Concorde Blog - Mar 17, 2021
When Latressa Swan gave up her medical assistant job to help her mother deal with her medical problems, she figured getting a new position months later in the middle of a pandemic wouldn't be easy.
Turns out, it was.
Latressa, who graduated from Concorde Career College's Grand Prairie campus in 2017, contacted a Concorde Graduate Employment Specialist and soon after started her new medical assistant position in the Dallas area.
Latressa, who grew up in Oklahoma, had worked at the Gainesville Correctional Facility but had to leave the job because of her scoliosis. Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that can cause constant back pain. The pain flared up during her drive to her Gainesville job - which was 30 miles each way - and because she had to stand all day on the job.
Latressa went on disability for several years because of the scoliosis. She also worked part-time at a group home in the Dallas area, helping five disabled adults with everyday tasks such as taking their medications.
But Latressa wanted to do more, especially as her mother struggled with health problems in Oklahoma. She then looked into Concorde.
"My mother became ill with COPD," she said. "I didn't understand the medical terminology they used, so I said I'm going to be a CMA. Now I know the terminology, the medical field and glad I went to Concorde."
She thrived at Concorde, learning all the tasks medical assistants need to do every day, including getting patients' vital signs and working on EKG tests.
"Concorde is fast paced," she said. "You have to be focused, get your work done and not fall behind. The teachers will help you along the way."
One example of that was when a Concorde instructor helped Latressa overcome her trepidation about taking a blood sample from a patient.
"She said 'I'm going to hold your hand while you do this,'" Latressa said. "She did just that and it was so easy. I just couldn't believe it. Now my patients always say "I did not feel that!'"
Balancing Family and Work
Latressa was hired right after her graduation by a geriatric doctor's practice, and worked there for a couple of years.
But when her mother's medical condition worsened in 2019, she left her job so she could care for her in Oklahoma for six months. During that time, she helped her mother learn how to care for herself, including taking insulin.
When Latressa decided to move back to the Dallas area and get a new job, she checked with Concorde's Graduate Employment Specialist Angela Alexander. Within a day, Alexander arranged an interview with a doctor's office. That same day, Latressa was hired by a doctor's office in Irving at a salary higher than her previous one.
She enjoys every part of her job, and how Concorde taught her all the necessary skills, including scheduling appointments, drawing patient labs and eye exams.
Although she still suffers from back pain "all day, every day" her job involves moving around more than standing or sitting all day, which helps ease her pain.
"I like the interaction with patients," she said. "They're coming in there for our help and I like that interaction. I just want to make them feel good when they come into our office and feel comfortable around us. I like meeting new people and I'm doing that every single day."