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 Medical Assistant students create a clinic for a day


 Rodee Schneider


Ella Rainwater has a sore throat. It doesnt seem life threatening at the moment, but its painful enough that shed like a second opinion. Luckily for her, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Medical Assistant student Amber Watzka is here to help.cropedmedstudent2.jpg

If Rainwater sounds suspiciously like a made-up name, its because it is. The role of the sick patient, played by a first-semester NWTC student, is all part of a final simulation designed to prep students like Watzka for the very real five-week clinical practicum theyll soon begin to complete their program.

Its a great learning experience, said Tina Broderick, NWTCs Medical Assistant program director. The students do get a little nervous, but this allows them to put it all together, to get the whole picture.

Putting It All Together

Students begin by verifying personal and insurance information in the reception area. From there, they usher the patient into the heart of the clinic, where they take their vitals and ask questions about their medical history and current issues. Last, they move on to the labs, which, depending on their patients symptoms, will include a test for strep throat, a finger poke to test for blood glucose, or a urine test.

Throughout the process, instructors take notes on the students performance, and each patient completes a survey on how their classmates did at the end. Thirty-three of the programs more than 70 students will complete the exercise over two days.croppedmedical.jpg There are no grades, but it's all designed to make them more comfortable for when the real work begins.

This type of focused, experience-based learning is preparing NWTCs medical assistant students for a robust job market expected to grow by 29% over the next eight years. In an effort to keep up with industry demand for new workers, the college now offers the program for part-time and English Langage Learner (ELL) students. Full-time students can complete the program in two semesters.

For Watzka, wholl be at Aurora BayCare Medical Center for her five-week practicum, the final run-through is a welcome final exercise in what is already a very-hands on program.

This is what well be doing in the clinic, said Watzka. Its nice to have a final run-through before we start.

For more information on the Medical Assistant program at NWTC, visit them online, or call the Health Sciences office at 920-498-5543.