For years, Heather Mahunik, a wife and mother of three teen-age girls, worked on an assembly line at an area manufacturer, but when she got laid off last January, she took advantage of the opportunity to pursue a dream.
“There’s nothing wrong with making a paycheck,” she said. “But I wanted to have a career. And I always wanted to be a nurse or work in the health care field.”
Mahunik finished what she hopes is the first step toward that goal by graduating from the Certificate in Medical Assisting program at Cayuga Community College. She was one of 15 graduates who participated in Cayuga’s first-ever Health Care Professions Completion Ceremony on July 25.
College President Daniel P. Larson welcomed the graduates and their family and friends, and stressed the growing importance of the health care system in the country.
“Most people think of nurses and doctors when they think of health care,” he said. “But there is a wide variety of jobs in the field, including a number of support areas without which our health care system would not function.”
Carla DeShaw, dean of Community Education and Workforce Development, introduced the two instructors Colleen Gleeson and Emoy Goodridge, who presented each graduate with a certificate.
DeShaw said she hoped the new certificate programs would be the first rung on a ladder toward a higher educational or career goal. “No matter what pathway you take, my advice to you, graduates, is to keep learning, keep growing, and challenging yourself,” she said.
That’s exactly what Mahunik expects to do. This fall, she enrolled in anatomy at Cayuga and will take the entrance exam for the nursing program later in the semester. And, she may have a study partner to help, as her daughter, Anna, will also begin this fall at Cayuga with the goal of becoming a registered nurse.
Students earning the Medical Assisting certificate completed 252 hours of training and 80 hours of externship. They studied the fundamentals of anatomy and physiology as well as practical applications of mathematics and microbiology. They also learn everything from phlebotomy and medical terminology to insurance and ethics. The following earned the Certificate in Medical Assisting:
- Maria Abrams
- Staci Guy
- Rachel Haines
- Ashley Knapp
- Hailey Loudon
- Heather Mahunik
- Heather Maitland
- Nicole Rogalski
- Viola Teitsma
- April-Jean Trumble
The Medical Coding certificate program required 180-hours of career training. Students learned the types of insurance coverage in a health facility, the various ways of receiving payment, common medical codes, and HIPAA privacy regulations, among other topics. The following individuals earned the Certificate in Medical Coding:
- Shawn Bayles
- Judy Bryant
- Amy Cook
- Denise Kahl
- Stephanie LaBulis
For more information about the health care certificate programs, visit: http://www.cayuga-cc.edu/communityed.