SUNY Broome Medical Assisting program seniors have been helping to administer pool testing of COVID-19 on campus as a part of the surveillance testing program offered by SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. Pool testing, which is sometimes also called batch testing, allows large groups of people to be tested quickly while using fewer resources.
“We view this as a tremendous opportunity for the Medical Assisting program seniors to help the college community while gaining valuable insight and experience,” says Erin O’Hara-Leslie, Chairperson and Associate Professor for the Medical Assisting and Health Studies programs. “The students are all doing this voluntarily and can use the hours accrued towards their clinical practicum completion.”
The students who volunteer work together to help the program’s coordinators, Assistant Chief Nick Brey and Health and Safety Coordinator Hans VanHouten, explain test processes to faculty and staff, collect and organize samples, and keep the testing environment sterile.
“Having the Medical Assisting students help with the pool testing gives students real-life experience working with the public in a ‘medical setting,” explains Assistant Chief Brey. “They are also experiencing what it is like to work with the public and people’s different levels of anxiety. Some people getting the tests are nervous; some people are relaxed. These are all things medical professionals will need to know how to deal with as they get into their careers”.
Health and Safety Coordinator Hans VanHouten says, “Having the students’ volunteer with the testing is not only great hands-on experience for them; it shows that our students are ready to step up and help keep our community and campus safe.”
Students working with the Health and Safety team say they are grateful for the hands-on experience while working toward completing their degree.
Melonie Kinter, a senior in the Medical Assisting program, says that
“Having the opportunity to participate in COVID testing is something that I am extremely thankful for, as it gives us a chance to connect with our fellow students and practice the skills we’ve learned.”
Hang Nguyen, who goes by Amy, is a Health Studies major, said that the program helped her learn about the field and feel more comfortable experiencing new things and working as a part of a team. “The student I am today is not what I would have expected to be,” she says. “Before I was a rather timid, anxious, quiet, and I didn’t want to be involved as much, but after being in the Medical Assisting program, I am more than thrilled to be involved and experiencing new things! I’m always learning new things because of the program, and I am more prepared for the future.”
“The students are all very enthusiastic about participating in the process and lending a hand,” says Chairperson O’Hara-Leslie. “We are very proud of their effort and dedication to the testing process and keeping our campus safe.”
SUNY Broome has a 2-year Medical Assistant – A.A.S. degree program that offers superior training, hands-on experience, and transfer classes. Medical Assisting is one of the most versatile of all the healthcare professions, so don’t wait, start your journey toward a career as a Medical Assistant today!
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