2012 Student Academy Offers Students Glimpse into the HIM Future

On Sunday, more than 150 AHIMA student members attended the fourth annual Student Academy—more than twice the number of attendees from 2011. The goal of this interactive session was to give student members an opportunity to learn more about careers in health information management, discover certification pathways, and prepare them to make the most of their convention experience.

AHIMA board President-elect Kathleen A. Frawley, RHIA, FAHIMA, JD, MS, opened the event by discussing the changes in the field and the importance of “linking the right information.” Frawley stressed that this group of students “has a responsibility as the future leaders of the HIM profession.”

Rules of Engagement

AHIMA’s senior director of member engagement and strategy Scott MacKenzie offered some hands-on advice for navigating this year’s convention. He outlined event highlights such as the general sessions and gave the students practical advice on how to navigate the convention program as well as the meeting itself.

MacKenzie offered three rules of engagement for students attending convention:

  1. Fun—there aren’t many other opportunities to be around thousands of other HIM professionals, so take advantage of it and have fun.
  2. Friends—take this opportunity to make friends and stay connected to them during the year.
  3. Future—this is the place to plan for your future.
Current Professionals Advise on the Future of Healthcare

Panelists Cheryl K. Bowling, RHIT, CCS, CHC, C-CDI, Kathleen Wall, MS, RHIA, Linda Lamb, RHIA, CCS, and moderator Michelle Martin boasted 96 years of combined HIM experience. The panel members discussed topics such as the current job market, interview tips, and continuing education.

Martin offered a wealth of knowledge on a variety of subjects, from resume building to dressing appropriately for your first job. Lamb advised students that “once you graduate, you will be constantly learning on the job.” She counseled the audience to make the most of their education by finding a mentor, utilizing available resources, networking, and continuing their education. Wall, a coding professional for more than 35 years, advised the students to “always keep your eyes forward. That way you can see the challenges coming ahead.” Bowling reminded them that “education is the key” for HIM advancement.

Student Advisory Council Speaks Out

In spring 2011, the Student Advisory Council was re-launched to prepare student members to be future HIM and AHIMA leaders. Six members of the current Student Advisory Council offered brief presentations on their experiences.

Sebrina Campbell from St. Louis University encouraged attendees to participate in their school’s HIM clubs by reviewing the benefits such as discounted AHIMA membership, the ability to apply for scholarships, and networking with your peers. Kim Palma from Herzing University Online discussed opportunities for HIM students and told students that “it’s not just a desk job, it’s a career.” Finally, Alicia Patrick from Temple University discussed making the transition from student to professional. She noted that in doing so, you should never be afraid to ask questions.

Steve Stevens from Illinois State University stressed the advantages of continuing education—it shows commitment, highlights your education to future employers, and boosts your income. “When you put a credential after your name,” he said, “it shows the employer a strong commitment to the HIM industry.” Samantha Thomas from ITT Tech discussed both traditional and non-traditional HIM roles. “You have so many opportunities in health information,” she said. Kayla Zirbes from the College of St. Scholastica discussed continuing education and the different levels of education. “You can never stop learning and building on your skills.”

Certification—Coming Right Up

AHIMA’s senior certification manager Jonathan Santos, RHIA, discussed the importance of early testing for certification. Santos told students that “you’ve done the hard part by getting your degree; taking advantage of early testing is the easy part…I can’t stress enough how ready you are—you have the knowledge; you just have to organize it.”

“Your Future is Now!”

AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, FACHE, FAHIMA, closed the day with remarks on how to achieve professional success. She emphasized that education is the key that unlocks your future and “your future is now.”


**Follow the news and get insights from AHIMA’s 84th annual Convention and Exhibit being held October 1-3 in Chicago, IL. New articles covering the event will be posted daily. Look for special e-Alert announcements October 1-3 linking you to a full online edition of AHIMA Today, the on-site convention newspaper.

1 Comment

  1. As a being student and professional of HIM industry I am moving toward limitless opportunities. By saying I meant in HIM industry professionals can expand their careers in very broad way include privacy officer, security officer, compliance officer, EHR specialist, risk management, disaster planning, business contingency planning, educators and as traditional roles wide range of coding positions, auditors , billers or even consultants. I could join hospital channel, insurance company, consulting company, state or national level organization or physician office in neighborhood. This profession emerges to information technology, Legal aspect, Revenue management, of course clinical aspect and some more. I can’t emphasis enough about this profession it relates to quality, management, administrative, research, and most importantly reimbursement. No matter how critical care was provided to patients in order to provide quality of care and to obtain appropriate reimbursement it has to get involved with one of the HIM professionals. Bottom line is NO HIM PROFESIONAL NO APPROPRIATE REIMBURSEMENT.
    Thank You

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