September 3, 2018


PORTSMOUTH — Medical assistant and medical office specialist students at Great Bay Community College are studying in a brand new lab that is set up like a doctor’s office.

The new learning suite will better prepare students in both programs with more realistic hands-on learning environments, according to Sean Clancy, associate vice president for workforce development.

“It’s important because there is a well-documented need and demand for skilled employees in the allied health professions. We are a graying state. Allied health is one of those professions we know will grow,” Clancy said in a statement.

Since the medical assistant program began three years ago, students have learned in a classroom for eight weeks and then participated in clinical externships at area physicians’ offices for four weeks.

“The new lab will help students become more comfortable with equipment and the medical office setting prior to arriving at the medical office setting,” said Program Developer Kim Hashem-Dugal.

Dr. Travis Harker is the chief medical officer for Appledore Medical Group, which helps train GBCC’s externs.

“Their medical assistant program is one of the best in the state,” Harker said Friday.

Harker said medical assistants are important team members for doctors because they call patients in from the waiting room, take their vital signs, height, weight and temperature.

They also make sure patients are taking their medications properly while relieving any anxiety they have before meeting the doctor.

“We work side by side with our medical assistants,” Harker said.

Chad MacLennan of HCA Physician Services Group says GBCC has always prepared their medical assistant and medical office specialist students to enter the health care field immediately following classroom time and that he is consistently impressed.

MacLennan said last year Appledore Medical Group had 16 externs from Great Bay. Thirteen of them were hired immediately after their training with jobs in primary care, specialty care and surgical care practices.

The medical assistant program at GBCC requires 320 hours of classroom instruction, hands-on lab experiences and a 160-hour practicum at a local medical office.

The medical office specialist program involves 240 hours of classroom instruction.

For more information, email Hashem at [email protected].