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Samaritan’s Apprenticeship Program Helps Employees Get Certified

After passing her final exam early this spring, Keland Wallace completed a circle in her career returning to a job that she left while caring for her terminally ill mother several years ago.

With the assistance of Samaritan’s Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program, Wallace is once again a medical assistant, this time in a certified position. Wallace had a similar job before, however a change in Samaritan regulations, required certification for the position while she was out of the workforce.

After her mother’s death, Wallace returned to the workforce as a receptionist with Samaritan Albany Surgical Associates. When an MA apprenticeship position opened up it was the perfect opportunity.

“My dream was to work towards getting certified,” said Wallace, who never thought that after becoming a grandma, she would be hitting the books again.

Wallace was able to get credit for her prior experience as a medical assistant. This, combined with her hard work and dedication, led her to an early finish. 

“Working and caring for patients is my passion,” Wallace said. “I love to encourage patients and give them a sense of hope when they need it the most, this gives me that opportunity.” 

Working in the medical field has been a dream for Wallace since she was about 10 or 12 years old. “I used to read these candy striper books about volunteers in the hospital,” Wallace said. “From my very first book, I wanted to work in the hospital.”

“The on-the-job portion of the apprenticeship was the most enjoyable,” Wallace said. “I love working with patents and learning anything I can about medicine.  I am so grateful for the encouragement to my surgeons I work with, Bahnson, Miller, Ray, Sweeny and Jensen. They are so encouraging and always willing to educate me. I am also so appreciative to my office manager Kay and to all my coworkers who supported me through this. I am very proud to be a part of Albany Surgical Associates” 

Wallace’s manager, Kay Miller, was happy to support her through this transition. “She had some MA experience, but it wasn’t certified, so it was great that she was able to get some credit for that,” said Miller.

The biggest obstacle for Wallace was not the daily tasks of a medical assistant, she already excelled at those. It was the exams to get certified.

 “I encourage anyone to look into the NHA Apprenticeship Program, who would like to grow their career in health care,” Wallace said.

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