Free CPR Training Opens Medical Career Door for New Yorkers
While many parents may dream that their children will grow up to be a doctor one day, the many years of schooling, residency, and cost for all of that can turn that into a far-fetched reality. To become a doctor, students must complete 4-years of college undergraduate studies, 4-more years in medical school, and another 3-7 years of residency training. That adds up to a staggering number of student loans and an exhaustive timeline to beginning their career and raising a family, in many cases this means well into their 30's.
A team of faculty doctors, who went through that very process themselves, are trying to inspire and enlighten some who could eventually become their future medical peers by offering up several free 4-hour courses to teach CPR. These courses are being held at Plaza College in Forest Hills, Queens.
"CPR teaches the medical technique for reviving someone whose heart has stopped beating by pressing on their chest and breathing into their mouth. It works, and it absolutely saves lives," says Dr. Daryl Anderson, MD, who leads the CAAHEP-accredited program educating Registered Medical Assistants at Plaza College.
"As we have offered this free program throughout the years, there are always students participating that have the desire to be a part of the medical field but feel that the educational requirements to become a doctor or nurse are too far out of reach for them. By offering this CPR program, we're not only teaching them how to save a life, we're giving them a glimpse into the medical team, of which doctors and nurses are only a small part. There are many, many other essential and fulfilling clinical and administrative careers to pursue in the field."
Dr. Anderson has been educating Registered Medical Assistants for the past 14-years, and his program is only one of three in the state of New York to hold the CAAHEP accreditation distinction. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is projected to grow an astounding 29% by 2026, meaning there is enormous demand in the industry.
With an acute shortage of staff at hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices, combined with ever-changing regulations, more of the patient exam is being handled by nurses and medical assistants, like the graduates of Plaza's program.
CPR is a basic skill that medical assistants must master as part of their training. Medical Assistants serve in both administrative and clinical roles in physician's offices, hospitals, urgent care centers, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and other types of healthcare facilities.
"It cannot be stressed enough that CPR is such an important skill to have. Whether you're a new parent, a business owner or a bystander in a crowded room, you should have the skills and proper training to save a person's life," says Makela Harris, Medical Assistant Student at Plaza College.
On the clinical side, medical assistants compile patient medical history, administer medication under the supervision of physicians, measure vitals, and perform laboratory work such as drawing blood. On the administrative side, they may be responsible for scheduling, billing and assisting patients. All of Plaza's medical assisting graduates hold the Registered Medical Assistant credential, qualifying them to also enter patient data into the electronic medical record.
Dr. Anderson believes his program opens the door for people who might never have pursued the medical career track.
His two most recent free CPR training sessions (June 12 & 14) at the school on Queens Boulevard had more than 3 1/2 times the applicants they could accept.
Anderson and his fellow teaching doctors are proud that their graduates are having an immediate impact, going to work for large regional hospitals and medical centers run by New York Presbyterian, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, and Northwell Health.
"It is a great gift when we receive that call from a former student telling us about the life they saved and the positive impact they are making at their hospital or medical practice, because we know what we are teaching our students is having a great impact on society," he said.