Students about to go on their medical assistant externship get a chance to practice
Most people will agree: your first day on a new job is intimidating. With new people to meet, new responsibilities to learn, and a new workplace to navigate, you can feel like a fish out of water. If you feel nervous preparing for your first day, you are not alone.
This is the same feeling that many medical assistant students at the Harris School of Business have when they are getting ready to go out on their first job: their medical assistant externship. What is an externship? The medical assistant externship is an unpaid job position at a local medical facility where students gain hands-on experience working in a real healthcare setting.
At Harris, this program is seen as a strong way to gain hands-on experience. Each student is placed in their position toward the end of their training program at Harris. This is the student’s first true taste of a job in their new career field.
In the externship, students are responsible for handling all of the tasks of a medical assistant, but they do so under the supervision of a trained professional. Working in a real clinical setting gives students hands-on experience with patients in a safe and supported environment. These on-the-job responsibilities help train students for their first job in the world of work.
Medical assistant externship is treated like a real job
To help students handle their first-day worries about starting their externship, the instructors at the Wilmington campus came up with an idea. They called it “Medical Assistant for a Day.” On this day, students from the other Harris programs—such as massage therapy students and dental assistants—come to the school’s medical assistant lab and role-play that they are real patients. The medical assistants have to treat the students just like patients: they greet them professionally, take their medical histories, measure their vital signs, administer EKGs, and handle their health questions. Instructors provide feedback on where the students were strong, and areas where they may need to improve.
The “Medical Assistant for a Day” program is also modeled by the other programs at the Wilmington campus. The dental assistant students hold a Dental Oral Hygiene Awareness class for students enrolled in the school’s other programs. The dental assistant students are expected to educate fellow students on proper oral hygiene and some of the health issues that can be caused by poor hygiene. In a similar vein, the massage therapy students hold a “spa day” where they get to practice massage techniques and spa treatments on other Harris students.
While students are still likely to be nervous on their first day, their experiences at the Harris School help them prepare for the kinds of responsibilities that they will find on the job.
The Wilmington campus of the Harris School of Business offers three career-focused training programs: medical assistant, dental assistant, and massage therapist. If you are interested in pursuing these career fields, or other career-focused programs, contact the Harris School of Business at 1.800.510.792, or fill out the simple form on the right hand side of this page.