Many students attending Asnuntuck Community College believe that the institution can help get them from where they are to where they want to be. Kimiko “Kimi” Wysocki was one of those students.
The Longmeadow resident earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Philosophy from Mount Holyoke College. Wysocki had continued her education at the college following her graduation from Longmeadow High School.
It was during her senior year at Mt. Holyoke when she decided what she would like to do as a career. She soon realized that she would need to do more work in order to follow her decision to become a physician assistant. “However, since I was close to the end of my studies at Mount Holyoke. I needed to look into other options to help finish prerequisites for my application,” said Wysocki. The Longmeadow resident added, “Not only did I need to take some additional courses, many PA programs require a minimum of 2,000 hours working clinically with patients. Unfortunately, many jobs that would allow me to gain this experience require certification and graduation from an appropriate program.” She explained, “So after doing some research, I decided the best program for me would be a medical assisting program as it would allow me to finish my prerequisite courses and gain clinical experience.”
Location and affordability led her to investigate a program at Asnuntuck. She explained, “I chose the RMA (Registered Medical Assisting) program due to the variety of courses offered as well as the ability to earn a certification that would allow me to find a job quickly after graduating.”
The alumna said the college’s size was a strong benefit for her. “The small student to faculty ratio allowed me to form close bonds with staff members.” She added, “I feel that this is essential in a learning environment, especially in a clinical setting, so students are able to receive personal feedback on their performance.”
She said having an opportunity to work on her skills and obtain a job in the field was a strong benefit to participating in the program at Asnuntuck. “I completed my RMA certification at Asnuntuck in May of 2019. In the last semester of the RMA program you are placed at an externship where you are able to practice your clinical skills in a real medical office setting.”
She was placed at New England Urgent Care, now PhysicianOne Urgent Care for her externship. She explained, “Upon my graduation from the RMA program I was hired as a full time clinical medical assistant. My duties as a medical assistant included triaging patients, performing point-of-care testing, and phlebotomy.” She continued, “After the urgent care transitioned to new ownership, I was given the opportunity to take on a new position as a site coordinator. This promotion brought on new roles such as hiring and training staff, increasing patient satisfaction, and managing the daily functions of the clinic.” She continued, “Now as I transition to going back to school, I have stepped down as the site coordinator of the clinic, but I will remain working as a medical assistant on a per diem basis.”
Wysocki appreciated the guidance and support she received from instructors at the college. “Michele Howard-Swan, the Medical Assisting program coordinator played a huge role in my success at Asnuntuck. Not only was she an amazing resource in placing me at my externship position, but she also supported me throughout my application process to PA school.”
Howard-Swan praised Wysocki. “Kimi was part of a class community that supported and helped one another. She was a hard worker and was determined to achieve her goals.”
An associate professor of medical assisting Howard-Swan added, “The RMA certificate at ACC can be completed in three semesters. The externship portion of the certificate program provides real world trainings and affiliations with major employers. New students can enroll every semester. ACC also offers an associate degree, in Medical Assisting.”
Wysocki, this semester, will continue her education at Springfield College. She is enrolled in the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program at the college.
The graduate said, “My time at Asnuntuck played a large role in my acceptance to PA school. Not only did it allow me to finish the required prerequisites, but it also allowed me to gain more clinical confidence in working with patients. I believe that the skills I have learned as a medical assistant and a site coordinator will ultimately make me a more well-rounded healthcare provider.” The ACC alumnus added, “However, I think the most important thing I have gained from Asnuntuck are connections. My placement at the urgent care has allowed me to network with many healthcare professionals, allowing me to build connections beyond the urgent care. I was able to learn more about the PA profession as well as gaining more insight as to what working with patients really means. These connections and experiences were vital in my application. Overall, I am very grateful for everything that Asnuntuck has offered me towards reaching my goal of becoming a physician assistant.”
Visit Asnuntuck.edu for more information on Asnuntuck’s RMA program and other offerings.