Many students graduate high school unsure of what they want to study or where they want to keep learning. Amanda Korzeniewski had one part of the equation figured out. She knew she wanted to get into the medical field, but she wasn’t sure where to start her journey. She first began at a community college until a stroke of fate brought her to trade school. She enrolled in a program of study at Branford Hall to become a medical assistant and received a job offer as soon as she finished the program.
Q. How did you decide to go to trade school?
I’d always wanted be a nurse, but when I began at Suffolk County Community College, I realized that a traditional school was not where I would thrive. I’m not a book person. I’m a hands-on learner. I was listening to the radio one day when I was really struggling, and I heard an ad for Branford Hall’s medical assistant program and thought, “Why not?”
Q. Did you feel receive the kind of guidance that a traditional school would provide?
I didn't have a guidance counselor, I had a school administrator. That wasn't a problem though, because my teachers were available every day and there was extra help whenever I needed it. If I were to ask one of my teachers for help, they'd be happy to stay after class. They had both day and night classes, and if you took a day class and didn't quite grasp the subject, you could come back for the night session to go over the material a second time.
Q. Were there other aspects of Branford Hall’s medical assistant program that influenced your success?
The classes were split into four-week sessions in which we focused on one subject at a time. It only took me nine months to complete. Then, I needed 138 hours of an externship and then I was done! I got a ton of hands-on experience through clinical work, where I was able to do things like take blood, perform EKGs, and practice obtaining vital signs.
Q. How did you gain your externship and why was it valuable to you?
There is a group of medical offices that participates with the externship program, and the school selects a site for you to go to. They picked STAT Health [for me] because it was closest to my home. Even though Branford’s program was great, I learned so much from being on the floor at STAT. I grew every minute, from the moment I walked through its doors. I finished my hours and was hired right after.
Q. You have worked at STAT Health for five years and recently were promoted. Congrats! What advice would you give to other young professionals looking to move up in the workplace?
Make sure you never stop giving your all. I see a lot of people who start their careers and are determined and hard-working, but once they get comfortable, they slack. It's important to bring your best every day and always be available to help out more. If you love what you're doing, that should all be easy. If not, it's time to reevaluate.
Q. What is your greatest memory from STAT?
I've been able to witness a lot of incredible procedures. One time, I assisted in a laceration repair where the patient had cut their leg and needed over 100 stitches. Assisting in procedures, in general, is really fun for me. I guess most people wouldn't say this, but performing incision and drainage is one of my favorite things.
I've also made a lot of great friends through my job. I can rely on them at work and outside of work, which is a big thing. You want to work with people that you can rely on and trust if you need them. I'm really lucky, I think.