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Investing in Our Ambulatory Care Workforce: An Implementation of a Medical Assistant Apprenticeship (Spotlight Poster)

‐ Mar 14, 2023 9:00pm

Credits: None available.

Importance: Medical assistants are a crucial integrant in the ambulatory care setting. With duties ranging from administrative tasks to complex clinical skills, medical assistants support the flow of the ambulatory care clinic while delivering compassionate care. According to the US Department of Labor, the profession of medical assisting is expected to grow by 29% by 2026. In 2021, amid a global pandemic, many healthcare systems experienced a need for medical assistants. Faced with 87 openings and a 33% turnover rate, it was difficult to keep positions filled. Without candidates available in the hiring pool a workforce development strategy was proposed in the form of a professional apprenticeship.
Methodology: A collaborative approach was taken by clinical education specialists to develop an evidence-based curriculum for medical assistant apprenticeship. It was determined that candidates would be required to meet the criteria for employment and have a high school diploma or GED. Apprentices were interviewed and selected by their hiring clinic. The program was determined to be five weeks of classroom-based learning followed by a three-week period of clinicals in which apprentices were paired with a medical assistant mentor. Following those three weeks, the apprentice had two weeks of orientation and on-the-job training in their hiring clinic. Classroom curriculum was developed to include all cognitive, psychomotor, and affective skills along with didactic lecture and tactile skills practice with evaluation. The clinical period offered learning experiences in both ambulatory primary care and specialty clinics.
Analysis: Effectiveness of the program was assessed through participant and clinical manager evaluation. Metrics monitored included enrollment rate, completion of the program, and employee retention at 90 days, six months, and one year.
Results: Between the dates of 6/7/2021 and 7/15/2022, 66 medical assistants were enrolled and 65 completed the program. The 90-day retention rate was 98% (49/50). The six-month retention rate was 97% (34/35). The one-year retention rate was 73% (11/15). In 2022, there are 21 current openings with an 18% turnover rate. Manager feedback commented on apprentices being positive and flexible and serving as assets to their team. Apprentice feedback noted feeling confident and prepared for the work they complete in their ambulatory care clinics. Apprenticeship offers the potential for career advancement and increased job satisfaction while addressing vacant positions and increased employee retention.


Credits: None available.