Medical Assistant Training Program: Graduate Spotlight #1

Joan Garchitorena, BAMA Medical Assistant GraduateJoan Garchitorena, BAMA Medical Assistant Training Program Graduate, says, “One of the reasons I decided to train to be a medical assistant was because my father passed away from a heart attack; it opened my eyes to a healthcare career and helping people.”

Now Joan is doing just what she set out to do, which is making a difference in patients’ lives with her first healthcare job after graduating BAMA’s medical assistant training program and completing her externship

“I’m a medical assistant at a private practice under Saint Francis Memorial Hospital,” says Joan. “The practice specializes in allergy and asthma.”

BAMA Career Services staff assisted Joan in finding the position, and like any ambitious medical assistant, she’s looking to improve her skills with the help of her current employer. “I’m hoping to gain more experience and knowledge so I can be better at my work.”

Rewind to December 2015, and Joan was looking to enroll in a medical assistant training school and start training for a healthcare career. “I chose to enroll at BAMA because I heard they had morning and evening MA classes to choose from,” says Joan. “The San Francisco campus was also very convenient for me and easily accessible by public transportation.”

Joan enjoyed the fast pace of BAMA’s medical assistant training program and the way it’s divided into 8 learning units called modules, rather than it being a semester-based program, with each module standing alone as a unit of study, not dependent upon the completion of a previous or subsequent module.

“I liked the hands-on training best,” says Joan. “The training in class was set up to give you the experience of working in a doctor’s office. You’re trained to take vitals and give injections, among other things.”

After her BAMA training, Joan took her externship at San Francisco General Hospital – IM – Medical Clinic. A highlight for her was the patient interaction, particularly explaining procedures to patients for whom English wasn’t their native language. “I remember I explained to a patient why it was important for them to have a fecal occult blood test,” says Joan. “It’s important to communicate with patients in a way that’s understandable.”

When Joan isn’t working, she says, “I usually spend quality time with my kids, going to swimming lessons and watching my son play baseball.”

Joan is absolutely another BAMA medical assistant graduate who set out to get a job working in healthcare, and has seen her hard work and determination pay off for both her and her family.