Jessica Fabrega completed the Medical Assisting Certificate program at South College Nashville and is now working in the high-paced field of orthopedics. Fabrega shared insight about her time at South College and the path that led her to campus and then her dream job.
Medical assistants work in medical offices and clinics to assist physicians, typically in outpatient or ambulatory care. The assistants are instrumental in the field of patient care, making patients feel at ease, and helping them understand the physician’s instructions. A career in medical assisting can take you in numerous directions in the healthcare field.
Medial assistants wear many hats and perform duties such as making appointments, filing insurance forms, monitoring lab services, preparing patients for exams, and more.
South College offers two programs in Medical Assisting: Certificate in Medical Assisting and Associate of Science in Medical Assisting. Fabrega’s story can help you understand more about pursuing a career in medical assisting.
When did you complete the program?
I completed the Medical Assisting Certificate program at South College Nashville in 2019.
What brought you to South College Nashville?
I was raised around emergency responders – it’s in my DNA. I started as an EMT, then progressed to paramedic from 2007-2016. We moved to the Nashville area, and I decided to pursue a new career. I did an online search for local colleges and found South College’s Medical Assisting program. With my existing medical experience, I thought it would be a great fit, so I jumped in!
Did the South College Medical Assisting program prepare you for your career?
100%. Even if I went in with no clinical experience, I feel like the program prepared me for the certification and what I would be doing in the field.
Did you do a clinic assignment/observation while in school?
Yes. The program requires clinicals. My first was at TriStar Centennial Medical Center in gynecology/oncology and the second was at a primary care practice.
Can you share a little more about your certification exam?
I took the National Center for Competency Testing. South College prepares you for a national certification. It makes you more marketable to a broader range of hospitals and doctors’ offices. Being nationally certified gives you an upper hand in getting a job. I got a job in less than 30 days after taking and passing my certification exam.
Generally, what you do?
I live my dream! I started at Vanderbilt working in OB/GYN, then had the opportunity to move to orthopedics with Vanderbilt Health Orthopedics. I work with three surgeons and two are team physicians for the Nashville Predators hockey team. I even got to assist with pre-season physicals for the team this year.
I bring patients back, do basic triage, read their post-op notes or last office visit notes, and check to see if they need services such as X-rays or catheter removals. I report that to my nurse. If they need an injection or other procedure, I set up the area to prepare the needed supplies. I do a lot of chart review and work behind the scenes.
I used to think that all the people you saw at the doctor’s office before the doctor were nurses, but I now know that most of them are medical assistants.
What was your college experience like?
Through events planned by the school, I was able to meet people from different programs and enjoy fun outings such as bowling. Since I was quite new to the area, these opportunities were very important to me.
What would you say to someone considering South College?
Look into it. They have grown so much even since I was there. The Canvas course management site is friendly and much easier than other sites I’ve used. Communication with instructors is so much better than other places I’ve experienced as well. South College provided a great college experience and place to re-educate.
What would you say to someone considering the MA certificate program?
Go for it! The program is short, and you get a lot of knowledge in a quick amount of time. I like the 10-week cycles. Once you get acclimated to the level of information, it’s all good. I feel that at South College, there is more of an emphasis on the human aspect – you’re more than just a number.
For more information about South College and any of its certificate and degree programs, visit south.edu.