Haywood Community College


Contacts: Debra M. Davis, Diana S. Conard

185 Freedlander Drive

Clyde, NC 28721

828-627-4521 Fax: 828-627-4513

Date: 10-17-05

For immediate release.


Medical Assistants Recognition Week is celebrated October 17 through 21 nationwide. The occupation is projected as the number one fastest growing United States occupation for the next seven years according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Medical Assistants are allied healthcare's most versatile professionals, being trained in administrative, clinical and managerial areas of medical offices.

Graduates of the Medical Assisting program at Haywood Community College are in high demand because of their ability to handle both administrative and clinical office duties.

"These graduates are well respected in the medical community and make a positive contribution to communities in Haywood and surrounding counties," explained Sandra Crews, medical assisting instructor and HCC Medical Assisting Association student club advisor.

Most HCC Medical Assisting graduates have jobs before they actually graduate. This was true for Chrystal Pulliam, a 2005 graduate who works at Haywood Women's Medical Center. Two of her classmates, Cody Lawrence and Jennifer Burgess, both landed jobs at Haywood Pediatrics before walking across stage.

"Both Cody and Jennifer completed their externships here and never left," said Gloria Justice, Haywood Pediatrics Clinical Office Manager and HCC graduate. "These students are trained to start work immediately which means we don't have to spend time training them."

Justice says of the 12 medical assistants at the practice, 11 are graduates of the HCC program.

For Burgess, the first in her family to graduate from college, the HCC Medical Assisting Program was the right choice. "I have always been interested in the medical field," she says. "This job allows me to be close to the patients. It's a hands-on job."

Patients visiting their physicians may speak to medical assistants when they call

to make an appointment and when they check in. A medical assistant will most likely

take the patient's vital signs and record information to assist the physician with the visit.

They may collect lab specimens, draw blood, and run basic tests in the office. Medical assistants assist physicians with office surgeries and other procedures, and they may be directed by the physician to provide education to the patient. They administer vaccinations and medication injections under the physician's orders.

As the patient leaves the office, medical assistants enter charges for the procedures

performed, schedule follow-up appointments, code and file insurance claims, and appeal

denied claims so that the patient receives the full benefit they are due. They also work behind the scenes maintaining patient records and protecting private health information, as well as filling financial and personnel needs.

For more information on the Medical Assisting curriculum at HCC, contact student services or the Medical Assisting Department at 627-4658 or 627-3880.

Photo attached:


Jennifer Burgess, a 2005 graduate of HCC's Medical Assisting program is currently employed at Haywood Pediatrics. She works at the practice's night clinic.