Local Employer Finds Valuable Skills in National Externs and Graduates


Mikelle Hall had spent many years as a housewife and mother before returning to school. Interested in the medical field, she looked into colleges in the area that were offering short-term medical degrees and came across the $$Danville, Virginia Campus. The campus instantly appealed to her because of the small class sizes, the focus on individual attention, and the hands-on nature of the courses.

Mikelle earned a diploma from the medical billing and coding program in only eight months and then decided to enroll in the medical assisting degree program. She worked as an extern with other National students at Internal Medicine Associates, Inc. Soon after graduation, Mikelle was hired as a permanent member of the team at the internal medicine office.

“Mikelle is a very good employee,” stated William Willis, office manager of Internal Medicine Associates and Mikelle’s supervisor. Internal Medicine Associates has a history of partnering with National College in the campus’s extern program and has hired several graduates from among the externs who have worked at their office. “It’s really been helpful for us,” Mr. Willis said of his office’s partnership with National. He said he has found that National College externs are well prepared to go into the clinical setting. Of the National students and graduates that he works with, William said they were quick learners, go-getters, enthusiastic, energetic. “That’s what we really look for [in employees],” he said.

Beyond having the clinical skills, Mr. Willis explained that the externs that he has worked with also have the needed computer skills to go hand-in-hand with the clinical skills. “It’s really important to have a balance between the two,” says Mr. Willis as he explained how more medical offices are switching to electronic record keeping and having computer skills has become essential in the medical field. “This is a great program,” Mr. Willis said of the National College medical assisting program, “[and] we would certainly entertain the idea of having more externs.”

For students like Mikelle, it’s an invaluable opportunity to put into practice the subjects they learned in class. “The first patient I saw – my hands were shaking,” Mikelle shares with a laugh, but over time in her externship she found that her education had more than adequately prepared her for her job and she gained in confidence. “Knowing how to word things – get things done the way they should be done,” those are priceless things Mikelle says she gained from her time at National that make it possible for her to do her job.

“The teachers are amazing – and if people take time to understand that – they get not only a great value but a great benefit from the instruction,” Mikelle shares, “I have yet to encounter a teacher [at National] that has not wanted me to succeed.”

Office Manager William Willis (left) says National graduate Mikelle Hall is an example of the well-prepared externs he sees from National.

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