Moving Forward in Her Career

Vanessa Barbee’s Story with ANU

After dealing with some personal matters, Vanessa Barbee wanted to earn her education to better her future for herself and her three children. Before her time in the Medical Assisting program at American National University, Vanessa attended the Surgical Technician program when we were still known as National College. With her previous experience, she knew that our approach to education would fit her life and needs. Since her graduation with her associate degree in 2019, Vanessa has found success in many different jobs within her medical assisting career.

When Vanessa attended her medical assisting program at ANU, she attended campus in Lexington, Kentucky. She was part of some of the last few programs that attended on campus before we moved to mainly online programs. When she first attended ANU, she chose us because, compared to other schools she attended, we had smaller class sizes and more personalized attention.

“When I looked into ANU, I was like ‘this is a much smaller school,’ and the price was not even half of what [another institution] would cost.”

Along with that, she enjoyed how welcoming and kind the staff and faculty were to her even when she was just applying, “it felt homey!”

Her experience with her classes has given her skills and knowledge she uses every day in her career now. She fondly remembers a time when one of her professors encouraged her to go around campus to take other students’ blood pressure. Or practicing on medical dummies under the watch of her professors. And during her time there, her professors would set up their classrooms to emulate a doctor’s office of an emergency room so students could practice in the environment they could potentially work in – with all of the items they would need to do their jobs. “[My professor] would have us pretend we were rooming a patient. So we would have to call each other by name and pretend to take them to the exam room.  [We had to] go over all of their medical history, we had to practice all of the skills, blood draws, blood pressure – we had to do the whole visit.” She says having that experience has stuck with her for her entire career.

Vanessa explains that when she was in a management-like position in one of her jobs, she would show new medical assistants the skills she learned at ANU to better their job performance. “I would be like, ‘well in school, this is how I learned it, from my teachers who are also medical assistants, so this is how I’m going to teach you.’” She says she does this even to this day, passing on the knowledge her own career-experienced professors gave her. She says that her professors had influence in their local area to send students to shadow at several different medical offices so they can see what it was like to work in the field and what specialties she wanted to work in upon graduation. Vanessa shadowed in allergy offices, primary care offices, and even a gastroenterologist office.

While in the externship at an urgent care for her associate degree program, Vanessa was offered a full-time position before she even finished her externship. The skills and knowledge she learned at ANU made her an asset to that office and secured her a position. “Before I completed my externship, I was offered a position, when I had three weeks left… they said, ‘you know what, Vanessa, you are doing really good with the patients, you learn fast, you know your stuff, how about a position here with us?’ And I said yes, absolutely!”

Her future goals include earning her bachelor’s degree in medical health management. She wants to one day run her own office and be integral to every point – from the hiring, staff retention and discipline, and more as expected from a manager.

“I would definitely recommend ANU!” Vanessa says.

Her advice to new students: “Do not give up! Think about how far you’ve come, even just by enrolling – that’s a huge step!”

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