Denise Jones has always been passionate about helping others. She worked as a nursing assistant for 25 years before becoming a substitute teacher for seven years. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and closed schools, she decided she didn’t want to continue working as an educator. Instead, she enrolled in school herself and thanks to New Community Career & Technical Institute (NCCTI), she is now working full-time at Newark Community Health Center as a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant.
Jones has lived in Newark for 13 years and was familiar with New Community before enrolling at NCCTI. She knows several people who became licensed practical nurses (LPNs) through an LPN program the organization previously offered. Those individuals spoke highly about their experience so she inquired about educational opportunities in the medical field. She decided to enroll in NCCTI’s Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) program in June of 2021.
Jones was the oldest student in her class at age 52, but that didn’t discourage or intimidate her. She brought her knowledge from serving as a nursing assistant and learned the additional skills necessary to complete the CMA program. She passed the certification exam in early February and quickly found a job at Newark Community Health Center.
“It was the very first job I applied to and they hired me right away,” Jones said.
As a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, Jones performs the initial intake of patients, inputting vitals, medical history and the reason for the visit into the computer. She then directs patients to an examination room to wait for the doctor and provides any additional tasks requested by the doctor or nurse.
Jones says her time at NCCTI prepared her well for her new position. She gives much of the credit to CMA instructor Dr. Mamdouh Sorial.
She explained that Sorial makes sure everyone in the class understands a topic before moving on to the next one so that no student is left behind.
“He is one of the best instructors,” she said. “I love how he pays attention to detail. And he really cares.”
Sorial saw the potential in Jones and believes she will be successful in this new phase of her career.
“Ms. Jones is a great person and she has the power of success. Since day one she showed the desire and the effort to pass the class and to get certified as a medical assistant and start a new career,” Sorial said. “She has all the characteristics of a successful student and now as a professional medical staff.”
NCCTI Director Dr. Sylvia McCray is glad that Jones had a positive experience at the school.
“I am extremely pleased to hear that NCCTI was very helpful to Ms. Jones,” she said. “We are proud of her accomplishment and wish her well in her future career endeavors.”
Jones has always been passionate about health care. There are many doctors and pharmacists in her family, which introduced her to the field.
“I’ve always loved the health field. I like to help people,” she said. “I care about people and I like to see people get better.”
After serving as a nursing assistant for 25 years, Jones needed to make a change since the job was taking a toll on her body. That’s when she made the switch to substitute teaching. But when the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools, she realized that she wanted to reenter the medical field. Since her certifications had expired, that meant returning to school.
She is happy to be a graduate of NCCTI.
“It was a good learning experience,” she said of the school. “I’m proud to say that I went there and the experience was a great one.”
NCCTI is an accredited post-secondary career and technical institution that offers the following programs: Automotive Technician, Diesel Technician, Building Trades Specialist, Clinical Medical Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Community Healthcare Worker, Culinary Arts Specialist and Business & Computer Technologies. NCCTI also operates a comprehensive Financial Opportunity Center and Bridges to Career Opportunities Program sponsored by the local and national Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) offices. For more information, call 973-824-6484, log onto newcommunitytech.edu or visit 274 South Orange Ave., Newark.