Kelly Thomas is a true example of hard work and dedication. She conveys passion and positivity to everyone she meets. During her time at Ross Medical, she served as an inspiration and role model to her peers. Now, being in the workplace, she continues to exemplify the same level of passion, determination, and patience.
Kelly was ready to work hard and further her education from the very start. She joined Ross College Grand Rapids North in October 2018, and after completing her in-class modules, she did her externship with Spectrum Health Orthopedics. Excelling in her clinical and administrative skills, she always received positive feedback from her site office manager. During her externship, she was offered a full-time position as a medical assistant at her site.
Aside from her personal success, Kelly has been a great mentor to other students pursuing a career in this field as well. During her time in school, she was a leader who would encourage other students to work hard and complete the program. She was always viewed as a mom figure around the campus. This caring nature also carried over into the workplace. In her role, Kelly has assisted in hosting several Ross medical assistant externs. All students enjoyed working with her as she was patient and a great teacher. The campus staff is proud to send their externs to her office because they know that she will teach them what they need to be successful in this field.
We took some time to talk to Kelly and ask her a few questions about her career journey and her personal life.
Tell me about yourself.
I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI. I’m a mother to three young men and I recently graduated from Ross Medical. After completing my externship, I was offered a full-time position at Spectrum Health Orthopedics, where I am currently working as a Registered Medical Assistant. I would say I’m a pretty outgoing individual. I can get along with pretty much anybody, which is perfect for my job, since I’m interacting with people all day.
What was it about being a medical assistant that appealed to you?
Being a medical assistant appealed to me because I have always wanted to work in hands-on medical care. I also thought that being a medical assistant would provide me with the opportunity to better myself and to evolve.
You’re an MA now — how did that start for you?
Personally, I had a great start. After completing my externship at Spectrum Health Orthopedics, I was offered a full-time position as a Registered Medical Assistant. I was pretty nervous for the externship because it was quite different than being in class, but it all worked out really well in the end. My coworkers are awesome and they’ve helped me so much in adapting to this new position.
What advice would you like to share with other students who are or will be in the medical assistant program in the future?
My advice would be to absorb all of the information you possibly can from your instructors. Don’t be afraid to ask questions because nine times out of ten, someone else has that question too, and could benefit from you asking. Also, take it one day at a time and don’t overwhelm yourself with the what ifs. Go with the flow and things will naturally fall into place.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite thing about my job is my interactions with my patients. I am the first person they see before the doctor and I could ultimately set the tone for the entire visit.
What achievements are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the GPA I attained in school. It was quite the accomplishment for me to pass my RMA test, and I am proud to now be a medical assistant.
What are your most immediate future goals and aspirations?
As for my future goals and aspirations, my main goal for now is to complete my enrollment in GRCC’s nursing program. I would eventually like to become a registered nurse.
Are there any particular persons or events that have inspired you to progress as a person?
There are quite a few people that have inspired me along the way. My instructors at Ross Medical (Ms. Lyndsey, Ms. Melissa, Ms. Amira) and the entire staff have given me the courage and knowledge to push forward with my plans of becoming a registered nurse.
What do you do for leisure and recreation? What are your hobbies?
For leisure and recreation, I love watching different movies and traveling.
What motivated you to make the sacrifices that you made in order to get to where you’re at now?
Being at a job for 18 years and then being replaced is what motivated me to make the sacrifices that I’ve made thus far. I could have gone back to a job of the same caliber, making very good money; however, being in the clinical part of the medical field has always been a longing for me, so I chose not to go back to work until I finished school and was hired as a medical assistant.
What are some techniques you used to keep yourself motivated in school?
Keeping my eyes on the prize is what kept me motivated.
How might you advise someone who was also thinking about returning to school or embarking on a new course in life?
I would say to go for it and don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way. It will pay off in the end.
What do you enjoy about mentoring the students who come and do their externships at your office?
What I enjoy the most about mentoring the students who come and do their externships at my office is just seeing the sparkle in their eyes when they finally get to use the stuff they learned in school.