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From its humble beginnings in 2004 as an instructor’s idea for a new course, Registered Medical Assisting has developed into a successful and sought-after program at Fayetteville Technical Community College. Dorothy Smith, RN, recognized the need for more diverse health-occupation training programs and approached her coordinator, Susan Reid, about offering the program. Today, this thriving program is preparing students for entrance into one of the fastest growing career fields.

The course is held at FTCC’s Spring Lake Campus, where RMA students are put through the paces 04-11-12-ftcc.jpgof the 724-hour program in preparation for testing with American Technologists. Eligible students can receive certification as a Registered Medical Assistant, and this can be maintained with annual continuing education credits.

The program is fully supported by FTCC and is offered through continuing education. The program is under the guidance and supervision of the Director of Emergency and Protective Services, Cathy Baxley, and Coordinator, Margo Ogg, RN, and is taught by Allied Health Instructors, nurses, and an EKG instructor.

Due to the gracious generosity of hospital systems and organizations, such as Cape Fear Valley, Southeastern General, Southeast Regional Area Health Education Center, the Care Clinic and local doctor’s offices and urgent care clinics, students have clinical opportunities to utilize their skills while participating in on-the-job training. These facilities are partnering with FTCC to enrich people’s lives through this innovative program.

Trained to work for providers in the clinical areas of a medical office, RMA students learn how to perform skills of managing patient triage, taking vital signs, and obtaining patients’ weights and measurements. Students obtain and deliver this patient information to the provider, who then treats the patient. RMA’s also assist physicians with the following: performing EKGs, caring for wounds, setting up for exams and minor surgeries, drawing blood, properly preparing specimens for the lab, catheterizations, giving injections, patient education and other administrative skills, such as insurance processing and coding.

Registered Medical Assistants do not interpret test results or make diagnoses, since only a provider is qualified to do that. RMA’s are not nurses but have become a valuable asset to many medical offices due to the nursing shortage, freeing up nurses to function in more critical care and managerial settings. While most of the emphasis is placed on the clinical aspect of the RMA’s job, some emphasis is placed on the administrative side of the medical office including reception, medical records, discharge teaching, and referrals.

Registered Medical Assistants are a valuable asset to any facility or physician who employs them, through their diversified skill training which enables them to perform multi-functional tasks beneficial to both providers and patients. RMA’s provide a more pleasant one-on-one experience, since they are able to help throughout the entire process from the beginning of the patient’s office visit until the end.

For more information about the Registered Medical Assistant program, please call 910.678.8423.

Photo: Registered Medical Assisting has developed into a successful and sought-after program at Fayetteville Technical Community College.

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