Mai-Ling Colon recently began a new position working with a cardio-thoracic surgeon at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital. The position pays $5,000 more per year than her previous position as a Medical Assistant at the [Allen School] internship site at which she was hired after graduating.“The benefits are outstanding” said Mai-Ling about her new position.At the preliminary interview with the office manager and the office clerk at Mount Sinai, Mai-Ling’s experience and caring, professional manner made an impact. She was asked to “hang out and wait for the doctor” to interview her on the same day, rather than return on a second occasion, as is their normal procedure. The doctor hired Mai-Ling on the spot.“We all just sort of ‘clicked’,” said Mai-Ling. “My understanding of the requirements for various procedures and terminology that I got during my eighteen months at Housing Works [her internship site] was very helpful for me during the interview.”Not only was she hired on the spot at Mount Sinai, Mai-Ling shared her unusual story about the interview she had previously for the position at the internship site.On the day of the interview, dressed in a business suit and heels, Mai-Ling found herself sitting for an extended period of time in the waiting room. The clinic had suddenly become very busy. They were short-staffed. Mai-Ling slipped into the flats that she had in her purse and jumped right in to assist. She took vital signs, did Phlebotomy. She photocopied, faxed, filed. She interacted with patients and staff. She spent hours helping them to stem the tide of an onslaught of activity.Ultimately, after things slowed down, Mai-Ling was called into the physician’s office for what she expected to be the interview. Instead, the doctor looked at her smiling and said, “Mai-Ling, I saw you helping everyone here today. I may as well tell you, that was your interview. Welcome aboard!”At the new job at Mount Sinai, Mai-Ling “hit the ground running.” The cardio-thoracic surgeon, affiliated with several other hospitals, asked Mai-Ling to accompany him to them to do Spanish-English translation and handle a variety of clerical and clinical functions, including performing Phlebotomy procedures and taking vital signs. After only three short weeks, he asked her for suggestions on how to improve patient traffic flow and handle the volume of telephone calls he receives from patients at his other hospitals that come in during the work day. Mai-Ling’s valuable suggestions have already been successfully implemented.Speaking in a proprietary manner, as if she had been working with the cardio-thoracic surgeon for years, Mai-Ling said, “I look forward to helping him build his practice and making sure we are one of the busiest practices there.” When asked how she would go about doing that, she replied, “It involves contacting other physicians who need the services we provide, establishing relationships with referring physicians, and building strong relationships with everyone – patients, staff and other professionals.”Mai-Ling excels at building strong relationships. Her instructors and the Dean at Allen School’s Brooklyn campus speak of her with warm regard and admiration.“I loved my time at Allen School,” she said. “All of the instructors went way above and beyond the call of duty, tutoring me when needed, answering my questions – and I asked a lot of them!”“I was greatly influenced by Dr. Surrey [Ian Surrey, MD] and by Dean Jannicelli [Robert Jannicelli, MD]. Every time I stop by to visit or call, they push me to continue my education, Mai-Ling said. “In order to get assistance with continuing my education, I have to be at Mount Sinai for an entire year and then they will help me to do it. Eventually, I plan to carry what I learn into becoming an RN or a Nurse Practitioner.”“I’m going to miss doing more of the clinical work that I was doing at Housing Works because my new job has much more of a clerical focus,” said Mai-Ling, “but I am going to keep my skills fresh by volunteering at Allen School to assist Dr. Surrey on Saturdays as he teaches Phlebotomy and vital signs. I also informed Mount Sinai that I’m available as a volunteer for clinical work.”Named after a character in a Bruce Lee movie by her father, a Kung Fu aficionado, Mai-Ling has been married for seven years to Geronimo, a counselor for mentally disabled adults. They have three children, aged 3, 5, and 14. They are active in their church and love sports. Mai-Ling used to run cross country track and field and played baseball, football and basketball.Allen School congratulates Mai-Ling Colon on her advancement in the medical field, her success with interviews and what is truly “amazing and miraculous,” her willingness to contribute at the highest level in every medical environment in which she plays a part.
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