Done in collaboration with North Shore Physican Group
Laura Nichols, a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) at North Shore Physician Group (NSPG) has experienced first-hand the evolution of the medical assistant. Her role has changed for the better, and she has taken full advantage of professional development and career opportunities offered to her by NSPG.
Nichols has always had a passion for caring for others and a dream of becoming a registered nurse. In 2008, she took the first step toward achieving that dream: she enrolled in and completed a MA training program. She launched her MA career with experience in her training programs and an internship at a family medical clinic. She transitioned to a position at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she gained a great deal of real-world knowledge in a large facility with a fast-paced environment and diverse patient population.
Getting started at a new practice
Nichols transitioned to NSPG where she was promptly integrated into the practice’s care model redesign initiative. The initiative focused on expanding the role of the MA, with the primary goal of highlighting them as key members of the healthcare team. Because of NSPG’s redesign model, Nichols feels highly valued in her position as a MA.
Nichols urged NSPG to think bigger about opportunities for MAs and provided feedback to the administration as they began to develop an internal career laddering and professional development program.
“I saw this as an accomplishment for the MAs and a breakthrough for the profession,” says Nichols. NSPG was committed to supporting its frontline staff and empowering them to grow professionally in order to gain national certification and higher-level positions within the organization.
Taking it to the next level
“Obtaining a national credential is key - it shows dedication to our careers. National Healthcareer Association’s (NHA) CCMA credential made that possible for me,” Nichols says. “Credentialing is not only important to obtain -- it’s important to maintain, as it’s transferable from one employer to another. I see it as a badge of honor and a huge accomplishment.”
In her seven years with NSPG, Nichols has capitalized on her strengths, moved up the career ladder and she currently holds a position as a clinic supervisor. She is still pursuing her dream of becoming a registered nurse. With collaboration and innovative support from NSPG, Nichols is a testament to the many successes that come with incorporating the team-based care approach within a practice.
The bottom line is that a team-based care approach that puts medical assistants at the center of patient care is helping to improve employee and patient outcomes. But that big-picture success cannot be achieved without the passion of people who care, people just like Laura Nichols.
We just released the full version of an article that was published in the online Physician’s Practice magazine, “Empowering Medical Assistants Improves Primary Care.” In this piece, Jessica Langley, MS, Executive Director of Education and Provider Markets, National Healthcareer Association, reveals how a new trend in healthcare is transforming patient care.
To access the full article, an infographic on steps to implementing the model and more team-based care resources, please visit the page below.