Dulce Boehme and Jamie Shedd tell us what it’s like to be part of ApprenticeshipNH
Dulce Boehme and Jamie Shedd are current medical assistant (or MA) apprentices at Lakes Region General Hospital. Jamie is an NH native and Dulce is originally from Mexico and has been in NH for the last 13 years. Both LNAs at LRGH, the two aspire to advance their careers in the healthcare field.
Throughout the course of their MA apprenticeship, they will participate in 480 hours of classroom instruction plus 3,600 hours of on-the-job learning in a hands-on environment at one of LRGH’s medical facilities. Jamie and Dulce will be matched with one-on-one mentors who will work with them and support them as they attain new skills. They sat down with us to talk about the process so far.
ANH: Why did you apply and why do you want to become a medical assistant?
Dulce: I always knew that I wanted to progress in my education and my goal was to become an RN. Once I found out what a medical assistant REALLY does, which is very similar to an RN, I just decided to give it a try. It sounded like a good opportunity so why not take advantage of it? So I went for it and here we are!
Jamie: Same for me. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to progress in my career and I’ve been an LNA for a long time. I was a health unit coordinator for the last three years here at the hospital. I’ve been waiting for something to come up and I didn’t really know which direction I wanted to go, just that I wanted to be in the medical field. But once I heard about this opportunity, I just kind of knew.
ANH: How will becoming an MA change things for you now and in the future?
Jamie: I think it’s already changed things for me because I’m already thinking, what’s next? Now I have my hands on so much more than I did before. It’s given me so much more confidence. I’m excited – I can do anything, you know? It’s really pushed me upwards.
Dulce: It kind of opened my eyes. The more I learned, the more I want to learn and see what’s next.
ANH: What career are you working towards?
Dulce: I always wanted to become an RN. Now as a medical assistant I sort of am. I have a bachelor’s degree already and there is a program for PAs (physician’s assistants), so I’m looking into that. That is kind of my long-term goal. If I can’t get to that soon enough then I will continue working until I become an APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse).
ANH: What is the program like, and how is the transition from the classroom to on-the-job training going?
Jamie: We did eight weeks of classwork over the summer, and then got placed in a MA position because they had openings. There was a need, so we trained and worked for the last four weeks as an apprentice. We had guidance, but I was basically working where I was needed. The apprenticeship went really, really well. I think everyone was on the same page about what was supposed to happen and what we were supposed to do. And I learned a lot. And so now, I’m going to be moving to a different office. I was at Belknap Family Health and now I will be going to Newfound Family Practice because they have a need for me there. Since I’m already a part of LRGH, I’ll skip the orientation and get right to work.
Dulce: It was a little bit intense, but we all made it through so that was worth it for me. I was placed at Pulmonary [department], and since then I’ve been doing my clinical training between Pulmonary and Family Practice here at LRGH in the medical building. I’ve learned so much and I’ve done so many new things that I’ve never done in the past as an LNA. I’m having a great time and I can’t wait to be part of their team as an employee of the office!
ANH: Do you feel like the medical assistant apprenticeship is helping you?
Dulce: Absolutely. It has given me so much knowledge and has prepared me, and would prepare anybody, to become more.
Jamie: I definitely agree. I never thought I wanted to be an RN. Now working as a medical assistant, I see how my job is so similar to an RN. My next step is getting my nursing license and then I was thinking about becoming a nurse practitioner. It will take me a little while, but that’s the long-term goal that I’m seeing right now. It’s really opened my eyes to not being stuck in that LNA position.
ANH: What advice would you give to someone else who is considering participating in a program like this?
Dulce: Go for it. Don’t even hesitate, just go for it, take the risk. It’s totally worth it. It’s not easy because it’s so crammed in, but in the end, it’s totally worth it and I would recommend it to anyone looking to move up.
Jamie: I would absolutely recommend it too. It IS scary going into an eight-week program, but if you have an opportunity like this, you should take advantage of it.
ANH: How do you think this experience has been different from becoming a Medical Assistant the traditional way?
Jamie: I think it’s much more personal doing it this way. I feel valued – LRGH values me as an employee already, so it just kind of flowed right into the position, and it’s a nice feeling. I think it is much more comforting and it’s better than going to school and doing it separately.
Dulce: Learning in an apprenticeship doesn’t give you any time to hesitate and question yourself whether you should keep going or not. You just go for it, and you get it done and it’s over with and you move on, I’m so happy that I did it.
ANH: How did you get your start in healthcare?
Dulce: Once I got married, I decided to become an LNA because of my mom. She has been an LNA for a long time and she was my inspiration for being able to help people who truly need you there, all the time. I just went for it, became an LNA, and I worked at two different nursing homes, per diem. I worked at the veteran’s home and the Pelham County Nursing Home for about three months before I got a job here at LRGH in the senior psychiatric services. I worked there for almost 5 years before I took the MA program
Jamie: I grew up in Meredith and right out of high school I became an LNA at Lakes Region Community College where I just did the medical assistant program. I wanted to become an LNA because I wanted to help people. I worked at Meredith Bay Colony Club, an assisted living home. I worked there for three years with dementia patients before I came to the hospital. It was just something I’ve always wanted to do since I was in high school.
Dulce Boehme and Jamie Shedd are both incumbent employees of LRGHealthcare. Before starting this apprenticeship, they were both Licensed Nurse Assistants (LNAs) at the company.
Jamie lives in Moultonborough and she’s worked at LRGH since August of 2014. She received her LNA certification from Lakes Region Community College in 2012, after graduating from Littleton High School.
Dulce lives in Belmont and has been employed with LRGH since April of 2013. She is a graduate of Belmont High School and has a degree from Plymouth State University.
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