Central Arizona College TRIO student completes career shadowing opportunity

Esmeralda Sierra, center, completed a career shadowing program at Advanced Orthopedics with the help of Dr. Bryan Matanky, left, and Vanessa Gordon, physician assistant. (Submitted photo)

Esmeralda Sierra, a student in Central Arizona College’s TRIO Student Support Services program, completed a career shadowing experience with Advanced Orthopedics in Casa Grande this summer, allowing her to gain greater knowledge about public health administration.

During her time with Advanced Orthopedics, Vanessa Gordon, physician assistant, provided her with office training. She had direct communication with patients, both in person and by telephone and became the Spanish language translator for patients and staff.

“I saw the relief in Spanish speaking patients knowing there was someone they could communicate with fluently in their first language and that their concerns and questions were being answered,” Ms. Sierra stated. “It was rewarding to know that I was a valuable resource to the clinic and the patients.”

The student also gained further insight into the medical profession by serving as a direct backup for the office’s medical assistant when she was out of the office or when she needed additional assistance.

During her final weeks, she was given the opportunity to observe more than 20 surgical procedures, including a total knee replacement, partial hip replacements, knee and shoulder arthroscopies and an open reduction internal fixation of the wrist.

“I was able to dress and prep for the observation of the surgical process allowing me to wear complete surgical gear from head to toe,” she stated. “It was an amazing experience to see Dr. (Bryan) Matanky and PA Gordon demonstrate their skills of showing total control during the surgical process and that every detail was taken to ensure each patient’s medical needs were met, corrected and completed in a timely and professional manner.”

She added: “All of my experiences resulted in an expansion of my public health knowledge, including how to be aware of patients’ needs, teamwork, and the importance of communication in a clinical setting as well as during surgical procedures.”

Because of the guidance and support she received during her summer training, Ms. Sierra stated she solidified her desire to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Public Health Administration.

Angela Askey is from Central Arizona College

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