Christina DeMoss Unsung Hero
Christina DeMoss is a medical assistant for Mountain State ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery, Inc. in Beckley, and her work during the pandemic has earned her recognition as an Unsung Hero by the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS).
About three years ago, Christina decided to change career paths. After graduating from Oak Hill High School in 2007, Christina started a family. A few years later, she went to school and earned her cosmetology licensure.
Christina has struggled with anxiety since she was young, and she received an official diagnosis in 2017. She was working as a hairdresser but the financial pressure of knowing that she only got paid if she had clients coming in became too stressful for this mother of four.
Christina sought out services from DRS to help her determine a more suitable career goal and to help her with necessary training so she could find a new job.
Working with DRS' Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Kelsey Smith, Christina went back to school at New River Community College, where she received training in phlebotomy, medical billing and coding, and medical assisting. She graduated in May 2020.
According to Christina, DRS not only helped her with financial assistance for school but the guidance and support she received from Smith made her feel like someone really cared.
Christina did her externship at Mountain State ENT in April and May of 2020 and was hired as a medical assistant in June. As part of her job, Christina works one on one with patients every day. She handles triage, where she takes vitals, including temperature, blood pressure and pulse, and she asks the necessary intake questions for patients to be seen by the doctor. Other responsibilities include drawing blood, giving allergy injections, doing COVID-19 tests and much more. While she does not assist with surgical procedures, Christina handles post-surgery requirements like removing stitches and wound care.
The pandemic makes an already hectic situation even more frenzied. Her and her coworkers must wear a mask every day. When performing COVID-19 tests or if a patient is experiencing symptoms, they have to dress in full personal protective equipment (PPE) gown, gloves, mask, face shield and protective eyewear.
The days are longer because of the pandemic, Christina explained. There is more paperwork and extra cleaning in between patients. Also, patients must stay in their vehicles until it's time for their appointment, which adds to the time it takes to process them and complete their examinations.
While she tries not to get too stressed because that can exacerbate her anxiety issues, Christina does worry about potentially exposing her family to COVID-19. She does not want to make her kids sick.
Going out in public, like to a gas station or another store, in her work scrubs does get Christina more attention. People try very hard to avoid contact with her, but she doesn't let it bother her too much.
According to Smith, Christina's caring nature makes her well suited for her job. She always puts others first.
Christina encounters patients who are worried about the pandemic. Some are feeling very isolated and she is able to talk with them and try to make them feel better about what's going on in the world, which helps to lessen her stress levels by knowing that she's helping others.
Christina is very humble and grateful for the recognition from DRS. Regardless of the pandemic, Christina is driven and passionate. She likes her job, and this kind of work is what she wants to do with her life.