Home > Blog > July 2017 > Mom, Dad and Daughter Get New Beginnings at Pima Medical Institute

Mom, Dad and Daughter Get New Beginnings at Pima Medical Institute

Posted: July 26, 2017 by Elizabeth Baker
Francisco Villegas, his wife, Sharon Villegas, and their daughter, Nichole Maxfield, at Pima Medical Institute's Las Vegas campus. The family attended the Medical Assistant program together and graduated in June, 2017.

It’s not all that unusual for people to go back to school later in life. They may go back to pursue a dream put on hold while they raised kids, or they go back to completely change their career and try something new.
But what is unusual is an entire family going back to school together. That’s exactly what happened at Pima Medical Institute’s Las Vegas campus recently when Sharon Villegas, her husband Francisco Villegas, and their daughter, Nichole Maxfield decided to enroll in Pima Medical’s Medical Assistant program together.
All three had their own unique reason to go back to school, and they decided to go together to encourage and support each other.
“I always wanted to go back to school, but I never had the courage because I didn’t think I could do it,” Sharon said. “But then one day I went (to Pima Medical Institute) with my daughter. I really didn’t think I’d pass the administration test, but I did. I’ve always worked hard everywhere I worked, but I never thought I could do more. I was a single mom with three kids, so school was not an option. I had to work 60 hours a week to support my kids, so my dreams went on the backburner until I went to Pima Medical.”
Her daughter, Nichole, wanted to better her future, she said. Her mom encouraged her to learn more about Pima Medical.
“I had attended college before and dropped out to explore things but they didn’t truly make me happy,” she said. “My mom’s enthusiasm made me decide to check it out.”
Meanwhile, Francisco, who had just recently retired from the United States Marine Corps, was looking for something new to do. He knew he liked the healthcare field and had previous experience in it.
“I already had experience as an EMT but I wanted to learn another side of the medical field. We’d just moved back to Las Vegas, and I wanted a good education,” he said. “As a family, we found Pima Medical, and we’d heard nothing but good things.”
So Sharon, Francisco and Nichole decided to enroll as a family—all three of them signing up for the Medical Assistant program at Pima Medical’s Las Vegas campus. Sharon and Nichole went to school together in the afternoons and Francisco went in the evenings. They helped each other study, prepare for exams and kept each other motivated.
“(Nichole) is very smart and lots of days I cried, wanting to quit, but she wouldn’t let me. We all stuck to it,” Sharon said.
Francisco agreed—having his daughter and wife in school with him helped focus and stick with it.
“We’re a family that loves to do thing together and help each other out. The motivation was more about helping and watching each of us succeeded in our choices we make in life,” he said.
After working through the nine-month program, all three graduated together on June 16. Sharon and Nichole are both working and enjoying their jobs, while Francisco decided to return to Pima Medical and enrolled in the Veterinary Assistant program.
“I decided to go into the vet assistant program to really change my life and to learn about a new field,” he said. “Plus I really like animals.”
Sharon is currently working for a clinical infectious diseases specialist as a medical assistant, where she completes front office duties, dresses wounds, takes vitals and is learning about medications. She loves the job, she said.
Nichole also enjoys her new job as a medical assistant in an internal medicine clinic.
“I love it. It’s a great company to work for and I enjoy everything I do,” she said.
The Medical Assistant program at Pima Medical Institute is offered at several campuses and takes nine months to complete. It’s a great first step for those who want to enter the healthcare field.
Students go on to an externship before graduating, where they get hands-on job experience. The program prepares students to work in doctor’s offices, clinics and other similar settings, where they take patients’ medical histories, record vital signs, prepare patients for examinations, manage front and back office duties, and other related responsibilities.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 23 percent nationally through 2024. 

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