May 19, 2020
Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) students on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic
Students enrolled in Garrett College’s Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) program were seven months into their 10-month program to earn their CCMA certification. The class had already completed the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) and Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) course.
"The students were able to complete the CMAA externship and sit for their certification exam prior to the COVID-19 pandemic," explained Doug Beitzel, GC’s program coordinator.
GC students had just completed the CPT course as clinical sites began to close in March. Soon after, all face-to-face education was put on hold at the College. Once students return, they will be required to complete the phlebotomy externship portion of the program before taking the CPT certification exam.
While the class is paused, several students continue to work on the front lines in the allied health field.
Pictured are two Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) students as they work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dawn Lohr of Swanton, is an environmental services associate at Garrett Regional Medical Center in Garrett County and Shana Briskey, a resident of Frostburg, works as a medical office assistant at Western Maryland Health System in Allegany County.
Dawn Lohr, of Swanton, has worked at Garrett Regional Medical Center in Oakland for over two years.
"Coworkers are awesome to work with as we stick together to help each other out, says Lohr. "We have to remember to breathe and laugh in trouble times, or it would drive us all insane."
Frostburg resident, Shana Briskey, started her job during the pandemic.
"I think being in the class worked to my advantage. I had no previous experience in the medical field. My employer wants me to finish the program and is willing to work with my school schedule so I have the opportunities to advance" said Briskey. "Working in the office during a pandemic had been helpful to me. Patients are doing Telehealth visits so I am able to learn the ins and outs of the position with less distractions."
Although face-to-face education is currently suspended at the College, the class is preparing to return on-line.
"While this is something new for us, we feel it is important to get back on track as much as possible," advised Brigette Friend, program instructor. "Students will soon be attending class online as they work towards completing the full CCMA program."
As the College works with the current class to finish their requirements, they are already preparing for fall courses. Applications are currently being accepted for fall allied health courses. Additional information can be obtained by contacting Beitzel at email@example.com.
"In light of recent events, we can rest assured that our fight to stay strong and focused during adversity is imperative," says Friend. "As we have studied, the skins’ purpose is protection of the human body, as is our profession to the human race. We are needed, we are essential."