I am Dante Broadbent, son of Justin Broadbent Esq. of the Duchy of Folsom, famed practitioner of fullcontact origami and noted defender of many villages from the rampages of the ant armies. I am an Afghanistan Veteran where I was an LPN in a combat support hospital, and I have worked in pediatric, clinical, rehab, and ICU units as a civilian. I am also a Wardmaster in an Army Reserve combat support hospital. I work and live in Provo, UT, and I’ve been doing the Medical Assistant thing for a while now. I am an LPN so my skill set overlaps a lot, and I am often used in that capacity in clinics and definitely in the army.
I was initially trained from 2008-2009 in Combat Medic school receiving my EMT license and the Practical Nursing school in San Antonio, TX getting my LPN license. I’ve been working in the field ever since, assisting physicians and offices, working the floor as a nurse, and filling in as a CNA. A medical field is a messy place, and I have dived into some the less exciting parts when needed. I love the medical field because it’s one of those topics everyone benefits from, but few people have the answers they want. Meteorologists don’t get lots of questions about the inner workings of their predictions, but MA’s, and Nurses are on the frontline. When people have questions, concerns, or worries they tell you and want help. Unlike a doctor you usually have the time to talk to people, answer questions, look up their case and help them understand the care they are getting. When you answer a patient’s questions you can see them relax, it’s a good feeling.
How did you get started in this field, and what do you think has made you successful throughout your career?
I started in the military, and I had some of the best training available in the world. I jumped in, asked questions regularly, and did anything they would let me do to learn: IVs, catheters, medication mixing, charts, billing, labs, equipment maintenance, whatever. I’ve kept that going through my career. I have found that almost everyone is willing to teach you and to be a professional with a vast array of experience is really valuable. Offices rarely have all the support staff they need so if you’re the person that can do everything from Excel to exam room prep to repairing vitals equipment you become really valuable.
What are some ways that other people you know have gotten started in this field?
There are lots of great programs out there of course. One of the best ways that I’ve seen is shadowing. Offices and clinics are usually quite accommodating if you want to shadow the staff for a while. Many friends of mine have gotten jobs that way, and it’s a great way to have experience coming out of school. What does your typical day look like? Currently, I am working in residential rehabilitation with a bunch of RNs. I come to work at 6 am, get the report and start prepping for my day. Patients need lots of support while they work with the various therapists. They have questions, need help, and struggle with some of their limitations. I am moving all day, taking care of people and getting patients to appointments. While I’m doing all this, I am keeping up with all the paperwork associated with every step. I will give reports to the therapists, the doctor, and other nurses on each patient. After a long day, I will go home about 7 pm.
What are the pros and cons of working in this field?
As with most service industry jobs, there are great advantages: lending your expertise to people, helping families understand problems, getting people the resources, answers, and help they need. It’s also easy to find work that fits an unusual schedule as with students, people with babysitting needs, etc. The bad is that you can see people at their worst: when they’re confused, scared, and can’t get the answers they need. Sometimes clients will take it out on you, sometimes they see you as standing in the way of them and the doctor who will solve their problems. What traits, skills, or experiences do employers in your field look for in candidates? (This will help you understand how you can enhance your candidacy and how you should position yourself to employers.) Often you’re going to be the face of the clinic or office you work at so they want you to represent them well: warm demeanor, well dressed, friendly, and professional. They look for attention to detail, problem-solving, and organization systems. If you can bring experience where you had to stay organized under stress, employers love that.
If you were me, what would you do to try to break into this field now?
I would visit and call clinics to ask if they would like a volunteer or if I could shadow their work. I would talk to the hiring managers and see what they are looking for and ask if I can interview them to learn what their career has been like. Once I’d done that I’d ask about working in the field.
What publications, professional associations, or events should I check out for additional information on this field?
My favorite journal is “Wilderness Medicine” because it’s interesting and all on the edge of medical science, exercise science, biomechanics, and emergency medicine. Being able to speak knowledgeably about recent articles has opened a lot of doors for me. Other publications are the Mayo Clinic publications specific to your field, i.e. the cardiovascular update if you’re working in a cardiovascular clinic. They also have some general ones like forefront and discovery’s edge that are interesting publications about the research being done to expand the field. For information more specific to Medical Assisting, I would subscribe to your state’s Medical Assistant Association and get their updates, both print, and email. There are also healthcare job fairs held in most areas that can be an excellent resource.
Take us through a day in your life… what does an average Monday look like for you?
Coming in after the weekend is like many other jobs, there is a lot that happened while you were gone, and it has to get taken care of. Paperwork to process for payment, treatments that need to be done, and charting to complete. All the extra work is happening while your typical job demands are still there: clients greeted and helped, patients in processed and discharged. Lunch comes and goes, usually eaten in front of the computer while charting and the afternoon is spent catching up, making calls and routine paperwork mixed in with patient care and therapy.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still an LPN! I am about to go to grad school in another field, but I like having the medical experience and knowledge. I don’t plan to ever let my license lapse, and I attend CME (continuing medical education) classes regularly. Most employers feel better having a staff member with medical experience, especially in recreation.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I have also been a volunteer grant writer and written medical procedures for two organizations, so I have a great deal of medical/technical writing experience. I’m looking forward to the chance to hone my professional writing skills.
For fun: Who will win the World Series? Giants or Royals?