Viking Spotlight: Selena Smith Discovers Her Passion Through Medical Assisting

Written by Megan Bednar

[Clinton, N.C.] – Almost a year ago, Selena Smith, a freshman in the Medical Assisting (MA) program at Sampson Community College (SCC), proved to herself, and to others, that it’s never too late to switch your degree plan and pursue your true passion.

Smith graduated from Lakewood High School (LHS) in 2020 and began taking Career & College Promise (CCP) classes during her time at LHS. She also strove to complete her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) courses during high school, but afterwards, realized that her passion was not working as a CNA. She began talking with her advisor, who then introduced SCC’s Medical Assisting program to her. Smith immediately fell in love and realized that working as a Medical Assistant was truly the career path she wanted to take.

She said of the switch, “I always envisioned and dreamed of being in the medical profession, but I never knew what I wanted to do. After exchanging my opinions of the medical profession and personal wants in my life, my advisor told me about the Medical Assisting program. I instantly became interested in it because it was a profession that lined up with all the expectations I had wanted for my life.

After applying for the MA program at Sampson CC in 2021, Smith was accepted that August and began pursuing both her diploma in Medical Assisting and her Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Assisting. She plans to obtain her diploma in Summer 2022 and is on track to graduate with her full degree in May 2023.

After completing her CNAs during high school, Smith decided to switch to SCC’s Medical Assisting program instead– and it turned out to be one of the greatest decisions of her life.

To Smith, Medical Assisting allows her to have freedom and flexibility in everything she does–now and futuristically speaking. She has so many big plans for her life, and Medical Assisting provides her with so many opportunities. Whether it’s the ability to change specialties, the feasibility of pursuing a higher degree, or even the chance to simultaneously work and have a family, the MA program was able to meet all of Smith’s desires– and this, she explained, is the reason she decided to apply.

She remarked about the program, “I absolutely love Medical Assisting. It’s hard to choose my favorite part of the program because everything is intriguing and fun: all the information, the hands-on activities, my teachers, etc. There has not been a day in the program where I have felt out of place because I truly feel like this is my second home. I am very proud of myself for trusting my intuition and putting all my efforts into this program because it has been the best decision I have ever made. I cannot wait to begin my career in the real world!”

Through the MA program at Sampson CC, Smith has been able to perform lab work and test her academic knowledge through hands-on activities such as obtaining vitals, performing tests, utilizing medical machines, and working practicum hours. While the firsthand instruction offered through SCC’s MA program is wonderful, Smith stated that its accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAHEEP) is another special part of the program future students should definitely consider. It not only shows that SCC has a high standard MA program, Smith voiced, but a high quality one as well.

In five years, Smith sees herself serving and providing patients with excellent, compassionate healthcare as a certified Medical Assistant. She hasn’t ruled out the possibility of pursuing her bachelor’s degree in a few years and is even considering working as a traveling Medical Assistant in the future. But no matter where her educational journey takes her, Smith plans to become the best Medical Assistant she can be through everything she does.

She explained, “As a healthcare professional it is my desire to provide patients with comfort and a caring heart. I will work hard to gain their trust, and I hope to be able to provide them with the support and information that they need to overcome their health concerns. I plan to restore the loss of empathy and compassion towards patients through Medical Assisting. Although it is hard to determine exactly where I will be in 5 years, I know that no matter where I am, I will be doing my absolute best at providing excellent healthcare to all the patients I serve.”

According to others, Smith’s contagious smile can truly light up a whole room. She is a hard-working, positive student at SCC, whose love for Medical Assisting and helping others is truly evident in all she does.

Throughout her time at Sampson CC, Smith has continued to excel in her newfound passion, maintaining a good academic and social standing amidst her peers and instructors. She currently yields a 3.4 GPA and was placed on SCC’s President’s List for the Fall 2021 semester. Smith’s instructors have nothing but kind words to say about her, and they continue to commend both her character and dedication to the MA program.

Misti Wood, Program Director of Medical Assisting at SCC, praised, “Selena is a hardworking and dedicated student. She performs to the top of her ability and strives to excel in all her Medical Assisting courses. She is caring, compassionate, and always displays a positive attitude. Selena is a team player and is always there to lend a helping hand to her classmates. She will be a huge asset to her future employer.”

When asked who has helped her succeed on her educational journey at Sampson CC, Smith remarked that Misti Wood, Sherri Dunn, Medical Assisting Instructor at SCC, and her parents have all uplifted and encouraged her to be the best medical student she can be. To Smith, all three have been extremely supportive and patient throughout her education– her backbone through thick and thin. Smith is immensely grateful for each one of them and for all they’ve done to help her during her time at SCC.

She gratefully voiced, “Both of my instructors, Mrs. Wood and Mrs. Dunn, have played a huge role in my success here at Sampson Community College. It truly helps a student when their instructors are willing to go above and beyond to see them to succeed. Additionally, both of my parents have always told me that school is very important and have always pushed me to be the best version of myself. I also cannot thank my parents enough for all they have done for me while I have been in school– it is very much appreciated.”

Altogether, Smith voiced that she has truly enjoyed her experience in Sampson CC’s MA program and would wholeheartedly recommend it to future medical students. Her journey at SCC has taught her that she can do anything she sets her mind to, and that a good education is something no one can ever take away from you.

“Taking the step and joining Sampson Community College has been the biggest, but greatest accomplishment of my life,” Smith lavished. “I have always wanted to be in the medical profession since I was a little girl. The support from my teachers, classmates and family has played a vital role in my success, and I cannot thank everyone enough for believing in me. As a student in the Medical Assisting program, I have truly found my passion.”

Sampson CC is very proud of Selena. We thank her for demonstrating to all students alike that it’s never too late to change your degree plans and pursue what you love. We believe that she will go on to do great things within the healthcare system because of SCC.

For more information about the Medical Assisting program or how to apply visit www.sampsoncc.edu/medical-assisting.

About Sampson Community College:  Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options and early college education.