Three different women. Three different paths to the medical assistant (MA) role.
Kristen Julson was a junior in high school when her mom suggested becoming an MA. Holli Fields was looking through programs at Kirkwood with a friend when they both discovered the two-year MA program. And Angie Groff was on the waiting list for the nursing program when she heard about the medical assistant (MA) program.
Now all three women are full-time oncology MAs at University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“Our hospital has a reputation for being one of the top places to work and one of the best places to get care,” says Groff.
Julson agrees and was impressed by what she learned on the job.
“After my externship here, they offered me a position in the cancer center,” says Julson. “I loved it and I stayed.”
Variety and versatility
MAs perform a wide variety of tasks, including rooming patients, giving injections, and taking lab draws.
“It’s cool because we do a lot of the hands-on procedures,” says Groff. “We’re using the skills we learned in school.”
Fields particularly enjoys the work she does with T-VEC, an FDA approved injection for recurrent melanoma.
“It’s actually a live herpes virus the team injects into a melanoma,” she explains. “It attacks the cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells alive.”
The positivity of patients
Patients with cancer have treatment plans that often require regular visits. All three MAs cherish the relationships they form with patients during these weeks and months.
Fields is amazed by the resiliency and attitude of her patients.
“I feel very privileged to be on this journey with them. Whether they’re getting good news or bad news, I’m there for them,” she says.
Julson, too, is impressed by the strength and grace of her patients.
“They have such positive personalities. You see them so often, they eventually start becoming like family,” she says. “My patients are upbeat and happy and always brighten my day.”