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What I’ve Experienced As a Podiatric Medical Assistant

Prior to joining Aloha Foot and Ankle as a medical assistant, I had no idea how essential podiatry was.
I had little knowledge that there was a whole branch of medicine solely dedicated to the medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle, and lower extremity. After joining Aloha, I learned a lot from Dr. Chan and Dr. Nguyen about what it means to be a podiatrist and treat all patients with the utmost care.

One of the things I appreciate most about working at Aloha is that we see a variety of issues that can range from surgery and sports medicine to wound care and diabetic care. We often work with other specialists such as neurologists, physical therapists, and vascular surgeons in order to ensure that our patients get the best care possible. Podiatry can be a very diverse field to work in because we intersect with all these different specialties.

Attention to detail is an important part of performing front office duties. When we are at the front, we thoroughly check to make sure insurance is verified and all authorizations are in so that we can proceed accordingly with a patient’s plan of care. On phone calls, we explain to patients what to expect during an office visit so that they can feel comfortable. We understand that seeing a podiatrist can sometimes be a very unfamiliar experience. By letting them know what to expect when they see a podiatrist, we can see that our patients are more assured in knowing that they made the right decision to see a professional. When they walk through our door, we want everybody to feel welcomed by the Aloha Spirit.
When we work in the back office, we get to interact with patients even more. As medical assistants, we typically measure vital signs, obtain the patient’s medical history, and determine the patient’s chief complaint so that we can accurately brief the doctor. We can even assist the doctor with minor surgical procedures by prepping the patient for tenotomies for hammer toes or matrixectomies for ingrown toenails. It gives us a deeper understanding of how procedures are carried out so that we can make sure our patients don’t have any complications. If any of our patients have questions, they know that they can always reach us by phone or email.

One of my most memorable experiences at Aloha was when I met a patient, Mr. Pine (name changed for privacy purposes). He is an elderly individual with type 2 diabetes mellitus. He regularly comes into our office every two months to get his nails and calluses debrided, but his joints aren’t what they used to be. He needed some help bending down and fitting new orthotics inside his shoes. I spent a little extra time with him so I could help him put his shoes back on and show him how to break in his new pair of orthotics. I also gave him my Aloha email address in case he had any further questions at home. Thanks to the support from his orthotics, he was able to go to Hawaii with his daughter’s family and enjoy his vacation without any issues. He was even able to keep pace with his young grandchildren on their walks on the beach. My experience with Mr. Pine helped me realize that the services we provide at our office can have a positive, lasting impact on our patients.
Another experience that comes to mind was when I worked with Daisy (name changed for privacy purposes), a patient with severe bilateral plantar fasciitis. I fitted her with a night splint so that she could stretch her Achilles tendon and plantar fascia overnight. Daisy still had trouble putting on her night splint on her own so I wrote out instructions on a separate sheet of paper for her. A month later at her next appointment, she thanked me for helping her with her night splint because it allowed her to go on long weekend hikes with her husband again. No more pain from plantar fasciitis!

Moments like this make working as a medical assistant at Aloha highly rewarding. I appreciate being able to work closely with amazing podiatrists like Dr. Chan and Dr. Nguyen because I get to be involved in a patient’s journey to recovery. It is very gratifying to be a part of the process that allows patients to feel relief and be able to walk again without pain. Ultimately, I hope to carry the values of Aloha Foot and Ankle for the rest of my career in healthcare and continue helping patients like Mr. Pine and Daisy feel better again.

Jasmine Nguyen Jasmine is a UC Irvine graduate with a degree in Biological Sciences. As a medical assistant, she enjoys helping patients and will happily assist with any questions or concerns you may have. When not at the office, Jasmine enjoys trying new baking recipes, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.

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