Interview with Jessica Mattern of East Liverpool Family Practice

Jessica (Bentley) Mattern is a successful Medical Assisting graduate from Ohio Valley College of Technology. Mrs. Mattern currently works as a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant at East Liverpool Family Practice for Dr. Jung in East Liverpool, OH. Below, Mrs. Mattern offers an employer’s perspective to current and potential students on the role of externship and hands-on learning as a crucial component of successful career readiness.

We at WVJC Ohio Online, a sister school of OVCT, think Mrs. Mattern’s insights into her role are incredible valuable, and we believe an externship at East Liverpool Family Practice would be greatly rewarding for our clinical medical assistant students.

  1. Why has your company chosen to provide externship options for students?

    East Liverpool Family Practice is a bit different than most offices. While Dr. Hill is a medical practitioner, he focuses his practice around nutritional medicine more than writing prescriptions. Dr. Hill treats with whole food supplements and vitamins as well as dietary monitoring rather than prescribing medications.

    We have had many patients able to stop taking their blood pressure, diabetic, and other medications because their levels have returned to normal. One of our patients who had been insulin dependent for years, has now been off of it for three years through nutrition. We at East Liverpool Family Practice are committed to managing health, not diseases.

  1. What drew you to working with students from Ohio Valley College of Technology?

    The reason we choose to provide externship options is because we know and have seen the integrity of the Medical Assisting program and its students at Ohio Valley College of Technology.

  1. How long is a typical externship and what type of training do you typically provide for students?

    The typical length of an externship is 160 hours. Here at East Liverpool Family Practice, we train the students in a number of procedures both medical and nutritional. In the medical aspect, we train them in vitals, patient education, office surgeries, sanitation, as well as many others.

    On the nutritional side of things, the students are trained in Nutritional Response Testing (NRT) and Heart Rate Variability testing (HRV), among others.

  1. What do you believe are some key benefits students can receive by participating in an externship?

    Some key benefits that students get from externships include dealing with real-life situations instead of only classroom simulations. They work directly with real patients. Students also get a chance to see how an office runs from day to day and how the faculty works together as a team. The students also gain a better understanding of the responsibility that comes with the job.

  1. What are some skills you believe students can learn more efficiently in an in-person externship than during online class?

    The students get a more in-depth understanding of how to deal with patients in a real-life setting. They also learn how to handle emergencies and how to accurately chart chief complaints, vitals, and medications. The student will also get practice writing prescriptions as well as scheduling appointments and making referrals to other offices.

  2. What advice would you give a student who is debating enrolling in an online school that provides externship programs?

    My advice would be to attend a school that offers in-class clinicals like those at OVCT. From my personal experience, you gain a better understanding by practicing what you are learning instead of reading about it and moving on. With the clinicals, you already have a basic understanding and are prepared when you enter your externship because you have done charting, vitals, and the collection of patient medical information.

    Clinicals also offer the opportunity to do competencies. While online classes may be more convenient, you do not get the hands-on training which prepares you for your real career much better than just reading about procedures and the field could ever do.

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