ANU

Couple from Saudi Arabia Chooses to Study at ANU

Rehab Gharawi and Mohammad Alemari are a married couple from Geddh, Saudi Arabia who decided to come to American National University to improve their English skills. After completing the ESL program at the Roanoke Valley Campus, they both plan to continue their education in graduate programs in the U. S.

Before coming to ANU, Mohammad was a supervisor for a company in Saudi Arabia. He has a bachelor’s degree in human resources, and plans to earn a master’s degree in the same field. 

Rehab plans to take GRE preparatory classes, and then continue her studies to earn a graduate degree in genetics/cell development.  Her reason for entering this field is very personal as her brother is living with third degree burns on his foot, and she wants to be able to discover something to help improve his condition.

In the ESL program at ANU, Mohammad likes that the classes are very “active” and how the instructors help the students with their grammar and listening skills.  Rehab appreciates that the classes are kept small so that she receives individual attention. “You can learn a lot that way,” she explained. 

“All of the students, staff, and [instructors] are like a wonderful family.”

Mohammad and Rehab, who plan to return to Saudia Arabia after completing their education in the U.S., are encouraging their friends back home to come to ANU to study. “I’m lucky to be studying here and to live in Roanoke,” Mohammad stated. “Roanoke is very safe with friendly people,” added Rehab.

Rehab has enjoyed learning more about the culture and history of the area during the cultural immersion trips that are included in the ESL program.  The best trips that she has taken so far have been to the Safari Park in Natural Bridge, VA; Dollywood Amusement Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; and the Shrine Circus at the Berglund Center (formerly the Roanoke Civic Center). 

The couple also speaks fondly of their instructors at ANU who have gone out of their way to support them—even helping them with certain necessities while they’re living in their home away from home, such as getting a washer and dryer. This will prove to be even more helpful soon, as they couple is expecting their first child in June. “All of the students, staff, and [instructors] are like a wonderful family,” Mohammad said.

Photo-Rehab Gharawi and Mohammad Alemari are a married couple from Saudi Arabia who are studying ESL at the Roanoke Valley Campus

 


CINCINNATI
Cincinnati Eye Institute Invaluable Partner of Surgical Technology Program

 Cincinnati Eye Institute Invaluable Partner of Surgical Technology Program

The Cincinnati Eye Institute (CEI) is an invaluable partner of the surgical technology program at the ANU Cincinnati Campus, and was recently recognized as a Distingushed Community Employer due to their ongoing support. CEI serves as an externship site for students of the surgical technology program, and also recently hired ANU graduate Rebecca Smith based on her performance during her externship.

"Rebecca is a great asset to our team,” said Brittany Coffaro, CEI operating room manager. “She has a great work ethic; comes in on time; works hard; has learned quickly; and is a team player."  

“Rebecca is a great asset to our team.”

The externship experience that CEI provides offers ANU students vital hands-on experience in the field.  "We really enjoy teaching and having the students,” Ms. Caffaro said of CEI’s partnership with ANU.

Photo-Deb Shumate (left), director of the surgical technology program at the ANU Cincinnati Campus, is shown presenting the Distinguished Employer Award plaque to CEI charge nurse Brittany Coffaro (right).


YOUNGSTOWN
Graduate Returns to Campus to Help Inspire New Students

Graduate Returns to Campus to Help Inspire New Students

One of American National University’s newest graduates, Diamond Williams, recently returned to the ANU Youngstown Campus to share her story with incoming students during orientation. Diamond just graduated on March 12th with an associate’s degree in medical assisting.  She also became certified as a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) after passing her RMA certification exam that same week. 

Diamond spoke at the new student orientation to encourage other students and let them know that they, too, can succeed in their academic pursuits and career goals.  Her story inspired the students as they listened to her message about perseverance. Diamond completed her program of study while taking care of her eight children and overcoming obstacles that many students face.

“To me it was more than just a school--everybody here is like family.”

“To me it was more than just a school--everybody here is like family,” she said of her experience at ANU.

Diamond shared that as part of her medical assisting program, she participated in a clinical externship at Northside Medical Center’s Family Practice.  Her career goals were realized when, as her clinical experience ended, she was offered a job with the family practice.  Diamond’s story is a reminder that education opens doors to a better future.

Photo A-Youngstown graduate Diamond Williams (center) is pictured with Youngstown Campus Director Rose Kratz (left) and admissions director Christine Habuda (right).

Photo B-Diamond recently returned to ANU to speak at the new student orientation where she shared her story of career success as she assured the students that they can succeed, as well.  


DANVILLE, KENTUCKY
Lesa Moore Instructor Difference Maker

Lesa Moore Instructor Difference Maker

Difference Maker Lesa Moore is an instructor at the Danville, Kentucky Campus. Lesa is a graduate of the medical assisting program at ANU. After many years of working in the field as a registered medical assistant (RMA), and supervising ANU externs in local medical offices, she returned to ANU as an instructor.

“I accepted several ANU students at our office to do their externship, so when I was asked to become an instructor at an institution that I was already so proud to be a part of, I jumped at the opportunity.  I wanted to be part of the process of helping people get the knowledge that they need to transform their lives.”

“Working as an RMA, I gained a lot of knowledge and experience that helps me give each student the knowledge that they need to succeed.”

“Working as an RMA, I gained a lot of knowledge and experience that helps me give each student the knowledge that they need to succeed. I like to challenge my students using real-life situations so they can use their critical thinking to solve and work through different types of problems.”

“The faculty at ANU is dedicated to education and giving each student what they need to succeed in their choice of a new and exciting career.  Each instructor takes the time to help and assist each student to reach their greatest potential. I feel honored to be a part of the faculty at ANU.”


HARRISONBURG
Surgical Technology Student Looks Forward to Career in the Operating Room

Surgical Technology Student Looks Forward to Career in the Operating Room

Jakson Caldwell had a bachelor’s degree in psychology and was working as an overnight baker in a big box retail store when he decided it was time to go back to school. “Trust me when I say working 2 a.m.-10:30 a.m. is not fun,” Jakson shared. “I became tired of working jobs that I didn’t like, and knew I needed a change.”

After weighing his options, he enrolled in the surgical technology program at the ANU Harrisonburg Campus. He felt that the medical field would offer him job security and plenty of opportunities for advancement, and he liked the small class size that he found at ANU.  “I liked that the average [class] size at ANU was in the teens,” he explained. “These small classes ensure that each student gets the attention they need to ensure they can succeed.”

“The education I receive at American National University will allow me to do something I truly enjoy.”

Now four terms into his program, Jakson has made the Dean’s List every term, and he particularly enjoyed a recent field trip which confirmed his interest in working in the OR. “The teachers and faculty have all been great, but the thing that really let me know I made the right decision was when we went and looked at cadavers,” he recalled. “Being able to actually get to look inside the body, point out organs, and even hold them was an awesome experience for me.”

Jakson hopes to eventually use his degree to visit other areas of the country as a traveling surgical technologist. “I know this degree will lead me down a better path. No more living paycheck to paycheck, no more despising my job, and no more working on weekends,” he stated. “The education I receive at American National University will allow me to do something I truly enjoy.  The future is looking bright for me and I have the staff at ANU to thank for that!”

Photo A-Harrisonburg student Jakson Caldwell is pictured in sterile gown and gloves as he learns the proper techniques for entering the operating room as part of his surgical technology program at ANU.

Photo B-Jakson is pictured with his mother at a recent Dean’s List recognition ceremony at the Harrisonburg Campus.


CAMPUS SUPPORT SERVICES
ANU Staff Participates in KACCS Spring Symposium

 ANU Staff Participates in KACCS Spring Symposium

Roger Dalton, ANU vice president of government affairs, and the directors of the six ANU Kentucky Campuses recently participated in the Kentucky Association of Career Colleges and Schools (KACCS) Spring Symposium. 

Roger, who also serves as the chairman of the board for the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Schools (APSCU), joined Greg Brotzge, of Impact Government Relations, in presenting the keynote address during the event. During their presentation, Roger and Greg shared a report on the status of postsecondary career education at the national level.

“There is a growing demand for occupational career skills and we are leading the effort to meet this need.”

“There is a growing demand for occupational career skills and we are leading the effort to meet this need,” Roger stated.  Approximately 55 million job openings are expected by 2025—31 million due to retirements and 24 million new jobs.  It’s estimated that 65% of the replacement jobs and 85% of new jobs will require some level of postsecondary education.

The symposium also featured  a variety of break out and round table sessions, including an informative presentation by  Misty Edwards, executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Proprietary Education, as well as sessions on increasing online student engagement, and on incorporating cell phones as classroom learning tools.

For more information about the Kentucky Association of Career Colleges and Schools, visit www.kycareercolleges.org.

Photo A-Roger Dalton, ANU vice president of government affairs, is shown presenting the keynote address at the KACCS Spring Symposium.

Photo B-Danville, Kentucky Campus director Lee Bowling (left) and Lexington Campus director Jamila Pugh (right) are pictured prior to a breakout session during the KACCS event.


DANVILLE, VIRGINIA
No Better Time Than Now

 No Better Time Than Now

Vanessa Nelson is a city school bus driver with three children who decided there’s no better time than now to go back to school and earn her college degree. “I wanted a chance to improve myself,” she stated.

Having previously attended ANU eleven years ago, she came back to the Danville, Virginia Campus and learned she would be able to continue where she’d left off with the course credits she’d previously earned. The convenient class scheduling appealed to Vanessa, allowing her to continue to work while attending school. “I liked the hours — with the hours I work, it’s hard to go somewhere else,” Vanessa explained of why ANU was the right school for her, both then and now. With her kids being older now, she knows she’ll be better able to focus on school and see her degree through to completion.  

Vanessa had experience with helping a friend whose mother had died of cancer, and with helping her own mother who has suffered with cancer twice. From these experiences, she discovered that a career in health care was where she belonged, so the medical assisting associate’s degree program at ANU was the perfect fit.

“The instructors are awesome. They really work with you.”

Now into her second term at ANU, she knows she made the right decision. “The instructors are awesome. They really work with you. If you don’t understand something, they will sit down with you on their own time to explain it to you. They’re just really good at teaching you,” Vanessa explained.

She’s also getting praise from her fellow students, as well as the campus administration, for the leadership skills she’s displayed in the classroom. When an instructor had to be out of the classroom for an unforeseen extended period of time, the substitute provided the class with a study guide for their final exam. Rather than each student facing things on their own, Vanessa took it upon herself to create an additional study guide for her classmates to help them prepare for the exam.

She encourages anyone considering going back to school, “Do it. It’s your best bet. You can’t go wrong.”

Photo-Vanessa Nelson first attended ANU eleven years ago and recently returned to continue where she left off and complete her medical assisting degree.”


 
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.