November 1, 2018
Story & portrait by Brandon Steinert
Brenda Ortiz has loved every minute of her time helping patients as a Medical Assistant at Heart of Kansas Family Health Care, Inc., but she wasn’t always so sure-footed about her career.
She fancied herself a teacher after graduating from Macksville High School in 2004, and so began her pursuit of a career in education.
It didn't take long for her to realize her real passion was in healthcare. She worked as a receptionist at a medical clinic, where they would ask her to interpret for Spanish-speaking patients.
“I liked what I saw back there,” she said of the care given to patients. “So, I switched my major from education to medical assistant.”
She graduated from Barton in 2007 and has been gainfully employed since, holding fast to the sense of purpose she derives from the job.
“I like that I’m able to help the patients understand their diseases and teach them how to take their blood sugar. I really enjoy the patient interaction and helping them feel as good as possible, even when they’re not feeling the best.”
Though satisfying, she said sometimes it can be a challenge keeping her game face on.
“Sometimes you have patients who don’t feel well and get upset over something, and even though you have had a busy stressful day, you have to maintain your composure and help them in a well-mannered and respectful way,” she said.
Ortiz recalled her time at Barton fondly, citing the efficiency of the program’s relevant curriculum and helpful instructors.
“I also liked it because I was close to home and they had great scholarship opportunities,” she said. “It helped prepare me to be out in the real world and working the job. It covered a variety of topics that are useful for a medical assistant when you work in an office or medical facility.”
She said a career as a medical assistant can be rewarding as an end-game, but it’s also a great gateway to other professions in healthcare.
“I would invite anyone who thinks they want to be in the health field, but not sure what they want to do, to try starting as a medical assistant,” she said. “It offers opportunities to work in the aspect of a receptionist, with insurance and coding, and hands-on patient care. If you decide one of those areas you really enjoy, you can pursue that.”
For more information about Barton’s Medical Assistant program, visit MedAssistant.bartonccc.edu.