“Hi, my name is Shelly and I work for a cardiology associate in Corpus Christi. I’m a certified medical assistant there as well as an EKG technician.”
SCI: When did you graduate from Southern Careers Institute in Corpus Christi?
Shelly: I graduated May 19th . Just recently!
SCI: Tell me about what was going on in your life when you decided to go through the SCI medical assistant program?
Shelly: Basically what got me to come back to school and go into the medical field was because my mom passed of a heart attack. The day that I started school was the one-year anniversary [of her passing.] So that kind of lifted me up knowing that this was my calling–going into the medical field to help others.
I wanted to be able to help individuals in the heart. And so I set that goal to finish school and hopefully be hired on with a cardiologist as a cardiology medical assistant. So, that’s how I decided to go back after 25 years of being out of school. I was a paralegal for 25 years, but I transitioned. It’s a big change. After my mom passed and I went through that transition of healing for her. I decided to go back [to school] because my little girl, my baby, was going into the army. After she left, I didn’t have anything else to do so I decided to join school.
SCI: Was your family supportive of the decision to pursue career training as a cardiology medical assistant?
Shelly: Yes they were. My husband was 100% behind me. My daughter, when she left for the army, said that we were going to complete [school] and we were going to be successful in both of our careers. We were both each others’ motivators to finish. And that’s one thing that I had. My dad, at first didn’t think that I could do it, but then started seeing my grades and saw that I was motivated and really wanting to learn it. So then he understood that yeah, he felt that I was called for it. So they were supporters.
SCI: It’s good to have that at home.
Shelly: It is.
SCI: So what was your experience like at Southern Careers Institute as a student?
Shelly: At the beginning it was kind of scary: coming back and walking down halls, seeing other students, not knowing really what I was going to learn or what was going to be taught to me. ut the teachers were very comforting–they were understanding of the different ages, the different age groups.It was a little frustrating when there were some students that were here just as a joke, and I didn’t feel like they really wanted to be here–like they were just being forced to do something with their life. But in time, we slowly joined together. They taught me to not only be a student, but also to be a teacher to them and knowing that their future is something they need to look forward to. But the teachers were amazing. They really taught me a whole lot. I didn’t think that I would learn to do blood pressure–now I do them daily. I never thought I’d learn how to do an EKG–I always had it done on me and my family members–and now I do that constantly. It was a real learning experience and I appreciated every teacher I crossed.
SCI: What made you decide to go to SCI as a cardiology medical assistant?
Shelly: It was just continuing my passion for helping others. And I felt that in the medical field I could help. My dad–when I would see him sick, it was “What can I do for him? I don’t know what to do for him!” I can say now: “I know how to help you. Dad, you need to keep yourself healthy. You need to check yourself.” Or even my sisters that have their medical conditions. At least I can understand them more and be able to help them. If I see somebody sick at a store or something happens to them, I can actually go and help them and show that I know what I’m doing. It just gives me that comfort to know that I’ve helped somebody else. So, that’s what made me go into the medical field.
SCI: Tell me what it was like after graduation from Southern Careers Institute.
Shelly: Career services put me into the cardiology [company where I’m currently working]. I did my externship there and I went in with passion. That’s where I really wanted to land and be. I showed them what I could do and what I was willing to learn. I left my mind open to learning more and with that they ended up hiring me. I had to wait 2 weeks. I did get certified–you have to be certified–and I got certified on Friday and I started on Monday. And I came back a week later and got certified as an EKG technician. So it was just wanting to learn more. [SCI] Career Services helped me because they listened to where I wanted to go. That helps a lot. If they listen to the student and know what their passion is for–to place them where they want to be. And they know if they place them where they want to be that there’s a possibility of hiring. And that’s what they’re looking for.
SCI: That’s what you wanted from the beginning–to be a cardiology medical assistant–you got exactly to the place you wanted to go!
Shelly: Yes, I did.
SCI: Have you had any life experiences or changes that were made possible by being in a better career for you?
Shelly: It’s just a different environment–from legality to medical. For my life, how it’s changed, is looking forward to helping someone see tomorrow. The heart is one of your main organs. Knowing that I helped that patient, they’re going to see tomorrow. Knowing that I touched somebody’s life. It’s actually helped me better myself in my attitude and staying positive and knowing how to share a smile. A smile can change somebody else’s attitude. So that’s where the medical field has changed me.
SCI: So what’s your favorite part of your job as a cardiology medical assistant and EKG technician?
Shelly: The patients. Just bringing the patients back and hearing the different stories. I’ve had WWII patients, I’ve had Korean war patients. The elderly and the life they have lived. I’ve had a patient who’s 103 years old. The different stories that each patient has is inspiring me to live to tomorrow. It keeps me staying positive.
SCI: What advice would you have for a future student that’s thinking about starting at Southern Careers Institute?
Shelly: It’s the best decision they [will make.] Stay positive from the get-go. Always know what their passion is at the beginning so that way they can reach for their goal. Learn, learn, learn! Make sure they open their mind, ask questions, listen to the answers so that way they can take notes and apply it to their future job, ‘cause it does help.
SCI: What advice would you say to an SCI alumnus that is looking for a job?
Shelly: I would say that they need to stay positive and really reach down into their heart as to exactly where they want to do so that they can focus on that one facility or specialty. If they’re too busy opening up to any job then they’re not really putting their heart into it. So I would just suggest that they really focus on where they’re wanting to put their passion. And it will help them get the job ‘cause then they’re going to be able to be themselves.