Medical Assisting: A Family Career Path
Pritika Devi & Neha Singh
Having support and encouragement from family can make a real difference for students. When Pritika Devi decided to enroll in the Medical Assisting (MA) program at the Portland campus of Carrington College, three family members joined her; they were there for each other through classes, exams, graduation, and beyond.
Pritika had been working with her cousin, Neha Singh, in the Food and Nutrition program at Legacy Health, and taking MA classes at a local college. A friend who attended Carrington College encouraged Pritika to look at the MA program there. Shortly after visiting the campus to get more information, Pritika decided to enroll.
“The next day I went to Carrington to tour and get more information,” Pritika says. “I really liked it and decided to right then to enroll.”
Pritika then told her cousins, Arnesh and Neha; and Arnesh’s wife, Achal, about the program. They were excited for her, and after learning more about the program, they all decided to enroll, too.
Pritika was impressed with how well-designed the program was; she liked the hands-on, real-life aspect of the labs.
“The setting is exactly how a hospital would be,” she explains. “The instructors are excellent; they are willing to spend more time with you if you need extra help.”
Pritika’s family also helped her when she did not understand an assignment, and with studying at exam time—they formed their own group study before the NHA (National Healthcareer Association exam).
Pritika and Neha did their externships together at Northwest Gastroenterology.
“The people we worked with at our externship were great; they seemed to appreciate the compassion Neha and I had for the patients,” she says. “Our externship time was cut short there because of Covid—but we both ended up getting hired there.”
Neha really liked how well the MA program at Carrington College trained her to interact with patients.
“We learned how to room a patient, how to go about talking to a patient, how to ask open-ended questions, and how to get clear information quickly,” Neha explains. “Miss Tracey [our instructor] really prepared us.”
She also enjoyed how the program taught students to be more professional—in conduct, appearance, and overall impression. Neha is continuing to learn at her new job at Northwest Gastroenterology with Pritika.
“Each day brings a new challenge,” she says. “Before this experience, I didn’t know much about gastroenterology. But there are new things to learn each day, and I find it all so interesting.”
After immigrating to the U.S. from Fiji in 2019, Achal Chand worked part-time at a hotel. Overseas, she had worked in the shipping industry as a customs agent; she had been thinking about what to do next and which career path to follow.
“Switching my career from the shipping industry to the medical field was a great challenge for me,” she says. “The medical assistant duties in the U.S. are much more like the nurses in Fiji. It takes three years to complete nursing programs there, while for us here, it took just one year, and certification. I got the enrollment information from Pritika, and I choose this career as working in healthcare industry will allow me to help people by honing my skills and knowledge.”
Achal says the biggest challenge during her course of study was the virtual learning due to Covid 19, which at times made it difficult to stay motivated throughout class.
“I found it very helpful to have my family with me as I was totally new here and was still trying to adjust among new people and environment,” Achal says.
She did her externship at Wallace Medical Concern in Portland and was hired on afterward as a Medical Assistant. Her daily role in a primary care clinic includes rooming patients, taking vital signs, administering injections, assisting providers in procedures, performing EKG, preparing sterile tray, POCT like cholesterol, glucose, hemoglobin, and HIV testing. She also draws blood and prepares lab samples.
“I felt very prepared for my job because of the program at Carrington,” Achal says. “I like to do injections, and I love phlebotomy—overall I have a great confidence level, but especially with phlebotomy, and I think it’s because of the program and the training I received. I felt ready.”
Arnesh Singh worked as a chef for Legacy Health in Portland before beginning the MA program. The hands-on labs were his favorite aspect of the program, and he especially enjoyed phlebotomy, injections, and suture removal.
Arnesh gained more experience during his externship at Legacy Medical Group Cardiology, where he learned how to perform electrocardiograms (EKG).
“Doing EKG was new for me,” he explains. “When I started my MA classes, they had already covered EKG in the lab, so even though I’d had it explained to me by the instructor, having that experience in my externship was really good.”
Arnesh is looking forward to finding a job as an MA. Career Services has been a great resource, helping him prepare for interviews, refine his resume, and connecting him with positions that match his skills, interest, and experience.
“I’m looking and I’ve been interviewing,” he says. “I’d love to work in a primary care setting, because I’d have a variety of things to do—injections, EKG in clinic, or phlebotomy. I worked with only adult patients during externship, and I’d love to be able to work with all ages, from babies up to adults.”
Tracey Sanchez, the Medical Assisting Instructor at the Portland campus of Carrington College, was impressed with Arnesh, Achal, Neha, and Pritika, and excited for where their career will take them.
“They are all very bright, they take direction really well, and were really helpful with other students who were struggling—they worked side-by-side, taking them under their wing to help them,” she says. “They will be great medical assistants. Whoever hires them—they are not going to want to let them go! It was such a positive experience to have them in my classroom.”
Learn More About A Career In Medical Assisting
If you’re interested in a career in medical offices that you can start fast, a Medical Assisting program may be right for you. Learn more about this exciting career.