Diversity comes in many forms as a medical assistant. Not only are you interacting with a diverse patient population, but you also work with peers and other healthcare staff who are different from you.
My name is Ashley Roach, and I am currently in Herzing University’s online medical assisting program. I chose medical assisting because it is a great starting point for a healthcare career, and I enjoy helping others with their health.
Why is diversity important?
People all over the world serve as doctors, nurses, medical assistants and in many other roles. The ability to work with a diverse group of people is one reason I was inspired to join the healthcare industry. I quickly learned that interacting with people from different backgrounds and experiences changed the way I talk to people and how I relate to them. I think it is important today to have a diverse atmosphere in the workplace because it brings about change and understanding.
How would you define diversity as a medical assistant?
I would define diversity in medical assisting as a group of people coming together in support of a common goal. Before I started studying medical assisting, I was not aware of all the attributes that were covered under diversity. I quickly learned that diversity includes people of different cultural backgrounds, the LGBTQ community, the Black community, individuals with disabilities and many others.
Diversity comes in many forms as a medical assistant. Not only are you interacting with a diverse patient population, but you also work with peers and other healthcare staff who are different from you. Working together with a diverse group of people, all focused on one common goal, can help us improve health outcomes.
How has your education contributed to your understanding of diversity?
My education helped me understand that everyone brings something different to the work environment. It is incredible how many ideas people will contribute based on their experience or background - some things I would never have thought of!
People should also be aware of how our understanding of diversity has evolved. Workplaces have improved their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Diversity education also plays a major role for students, so they have the knowledge and understanding of what diversity is, how it is defined and how they can apply their learnings in their daily lives.
How do you expect diversity to play a role in your future career?
I expect diversity to play a significant role in my field because of the people that I will work with. I know I will work with many people who all differ in terms of disabilities, sex, age, religion, ethnicity, race, etc. As awesome as this is, I know it also carries a lot of responsibility. The medical field sets an example of how people should be treated.
Not understanding diversity and its importance can hinder a person from truly recognizing the impact it can have on people, individuals and workplaces. Increasing awareness and understanding of diversity can bring about an important change in communities, healthcare organizations and more.
Why should students care?
I think that it is important for students to care about diversity so they know how a person should be treated. Giving each other respect shouldn’t be a privilege for a select group of people. Some people can be judgmental when it comes to how others look, act, talk, sound and even dress. As healthcare students, we need to push back against negative stereotyping and try to create an environment where people are respected, cared for and feel safe.
Many people have no idea what diversity is and how it affects them, their companies, coworkers and even families. As a future graduate, I plan to help others understand the importance of a diverse workplace and how diversity can bring change not just to the workplace, but to the world as well. One way I hope to achieve this is by sharing the knowledge I gained from taking a cultural diversity course and showing others how to apply it in their lives. Giving people the opportunity to be who they show that people can be loved and treated fairly no matter what makes them feel different.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2020. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.