ST. PETERSBURG – The Medical Administrative Specialist program is one of five new courses offered at the St. Petersburg campus of Pinellas Technical College. For those of you who would like to gain the skills required to work in a medical office, this is the class for you!
This 12 month program includes 1,050 hours of training Mon.-Fri. from 7 -12:15 p.m. Instructor Traci Matthews likes to start each class with an hour of instruction followed by the students working in modules through Blackboard, an online training program used by many universities. As the students study the modules, Matthews is there to guide them and answer questions.
Teresa Stevenson, who has a Certified Nursing Assistant license and a medical lab background, is one of the five students enrolled in the new program. Her experience in the field is more hands-on with clients, and through this program she is happy to learn new skills to further her medical career.
“As for Mrs. Matthews, I’m glad she’s here,” said Stevenson. “She is very passionate about what she is teaching, and how she is teaching so that I can understand it because I have an 18 year old at home who laughs at me on the computer, so through this I get to go home and show her some stuff that she don’t even know.
Because of what she’s teaching, we’re all going to be running somebody’s office when we get out of here.”
The many training modules include medical terminology, coding, Microsoft Office and the correct format of business emails. The skills that students learn in this program are skills they can also use for employment in office management/assistant jobs outside of the medical field.
“One of the things that we’re focusing on in this program is the soft skills piece,” said Matthews. At a recent meeting at St. Petersburg College, it was mentioned that employers are in search of potential employees who have office training and personable skills. They are growing tired of hiring staff without personable skills.
Since the office staff of a medical facility are the first people a patient interacts with, Matthews wants to make sure that her students graduate knowing the importance of first impressions and customer service in this career.
“I believe in leveraging your strengths, so we want to strengthen the skills that they already have and also improve the ones that we need to work on,” she said.
Matthews likes to incorporate philosophical learning in her teaching because she believes in the power of thought, personal belief and discipline. She has assigned them to read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, and they have a discussion about the readings once a week.
A current goal for the program is to establish business relationships with medical employers in the community who are willing to provide internships for students enrolled in the program. Internship experience is something Matthews believes will contribute to her students’ employment qualifications.
“I want to get them connected with good, successful organizations so that they are working and have good benefits,” she said.
January is the next start for this 12-month program, and she would like to have more people take advantage of this training. January enrollees will be in the same class and training as the students currently enrolled, which will allow the more experienced students to mentor the new ones.
Student Cynthia Green, who has a career background as a hairstylist, enjoys learning computer skills in this program, and looks forward to mentoring the new students in January.
“First of all, we have a great instructor, so that just makes it easier. We’re already mentoring and helping each other in this class so that’s going to make it better for the next group that comes in,” she explained.
If you are interested in a new career as a medical administrative specialist or are thinking about a switch in careers and would like more information, log onto pcsb.org/myptc or call (727) 893-2500. Financial aid is available.
For professional medical employers who want to provide internships for the students in this program, please contact Traci Matthews at 727-893-2500.