medical assistant Archives - Northwest Weight & Wellness Center
Staff Spotlight: April Raber

Staff Spotlight: April Raber

NWWC Staff Spotlight

Name: April Raber

Role: Patient Care Coordinator (PCC)

Joined NWWC: July 2013

Personal Life: April was born in Yakima and grew up on the Eastside suburbs of Seattle before settling in the Snohomish area. She has two children: her artistic adult daughter, Tessa, and her recent high school graduate son, Talon. Her 2 sisters and 4 brothers are spread throughout Oregon, Idaho, and Washington and she just welcomed her newest niece, Maizie, on July 28th.

Life Before NWWC: April has had many roles in the service industry including medical records management, childcare, restaurant hostess, and supporting an ophthalmologist. She became a certified medical assistant (CMA) in 2002 and was the lead CMA in a pediatric office in Mill Creek for 9 years. She joined our team as a CMA and transitioned into the PCC role in March 2018.

A Day in Her Job: As a PCC, April primarily supports Dr. Chock and Dr. Montgomery’s patients in navigating their preoperative journey. She attends information seminars to greet new patients, meets with patients during their surgical consults, schedules their appointments, ensures they are completing the insurance and program requirements, and works closely with the insurance team for submission. She acknowledges that the pre-op process can be overwhelming for patients. “I tell patients that anytime they get scared, I’m a phone call away. No question is silly.”

She compares her job to gardening. “You take a seed and tend to it, water it, and pluck weeds, such as anxious or negative thoughts patients might be having. Sometimes it’s painful and messy but it grows into something beautiful and adds to this garden. I love seeing my patients after surgery as they start blossoming.”

What Else to Know about April:

  • She overcame a major phobia of needles to become a CMA. When she looked at needles, her ears would ring and she’d have tunnel vision. She and her friend Kim joined a CMA program together and Kim supported her to overcome her fear. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her.” When she was faced with doing her first blood draw, she almost passed out, but she did it! It took 8 weeks of practice before she stopped having bodily reactions. In overcoming her fear, April was inspired to improve her phlebotomy skills to put other people with needle phobias at ease. “I wanted to be so soft-handed that you wouldn’t feel the needle.”
  • In preparation to become an empty nester, she decided to pursue some hobbies. She had started learning to play guitar from her dad before he passed away. In June, she started professional lessons and is learning to play “Shallow” and “Broken Halos”. She has also thought about putting her medical skills to use in travel abroad missions. “I have not been brave enough to take the jump yet.”
  • She loves hiking and camping in the Cascades and would spend even more time in the wilderness if she found an experienced backpacking buddy. “I love exploring new areas and saying, ‘Look where we get to stay tonight!’” If you want to be April’s backpacking buddy, let her know! She’ll bring the guitar to serenade you around the campfire. 🙂 
Staff Spotlight: Kaitlyn Sutherland

Staff Spotlight: Kaitlyn Sutherland

Name: Kaitlyn Sutherland

Role: Lead Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

Joined NWWC: July 2016

Personal Life: Kaitlyn is a Washington native and lives with her husband, Skyler (pictured with Kaitlyn). She has two older siblings and eight step-siblings! Since most of her family members live in WA, she gets to enjoy a lot of family time.

Life Before NWWC: Kaitlyn has been a CMA since 2012. Her first jobs were in primary care and obstetrics. Most recently, she was the sole CMA for a practice that specialized in sleep studies, sinus, and cosmetic procedures.

A Day in Her Job: Kaitlyn’s days revolve around patient care. She serves as a CMA for the surgeons and advanced practice providers so she prepares patients for their appointments by checking vitals, doing body measurements, and assessing for medical updates. She calls patients about lab results, completes FMLA paperwork, and helps our care team coordinate with outside providers. In her role as a team lead, she assists clinic workflow and organization to keep appointments running smoothly. She loves that she is “never not busy” in her job. Her days fly by, she’s not stuck behind a computer, and she never has trouble reaching 10,000 steps.

What Else to Know about Kaitlyn:

  • She can do your hair and makeup! In high school, Kaitlyn considered becoming a cosmetologist. Since she has many family members in the medical field, she ended up going the CMA route but she still treats friends and family to hair and makeup sessions for special events.
  • She is outdoors year-round. In the summer, you’ll find her on Lake Stevens. She and Skyler own a 21-foot Four Winns open bow speedboat. They also have a wakeboard, kayaks, and paddle boards. She spends winter snowmobiling and the rest of the year hiking.
  • She’ll become Nurse Kaitlyn in the next few years. Being a CMA has inspired her to pursue nursing so she can increase her scope of practice. She just enrolled in classes at Everett Community College to complete her prerequisites for a nursing program.
  • She is inspired by her patients. One patient who comes to mind “barely spoke when he first came in. He always looked at the ground”. Now he is one year post-op from surgery and has transformed his life. “He is going to school, he has a girlfriend, and he’s completely confident.”
Staff Spotlight: Erika Benedetti

Staff Spotlight: Erika Benedetti

Name: Erika Benedetti

Role: Medical Assistant (MA)

Joined NWWC: July 2018

Personal Life: Erika was raised on Orcas Island and has also lived in Texas. Her husband is from Canada. She has four children (3 sons, 1 daughter) and one grandson. Her three sons are in the US military; 2 in the Marines and 1 in the Air Force.

Life before NWWC: Erika has been an MA for 5 years. Prior to that, she was a preschool teacher for 10 years, a midwife assistant, a court reporter, a medical transcriptionist and scribe, and a campground manager.

A Day in her Job: Erika has worn multiple hats at NWWC. Currently she supports the team as an MA by getting patients ready for their appointments with the surgeons or advanced practice providers. She measures vital signs, assists patients with FMLA paperwork after surgery, and communicates with outside providers to support patient care. She has also served as a Patient Care Coordinator (PCC). In that role, Erika helped patients navigate their pre-op journey. She would meet with patients during their surgical consults, schedule their pre-operative appointments, follow up on pre-surgical test results with patients and providers, and made sure paperwork gets to the right people within NWWC and beyond. She attends information seminars to meet new patients and answer their questions about the pre-operative journey. She enjoys being able to help people on their journey to change their lives.

What Else to Know about Erika:

  • Erika can relate to the patient journey on a personal level. She is celebrating her 4-year bariatric surgiversary on March 25th. “There were so many years of playing food games but now it’s about life, having other things to focus on besides food. Now I’ve got a lap for my grandson and that was one of my goals.”
  • She probably knows your dog’s name! She likes to learn about her patients’ families (including furry members) so she can make her patients feel comfortable. “We want to have a family environment. We’re your home away from home.”
  • She understands that the pre-operative journey can be frustrating and wants to support you. “I can identify with that on a personal basis. It’s not always easy or fun. I’m a cheerleader for those who need support. I can help patients with the things they wish someone had told them.”
  • She is full of positivity and an inspiration to her team members and patients. “I feel blessed to be here so I can share hope with others because life is good. It’s not just a t-shirt.”