Some students like Theresa Brumbaugh come to Harris to start fresh after spending many years in another career
Sometimes the best things in life happen by accident. Theresa Brumbaugh had just retired from her 25-year career working for the state of Delaware when she decided to help her stepson’s girlfriend figure out some career goals. “I heard about medical assistant training at the Harris School of Business in Dover, so I set up a time for my stepson’s girlfriend to meet with an advisor at Harris. I went to the meeting with her, and I realized this could be a second career opportunity for me too. Believe it or not, I ended up signing up too!” says Theresa.
And she hasn’t looked back since. “I would recommend the Harris School of Business to anyone looking for direction in life,” says Theresa. When asked why she chose medical assistant training, Theresa said that she has always had an interest in the medical field. As a kid, she was the type of person who would try to help sick animals, and in junior high and high school she volunteered in the school nurse’s office. Even as an adult, she loves to watch medical television shows and medical documentaries. “But I never thought I was smart enough to further my education,” Theresa said, “until I met with the advisor at Harris.”
At first she was nervous about the school work required for medical assistant training. “I hadn’t been to school since high school, and in those days, I wasn’t a very strong student,” Theresa explains. “But I surprised myself, to say the least.” Theresa set up an organized study schedule and completed all of her coursework at Harris with all A’s and only one B. “You’ve got to set aside at least an hour per day with no distractions at all,” Theresa continues, “and even longer before a test.” To keep herself away from life’s distractions, she had a quiet place to study where she did not allow herself any music, cell phone access, or other distractions for at least one full hour per day.
During school, Theresa took the classes very seriously. She explains, “I think it’s important to realize that while it is fun to meet fellow students, class time is not a time for socializing. During class, my philosophy was to keep my eyes and ears open, keep my mouth shut, and get to work.” Having great instructors at Harris helped too. “I loved my instructors,” says Theresa. “They always went the extra mile, letting you stay after class if you needed help. And they always answered your questions. If you asked a question they didn’t know the answer to, they would find out and get back to you.” Theresa also notes that she enjoyed the small-school feeling of the Harris campus where everybody feels like family.
Medical Assistant Training Includes Externship Placement
When Theresa finished up her coursework, the next step was to begin her externship. An externship is an unpaid position where students get the chance to practice their new skills in the workplace. Theresa was placed at a family care practice in Middletown, Delaware. “The staff at my externship was wonderful,” says Theresa, “They had confidence in me, allowed me to perform EKGs and urinalyses, and gave me more and more responsibilities as the externship went on.” In the externship, she worked about 25 to 26 hours per week, completing the full 180 hours in about two months.
What’s next for Theresa? She is now studying for a certification exam and at the same time looking for job leads. The Career Services office at Dover is one place to start. The Career Services office posts job ads, provides resume and interview assistance, and helps students and graduates find job leads that best meet their skills and interests. “I am hoping I can find a position in pediatrics or family practice. I love working with kids,” explains Theresa. When asked where she sees herself five years from now, Theresa said, “I think I will be working in a doctor’s office and loving my job. This has opened up a whole new field for me, and I am excited to get started!”
The Harris School of Business was honored to have Theresa as a student, and wishes her the best of luck as she begins her new career path!