The Algorithm Helped: Anthony Edwards Discovers His Passion and Career

He’s the student a teacher loves to have: genuinely excited to learn how to become a Medical Assistant, extremely helpful to his classmates and the staff, and eager to raise his hand, participate in lectures, and engage in clinical studies. But only a few years before he entered Carrington College’s Medical Assisting program, Anthony Edwards didn’t know what a Medical Assistant was or what he wanted to do with his life.  Not until the universe, in the form of an algorithm –  which (he jokes) knew he loved watching hours of the medical tv show HOUSE –  kept placing ads for Carrington College on his Instagram six times over the course of two weeks!  With no clear path in life that he could see, he decided to sign up. And then found himself in an emergency situation that showed him he had the Right Stuff to succeed in a medical career. This is his story.

Tell me about yourself.  Where are you from? What’s your family like?

I was born in Sacramento and grew up there. We lived in Loomis, just outside Sacramento, for most of my childhood.  I have two brothers and a sister. I’m the oldest.  My Dad is an HVAC technician; he and my Mom have run their own company for years. They have a good business. I’ve been working for them most of my life.

So why didn’t you go into the HVAC business?

Well, after a while, my Mom and Dad asked me what I wanted to do with my life, and I said I didn’t know. I went to Sierra College for half a semester but didn’t like it, so I dropped out. Then I worked at an Ultra Beauty firm, but I was really drifting with no direction. My parents were concerned that I find something that I really liked doing.

How did you find it?

Looking back, I realized I was always watching medical dramas like HOUSE. My Dad and I watched them together. It was always in the back of my head, but I didn’t know how to find a path to work in medicine, and I didn’t believe I had any resources to know how to do it. And then these ads kept popping up on my Instagram! I swear the algorithm must have connected all the medical dramas I watched with Carrington College ads!  I looked at them, and it made me feel confident to try the program.

What makes you think you had the stuff to be a Medical Assistant?

I do like to help people. I’ve always worked in customer service. I’m not squeamish, and I’m very analytical and detail-oriented. Also, COVID made me appreciate healthcare; the workers were inspiring.

Your teacher, Krystal Lopez, says you have what it takes.  She told me about how you found yourself in an emergency situation late one night, and you showed great calm and concentration. Can you tell me about it?

When I was about three modules into the program, I had just gotten certified for my CPR. I was in San Diego, and I went to a club; it was very late like 2 am in the morning. There was this guy outside the club who was intoxicated, and he was getting into a fight with a hot dog vendor. He swung at him, but the hot dog guy pulled back, and the drunk guy smacked his head on the corner of a wall.  I mean, you could hear the crack! He bounced off the wall, and his head hit the ground hard. He was out cold. And he wouldn’t wake up. The first thing I did was call an ambulance. I have a first aid kit in my car, so I ran to get it.  I took his vitals, and they were on the low end. It took the paramedics 16 minutes to get there. The club security guard told me not to bother; said it happens all the time. But I had heard the crack! You never know how you’ll actually react when something like this happens. It’s good to know that my reaction was to help him immediately. People kept asking if I was a nurse. I said I had just taken a CPR course. I never want to be one of those people who want to ride in the ambulance, like in tv shows.  So once the paramedics got there, I backed away. Never knew what happened to him.

You’re doing your extern soon, and you’re graduating in December.  What do you want to do next?

I’m doing my extern at One Community Health; Krystal recommended it because it’s a small facility, and I would get to do more things. Then I want to continue going to school at Carrington and start the Vocational Nursing program in November. VNs can start IVs, do catheters and manage a lot more independently, and they make more money too. I eventually want to be in trauma and ER.  I learned many skills at Carrington very quickly.  My favorite is phlebotomy, drawing blood – it’s a daunting task, but I really enjoy it. I like the technical aspect of it.   Krystal said she believes with a plan you could become a Registered Nurse, a Physicians Assistant, even an MD! Or a teacher.  Sounds like you found your path and are on your way.

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