College of Southern Maryland (CSM) graduates who have chosen to pursue careers in health care were recognized on Sept. 16, surrounded by their family, friends, and professors at a Health Career Readiness Recognition ceremony.
Seventy-two students recently completed programs to become Certified Medical Administrative Assistants, Certified Nursing/Geriatric Nursing Assistant, Clinical Medical Assistants, Dental Assistants, Phlebotomy Technicians, Medical Coders, Medical Assistants, Pharmacy technicians, Practical Nurses, and Paramedics were celebrated.
CSM Dean of the School of Science and Health, Dr. Laura Polk, opened the ceremony by welcoming the attendees and congratulating the students.
“What I love about this recognition event is that it shines the spotlight on the entire health care team,” she said. “This is important because health care is a team sport.”
“Collaboration in health care is best exemplified when every health care team member effectively embraces their complementary role within the team, works cooperatively, shares the responsibility for problem-solving, and contributes positively to care. We know that when this happens, the result is improved health outcomes,” she continued.
Before Polk moved forward with the celebration, she led attendees in silence for Julianne Hayden, a CSM student who passed away Sept. 2 from injuries sustained in a July car accident. Hayden had recently completed CSM’s Dental Assistant program.
Certified Medical Administrative Assistants
Medical administrative assistant duties may include greeting patients, scheduling appointments, filing insurance claims, and answering incoming calls. Students who graduate from this two-course program can take the NHA Certified Medical Administrative Assistant exam.
Myra Erwin, Teresa Kelton, and Katrina Sheehan completed this program.
Certified Nursing and Geriatric Nursing Assistants
A student who completes this workforce training certificate meets eligibility requirements to become a Certified Nursing Assistant through application to the Maryland Board of Nursing. To obtain a Geriatric Nursing Assistant Certification, students can take the NNAAP Maryland Nurse Aide Examination approved by the Maryland Board of Nursing to obtain their nursing assistant certification. Students can also take the geriatric nursing assistant competency exam.
A nursing assistant performs duties for patients in a health care setting, such as feeding, dressing, grooming, moving, and changing linens. This workforce training certificate consists of two classes: Nursing Assistant Fundamentals and Nursing Assistant Practice.
Students who completed the Certified Nursing and Geriatric Nursing Assistants program were Angelina Asiedu, Natalie Jane Bennett, Taylor Stauffer, Jillian Tawney, Rachel Gardiner, Stephanie Metzger, Abigail Trevathan, Olivia Ayres, Talayshia Milburn, and Jessica Rivers.
Clinical Medical Assistants
Certified Clinical Medical Assistants students completed the courses Introduction to Clinical Medical Assisting, Basic Procedures for Medical Assisting, and Advanced Procedures for Medical Assisting. They perform tasks including preparing patients for the doctor, obtaining vital signs, collecting specimens, performing EKGs, and assisting during exams and procedures, to name a few.
The students who received their Clinical Medical Assistant pins were Paris Fenwick and Danika Johnson.
Certified Dental Assistants
Students who have received their Dental Assistant certification qualify to sit for the Dental Assisting National Board Radiation Health and Safety Examination. They are prepared to assist with patient care and, with further education, can become Registered Dental Hygienists.
Students who completed this program were Sierra Fowler, Julianne Hayden, Laura Hill, Rebecca Krone, Symone Lloyd, Tonya Sorrels, Jillary Sweeney, Nicole Walsh, Breonna Wilks, and Armeda Williams, Armeda Williams, and Emily Zetzsche.
Phlebotomy technicians draw blood from patients or donors. With further training, a technician can become a Medical Laboratory Technician or Technologist. Students who completed this program were Rebecca Hunter, Vivian Johnson, Iesha Patterson, Zahreya Peeples, Zakoria Robinson, Stevie Sicheri, and Kiara Spencer.
Candi Hume introduced the Medical Coding Certificate completers. She explained that medical coders are educated to take the words and descriptions of what happens in the operating room, during the office visit, or a hospital stay and turn that into the codes submitted for payment from the insurance company. The medical coding students are preparing to sit for the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) certification exam from the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
“While medical coders do not have direct patient care roles, they are part of the team working behind the scenes to keep the process moving,” she said.
Medical coders are employed in hospitals, physician offices, surgery centers, insurance companies, and as consultants. Angie Dean, Dai Rollocks, Enasha Nzegwu, Essence Harris, Jennifer Russell. Cammy McFarland, Pilar Gonzales, Sara Jennings, Shalaunda Jefferson, and Sydni Harnly completed this program of study.
Medical assistants manage office responsibilities in physicians’ offices, clinics, medical departments in industry and government, and other ambulatory care centers. Graduates prepare patients for examinations, take vital signs, obtain specimens, and administer medications under the supervision of a physician. Graduates of this program are eligible to take the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) examination.
Students who completed this program were Janiya Lancaster, Shannon Prout, Anjaliben Patel, Nicole Henderson, Destiny Schwallenberg, Kyhara Cervantes, and Keyonna Thompson.
The Pharmacy Technician program prepares pharmacy technicians to work under the direction of a licensed pharmacist. Pharmacy Technicians stock and inventory prescription and over-the-counter medications; maintain written or computerized patient medication records; count or pour medications into dispensing containers; prepare sterile intravenous medications; type prescription labels, prepare insurance claim forms; and provide direct customer service.
Graduates can take the national Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (PTCE) or the Examination for Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT).
Candy Gonzalez completed this program.
Practical nurses provide care that promotes the achievement of optimal health outcomes. Students learn the principles and practices of nursing through study and practice, including clinical practice off campus in various health care settings under the supervision of nursing instructors. The Practical Nursing certificate program prepares graduates to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN), and employment opportunities exist in long-term care and a variety of community-based health care agencies.
The students who completed this program were Snide Alcinord, Nadine Allen, Jordan Howerton, Taylor Morley, Elizabeth Ravancho, Genesis Burch, Jennifer Faulkner, Daphne Bosompem, Darwin Duante, Gabriela Ruhlmann, Healther Wiley, and Josephine Wooten.
The Emergency Medical Services – Paramedic certificate program prepares graduates to provide emergency pre-hospital medical care to those who have sustained potentially life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Completing the Paramedic certificate program qualifies graduates to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic (NREMT-P) examinations or comparable state examinations.
Instruction includes classroom, laboratory, clinical, and field training in various pre-hospital and hospital settings. Graduates are employed in settings associated with emergent patient care, such as hospitals, emergency, and urgent care centers, fire and rescue squads, ambulance service agencies, and similar organizations.
Michael Barnett, Christian Bennett, Elizabeth Blasy, Tyler Burroughs, Brad Hoover, Michelle Mosher, Erica Muenzel, and Jacquelyn Robertson, and Joseph Watson completed this program.
Polk closed the program with two pieces of advice for students: to remember to take care of themselves as they begin their demanding careers and to consider the next step of their careers even as they begin this one.
“You are entering a health care field. If you didn’t realize it, that automatically comes with an obligation for continued education. Whether that means professional development units, another certificate, or a future degree, I leave you with a homework assignment on lifelong learning. Through lifelong learning, you will grow both personally and professionally and gain an even greater ability to contribute to quality health care,” she said.
Encompassing credit degree programs like Nursing, EMS, Medical Lab Technology, and more, and continuing education workforce training certificates in a variety of specialties like Phlebotomy, CNA/GNA, and ECG/EKG Technicians, the Health Pathway at CSM provides a broad variety of medical training for several different careers. Some types of nurses and therapists can expect to start their careers after two years or advance their education with certifications at CSM; medical assistants and phlebotomists can get certified in a matter of weeks or months. Learn more online.