Published on May 03, 2022

A gift in the midst of a pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic will be forever remembered for things that were lost – loved ones, family gatherings, special milestones like high school or college graduations that had to be celebrated remotely, if at all.

Joseph Gorman, MA, Harold Alfond Center for Cancer CareJoseph Gorman and his family also likely had their own losses. But the Winslow man also was blessed with an opportunity to help others that blossomed from an entry-level position at MaineGeneral Health.

"I started at MaineGeneral on the recommendation of my wife, who has been an employee for more than 10 years. She told me about the great family atmosphere and benefits MaineGeneral provides and, since I was working in a job that really wasn't suited for me, I thought I'd give it a try," he says. "It definitely has been one of the better decisions I've ever made."

Initially hired as a housekeeping tech in Environmental Services at the Alfond Center for Health (ACH), after one year Joseph transitioned to a new role as concierge at the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care (HACCC), where he screened patients coming to the center for COVID-19 symptoms at the height of the pandemic.

"I really tried to make that position my own. I tried to go above and beyond whenever I noticed someone who needed extra help in the lobby or the parking lot, trying to assist them in any way I could."

While this new role kindled a passion in Joseph to help others, he could foresee the position eventually going away as the pandemic progressed.

"I knew it wasn't going to be a long-term job because it was created in response to the pandemic. So I thought about what I could do to keep myself at the cancer center after it was no longer an option," he says. "I learned about the medical assistant (MA) program and that a new class would be starting soon. I inquired about it and talked to the leadership at the cancer center and also some MAs who had taken the course, and they thought it would be a good fit for me."

Joseph began the program while still working his concierge job. Having the option to do so made a career change possible.

"MaineGeneral's MA program is truly wonderful. I could continue working while completing the program and it didn’t affect my work schedule. If it had, I wouldn't have been able to do it because I still needed to be able to provide for my family," he says. "That it was offered at no cost also was a real blessing."

And the best thing, he adds, is that he was hired as an MA at the cancer center once he completed the program.

"That meant the world to me. The cancer center is truly special. Because we see many of our patients multiple times per week, it allows us to create a really special bond with them as they're going through their treatment journey."

The whole positive experience has Joseph thinking about continuing his education in the future.

"I could definitely see myself continuing into nursing at some point. I'm still a fairly new MA, so I want to fully submerge myself into that before thinking about continuing my education, but I'm always looking to improve."

To learn more about MaineGeneral Medical Assistant Program, visit www.mainegeneral.org/careers/medical-and-nonclinical-assistants/.