From patient care to family caretaker: Virginia Keiser University student pursues new career in health care
A person’s daily routine can include a number of ordinary tasks. Going to work, household chores, and running errands can all piece together the day-to-day.
But for Trisha Booth, an average day is anything but ordinary.
“It’s a joy to be able to give her a life that she probably would have never had,” said Booth.
For the last eight years, Booth has been caring for her niece, Jennifer, at their home in Newport News, Virginia. Jennifer has Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy found in children, requiring full time care. There is no cure.
Booth describes it as causing her niece to fall “like a statue.” She says it can be hard to know when they are going to happen, so a caretaker needs to always be on standby.
“As long as she’s happy, even if she has her seizures, you catch the ones that you can,” Booth said. “She’s still her happy self, still get to love her, still get to play, and that’s all that matters.”
Booth, also mother to an eleven-year-old son, Loger, worked as a Registered Medical Assistant for eleven years. She resigned in 2018 to care for Jennifer.
“Basically, you’re doing all clinical work. A lot of people think it’s just administrative work,” Booth said. “We did everything from surgeries to taking vitals, drawing blood, giving injections, prior authorizations. Everything, we did it.”
Booth says working in the medical field is her calling. She remembers caring for her patients, saying she had a relationship with every single one.
“You got to remember you’re not in it for the money, you’re in it for the care of the people,” Booth said. “Your motto is to take care of them like you would want your family to be taken care of.”
After resigning as an RMA, Booth knew she wanted to continue working in the medical field while continuing to care for her niece.
That’s when she found Keiser University.
“The E-campus is really nice,” Booth said. “Keiser is a great school if you are looking to stay home and take care of your kids.”
Booth enrolled in the Associate of Science degree in Medical Administrative Billing & Coding program through Keiser University Online Division. The program prepares students for clerical and administrative work related to insurance claims, compliance, and reimbursement, as well as how to assign accurate medical codes for diagnostic procedures.
“I did all my schoolwork after [Jennifer] went to sleep. I would stay up until about 11:30-midnight, and then get back up and do the normal routine again,” Booth said. “I was not going to be able to leave the house to go to school or anything, so online was really nice.”
While caring for patients is Booth’s passion, caring for her family is her priority. This program, she says, allows her to set sights on doing both.
“Just being in the medical field in general makes me happy,” said Booth.
In April Booth graduated with a degree in medical billing and coding. She eventually wants to go back to school to become a nurse.
Keiser University is a private, independent, non-profit university serving nearly 20,000 students at 21 Florida campuses, online, and two international sites. Co-founded in 1977 by Chancellor Arthur Keiser, Ph.D., and Evelyn Keiser, Keiser University currently offers more than 100 degrees from associates to the doctoral level. Keiser University is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and was ranked No. 5 in the U.S. in Social Mobility by U.S. News And World Report in 2022.