Bilingual training for office staff successful |

Bilingual training for office staff successful

John Seelmeyer

Not long after she went to work for Truckee Meadows Community College, Anastasia Sefchick started asking medical professionals if they were interested in diversity-training programs.

Not particularly, they told her, but did she know where they might find some bilingual help for the medical office? Sefchick, a corporate and community relations manager at TMCC, took their comments to heart, and the college this summer launched a program to train bilingual medical office personnel.

The first workshop of 15 students quickly was filled and TMCC launched a waiting list even as it prepared to offer another session of the program.

The program’s popularity, Sefchick said, reflects a need in the medical profession as well as an opportunity for students.

The U.S.

Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in medical offices will grow rapidly by 58 percent from now through 2008 and the sector is one of the 25 fastest growing job categories in the country.

At the same time, Sefchick said, medical offices in northern Nevada increasingly need bilingual staff members to help address questions raised by a growing number of Spanish-speaking patients.

Those questions range from billing inquiries to information about procedures that a doctor is about to undertake.

While programs to train medical assistants can be long and expensive, the TMCC program is stripped down.

Its students don’t learn medical skills but instead focus on the operation of a medical office.

The basic course runs approximately 10 weeks.

The exact length is determined by students themselves, most of whom are working at other jobs and need to arrange class schedules around their work.

What’s covered? Patty Arnott, one of the owners of The Office Academy, a training organization based in Sparks, and a teacher in the TMCC program, said students get their feet wet with an overview of dayto- day work in a medical office.

“We give the full lowdown on what it’s like to be in a medical office,” she said.

“We don’t use rose-colored glasses.”

From there, students learn basic medical terminology in Spanish and English, get an introduction to medical records and medical billings and receive a primer in how computers are used in medical offices.

After they finished the basic course, students either can look for work immediately or choose one of two options for more training deeper study of computerized medical billing or completion of the medical skills necessary to become a medical assistant.

Arnott, who has consulted with medical offices for more than a decade, has no doubt her students will find work.

“I’ve never been in an office yet that didn’t have a need for this,” she said.

(To register or learn more about the program, contact Claudia Maldonado at TMCC’s Institute for Business and Industry, 829-9000.)


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