United Career Institute Irwin has teamed up with multiple hospitals and offices in the area to provide hands-on, real-world experiences for the externship component of our Medical Assisting program, including Primary Health and Wellness Centers (PHWC). This family practice office was established in 1995 and had offices in Greensburg and Irwin, making it a convenient and well-established organization for our students to observe, learn, and practice their skills.
According to their website, PHWC has a well-rounded, experienced staff to offer care for patients with various health concerns, such as physicals and wellness exams, health checks, gynecology, geriatric and occupational medicine, and nutritional care. There is excellent value for our students to complete their externship at this site, including a very busy, personal atmosphere, practicing both the administrative and clinical side of the medical assistant field, seeing the great relationships between patients and doctors and patients and medical assistants, and lastly working as a team with doctors and other medical assistants to best care for their patients.
Site coordinator Nicole Ellingsen says that PHWC gets as much out of having our students as our students get out of completing their externship at the site:
We love to bring students in! They see and take part in the day-to-day. Or medical assistants love putting their skills to work to teach new MAs the trade! I think it keeps our seasoned MAs fresh, and the students are getting a wealth of knowledge from some amazing medical assistants!
Students complete their externship in the last 12 weeks of UCI’s Medical Assisting program. After a period of on-site observations, students then begin their supervised practice. A day in the life of a medical assisting student at PHWC looks like this: taking and documenting vitals in EHR, reading schedules, obtaining pulse and oxygen levels and weights and heights, cleaning and preparing rooms for patients, and preparing and administering injections. Of course, as students progress throughout their externship, they are given more and more responsibilities and opportunities to practice their hands-on skills in a real-world setting.