In the five years Nicole Stice, CMA (AAMA), has been working as a medical assistant, she has gained a wealth of diverse experience beyond her time.

After graduating from a medical assisting program in 2014, Stice worked at a weight loss and wellness clinic for two years, where she assisted the bariatrician with both medical and surgical patients. “I learned so much because we worked with a specific patient population that needed compassion and empathy. The soft skills I gained were amazing,” Stice says.

The next year, she used her abilities in a fertility clinic, assisting with a variety of procedures. “It was gratifying, rewarding work to be able to help people who didn’t think they could have a family [achieve that goal],” she recalls. “I got to assist with procedures such as changing out the stopper on the tubes that were holding a patient’s eggs. I was literally holding these patients’ hopes and dreams in my hand.”

As much as Stice enjoyed her work, she felt a calling to teach. When an opportunity came up at her alma mater, Midwest Technical Institute, she jumped at it.

“Being a medical assisting instructor gave me the chance to help coach and mentor those going into the career that I love,” she says.

However, after teaching for about a year, she missed the patient interaction. So she took a job with HSHS Medical Group in Springfield, Illinois, where she continues to mentor and coach twice a week.

“I loved going home and knowing I made an impact on a patient’s life, even if it was just for that day,” Stice says.

Her role at the clinic includes a mix of clinical and administrative duties, along with mentoring other medical assistants. She is currently developing an 8-week-long bridge program for certified nursing assistants (CNAs) employed by Hospital Sisters Health System (of which HSHS Medical Group is a part) to become medical assistants.

“I worked with our clinical education manager to figure out the logistics. The CNAs will work in the clinic four days a week, and I’ll teach them coursework one day a week,” she explains.

Outside of the clinic, Stice is determined to get medical assistants in the Springfield area well-earned opportunities and acknowledgment by rebuilding the Lincolnland Chapter of Medical Assistants.

“Our [American Association of Medical Assistants®] chapter was out of commission for many years. And through some text messages and emails, I’m one of three people who got it back up off the ground and running,” she says.

As the president of the chapter, her main goal is ensuring medical assistants in central Illinois do not have to travel hours away from Springfield to attend continuing education unit (CEU) sessions. Her plan is to eventually offer 6 to 8 AAMA-approved CEUs twice a year.

“I want medical assistants in this area to get the recognition that they deserve and to know they are an integral part of the medical community. I also want them to know they have a support system and can reach out with any questions,” Stice says. “In a way, being involved with the chapter is another form of mentoring and teaching that I enjoy.”

While working, mentoring, and teaching, Stice is also a student herself. She is currently working toward a bachelor’s degree in health sciences with an emphasis in management.

“I would love to use my degree to work at my current employer in a clinical education role or as a manager,” Stice says. “And I’d like to use all my experience and education to eventually give public talks and bring awareness to the importance of being a Certified Medical Assistant® (AAMA).”