PDCCC graduate ‘fast tracks’ healthcare career

Published 6:41 pm Friday, April 5, 2019

By Wendy Harrison


ashley rife pdccc fast track healthcare

PDCCC alumna Ashley Rife received a job offer from Bayview Physicians Group at North Suffolk Family Medicine before she even graduated from PDCCC’s Fast Track Healthcare program. Submitted | Wendy Harrison

Before Ashley Rife graduated from the Fast Track Healthcare program at Paul D. Camp Community College, she had already secured a job with Bayview Physicians Group at North Suffolk Family Medicine — not even 30 miles from her Carrsville home.

“I received an application and an interview during my externship there. I started orientation the morning of my graduation,” she said about that memorable day in December 2018.

Rife enrolled at PDCCC directly from Windsor High School after the program was suggested to her by the Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Dr. Debbie Hartman.

“I have always wanted to go into the medical field,” said the 22-year-old. “Both of my parents have always supported and encouraged me.” Her mother, Anita Rife, is also a PDCCC graduate, where she earned an associate degree in business administration in 1996.

Through the PDCCC Division of Workforce Development’s Fast Track Healthcare program, Ashley became certified as a clinical medical assistant (CCMA) with phlebotomy certification, as well as EKG technician certification. CCMAs handle an array of tasks in the healthcare setting, including clinical and administrative duties, and may assist doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

The non-credit FastForward program was initially intended to train for a career in clinical medical assistant, but lead instructor Dawn Womble expanded it to include the other credentials as well and had the program running five months after its inception.

“I watched Ashley build a new level of confidence with each certification that she earned,” said Womble. “The fact that she was also able to secure a job during her externship made her success even more exciting.”

As a traditional student, Rife still had to make sure that she managed her time properly in order to allow her enough time to work, study, complete assignments and attend classes. But PDCCC proved to be a good fit for her.

“PDCCC was always there to help and encourage me when things were tough,” she said. “They also put their students in clinical sites that can be potential job opportunities.”

Rife is now enjoying her new career and is reaping the benefits of a comfortable work environment. “I enjoy interacting with new people every day, getting to know each patient, and I am always learning something new,” she said. “I am where I want to be right now. However, in the future I plan to go back to school to get a degree in nursing.”

The CCMA was able to realize her aspiration to work in the medical field without spending more time or money than was needed and recommends the Fast Track Healthcare program.

“I would tell first-time students to study hard, do not get behind, and always ask for help if you are having difficulty in a class,” Rife said. “As my instructor (Dawn Womble) would always say, ‘You need to hit the ground running.’”

According to Womble, students don’t have to have a medical background to enroll, and depending on what direction in which the students want to head, they can complete one or all parts of the program.

For more information about workforce development programs, call 569-6050, or visit www.pdc.edu/workforce-development/.

WENDY HARRISON is the public relations specialist for Paul D. Camp Community College. She can be reached at wharrison@pdc.edu.