Cecilia Castro, a medical assistant at the George Washington University (GW) Medical Faculty Associates (MFA), is a touchstone for patients. Her compassionate approach, from making sure both patients and their surroundings are comfortable and peaceful, to her ability to support Spanish-speaking patients, epitomizes the best in health care. She also knows the ins and outs of the business of medicine, such as communicating with suppliers, keeping rooms and offices stocked, and decoding billing and coding needs. Here, she discusses her path to the GW MFA, how she helped establish a clinic from scratch, and how she goes above and beyond for her patients.
Q. What is your role at the GW MFA, and what does it entail?
Castro: My role at the GW MFA is a Registered Medical Assistant/Certified Medical Assistant, or RMA/CMA, for the Departments of Vascular Surgery and Ear, Nose, and Throat. I also assist in the neurology, general surgery, and urology departments.
My medical duties include initial patient assessments, which involves checking patient’s vital signs, performing physical exams, and obtaining medical history. I also get patients ready for testing, treatment, and procedures following proper protocols while maintaining a kind and professional manner.
From an operations perspective, I maintain patients’ rooms by properly stocking them with medical supplies and tools. I ensure the rooms are always ready and impeccable prior to receiving patients.
Besides my medical responsibilities, I perform clerical duties, such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, and speaking with insurance providers to help solve any issues for both the clinic and patients whenever necessary. I also help Spanish-speaking patients through their doctor’s visit by translating for them so that they understand the doctor’s indications and ensure their medical concerns are answered.
Q. When did you come to GW, and what experience did you bring with you?
Castro: I started at GW back in January 2011. I came from the vascular surgery team at Georgetown University Hospital, bringing experience in opening the first MFA clinic in northern Virginia. It was a challenging transition but very rewarding. As a lead assistant in establishing a new clinic at the time, I made sure all exam rooms were fully equipped, helped the department with the order and purchase of supplies, and contacted suppliers and other third parties involved in the setup of the medical facility. I met with the billing/coding department to offer my longstanding experience with the type of services our team of physicians provided. I also helped with the hiring process for new staff.
Q. What are you particularly proud of in your time at the GW MFA?
Castro: I am proud to work with professional doctors of different specialties from whom I learn their expertise and new processes. I’m proud to be part of the efforts made to help patients
overcome their health issues. My biggest professional accomplishment is being able to help others.
Q. What have you taken away from your experiences here?
Castro: This job has taught me many lessons at both the professional and personal level. I have learned new technical skills that help me in my day-to-day interaction with patients and medical processes. The main lesson I would say is that we, as individuals in the medical field helping others, must take care of our health (mentally and physically) to be able to continue to contribute to a healthier society.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
Castro: It is exciting to work with a great team of doctors and colleagues who form a very friendly, supportive, and positive work environment. I am always inspired by the dedication and outstanding work ethic of medical professionals. It has been a blessing to be part of the GW MFA community for the past 10 years.