LA PLATA, Md. – The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) celebrated 92 graduates who became certified as Clinical Medical Assistants, Certified Medical Administrative Assistants, Certified Nursing and Geriatric Nursing Assistants, Dental Assistants, Phlebotomy Technicians, Certified Nutrition Coaches, and Personal Trainers during an Allied Health Career Recognition Ceremony Feb. 3. The recognition acknowledged the students who completed their programs in summer and fall of 2021.
These graduates enter their fields at a time when their services and expertise are in high-demand, and in the spotlight because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Gov. Larry Hogan just declared this week, Feb. 7-13 “Healthcare Heroes Appreciation Week” in Maryland to honor “the tireless work of our healthcare heroes.”
“Whether it’s our doctors, nurses, and EMTs, or the clinical staff at our testing and vaccination sites, we owe a profound debt of gratitude to our frontline medical workers,” Hogan said in a release announcing his proclamation Feb. 4.
During CSM’s virtual ceremony, Dean of the College of Science and Health Dr. Laura Polk echoed the demand for healthcare professionals and the graduates’ potential to make a positive impact.
“All of you are definitely in the right place at the right time, ready to take advantage of this industry need by receiving your credentials and moving into the workforce,” she said. “I want to share my wish for you that you approach these new roles with passion and a continued love of learning and that you’ll make a real difference for healthcare.”
CSM Healthcare Program Manager Sarah Butler continued the program by commending the students on adapting to the challenges presented by completing their programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Their tenacity and perseverance brought them to this ceremony,” she said.
Clinical Medical Assistants
Certified Clinical Medical Assistants (CCMA) students completed the courses Introduction to Clinical Medical Assisting, Basic Procedures for Medical Assisting, and Advanced Procedures for Medical Assisting. They perform tasks including preparing patients for the doctor, obtaining vital signs, collecting specimens, performing EKGs, and assisting during exams and procedures to name a few.
Instructor Jamie Smith congratulated the CCMA completers, saying, “You have adapted and overcome all of the changes the pandemic has thrown at us and arrived successfully at the other side.”
The summer 2021 completers were Jamie Jarmon, Janine Pessagno, Jennifer Vaughan, Rachel Sweeney and Christina Vaselaros. The fall 2021 completers were Lauren Combs, Lindsay Barclay, Rache’ Cogborn, Angel Mcall, Luititia Wells, and Kin Hart. Completion of this workforce training certificate results in the students earning the opportunity to take the National Health Career Association (NHA) exam for a national certification as a Clinical Medical Assistant.
Certified Medical Administrative Assistants
Students completing the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant program are eligible to take the NHA Certified Medical Administrative Assistant exam. Medical administrative assistant duties may include greeting patients, scheduling appointments, filing insurance claims, and answering incoming calls.
Students who completed this training last summer were Angela Elzey, Jade Williams, Kaylen Dase, Lauren Blado and Madelyn Argobright.
Certified Nursing and Geriatric Nursing Assistants
A nursing assistant performs duties for patients in a healthcare setting, such as feeding, dressing, grooming, moving and changing linens. This workforce training certificate consists of two classes: Nursing Assistant Fundamentals and Nursing Assistant Practice.
“You have just completed a rigorous program,” said Instructor Jennean Hodge. “In doing so, you have taken your first step into the rich and fulfilling life in the medical field.”
Summer 2021 completers were Ashley Dodson, Erin McNeil, Jennifer Swann, Linda Chase, Megan Arnold, Mique Darcera, Morgan Maddox, Natalie Thompson, Olivia McKenzie and Veronica Johnson.
A student who successfully completes this workforce training certificate meets eligibility requirements to become a certified nursing assistant through application to the Maryland Board of Nursing. To obtain their Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA) Certification, students can take the NNAAP Maryland Nurse Aide Examination approved by the Maryland Board of Nursing to obtain their nursing assistant certification. Students can also take the geriatric nursing assistant competency exam.
Students who have received their Dental Assistant certification qualify to sit for the Dental Assisting National Board Radiation Health and Safety Examination. They are prepared to assist with patient care and with further education can become Registered Dental Hygienists.
Summer 2021 completers were Ariana McKinney, Ashley Flynn, Brandi Glascoe, Catherine Hash, Chanel Swann, Jessica McPeak, Juliet Joy Jordan, Kayla Hatfield, Kenya Estep, Laniya Williams, Laura Green, Monika Mankin, Yasmine Haynes and Zoe Weadon. Fall 2021 completers were Rachel Lewis, Richard Calica, Brianne Farrell, April Young, Cristy Reagan, Sabrina Thipwong, Ahjahla Hamilton, Shayonna Miles, and Julie Younkins.
“You made it through, during one of the hardest times,” said Instructor Jessica Dych in introducing the Phlebotomy Technician completers. “The sky is the limit, reach for the stars, and don’t give up. I hope to see you back, whether it be for a different program or even working toward a degree, just know that you all can do it.”
These technicians draw blood from patients or donors. With further training, a technician can become a Medical Laboratory Technician or Technologist. Students who completed this program in Summer 2021 were Regina Oliver, Bonita Brown, Alexis Windsor, Alicen DeMarr, Melissa Morris, Fayeshun Brown, Clarissa Swanson-Desarno, Eden Lakner, and Deidre Young. Fall 2021 completers were Kim Miller, Toreza Johnson, Aaliyah Graden, Jazmyne Keys, Cailah Hackley, Nicole Hancock, and Ja’net Rice.
Certified Nutrition Coaches
Students who completed their Nutrition and Health Management coursework in Fall 2021 were Alvia Aiken, Ana Benitez, Madison Bishop, Kailey Catucci, Darrell Davis, Alaina Espinal, Tyler Fling, Janese Gockley, Leslie Gomez. Cassandra Gould, Noah Hinton, Osagie Idemudia, Zekiyah Jacobs, Katelyn Kennedy, Krista Littleford, Trevor Nored, Cayla Rodgers, Tiara Sandifer, Madison Scivener, Isaiah Shields, Austin Simms, Austin Watts, Conner Weishaar, and Tyrone Wolridge.
Students who completed their Fundamentals of Personal Training coursework in Fall 2021 were Jill Hedgren and Dane Jones.
“As you embark on your new journey of teaching others how to care for themselves, you must know that I believe in you and your abilities,” said Instructor Annah Rinaldo. “The hard work you put into this course is evidence that you believe in your growth.”
Students who studied to be Certified Nutrition Coaches and Personal Trainers have been prepared to sit for an exam to receive their Certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Polk closed the ceremony with a quote from Winston Churchill: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”
“While earning your credentials you encountered some challenges and took them head on,” Polk shared. “When you met with success you celebrated, when you encountered difficulty, you pushed yourself harder. You didn’t give up and you had the courage to focus on your goal,” she said. “While your entry to a health career started at CSM, your journey now continues beyond CSM. You will be defined by a role that you wear as a badge of honor, and in today’s COVID world, this will require courage on a daily basis. I invite you to celebrate your success today – you earned it – but have the courage to keep developing, growing and becoming. CSM will be here to help you achieve that next significant milestone.”
CSM was awarded top ranking status for its Allied Health programs by Intelligent.com in March 2021. CSM was listed among thousands of public institutions in the nation, and the comprehensive research guide is based on an assessment of 2,277 accredited colleges and universities, CSM’s program ranked 29th nationally. Each program is evaluated based on curriculum quality, graduation rate, reputation, and post-graduate employment before being included in the education resource guide on the best public institution programs for 2021.
Encompassing credit degree programs like Nursing, EMS, Medical Lab Technology, and more, and continuing education workforce training certificates in a variety of specialties like Phlebotomy, CNA/GNA, and ECG/EKG Technicians, the Health Pathway at CSM provides a broad variety of medical training for a number of different careers. Some types of nurses and therapists can expect to get started on their careers after two years, or advance their education with certifications at CSM; medical assistants and phlebotomists can get certified in a matter of weeks or months. Learn more online.