Great Aspirations

Great Aspirations:

Shelby Ritchie’s Story with ANU

Shelby Ritchie has high goals of becoming a doctor to achieve the dreams her mother desired but never could. While striving for that goal, Shelby wants to break into the medical field, but earn money while she does so to support her family. Medical Assisting at American National University was her breakthrough the field that she needed, and her dreams have already brought her success! She earned the title of Medical Assisting Student of the Term for term 230 – and breaks through her new career after graduating in the June 2023 graduation ceremony.

When issues arose around her first steps into college, Shelby wanted to get in another institution quickly to not disrupt her education. Stuck between ANU and another school, she chose American National because “the [admissions representative] I was talking to seemed so nice, and the school seemed really nice!” Not only that, but ANU’s tuition rates were better for her. “The amount that [ANU] cost was lower, but it had more schooling for you. Also, it was completely online, where [other institution], once a week I’d have to go and meet a teacher that was out of the way that I could never reach.”

Following her graduation, Shelby has earned a job at a dialysis center due to her externship experience there. Some of the skills she learned in her classes are helping her in her new job. “Interacting with the patients, following the HIPAA laws, and taking the normal vital signs definitely helped me prepare for the externship,” she said.

Shelby’s overall experience at ANU has been good – but the shining stars were her instructors and professors.

“The teachers were not only really kind and not only taught you what they were supposed to, but a lot of them were medical assistants so they’ll give you their experience that they had,” she said, “which helps you a lot more to put it into perspective rather than just learning it and not knowing how to use it later on.”

She explained that near the end of her program, her professors were trying to prepare her and her classmates for their careers that they were about to embark on. “The teachers definitely tried to step up and prepare you in all ways possible, which really, really helped!”

With our High Tech, High Touch education, Shelby got hands on education with our at-home lab kits. Not only that, but our small class sizes mean that she got the personalized attention she needed to succeed. “We would sit in front of [our instructor], and it was only me and one other student, so the teacher could watch us straight on. We had our cameras on the arm. And somehow she managed to watch the both of us at the same time,” she described. “I did something wrong once, and she said, ‘oh no, Shelby, that’s not how you do that,’ while the other student is also doing it… Which this did help me because she also had her phlebotomy arm and was showing us how to properly do it.”

Shelby’s future goals include spending a few years gaining experience as a medical assistant. She wants to do this to explore her options to see which field would interest her most as a doctor in her future.

On recommending ANU to others, Shelby would to those looking to earn their higher education. She said, “not only the flexibility, but the teachers that do it hands on with you really help you learn.”

Her advice to new students at ANU: “Read the textbook! I do not like reading to learn… but it definitely helps with remembering things later on.”

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