2018-02-07 / Londonderry

Jamaica student among BMH/CCV’s second class of MA grads

Graduates, from left, included Melissa Buffum of Jamaica, Alyssa Lane and Amy Maquire of Brattleboro, Hailey Slade of Vernon, Swan Perea of Brattleboro, Katie Leahy of East Dummerston, and Julie Emery of Brattleboro. - Courtesy PhotoGraduates, from left, included Melissa Buffum of Jamaica, Alyssa Lane and Amy Maquire of Brattleboro, Hailey Slade of Vernon, Swan Perea of Brattleboro, Katie Leahy of East Dummerston, and Julie Emery of Brattleboro. - Courtesy PhotoJAMAICA — A student from Jamaica is among the second class to graduate as medical assistants in a burgeoning partnership between Community College of Vermont (CCV) and Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (BMH) that fast-tracks students through an accelerated College to Career certification program for Medical Assisting.

On Tuesday, Jan. 23, the partnership program graduated its second class.

“I’m a little nervous, I won’t lie, but I’m excited,” said student Melissa Buffum, according to a press release. “I’m ready to do this.”

Buffum, who is 45 and a resident of Jamaica, said the program offered the right pathway for her to re-enter the medical field after time away. And like most of the other students here, she is planning to continue her studies and complete an associate degree in medical assisting at CCV.

As part of the joint initiative, BMH provides full scholarships for eight successful applicants to the program. Scholarship recipients have their CCV tuition waived and receive supervised clinical practice at BMH. The eight scholarship recipients are hired as medical assistants at BMH upon successful completion of the program.

The majority of the students in the program did not have previous medical training, requiring additional clinical instruction. Upon graduation from the academic portion of the program, students are enrolled in an extensive three-month training program led by a registered nurse to enable them to work independently as a medical assistant. The training includes rotations throughout the various specialties of BMH’s 12 outpatient practices to learn how to operate specific equipment and navigate and document within electronic medical records.

Medical assistants (MAs) support clinicians by preparing patients for their exams, performing basic laboratory tests, and taking the patient’s medical history, among other clinical responsibilities.

“Our practices faced a lack of MA’s to support our clinicians’ work,” said Eilidh Pederson, BMH vice president of Medical Group Management and Population Health.

“This opportunity to hire and train additional clinical support will alleviate much of the administrative burden currently facing clinicians, allowing more time for hands-on patient care; not only increasing access to care for patients, but also the satisfaction of both patient and clinician experience,” she continued.

“This is a win-win-win,” said CCV president Joyce Judy, in the same press release. “It’s a win for the participants — they get to do work that they are proud of. It’s a win for the hospital. They’ve invested significantly (in the form of) scholarships, time, and energy to create this program, but they’re also getting good employees. They’re figuring out how to grow their own. And for us at CCV it’s a win. We offered the program and we’re seeing people get jobs as a result. It doesn’t get better.”

BMH and CCV will begin accepting applications for the next session later in 2018. For more information, visit www.ccv.edu or call (802) 254-6370.

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