In 2013 Dawn Broad, CMA (AAMA), went into her annual review at Exeter Hospital and Core Physicians in New Hampshire with a legitimate goal for the following year.

“I wanted to be able to provide education for medical assistants in our area,” says Broad. “And I hoped the hospital would sponsor it.”

With the help of Exeter’s nurse educator, human resources personnel, and the physician assistant from her office as the first willing speaker, Broad’s goal came to fruition.

“It ended up being a partnership with our nurses and medical assistants, and then the human resources department realized that I was connected to the AAMA and reached out to me to create a collaboration between them,” she says. “They decided that education was a great medium for Core Physicians to establish a relationship with medical assistants throughout the area.”

The hospital held its first continuing education session on a Saturday morning in November 2014. Broad worked with the AAMA to get approval for sessions offered. Attendees earned three continuing education units (CEUs).

“The organization provided refreshments and speakers, and we invited everyone who worked at Core Physicians as well as members of our New Hampshire state society,” says Broad.

The event proved to be successful, and since then, Exeter has offered similar sessions twice a year in June and November, drawing between 30 to 45 medical assistants.

“There is a continued willingness to be part of this from the hospital’s perspective. I feel as though that shows they value their medical assistants in the organization,” says Broad.

To honor Exeter for being the first hospital system in the state to sponsor free half-day CEU events, the New Hampshire Society of Medical Assistants (NHSMA) presented Exeter with the first STAR Partnership Award in April 2018. Broad was education chair and treasurer of the NHSMA at the time.

“As a board, we always want to strengthen our relationships with organizations throughout our state and bring awareness about the AAMA, certification, and its value,” Broad notes. “We thought we’d create an award to be given to an organization that shows commitment to CMAs (AAMA). The award was received with such enthusiasm from Core.” Broad further reflected that the award presentation conveyed the professionalism of NHSMA too.

NHSMA plans to give the award annually and continues to work toward getting other hospitals to offer CEU events.

For instance, Brian Stimpson, CMA (AAMA), who is the 2019–2020 NHSMA vice president, has worked at Concord Hospital since 2013. As the ambassador between the state society and area hospitals, he succeeded in getting Concord to hold three CEU events in the last two years, each averaging about 50 attendees. Providers and educators from the hospital presented one-hour classes.

“These relationships are a win-win for all. The providers pass on great information about a subject they are passionate about; we bring in qualified [medical assistants] who are interested in furthering their education and sometimes are looking for a job change; we all get CEUs for free; [and] there are networking … and socializing [opportunities] with others who have similar jobs and interests,” says Stimpson.

Still, he and Broad would like to see more hospitals holding CEU sessions.

“Our goal is to have ambassadors in more of our rural areas and hospital systems from one end of the state to another,” says Stimpson. “By holding these events, hospitals and medical groups are seeing our commitment to staying up to date on our education and our professionalism.”