When you’re learning a new career you just can’t beat real world experience. No matter how much you practice in a lab or a classroom, it’s only when you get into a real-world environment that you can really start to build your confidence and hone your skills.
That’s why we’re so grateful to the externship partners that provide Carrington College California students with the chance to enjoy this valuable part of their education.
One such partner is Bayside Medical Group, a network of pediatric and family practice offices in the East Bay area that offer high quality, highly personalized care to thousands of patients every week.
Dr. Budd Shenkin started Bayside Medical as a solo pediatric practice in June of 1979 in Oakland. Through expansion and practice acquisitions, Bayside Medical now has about 32 pediatric practitioners and 5 family practice practitioners in 10 separate offices around the East Bay. We spoke with Mary Peoples, Office Manager of the Oakland practice, about the mutually beneficial relationship enjoyed by Bayside Medical and Carrington College California.
“Our association with Carrington started in about 2006 when I worked at Bayside the first time. I was here for 4 years, then I left for 2, and now I’ve been back for a couple of years. I started the program when I was here the first time.”
The Bayside externship program came about thanks to Mary’s own college experience and her familiarity with the benefits of bringing in externs to a medical office.
“I’m actually a graduate of the college, and prior to coming to Bayside I managed a multi-function clinic in Livermore and Pleasanton; we brought in a lot of externs from Carrington. When I came here I wanted to introduce the program because I knew that students needed a place to go and that they would benefit our business.”
The HR department now works with Carrington to run the extern program at Bayside, so when offices want an extern they contact HR who then contacts Carrington.
“The program has certainly grown over the years. I usually run 1 or 2 externs at a time at the Oakland office; I have a big office and enough staff so that they can get adequate training. Most of the other offices can only take 1 extern at a time. My staff has been very good about training externs. It’s a win-win; we get help, and they get an invaluable education from us.”
The students that spend their externship at Mary’s Oakland office are from the Medical Assisting program at the San Leandro campus. They complete all their hours in the same location, and are asked to perform a variety of tasks. Externs typically work half their day in the front or back office, and then the other half in the Medical Records department.
“They learn a lot about everything from Medical Records, and they are very beneficial to that team. They are trained in the front and back office with us; they room the patients, learn to answer the phone, take phone messages, they can do hemoglobin, they write notes for the doctors, and more.”
Bayside Medical does take externs from other medical schools in the area, but at this point the majority they bring in are from Carrington College California, and Mary has noticed one consistent feature…
“Carrington students are very well trained; they come in with a decent amount of education, and they typically catch on quick. They are actually beneficial to the office; we can trust what they’re doing. They follow my Lead around while she gives them the low-down on what needs to be done; then she follows them around and very quickly they’re up to par.”
Aside from the practical, hands-on education and experience that the students gain during their externship, Mary firmly believes that there is an additional benefit to the externship.
“Students get a good view into the real world of pediatric medicine here; and those who go to our Alameda and Berkeley offices also get insight into family practice too. When that experience is added to the education they get in class, the students should have a good picture of what life will be like if they choose a career in pediatric care. There should be no surprises.”
While the externship program is undoubtedly beneficial to Bayside, Mary does remember the goal of the program – To provide students with a real-world glimpse into the career of a Medical Assistant in pediatric care. Mary does her best to ensure that every student gets what they need out of the program; she even gives them the opportunity to input into their own final week schedule.
“The Friday before their last week, we sit down and talk about where they’re at, and where they feel that they want/need to get more practice. Following that discussion I schedule their last week in the front or back office accordingly; we want them to get the most out of their experience with us.”
Over the last 6 years several hundred Carrington College California students have passed through the Bayside Medical Group externship program; we are extremely grateful for their ongoing support of our students.
We would also like to thank Mary Peoples for taking the time out of her busy day in the Oakland office to speak with us.
For comprehensive consumer information on our Medical Assisting program, please visit carrington.edu/degrees/medical-assisting
Program availability varies by location.