A lot has changed since Beata Skrzeczyna, Program Director for TTI Medical Training in Chicago, IL, joined their medical assisting program in 2008. With the recent pandemic forcing hybrid classes, that change has significantly increased.
Adapting to their student needs was easier than expected with Sherpath and SimChart. Not only was their medical assisting program able to adapt to change, they thrived to prepare their students for the next step in their career and their education.
“In my opinion, SimChart and Sherpath activities have helped our school to keep our students engaged in a remote learning environment,” Skrzeczyna says.
Online Learning for Medical Assisting
The program at TTI caters to a variety of students in different stages of their education, some continuing to become nurses after graduating from their program. They also recognize their students have different learning experiences with online tools.
“For most of them, this was the first time they have experienced online instruction and they needed some additional resources to succeed,” Skrzeczyna says.
Although TTI considered integrating these digital tools beforehand, the pandemic was the final push to add them to their program. Sherpath helps students go in-depth on topics covered in their Elsevier textbook, while SimChart allows students practical insight to an administrative management system.
“Today’s medical assistants have more responsibilities and additional scope of work,” says Rick Stefaniak, co-founder and President of TTI Medical Training. “We hear from healthcare employers hiring our students that they have better trained MA’s on day one of employment.”
Utilizing Tools in Sherpath
With the tools included in Sherpath, Skrzeczyna says it is a necessary supplement to their texts, especially for students with no previous medical background.
“By completing Sherpath assignments, they learn about the most common diseases, diagnostic tests, and treatment options. Students can also study pharmacy math and how to calculate medication dosages for pediatric and adult patients,” Skrzeczyna says.
Not only does this prepare students to pass the national certification exam, but it builds essential knowledge that they can take with them in other healthcare-related careers, which is valuable for students and faculty.
The online simulation activities available in Sherpath also came in handy when students did not have access to clinical sites, especially at the beginning of 2020. Simulation activities through Sherpath helped students practice patient care related skills.
“They can practice vital signs, blood collections, and injections before they participate in their physical clinical externship environment,” Skrzeczyna says.
Adding Experience with SimChart
The addition of SimChart activities helped fill in gaps for learning administrative skills for medical assisting. This allowed their students to gain experience working with electronic health records that will be applicable to what they will see in the real world.
“After hearing the comments of many students, I can say that SimChart activities helps our students to master skills related to medical billing and coding, preparation of insurance claims and patient referrals, scheduling appointments or entering doctors’ notes,” Skrzeczyna says.
Students also like the flexibility to complete their assignments at their own pace. After completing all SimChart activities, students can also document the mastering of these administrative tasks on their resumes.
Incorporating Sherpath and SimChart helped their program stand apart during a time of uncertainty with student performance through online learning. This gave TTI an opportunity to stand out in a way that students and future employers appreciate.
“If you want to raise the bar for your medical assistant students, then the implementation of Elsevier’s Simchart and Sherpath is the right choice for your school,” Stefaniak says.