WHAT INSPIRED YOUR INTEREST IN HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY?
My professional background is actually in finance, so this field was a big change for me. When I decided to go for HIT, there was a lot of political debate about the ACA (Affordable Healthcare Act). With healthcare being in the front of everyone’s mind, I saw it as a growing industry with a lot of opportunity for me to foster a brand new career.
WHY DID YOU SELECT SJR STATE FOR THIS TRAINING?
I previously attended SJR state and enjoyed the smaller setting and better access to instructors.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GET A JOB AFTER GRADUATING FROM THE HIT PROGRAM?
I was VERY fortunate to have my job immediately. It was a great week for me. I took my RHIT exam on Monday, I walked at graduation on Thursday, and I started working at Mayo Clinic the following Monday.
I am the Senior Specialist for Release of Information at Mayo Clinic. I adore my job. I work in a dynamic environment. I am one of the very few HIM departments with patient contact, which I find incredibly rewarding. Every day we have new situations arise that require my judgment and knowledge of state and federal laws. I also have the satisfaction of seeing and speaking with the people I help. I have other responsibilities as well, such as coordinating workflow between different departments. I am also a resource for many of my co-workers.
WHAT DID YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR TRAINING AT SJR STATE?
My instructors were fantastic. Every instructor I had was accessible, knowledgeable and a fantastic resource for me. My program directors both mentored me, and I would not be where I am right now without them. I still feel comfortable enough to reach out to both of them for any advice about anything.
WHAT DID YOU FIND TO BE MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT THE HIT PROGRAM?
One of the most challenging parts of the HIT program was the isolation of being in a completely online environment. It was difficult for the students to come together because we didn’t have the classroom where we saw each other. It took a little bit of courage, but eventually we began to reach out to each other and support each other. I would give the advice to new students to try and make a private Facebook group or find some way to communicate as a group early on. It would have made those early coding classes a lot more fun.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE CONTEMPLATING ENROLLING IN THIS PROGRAM?
My advice would be to network with other students early on and build a network for homework and studying. This will make the group projects easier as well. Another really helpful bit of advice is to get involved with the local professional organizations. FHIMA and NEFHIMA are local chapters of AHIMA, and they are a fantastic resource for students! I went to the student and new professional conference on a scholarship awarded by NEFHIMA, and I was able to volunteer at the annual FHIMA convention. I met a lot of people and a few of my co-workers recognized me from these events when I joined the team at Mayo. Finally, the most important piece of advice that I could give anyone who takes on this program is to take the RHIT exam as soon as possible. That test is hard, and having all this information fresh in mind makes a big difference.
HOW OLD ARE YOU?
I am 38 years old.
WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS FOR FIVE TO 10 YEARS FROM NOW?
I have many different paths available to me. I am currently working on my credential for Certified Tumor Registrar so that I am able to abstract cases for the Cancer Registry. My work in ROI could lead to a path with Privacy or Compliance. I am interested in going back to school for Healthcare Informatics, which would open up all kinds of new avenues for me. I feel like there are many possibilities in HIT as long as one is aware of the opportunities.
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