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Fullerton College came into my life in 1969. I had wanted to be an RN but had four small children to raise and did not have the time to take the RN courses. I heard about the Medical Assistant program and decided to give it a try. My first class was in medical terminology, given at night. It was perfect and I was hooked. Not only did the class teach me about medical conditions, anatomy, physiology and anything else I might encounter in the medical field but it improved my spelling skills immeasurably as all the words were based on Latin.
The next step was to start taking classes in the daytime. The MA course was a 2-year program. By that time my children were all in school and the classes were held in the morning so it was a fit! I loved my classes! Dorothy Buckley taught them. She was a no nonsense teacher with plenty of experience to back her up. When we had to learn how to do a urinalysis many of the students (all women at that time) were expressing the yuck factor. I still remember Mrs. Buckley saying “in time you will get so use to it you will do an urinalysis with one hand while eating your lunch with the other.” Needless to say she was memorable. Mrs. Buckley taught the clinical end, while Janet Emoto taught us medical transcription. We also had to take a beginning accounting course. We were very well rounded to do everything needed in the office both front and back. But to put all the classroom knowledge into practice an internship in a doctor’s office was also required.
I graduated from the program in 1971 and I was nominated for Woman of Distinction and received this honor from Fullerton College.
At that time there was a movement to get MAs credentialed. Most of us sat for the two-day test and those of us that passed were rewarded with the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) pin and a certificate designating that we were either dual, clinical or front office. I am proud to say that I was dual and wore my pin proudly on my uniform for many years.
For the following 12 years I was a MA. As my children were still in school I did part time work or vacation relief for several years. When they were older I began to work full time. I had the opportunity to work in various disciplines and was hired as the back office lead in a practice of 4 doctors. When the Office Administrator left the practice I was asked to fill this position. For approximately 2 years I continued in this position until the practice was disbanded.
The Medical Director of this practice moved to Montana and I was hired to set up his office in Townsend MT. I spent much time choosing office equipment and setting up procedures for both front and back office. I was also in charge of closing the California office.
The following years saw me in other practices until 1984 when I decided it was not longer to my advantage to work in a medical office.
As I had worked on a campus (University of Florida) while my husband was in school I decided to look for a school system job in Fullerton.
I took an entry-level job with the NOCCCD (Cypress College bookstore) and was able to apply for an administration secretary job in the Office of Professional Development Institute located on the Fullerton College campus. There was a moderate size staff consisting of a VP, a Dean, several contract managers and secretarial staff. At first we were housed in the ante area of the President’s Office. But, we out grew this space and classrooms were needed for our specialized classes. We moved to Anaheim in the Chamber of Commerce Building where we rented most of the first floor. Our name was changed to the Office of Institutional Advancement. During this time we did contract classes with business such as Disneyland, HazMat, ESL, Basic Math, anything a company might desire. We had a staff that included part time instructors in the various disciplines and the managers that managed and developed these specialized classes. This was a very invigorating time for me with lots of challenges for by that time I had been raised to a higher union classification. I retired from NOCCD in 1993. This move to NOCCD was one of the smartest moves I ever made professionally as when I retired I was given a pension, and fully paid health insurance. No small matter in these times.
I am now in my so-called retirement years. I heard about an opera class held at Fullerton College in the evenings. I thought I would try it and consequently fell in love with the class, the music and, most of all, Bill Glassman. I had a new passion and Bill made it so easy for us to see opera in LA and Costa Mesa. He arranged for buses, tickets and gave us wonderful lectures on the operas we were to see.
If that wasn’t enough he arranged yearly trips. We went to New York City several times to indulge in the Met, art galleries and Broadway plays. But, Bill didn’t stop there, we also went to Santa Fe for the opera, and several times he took a group to Europe. Bill always arranged for the housing, etc. All we had to do is give him our money. That dear man finally retired much to all of our regret, but he infused a love of opera to me, a new sense of fun, use of new terminology and most of all an enduring friendship.
Fullerton College has fulfilled their vision statement for me.
“Fullerton College will create a community that promotes inquiry and intellectual curiosity, personal growth and a life long appreciation for the power of learning”.
THANK YOU, FULLERTON COLLEGE!