#IAmWMC: Bret Andrew, Certified medical assistant at Sage Primary Care
By Kristy Bleizeffer Jan 13, 2020
Bret Andrew did not grow up around health care. His family mostly works in oil and gas, and Andrew was born in New Orleans where his dad worked as an engineer in offshore drilling. The family moved back to Casper when Bret was about 2 ½.
But, from a young age, Bret saw how much doctors can impact the lives of patients and families. His older sister, Sammi, has Down syndrome, and she’s needed a lot of medical intervention throughout her 32 years.
“The impact her doctors had on our family was huge, and that was a very big thing for me,” said Bret, a certified medical assistant at Sage Primary Care.
Bret, who has a bachelor’s degree in biology, is in the process of applying to medical school. One thing his application was missing was experience, he said, so he earned his certification as a medical assistant and took a job at Wyoming Health Medical Group. He transferred to Sage Primary Care about six months ago.
Medical assistants are jacks of all trades in the outpatient clinic. They work alongside physicians and nurses by taking vital signs, collecting medical histories, verifying medication lists, and preparing patients for their visit with the doctor. They help with follow-up instructions, send referrals, order medication refills,schedule follow-up appointments, administer injections, remove stitches and more.
“You can think of us as the nurses’ sidekicks,” he said. “I can’t imagine a better way to get face-to-face contact with patients.”
Bret hopes to attend medical school as part of the WWAMI program, a multi-state medical education partnership serving Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. The program provides assistance to state residents seeking careers in medicine, provided they return to the region to practice.
“I’d love to practice in Wyoming, that’s why I specifically applied to the WWAMI program. Anywhere in the Rocky Mountains would be OK for me, but I love this state. It is home,” he said. “I feel very privileged to give back to the community that raised me, even as a medical assistant. If I could do that as a physician, it would mean the world to me.”
Working at Sage Primary has given Bret an insider’s look at medicine, the good and the bad, that he wouldn’t have otherwise received. He is grateful for the opportunity.
“There are days when you see tough situations, but that has made me want to pursue medicine even more. It’s fulfilling to see the impact a place like Sage Primary Care has on people’s lives. Being a small part of that means a lot to me,” he said.
“People ask me all the time, ‘What are you doing now,’ and I’m very proud to say I work at Wyoming Medical Center. It’s the pinnacle of healthcare in Wyoming. I see so many familiar faces every day, and it’s humbling to make an impact on their lives as part of this medical team.”