Hands-on clinical skills and training are such a vital component of United Career Institute’s healthcare programs. Watch the video to witness one of our practical nursing students demonstrate one of the many skills our students learn during their time in the Practical Nursing program. Practical Nursing instructor Stacey Mantich guides student Lindsey Harris through the proper sterilization technique for surgical gloving. Our students’ other skills include conducting physical assessments, administering medications, caring for wounds, performing IV therapy, performing phlebotomy and giving injections, and many others.
Lisa Clawson is the phlebotomy instructor at United Career Institute Irwin. She has been at United for almost a year now! She chose to become a phlebotomy instructor because she simply loves phlebotomy and loves to teach. Her favorite parts about working at United Career institute are the students and the staff!
Before joining the United Career Institute team, Lisa had worked doing a few different jobs. She has experience working in a variety of practices including primary care, pediatrics, and ear, nose, and throat (ENT). When asked which characteristics people interested in the medical field should have, Lisa said, “a good work ethic, thoughtful, works well with others, and is helpful.”
Lisa gets a variety of questions from her phlebotomy students. One of the most asked questions is “what kind of job opportunities will I have?” She tells her students, “There are plenty of job opportunities. You can work in many different settings such as dialysis, labs, family practice, blood banks, etc.”
Lisa is motivated by her family. “My children. They are my life. They make me want to be a better person.” She is very proud of them! We are very fortunate to have such a caring instructor!
Meghan Murray is the high school admissions advisor at United Career Institute. She has been with United for almost five years and loves it because it allows her to combine her medical background with her passion for helping people.
Meghan chose to pursue the medical field because, at the time, she was a single mother working in retail and needed more financial stability. A friend recommended looking into healthcare. “I initially wanted to be a nurse, but my friend recommended starting slow so I decided to pursue phlebotomy.” Meghan took a 10-week phlebotomy course and began working part-time as a phlebotomist, while doing other work on the side. After working as a phlebotomist for a while, she decided she wanted to pursue becoming an EMT. She loved her work as an EMT so much that she decided to become a paramedic. Unfortunately, Meghan had an injury that prohibited her ability to get all her truck hours needed to finish her paramedic program.
Meghan decided to continue working as a phlebotomist at The Washington Hospital and Highlands Hospital. It was during this time that she was first approached about teaching phlebotomy. She taught at National Career School, while also continuing to work as an EMT for Fayette EMS. Eventually, Meghan was approached by United Career Institute (Pennsylvania Institute of Health and Technology at the time) to lead our nighttime Cardio Phlebotomy program. Meghan ran this program for a year before transitioning to teaching day classes in some of United’s other medical programs. “I loved teaching. It was the perfect combination of helping people and utilizing my medical skills.” After teaching in the medical programs for a while, Meghan moved into high school admissions. “The environment is very welcoming and the staff is great. My favorite part of working at United is interacting with the students and helping them achieve their goals and be successful. I truly believe in our school and what it has to offer the people in our community.” Meghan went on to say, “I am motivated by the work that I do. I try really hard to work toward my goals. It makes me happy when students graduate and are successful.”
Meghan certainly has a lot to be proud of in her professional life, but she says she is most proud of her family. “I am proud to have the hard working husband and family that I do. My husband is a United States Marine. My mother is an LPN and my father works for Fayette County Behavioral Health Services. I am also the proud grandmother to the cutest little boy named Collin.”
Long term, Meghan would like to be able to finish her associate degree and officially become a nurse. She would also love to teach again. “I try to use my story to encourage my students to continue with their education and to show them how important it is. I also tell them how a background in the medical field can open many doors for them.”
Something interesting that not many people may not know about Meghan is that she is obsessed with Wonder Woman. She has a collection of Wonder Woman items in her office and even has a sticker on her car!
Phlebotomy is an essential skill for students to learn and practice in their medical assistant classes because drawing blood is a very common procedure in medical facilities. If you’ve ever had blood drawn yourself, you know how important it is to have someone skilled in phlebotomy doing the procedure.
There are a variety of reasons a patient may need to have blood drawn. Getting blood tests to check for diseases and certain conditions is a common reason, along with donating blood to help others who are in need.
Gaining the knowledge and experience for hands-on skills like phlebotomy while attending a medical assisting training program sets students up for career success after graduation. Students who practice hands-on skills can provide a better experience for patients once they are on the job.
Medical assistants are vital members of the healthcare team because of their wide-ranging knowledge and skills. In addition to drawing blood, medical assisting professionals perform many other essential tasks, such as taking vital signs, assisting with physical exams, performing certain lab tests, assisting with simple surgeries, and giving injections.
While completing their medical assisting degree classes at United, students prepare for valuable certifications, making them more marketable to potential employers when applying for jobs.
With hands-on phlebotomy training from qualified instructors like in this video demonstration, students have the opportunity to sit for the Certified Phlebotomy Technician* certification while completing United’s Medical Assisting program.
Are you ready to jump-start your healthcare career by learning valuable hands-on skills? Explore our Medical Assisting program today to get on the fast track to an exciting new career. Request information now to get started!
*Certification is contingent on passing this certification exam. Optional at own expense.
Meet Kelly Shriver, the medical program director at our United Career Institute Irwin campus! Kelly is in charge of the Medical Assisting, Medical Insurance Billing and Coding, and Phlebotomy programs. Her journey began at the Indiana County Technology Center where, in 2012, she received her diploma in Medical Assisting. After that, she attended Robert Morris University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health Service Administration.
Before joining the United Career Institute team, Kelly worked for Excela Health for almost seven years. She started there as a Medical Assistant in the Neurology practice, and then moved to a family practice where she stayed for two years. She then worked as a Quality Coordinator for a year. After that, Kelly held the title of OET Specialist and OET Team Lead while working in the Organization, Education, and Training Team. For two years, she taught courses in the evening for the Medical Assisting program at the Indiana County Technology Center’s New Stanton Campus.
Kelly has been with United Career Institute for almost a year now. When asked why she chose to work at United, Kelly responded, “At Excela I was responsible for training new employees and I got the itch to teach again. When I saw the position I knew I had to apply. After interviewing I got to see the true family nature UCI had and that is when I knew it was the place for me.”
Kelly often gets asked what the classes are like by her students. She tells them that it varies depending on the instructor, but each class is unique. She tries to reassure the students that United will be able to provide them the necessary tools to be successful in their classes. Some will be more difficult than others, but they will be able to get through them!
We asked Kelly why she recommends that students consider going into the medical field. She responded, “The medical field is always going to be there. People will always need healthcare. Choosing to enter the medical field is a great career choice because there are so many options available to you.” To be successful, Kelly suggests learning to be compassionate. You will interact with patients of all different kinds of backgrounds and health statuses. She also recommends showing a willingness to learn. Being flexible and able to adapt are useful characteristics.
Kelly is proudest of achieving her dream of earning a Bachelor’s degree. “I was able to get my degree while working two jobs and having a baby. It wasn’t easy to balance everything, but it never stopped me. I was determined to get it.” Her daughter Harper motivates her. “I want her to see that anything she puts her mind to is possible.”
Something interesting that not many people know about Kelly is that she always wanted to be a special education teacher. She knew in the fourth grade that it was something she really wanted. Although she didn’t choose that career path, she did know that she wanted to help people.
We all have goals that we want to accomplish in life and in our careers. Maybe you aren’t fulfilled in your current job and want a more rewarding career or maybe your goal is to be the first person in your family to graduate from a training program.
Regardless of what you want to achieve, setting SMART career goals can get you there! The most effective goals follow these five guidelines: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Using these criteria to create your SMART career goals gives you a higher chance of success. How exactly do you create SMART career goals? Keep reading as we share with you exactly how!
First, SMART career goals must be specific, so that you know exactly what to do in order to reach them. Here is a great example of a specific goal: I want to graduate from a Medical Assisting program in Westmoreland County within 18 months in order to begin a more rewarding career. This is a specific goal because it answers the following questions:
- Who: I want to…
- What: …graduate from a Medical Assisting program…
- Where: …in Westmoreland County…
- When: …within 18 months…
- Why: …in order to begin a more rewarding career.
Now that you have answered these questions and created a specific goal, you know exactly what to do to achieve the goal.
Next, you need to make sure your SMART career goals are measurable. Creating measurable goals ensures that you can track the progress you make toward your goals. As you take steps to reach your goals, you will be able to tell if you’re on track to meet them or if there is something you need to change.
Separating your larger goal into smaller chunks is the best way to do this. With the goal of completing a medical assisting program to start a more rewarding career, you could create milestones along the way for each class that is part of the program. This way, you are one step closer to your goal for each class you complete.
As you create your SMART career goals, it’s essential to create ones that are attainable, because it’s hard to stay motivated to work toward a goal that’s not actually achievable. An example of an unattainable goal would be going to Mars next month. While this sounds like a great goal, it’s not actually attainable, because the technology to go to Mars doesn’t yet exist. Setting super high goals can seem like a good idea, but it can actually be demotivating, because you know you can’t accomplish them anyway.
In our medical assisting goal example, some things you should consider to ensure the goal is attainable for you is if can you commit the time required for the program, do you have the support system needed, and do you have any prerequisites that are required.
The next thing you must do is ensure your SMART career goals are relevant to you. Here are some questions you should ask about each specific goal: Is this something you really want to achieve? Do you care enough to put in the work? Does this goal align with your other goals? Does this goal fit into your long-term plans?
For example, our medical assisting goal is relevant because it will help reach your dream of starting a more rewarding career. By achieving this goal, you’re working toward a long-term goal of being in a career that brings you more meaning and fulfillment.
Last, you need to ensure that your SMART career goals are timely. Creating a timely goal means that it has a time frame that you will complete the goal within. If you create a goal with no deadline, there is no sense of urgency to work toward the goal.
Create a deadline to reach the goal, but also create smaller deadlines for the milestones along the way. For example, with our medical assisting goal, you can create a deadline for taking each class, finishing your externship, and passing certification tests.
Achieve Your Goals with United
Now that you’ve created your SMART career goals, you’re ready to achieve your professional dreams! If you want to work in healthcare, helping your community by providing excellent patient care, United Career Institute has the fast track programs to help you get there.