We met up with Dr. John D. Six, M.D., the Vice President of Medical Affairs at Washington Health System, to discuss the impact Penn Commercial grads of the Medical Assistant and Practical Nursing programs have had in the region, as well as the need for more skilled workers in the healthcare industry.
PC: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us! So, tell us about your impressions of Penn Commercial’s medical programs.
Dr. Six: The medical programs at Penn Commercial have been particularly important here in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Both as a private practice physician and now working with Washington Health System, there is a great need for medical assistants and practical nursing.
PC: What has your experience been like with the MA and LPN graduates?
Dr. Six: The nurses that I’ve had the opportunity to work with at Penn Commercial, and the graduates that have come to my practice, have been extremely friendly and knowledgeable. They have a great ability to fit right in with any particular office that I’ve been associated with, and have been a tremendous resource. It goes a long way in saying that their training is top notch. We can place them right into our offices and begin the work.
PC: What is it about our medical programs that make graduates so employable?
Dr. Six: I think the training at Penn Commercial is really all-encompassing. When the students come out, they have all the point-of-care training in addition to the general fund of knowledge to be able to come right into an office and begin work. The ability to step in and make a contribution with the patient care from the get-go is invaluable. And that comes from the fundamentals, the training, and the curriculum at Penn Commercial.
PC: What qualities does a person need to get into these particular healthcare fields?
Dr. Six: The particular types of students that tend to succeed very well, their primary motivation is to help people. That’s why we all got into this line of work. These individuals tend to be very caring, soft spoken, they certainly are empathetic, and they’re hard workers because no matter what avenue they choose in healthcare there’s a certain amount of training and due diligence in that process. Just to have that passion and desire to do the next right thing for the patient.
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PC: Our region is dominated by the healthcare industry. What opportunities are there for people seeking to get into the medical field?
Dr. Six: Being in Washington County and the Washington Health System, there is a tremendous need for medical assistants and practical nursing. Particularly in Washington County, Allegheny County and the surrounding counties have an increasingly aging population. So, more and more folks will enter into healthcare than ever before. At the current time, the need for these program graduates has never been greater. We have multiple positions that we need to fill, and we would look first and foremost at Penn Commercial to be able to fill that void.”
PC: What other positions could graduates from our medical programs fill?
Dr. Six: You know, we talk a lot about working in the hospitals and doctor’s offices, but there’s also a need amongst other particular areas in healthcare. Whether that be in skilled nursing facilities, drug and alcohol treatment centers, or ambulatory surgery centers, I think the ability to take that knowledge and skillset as an MA or LPN, it extends even beyond offices and hospital systems.
Dr. Six’s experience as a physician spans nearly two decades. Currently, Dr. Six holds the position of Vice President of Medical Affairs at Washington Health System in Washington, PA. Prior to this, he was a physician at Claysville Family Practice and Complete Family Care in McMurray, PA. He has served as an advisor to Penn Commercial’s medical programs.