Medical assistant degree students at the Minnesota School of Business know the facts of hypertension (high blood pressure) well. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults in the U.S. suffers from hypertension. Known as the silent killer, hypertension increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, but may secretly damage the body for years without the person experiencing any symptoms.
Therefore, our medical assisting students decided to take their skills and expertise on the road recently to the Wellness Expo at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minn.
An annual event, the Wellness Expo showcases vendors and practitioners in order to promote health, fitness and general wellness. The medical assistant students offered free blood pressure checks, education and prevention tips for attendees.
Medical Assistant Program Chair Lisa Smith says the experience was priceless for her students.
“It helps them think on their feet as each patient or situation will not be the same,” Smith says. “This [transfers] to interviews, networking or in a situation with a patient.”
Students took 65 blood pressures in one day and did a lot of counseling on healthy habits. They were also grateful for the experience they earned.
Student Jaimie Jensen is close to graduation and appreciated the practice.
“At the Health Expo we were able to interact with individuals other than those in our program,” Jensen says. “I learned more to adapt to each individual’s needs and how to communicate with each person. Blood pressure is something that a medical assistant does on a daily basis—practice makes perfect!”
Medical assistant student Arielle Lighthall is also close to graduation and agrees.
“I learned that everyone is different, and the more practice I can get the more confident I will be when I start working.”
Smith adds that the Expo is a perfect networking opportunity for the students as well, and she encourages them to talk with other vendors “to break the ice.”
“We talked about how important it is to get your name out to others and to prove that you are motivated to succeed,” Smith says.
Jensen and other students delivered flyers to surrounding booths promoting an upcoming Health Fair on campus. It seemed a perfect way to begin the conversation. She acknowledges that “the Wellness Expo was a great way to network with others in the healthcare field.”
On a side note, they discovered that Matt Pantze, a health fitness specialist student at MSB, was also at the Expo with his internship employer, CrossFit. Someone else understood the value of networking while he honed his skills!