A Medical Assistant pinning ceremony was held for 7 Vernon High School seniors Thursday evening in the VHS Cafeteria. The students went through the Medical Assistant program this year as seniors and after graduation will take the state exam to become a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant. Students cannot take the state exam until after they have graduated from high school.
“It is amazing for VHS to offer these programs and it is a great opportunity for these students to obtain a certification like this while still being in high school,” said April Maldonado, who has been the Health Careers instructor at VHS for five years. “They are able to obtain not one, but two certifications – the CNA their junior year and the MA their senior year. With those certifications they are able to obtain jobs that pay well and have a head start academically that prepares them for college programs like nursing or other careers they seek in healthcare.”
April said students in this program have high expectations set for them. “They represent not only themselves, but Vernon College, Vernon High School, and myself,” she said. “They’re taught that maintaining good attendance, good behavior and following rules will lead them to being the best caretakers, great employees and successful in life.”
In the MA program, the students had 322 classroom hours and 40 hours of clinical rotations. Duties the students performed during their clinical rotations included obtaining patient vitals, giving injections, learning how to place leads for an EKG and drawing blood.
Once they pass their state exam, the students will be able to obtain MA jobs in a physician’s office, medical center or clinics. Depending on the employer needs, MAs can perform clerical, administrative or clinical duties.
A Top MA Student Award went to Cassandra Ramirez, who was also a Top CNA Student Award winner last year as a junior.
“On the first day of CNA class last year if you had asked her how serious she was about these programs and going to college to be a nurse her answer would have been ‘I don’t know’ with a shrug of her shoulders,” the instructor said of Cassandra. “That changed quickly. Cassandra’s hard work, involvement and interest she has shown over the last two years did not go unnoticed. She was accepted at MSU earlier this year and will be going for a nursing degree.”
Cassandra was also named the recipient of a Health Program Scholarship. Also receiving scholarships were Kimberlee Bess and Myrtle Butler.
Students receiving their MA pins were: Bess, Butler, Morgan Drennan, Lourdes Garza, Ramirez, Shamyra Straughter and Brooklyn White.