A heart for people: The common thread in medical assistants

Medical Assistant hugging a patient
Orthopedic Medical Assistant Hannah Stanley cares for patients at HCA Healthcare’s Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver, Colorado.

Every year, during the third week of October, HCA Healthcare recognizes the vital role that more than 4,000 medical assistants across our organization play in providing high-quality patient care.

The multidimensional skills of medical assistants give them the tools to effectively work alongside physicians and nurses to care for patients. Cross-trained in both clinical and administrative duties, the responsibilities of a medical assistant may include taking vital signs, reviewing medications and making sure patients understand the next steps in their healthcare journey.

The role of a medical assistant is one of the fastest growing careers in the nation, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor projects the field will grow 14% from 2022 to 2032. The emerging growth in the profession stems from the need to perform routine administrative and clinical duties in physicians’ offices and other primary care settings as the large baby-boom population continues to age.

To become a medical assistant, a healthcare professional must earn a medical assistant program certificate or diploma from an accredited institution. Many also obtain a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential, representing they have been credentialed through the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants. This test verifies that each recipient has been educated and tested in a wide scope of general, clinical and administrative responsibilities.

As we celebrate Medical Assistants Week, meet five HCA Healthcare medical assistants and learn about the common thread that ties them together: a heart for people.

Tracy Shortt headshot
Tracy Shortt, Medical Assistant, MD Now Urgent Care (Port. St. Lucie, Florida)

Tracy Shortt
MD Now Urgent Care (Port St. Lucie, Florida)

HCA Healthcare colleague Tracy Shortt acknowledged the importance of her role as a medical assistant by pointing out the significance of their interactions with patients. “We are the first ones they see when they come to [the examination room],” she said. “We make the first medical impression.”

Tracy, a cancer survivor, knows firsthand the importance of quality patient care and wants to provide the best care possible to those walking through her doors at MD Now Urgent Care in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

“I like helping our patients feel better, or at least getting them the help they need when they’re sick,” Tracy said. “I want them to leave happier than when they came in.”

Headshot of Hunter Lawson
Hunter Lawson, Medical Assistant, CareNow Urgent Care (Hermitage, Tennessee)

Hunter Lawson
CareNow Urgent Care (Hermitage, Tennessee)

Medical Assistant Hunter Lawson said one of his main roles at HCA Healthcare’s CareNow Urgent Care in Hermitage, Tennessee, is to serve as a bridge between the patient and the provider, often summarizing the physician’s guidance when they have left the room. “I try to make the patients feel at home by answering their questions in layman’s terms,” Hunter explained.

With the ultimate goal of becoming a nurse practitioner, Hunter is currently studying radiology and will be pursuing a nursing degree at Galen College of Nursing, one of the largest educators of nurses in the country. His primary motivation for going after this dream is so he can help people.

“It’s a true joy to solve problems for people, and doing so with their health takes it to another level. I go to bed happy every night because I changed someone’s life for the better.”

Hunter Lawson, Medical Assistant, CareNow Urgent Care
Headshot of Ella Floyd
Ella Floyd, Medical Assistant, Century Farms Family Practice (Antioch, Tennessee)

Ella Floyd
Century Farms Family Practice (Antioch, Tennessee)

Ella Floyd was inspired to pursue her career as a medical assistant with several of her family members also in the medical field.

“I saw how they and their teams always worked together and helped one another,” she said. “I wanted to follow in their footsteps.”

Ella’s colleagues at HCA Healthcare’s Century Farms Family Practice in Antioch, Tennessee, convey that she is a joy to work with and continuously goes above and beyond to care for patients and her team.

“I have a passion to help others,” she said, adding that any day she’s able to help a patient is a good day. “When they come up to me, thanking me, that just makes me feel good.”

Headshot of Casey May
Casey May, Medical Assistant, Primary Health Group Chippenham (Richmond, Virginia)

Casey May
Primary Health Group Chippenham (Richmond, Virginia)

HCA Healthcare colleague Casey May felt drawn to a career in healthcare in her teenage years after helping to care for a friend’s mother who was diagnosed with cancer. “Everybody would tell me, ‘You’re so good at taking care of people,’” she said. “Ever since, I’ve felt like it was my calling.” In her role today as a medical assistant, she is able to do just that.

Casey’s colleagues at Primary Health Group Chippenham in Virginia say that her cheery disposition stands out, even when dealing with patients who are in a stressful situation.

“I try to be understanding,” she explained. “Everyone is going through something. If you just take a minute and talk to them, you learn that maybe a loved one just passed away or they’re going through some other trial. I try to be compassionate and consider that we’re all struggling and just trying to do our best.”

Headshot of Bonnie Greene
Bonnie Greene, Medical Assistant, LewisGale Physicians General Surgery (Low Moore, Virginia)

Bonnie Greene
LewisGale Physicians General Surgery (Low Moore, Virginia)

For Medical Assistant Bonnie Greene, commitment stems from a sense of duty to the community. Bonnie has been involved in healthcare since she graduated high school when she began working as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and at the hospital registration desk. Now working in a more rural area, she sees her role at HCA Healthcare’s LewisGale Physicians General Surgery in Low Moore, Virginia, as a way to give back.

“This is my way of helping people. It gives me fulfillment.”

Bonnie Greene, Medical Assistant, LewisGale Physicians General Surgery

This commitment to giving back is amplified by the fact that her community has a comparably large elderly population and a growing demand for healthcare services. She is excited about our organization’s recent growth in her region. “I’m hoping that in the future, we can bring in more specialties to help our elderly community,” said Bonnie.

As we celebrate Medical Assistants Recognition Week, we are grateful for Hunter, Ella, Tracy, Bonnie, Casey and the more than 4,000 other medical assistants across our 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 183 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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