Continued Brilliance

Candace Mims Testimonial with ANU

As a mother and stepmother of five children, the manager to 95 direct reports, and full-time student, Candace Mims is no stranger to hard work and dedication. After graduating from American National University’s, known as National College during that time, Medical Assisting program in 2004, Candace began working full-time at the institution she worked at during her externship. After 17 years at Holston Medical Group (HMG) and several of those managing a big group of people, she decided she needed more management education to help her better service her employees and her patients. She enrolled in our Medical and Health Services Management bachelor’s degree program – and her hard work earned her the recognition of Term Trailblazer for Term 238!

During her first time with ANU in our Medical Assistant program, Candace chose us because she was close to the former Bristol campus. She explains she chose medical assisting because a medical assistant is the one who sat with her during her first rounds of cancer treatment. This medical assistant helped her understand everything she was going through while also comforting her through it. This inspired her to fulfill her role – to be that support for someone else in a vulnerable moment. And her experience in our program helped her not only learn from professors with medical assisting experience, but to network with other students. Along with that, Candace saw that she related to her classmates more. “There were quite a few of us that were not teenagers coming out of high school, going to college. That was nice,” she explains.

While Candace has the clinical expertise needed for her role as Assistant Nurse Manager, she wanted to dive deeper into the business side to better manage the practice and her employees. And she chose ANU again because we offered her entire program online.

“I really enjoyed it – I like the Zoom classes! I like to see people’s faces and know who it is that I’m having discussions with.”

Something that also helped was that her “credits all transferred. So I was able to bring my entire associate’s degree over to my bachelor’s,” she says.

For her classes in the Medical and Health Services program, she says they “hit spot on for what we need to know,” she says because of her experiences within her work.

“I got a lot better understanding of the patient-centered medical homes and the way the insurance company determines our payments… I can sit in the meetings and hear it and know where we’re falling and what our risk value is, but I don’t really understand it. The ‘why’ on it has been ever elusive. My classes have definitely been teaching me that ‘why’,” Candace explains.

She thinks the program is designed exactly as she needed to progress in her career.

A professor she calls out for being excellent, and who also nominated her for Term Trailblazer, is Rhonda Brewer. Candace has had several classes with Rhonda, and she says that consistency has helped her education. “She is very easy to reach, she’s quick to answer questions… she is very encouraging,” she explains. Candace had initial hesitations about speaking too much in classes because of her career experience, but Rhonda pushed her to keep her discussions going. This helped Candace pass on knowledge she gained in her career, as well as helping students who have never worked in a medical office. Candace says that Rhonda made it a point to get to know her students more than just being a professor. “There were times that we logged into Zoom and she would pretty much go around and ask everybody specific things about their week – because she knew what was going on with everybody.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree, Candace plans to stay on the clinical side for “as long as my body holds out.” She explains she wants to work side-by-side with her nurses. And when she can no longer do that, she wants to the administrative side. She wants to make the move into practice management and retire from there in the future.

“I would definitely recommend going to ANU because I have great experiences.” She says.

Her advice to new students: “Watch your Zoom [sessions] again. A lot of times when you’re there and you’re participating, it’s easy to miss other things people are saying. Look back over your slides and take the quizzes a second time if [they’re] offered. Not for the grade, but for the knowledge.”

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