Working as a Medical Assistant: A Word from Children’s Colorado Hospital’s Harper Garrett

Pickens Technical College’s Medical Assistant program, headed by instructor Kelly Pruett, is set up to prepare you for a career in the medical industry assisting in the administrative functions and in the primary and specialized care of patients. That was a mouthful, but graduates of the PTC Medical Assistant program have found gainful employment and promising careers in the local healthcare system as well as in healthcare institutions beyond the state of Colorado.

One popular employer of PTC students and medical assistants with all kinds of backgrounds is Children’s Colorado Hospital, a nonprofit hospital for children located in Denver. The healthcare providers and leaders here are all about the proper, compassionate care of children with all kinds of illnesses ranging in severity and type. For over a hundred years, Children’s Colorado has been helping patients with groundbreaking treatment plans and excellent care. Today, it’s a great place to work if you’ve graduated from PTC’s Medical Assistant program. I spoke with Education and Practice Coordinator Harper Garrett about the kind of candidates he is looking for to fill medical assistant positions at Children’s Colorado and what PTC students can do to work at this excellent medical and research facility.

What are you looking for in new employees at the medical assistant position?

We are looking to hire someone with not only strong clinical skills, but [also] someone who has a background in customer service, including communication. We have seen how effective our teams work together when there has been great communication between them.

Can you provide a few success stories of new hires who have done well at Children’s Colorado?

We strive to make sure our MAs (Medical Assistants) feel that they are an integral part of our health care teams. Probably our best story is from an MA who spoke up to her provider because there was something that didn’t seem right with their patient. The provider did some blood work and the patient ended up needing to have lifesaving surgery. The provider let us know that if the MA hadn’t spoken up, she probably wouldn’t have completed the blood work. Another success story I like to share is from an MA that was hired from her externship with us. She not only did an amazing job on her externship but has been so successful in her role, that after only a year she has been promoted to one of our Senior MA positions.

What is the most important piece of advice you can give to recent graduates of technical colleges going into the medical assistant profession?

Take your national certification test. More and more employers are requiring you to be certified and it really does give you a leg up on the competition.

Harper Garrett has seen several PTC graduates succeed at Children’s Colorado Hospital over the years and continues to bring in more of Kelly Pruett’s students as new medical assistants because he is confident they can go above and beyond the call of duty in the service of their patients. If you handle your studies and use the resources at your beck and call for employment at PTC, you’ll end up with a great career in the growing healthcare industry.

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