Had it not been for the pandemic, Amy Russo wouldn’t be in a new career right now, down what she loves – which now includes inoculating people against the COVID-19 virus.
Russo was working in automotive sales, making a very good salary, when life – as it did for millions around the globe – drastically changed.
“COVID came and I lost my job,” she said. “I sat around for a couple weeks, thinking, ‘What do I want to do?’ After I was laid off, I realized I didn’t want to work in sales any longer. I had always wanted to do something in the medical field, but I just didn’t know what.”
Knowing she couldn’t afford to be unemployed for a year or two, Russo was left wondering, “what the heck am I going to do?”
“Somehow I landed on LFCC’s website,” she said. “A nurse friend of mine had suggested I consider becoming a medical assistant. I saw the medical assistant program through Workforce Solutions is four months long, and said, ‘I can totally do this.’”
With the class full on the Fauquier Campus, Russo committed to driving from her home in Bristow to the Middletown Campus.
“It ended up being the best thing I ever did,” Russo said of the medical assistant program. “It was really difficult, but failure wasn’t an option. I loved it. The instructor, Janet Mayes, was absolutely wonderful. I learned so much from her. She made it not only fun to learn, she had mnemonic devices for everything.”
Before she had even completed the program, Russo was able to get a job in her new field. She started working in November at Lifetime Family Medicine in Gainesville. There, she takes patients’ vital signs, give immunizations, assists with minor procedures and does EKGs.
“It’s been great,” Russo said. “Working with a family practice means each day is different. I have worked with everyone from 2-week-old babies to a 97-year-old patient.
“So many practices are hiring medical assistants right now, especially because of COVID-19.”
She had prior community college experience, having earned an associate degree in general studies from a college in Louisiana. The short length of the Workforce Solutions program appealed to Russo.
“I couldn’t be out of work for too long,” she said. “I needed something fast.”
Learn more about the medical assistant program at www.laurelridgeworkforce.com/cma