Heather Lynch loves her new job with Southwest Virginia Community Health System – a job she got as a result of her externship in the medical assisting degree program at the Bristol Campus.
With a daughter in high school, Heather made the decision to go back to school at age 38. She graduated with her degree in June 2017 and then passed the Registered Medical Assistant exam shortly thereafter. Now, at 41 years old, she has a new career where she travels between four different locations in Southwest Virginia filling in for nurses. “I love the interaction with my patients,” she said. “I love my job!”
After taking the required courses to get her ready, Heather was excited to get real world experience through her externship which was coordinated by the campus’s staff. She first started as an intern with Holston Medical Group where she was able to practice checking patient vitals. Then she moved to SVCHS where they quickly assigned her more responsibilities including checking patients in, giving injections, and doing EKGs. “They gave me the computer and within 30 minutes, they left me on my own,” she said. “I was very comfortable.”
As a student, Heather liked that her teachers were always eager to help: “They were concerned about me and helped me through anything I needed.” She took a few classes at home through National’s distance education and said she was thankful that the teachers were easy to reach: “Anytime [I] had to ask [my] teacher a question, [I] just sent them an email and they would respond quickly.”
Feeling proud of her accomplishments and grateful for her new career, Heather encourages others who are thinking about going back to school: “If I can do it at my age, anyone can do it.”