Why do students go to college? It’s a question many are asking these days in light of new research showing a noticeable gap between educational outcomes and the skill expectations of both students—and their future employers. Two studies, one of employers and one of students, show this widening disparity between what students learn while in college and what they need to know to thrive in the workplace. This is especially true in the medical field where workforce readiness can have serious consequences for patient care.

Not Ready for Work

A study analyzed the opinions of 17 employers attending medical conferences, then compared those to a Cengage survey of 5,000 students cross all disciplines about their impressions of success, career prospects, technology courses and academic obstacles. The result: both students and employers viewed college training to be insufficient to meet workforce demands:

  • 87% of business leaders think college grads lack skills for success
  • 69% of students attend college to prepare them for careers
  • 37% of students give their curriculum an “A” for career relevance

Which Skills Matter?

So if medical assistants graduates are unprepared, which skills are they lacking? Business leaders actually want a variety of skills, including:

  • People skills: Positive attitude and the ability to interact and communicate effectively with patients and co-workers
  • Medical basics: Basic medical terminology, pharmacology and anatomy
  • Problem solving: Ability to take medical and patient information and have an understanding of what to do and what to look for

How to Bridge the Skills Gap

Institutions and educators need to find strategies and tools to better prepare students for careers in medical fields. The solution should include better teaching strategies, more student engagement, as well as incorporating ways for students to practice what they’ve learned before going “live” with real patients.

Technology, such as MindTap from Cengage provides solutions in Medical Assisting to address career readiness concerns. From virtual work environments, to simulations, to skills assessments, MindTap fosters confidence and builds an understanding of the job responsibilities to come.

To learn more about the survey results and how MindTap applies standards-aligned digital learning solutions for medical assisting, read the Focused Feedback.

About MindTap

The MindTap platform provides engaging content that challenges every individual, builds confidence and gets students ready for their professional career. It offers an easy-to-use platform with real work simulations that enable learners to practice concepts in a safe, virtual work environment. Two new MindTap products feature interactive content aligned and mapped to current ABHES standards and the 2015 CAAHEP standards.