My Career Step: Angelique Garcia

Angelique's goals

  • Find a rewarding, fulfilling career
  • Earn a living helping others

Benefits of her Career Step education

  • Flexibility to work in a variety of positions within healthcare
  • Finding a second family in her coworkers and patients
  • An interesting job that provides different situations every day

My Transition to Medical Administrative Assisting

Upon completing high school, I was working in the hospitality industry, and though I really enjoyed working at the front desk, it wasn’t enough for me. I began investigating different education programs at universities, community colleges, etc. to find something more fulfilling. I didn’t want to re-arrange my work schedule too much, but I did want to go back to school. I was driving home one night and noticed a medical institute. Their large “Enrolling Now” sign intrigued me, and I stopped to talk with an enrollment advisor. She explained that they were enrolling for their medical assistant program and detailed the skills I would learn if I pursued this career. It all sounded really interesting, so I signed up that night.

My training program began by teaching me all of the administrative aspects of working in a medical office. We learned how to manage the medical office, accounting procedures, and medical terminology. The medical terminology was really challenging because it was like learning a whole new language, but I hung in there and was able to finish the class.

Once we finished learning the administrative side of things, we were supposed to move on to the clinical medical assisting skills. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to continue through the rest of the program and, instead, graduated as a medical administrative assistant. Since I honestly enjoyed the variety of managing the front office, I was excited to start working in my new field.

My Medical Administrative Assistant Career

I started working just a few weeks after graduating. I was able to coordinate my new job and my job at the hotel so I worked at the medical clinic during the day and the hotel in the evening. Right from the beginning, I really enjoyed the interacting with each patient—there were so many unique individuals and situations that no two days were ever the same. Some days it was smooth sailing and I would greet and check in patients with no problems, and then another day a pregnant women’s water would break or someone would come in with a cut finger. Every situation was different.

Soon after working the front desk, I transitioned to working as the medical records specialist. I became very familiar with the confidentiality process, making new charts, and pulling records. It may seem like an easy process, but your day can get very interesting and stressful very quickly when you discover that a medical record that’s needed is missing or lost. Every morning, it was my job to pull all the records for patients who were going to be seen that day. This way, we weren’t making patients wait while we looked for their records. Then, after each patient was seen, I would re-file the records in their appropriate location. Before I left every night, I also had to make sure that all files were in a locked area to ensure and protect their confidentiality.

After working in the medical clinic for some time, I took another position as a medical administrative assistant for a cruise line. This position was very different from the medical clinic. I never saw our patients in person, and all correspondence was either by phone or email. I helped patients by making sure we could perform necessary medical procedures onboard, retrieving medical records, and helping them schedule and make payments. Since I was technically working remote from the medical office, the medical records were sent to the office not only in paper form, but also electronically, so this position also allowed me to work with a variety of medical record processes. In addition to helping patients, I also assisted the physicians with their schedules and planning. I loved this position because it combined travel and medical administrative assisting into one position.

The Medical Administrative Assistant Career Choice

Once you have worked in a clinic or hospital, you begin to realize that all of your medical administrative assistant training is definitely key to your job success. My training prepared me for those things that are specific to a medical office, like medical terminology, as well as daily administrative tasks such as directing calls around the office. Because of my training, I was able to understand terms that I would not have known without my medical terminology training, giving me an edge in the workplace.

I have really loved my time working as a medical administrative assistant, in all my different positions. Working in a clinic, your co-workers and patients become like a second family to you, and experience in the healthcare field in general allows you learn more about medical issues that not only affect others but can also impact your own health. I have been in this field for over seven years, and it’s been a great experience and brought me many new friends. I encourage you to join us and become a part of this growing industry.