Our spotlight series has looked at several exceptional people. These have included a Medical Assistant who writes children’s books, and another who created the Shining Star Award. Not only do these Medical Assistants help patients and doctors alike, but they inspire their fellow MAs.
In the fifth segment of the spotlight series, we’re going to take a look at Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Harper Garrett. Cathy Cassata recently interviewed Garrett for a great article on the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) website. Every day, Garrett supports Medical Assistants by creating paths for leadership development…
Spotlight: Harper Garrett, CMA
Harper Garrett is a real-life trailblazer in the medical field. After learning that Medical Assistants at Children’s Hospital Colorado wanted to gain more recognition, she promptly responded by introducing various leadership classes.
“The intention is to help Medical Assistants build upon their strengths,” she told Cassata. “So they feel empowered in their role and know they have a voice.”
Garrett is also the Medical Assistant education and practice coordinator for the Children’s Hospital Colorado. In creating these new leadership paths, she arranged for 140 Medical Assistants to complete six courses over a six-month duration. Some of the topics they covered included building character strengths and communication skills. They also delved into the difference between empathy and sympathy. The classes even featured team-building activities!
Here’s a brief summary of Garrett’s courses:
- No cost
- Three-hour classes (during work hours)
- Led by the hospital’s ambulatory nursing educator and associate clinical managers
- Includes a lecture, hands-on activities, videos, and work sheets
As if that wasn’t enough, Garrett also offers on-site continuing education opportunities for the hospital’s Medical Assistants. She starts by reaching out to MAs to see what topics they would like to study. Afterward, she works with the AAMA to offer at least five CEU courses per year. Plus, Garrett advocates for other MAs by managing the Medical Assisting practicum program.
This means that she partners with MA program directors at community colleges to recruit and host individuals for these practicums (i.e. internships or work placement programs). In 2018 alone, she placed 36 Medical Assisting students in practicums throughout the Colorado hospital’s ambulatory, primary care, and specialty clinics. According to Cassata, around 39% of those students were hired after completing their practicum.
While Garrett works tirelessly to support and uplift Medical Assistants, she explained that her ambition is fueled by a sense of deep pride in the MA profession. After working as a Medical Assistant for several years, Garrett realized how important it was for her to find a position leading other Medical Assistants.
“When this job opened up, it seemed perfect,” Garrett told Cassata. “I want Medical Assistants to know how valuable their work is and to feel like they are an important part of the team. I get to do that every day.”
For more information about this inspirational Medical Assistant, be sure to check out Cathy Cassata’s article on the AAMA website. There you’ll find more amazing stories about other MAs, too.
About the Medical Assistant Program at Unitek College
If you felt inspired after reading this content, you might want to check out the MA program at Unitek College! Founded in 2002, Unitek College is an accredited, private institution that provides training for the next generation of healthcare professionals. With seven campuses in California, Unitek offers educational programs in the cities of Bakersfield, Concord, Fremont, Hayward, Sacramento, San Jose, and South San Francisco.
Each California location offers Medical Assistant training that can be completed in as little as 9 months. An active learning environment provides MA students with expert lectures, simulation training, and supervised externships. Below are some frequently asked questions to help get you started on this new career path:
+ How do you become a Medical Assistant? Our MA guide can answer this for you here.
+ How important is school for Medical Assistants? Look into this with us here.
+ What’s the best way to become successful as an MA? Our blog post may help with this—check it out here.
+ Why should I pick Unitek for Medical Assistant training? We delve into this here.
For more information about the MA program, check out our contact page and call a school representative!