Alison Wilkins (l) with Melissa Lambert, WCE Healthcare Instructor

Alison Wilkins (l) with Melissa Lambert, WCE Healthcare Instructor

The FastForward program in Workforce and Continuing Education seems perfectly suited to an adult student like Alison Wilkins.  

Making Steady Progress: Alison Wilkins

Thu Feb 13, 2020 at 10:23 AM

Alison Wilkins (l) with Melissa Lambert, WCE Healthcare Instructor

Alison Wilkins (l) with Melissa Lambert, WCE Healthcare Instructor

The FastForward program in Workforce and Continuing Education seems perfectly suited to an adult student like Alison Wilkins. She enrolled at Blue Ridge Community College in the fall of 2018, first obtaining her Medical Office Assistant credential, then continuing to seek knowledge and skills in pursuit of additional, stackable credentials, like Certified Clinical Medical Assistant and Registered Medical Assistant. Her ultimate goal is making a better life for herself and her young daughter.

“BRCC instructors are willing to work with you,” says Alison. “They understand that everybody in the class is coming to it from different dynamics. Some are looking for their first career, but most are coming back to school with complicated lives. They are willing to accommodate the needs that you have.”

Melissa Lambert, WCE Healthcare Instructor, says of Alison: “She has been a joy to teach and a great resource for fellow students. She is the epitome of what a Workforce and Continuing Education student strives to be--hardworking, dedicated, flexible, and driven. I know Allison will accomplish her goals and be an outstanding Registered Medical Assistant in our community.”

Most FastForward credential programs take between six and 12 weeks and are designed so students can get their education while they work. The program discounts WCE classes by 2/3 for Virginia residents. “FastForward funding really helps,” Alison says. “I doubt I would have been able to afford it otherwise.”

In addition, Alison did phlebotomy training at BRCC. Previously, she worked at Sentara RMH for several years on a medical/surgical floor doing direct patient care like answering patient call bells, assisting with physical therapy, blood draws, EKGs, dressing, bathing, etc. Currently, she is working a front desk position at Sentara RMH Integrative Medicine, but says she wants to return to patient care in a different role than before.

“In patient care, I like to be someone that patients can depend on,” says the Augusta County native. “I want to advocate for them to help them get better. It’s important to educate them on the resources available.” She says a long-term educational objective might be a nursing degree to work in a specialty such as cardiology or nephrology.

When Alison first tried attending college, her heart wasn’t in it. She was away from home for the first time, finding it difficult to balance classwork, sports, and a social life. Her studies at BRCC tell a different story.

Alison notes, “I see the importance of education now. I see it differently now that I’m a mom. I want to make a better life for my daughter.”