When it comes to medical assisting, Brianna Thompson is golden. The Kennett Area High School senior brought home the gold from the Pennsylvania SkillsUSA competition, and has her eye on another first-place medal at the national championship in June.

According to Thompson, who comes from a family of healthcare professionals, her fascination with nursing began at a young age. “I was inspired to help others, not as a lawyer or a teacher, but by assisting people with their health, because it is a major part of everyday life,” she said.

Thompson jumped into the profession as a high-school sophomore when she enrolled in the Health Occupations program at the Technical College High School (TCHS) Pennock’s Bridge Campus. Now in her third year, the future medical professional says the opportunities at TCHS have helped shape her plans to pursue a career in healthcare. In addition to a six-week medical assistant externship at Kennett Family Practice, she is completing the Delaware County Community College (DCCC) Certified Nurse’s Aide class and will take her state certification test this summer.

Though it was her first year competing in SkillsUSA, Thompson defeated every other Pennsylvania high-school student in medical assisting. Contestants complete both a written and skills test, covering everything from electrocardiography to medical abbreviations. Skills in the clinical and administrative setting are judged on speed, the use of correct safety measures and the students’ ability to interact personally with a patient.

Thompson will join more than 5,000 state winners in Kansas City from June 24 to 28 for the national championship, where they will put their skills to the test in occupations like web design, crime scene investigation, culinary arts, mechatronics and broadcast news production. These contests are operated with the assistance of industry, trade associations and labor organizations.