An Interview with Carrie Hammond, Director of Our Medical Assisting Program
Carrie Hammond has been working in Medical Assisting for almost 30 years, and she’s directed our program at Ameritech College of Healthcare since 2012. Her knowledge and leadership has benefited thousands of students and many more patients, whom she’s served and worked with throughout her career. Our Medical Assisting students have the pleasure of talking with and working alongside Carrie regularly, but outside of Utah few Medical Assistants have the opportunity to experience her wisdom and knowledge.
We take a lot of pride in offering the most affordable private Medical Assistant program in the state, and Carrie is a huge part of it, so we recently asked her perspective on the profession, her own career path, and the curriculum.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned as a Medical Assistant?
At the first big clinic I worked at, the HR director told me, “Remember: “You are an employee of this organization, and so are all of the doctors who work here—this is not their private practice. They are all employees just like you.” She meant that Medical Assistants are an integral part of the healthcare team. There is no room for ego: Quality patient care is job one. Occasionally, a provider may let their ego get the best of them; even then, you can’t let them push you around. Some have tried, but I never let them get away with it!
Related Resource: 10 Things You Never Knew about Medical Assisting
What attracted you to Medical Assisting?
Like a lot of Medical Assistants in our program, early in my life I realized at the end of the day I need to take home more than a paycheck. I wanted to have a positive impact on people’s lives, and Medical Assisting allowed me to do that. You’re never just working eight hours a day to receive a paycheck; you’re interacting with patients, doctors, and everyone in between to help and nurture everyone around you. At the end of the day, I get a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that I have made a difference in someone’s life.
Related Resource: Signs You Might Be a Great Pediatric Medical Assistant
What do you love about this Medical Assisting program?
It’s special. Our campuses are special. The company culture is different. I mean, the philosophy is different. Every job I’ve ever had, I started it saying, “I want to be the best at whatever the position was.” When I became a Medical Assistant, I set out to be the best, and I think I did that. At Ameritech we pass that same philosophy on to our students. We expect them to be the best, and we give them the training, knowledge, skills, and professional tools they need to be the best.
Could you elaborate?
Sure! An example: At Ameritech, we use much of the same equipment and adhere to the same standards as Medical Assistants currently in practice. Our Medical Assisting training is done on real human beings—you draw blood and check vitals of classmates, not just dummies. By the time students get to their externships, they’ve already experienced and performed the basic Medical Assisting procedures on humans and are ready apply their skills in the office. That frees up a lot of learning time, so they can focus on becoming excellent and putting their other interpersonal skills to practice.
What kind of externships are available to students?
Every kind of specialty imaginable: OB/GYN, cardiology, occupational medicine, chiropractic, podiatry, pediatrics, endocrinology, transplant clinics, you name it. We recently placed some Medical Assisting students at a new medical weight loss clinic, and the options are really limitless. Whatever doctors are doing, Medical Assistants are needed there.
Where do graduates typically go to work?
Everywhere I just listed, and more. Some go to work for smaller practices with family medicine, and they may stay there their whole careers. Others are attracted to the big clinics with multiple physicians, and some like me are ravenous for information, and they’ll change practices every few years so they can try being Medical Assistants in every kind of practice. Some graduates will remain in Medical Assisting forever; some may eventually go into other healthcare fields, such as radiography, nursing, or office management; and some spend time working for volunteer organizations.
Related Resource: The Most (and Least) Expected Places to Work As a Medical Assistant
Lastly, what advice do you have for future Medical Assistants?
Be teachable. We repeat that over and over again in the program because it’s so important. There is something new to learn every day. Keep learning as much as you can—always.
At Ameritech College of Healthcare we’re committed to having not just the most affordable private Medical Assisting program in Utah, but the best. Carrie Hammond is a huge part of that, and we’re so proud to have her directing our program. If you’re interested in becoming a Medical Assistant, you can earn your degree in less than a year. Contact us for more information. As always, we’d love to hear from you!