The purpose for our trip to Orlando was because as the only Medical Assisting students in our class, Danielle, Pam, and I automatically qualified for the State HOSA Spring Conference. Danielle finished first, yours truly second, and Pam finished in third. If we did well in the State competition, we could move on to the National HOSA Conference in Nashville, Tennessee from June 25-30 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort.
HOSA is short for Health Occupations Student Association and its a great way for one to improve medical skills and do some traveling. Danielle,. Pam, and I qualified for the State Medical Assistant and Medical Issues Exam Competitions. We also had to go to all of the opening ceremony stuff along with two Awards Ceremonies on Friday and Saturday nights. We had to wear black suits with white blouses. Being in these outfits for most of our time in Orlando, I started to call our suits "monkey suits." "Hey! You will have to wear one of those monkey suits when you start doing job interviews!", joked Pam.
Our trip to Orlando was one of fun but one of the business of winning some hardware for Pensacola State College and qualifying for Nationals. Thursday night, Pam, Danielle, and I took our Medical Assisting written tests to qualify. There were only three other competitors with us, and the test was a real pain in the touche for us. Danielle and I were swearing by the time we got out of there and were wanting a beer bad, but we couldn't drink being representatives of HOSA. So I could only cry on the door of the beer fridge at the Rix Market when we went for a drink later on. We were supposed to find out if we qualified later that night after the opening ceremony, but our results weren't posted and we weren' t about to fight the crowds of HOSA members wanting their results either, so we went to bed and got our results the next morning. Let's just say we qualified for the final competition on Saturday morning.
The opening ceremony was one big hoo ha with all schools (secondary, middle, and college) in the Coronado Ballroom. We had fiber optic rods that lit up and made our presence known and sat through two hours of speeches and an interesting performance by mime and comedian Cary Trivanovich. He also gave a motivational speech about being bullied in school but not letting that chase his dreams and he encouraged us to do the same. Pam was really inspired by him, and we got to talk to him the next day when he was getting ready to leave. He was a nice guy and a liked my joke about needing Tommy John surgery for some of the moves he did if I tried them.
Friday morning, we were back in our monkey suits for our Medical Issues Exam. 50 multiple choice questions about the latest news in medicine and medical breakthroughs. At regionals, I finished a surprising 5th while Danielle and Pam qualified in the top 20. Danielle felt I had a chance to place again in States, but I wasn't sure. I finished my test quickly and felt I had guessed through the whole thing. I turned in my test and prayed for the best at the awards ceremony that night and went back to my room and jumped into my bathing suit and hit the hot tub at the Dig Site to soak my worries away.
Friday afternoon, I was back at the ballrooms volunteering for the Courtesy Corps and competing too to see who could get the most hours to go to Nationals as part of the Courtesy Corps. Courtesy Corps volunteers make sure all competitors are where they are supposed to be competing and within earshot of being called to go in and compete. I was working with the Middle Schoolers who were competing in Prepared Public Speaking. I stayed in the all and made sure the kids were nearby and not standing by the doors of the competing rooms. I spoke to a couple of mothers who were with their kids and made the kids comfy and wished them luck as they went inside to do their speeches. That lasted two hours. Now I had to stay in the same area and judge the Middle School Medical terminology exam for two hours with Linda and Julia, two LPN students from PSC. That was an easy job in which we sat there and watched the kids take their test and answered any questions they might have with the exam. We had so many high school courtesy corps volunteers that we could place one of them at each table to make sure none of the little dears were cheating.
Danielle was a judge next door in another competition and because she had to read over the results of the competitor's work with her fellow judges, she was in her room for another two hours after I was finished. I went downstairs after a while and wondered if she got lost or killed a kid, but she told me on the way to dinner what was going on with her group.
After changing into the monkey suit again, it was time for the Awards Ceremony for Courtesy Corps and the Medical Issues exam at 9:30 p.m., past my bedtime most nights! Once again, we were in the Coronado Ballroom and go to sit through the usual spiel before seeing who won the Medical Issues Exam and going to Nationals as part of the Courtesy Corps. The moment of truth came after the speeches by the State HOSA folks, and well, surprise, surprise, surprise, it was a PSC top three sweep with yours truly finishing 2nd. "OH MY GOD!" was my exclamation when I headed to the stage for my award, and I was happy that Diana, an LPN student, and Laura, my future Nationals roomie and fellow Red Sox fan, finished third and first, respectively. Danielle and Pam were thrilled for me and so was everyone else.
More of this is continued in another entry!