You grow up, run from high school as fast as you can, get married, start having children and one day you wake up and wonder if this is all there is ….It hits you that you want more than just a job; you want a career that makes going to work a whole lot more interesting and maybe even fun! I wrote before how I found coding to be much like my girlhood days of reading Nancy Drew; however, there is a bit more to the story. I worked for years as a nurses’ aide in a hospital and a homecare/hospice. I loved my work taking care of patients but in time I grew tired and knew that I wanted more. I also knew that nursing was not the career for me. One day I received a flyer in the mail talking about medical records. I did not know that I could stay in the healthcare field working with medical records! The more I researched, the more fascinated I became. The American Health Information Management Association started out years ago as the Association of Record Librarians of North America established by the American College of Surgeons. It has undergone several name changes since those early days but the early mission is still relevant today: “to elevate the standards of clinical records in hospitals and other medical institutions.” The most recent name change came in 1991 to the American Health Information Management Association as it “captures the expanded scope of clinical data beyond the single hospital medical record to health information compromising the entire continuum of care.” As the AHIMA website states …. “In the 21st century, HIM professionals today occupy a variety of roles, from HIM directors to privacy officers and beyond, in a variety of settings. The profession is working to address the issues that affect healthcare today, from implementing electronic health records to adopting and implementing ICD-10 clinical coding systems to contributing to emerging issues like the creation of a national health information network. AHIMA’s founders couldn’t foresee all the changes that the nation, the healthcare industry, and the profession would encounter, but they doubtlessly would agree that it remains poised to meet the challenges ahead. Today, AHIMA serves 53,000 members and 52 affiliated component state associations. It is recognized as the premier source of “HIM knowledge,” a respected authority for rigorous professional certification, and one of the industry’s most active and influential advocates in Congress. Historically, medical records have been a paper-based business. Now we’re working to advance the implementation of electronic health records by leading key industry initiatives and advocating high standards. We strive to keep our members one step ahead through accreditation of cutting-edge academic programs and professional development opportunities, including comprehensive continuing education.” Talk about exciting!! I have never regretted my decision to become an HIM professional. It has served me well over these years first as a medical record clerk for a small nursing home to the position of a Director of HIM and now as an educator. Take the leap! It is worth your time and your money.
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