Professional Students

In the July 2014 issue of the AAPC publication Healthcare Business Monthly there is an article about helping students find employment after graduation. This article, Professional Students Make Better Employees, describes the skills and qualities students need to develop in order to find employment as a medical coder, which will be even more important when ICD-10-CM/PCS is implemented next year. Let’s take a few minutes to talk about a few of these qualities…

Analytical skills
In the medical coding program you need to follow the instructions and guidelines presented to be successful. Developing this skill this will help you in the program AND in a job setting so you can understand and follow your employer’s policies.

Detail oriented
This is one of the most important skills for you to develop as a medical coder. As a student, you are taught the importance of being detailed oriented in code assignments. The more detailed oriented you are the more accurate you will be in the assignment of codes. This will be a valuable skill to an employer because the organization will receive proper reimbursement for the services provided.

To be successful in the medical coding industry you need to you need to be ethical in all of your job responsibilities. There may be instances when working as a medical coder when you may be asked to do something unethical. In this article, it says “Taking pride in your schoolwork by completing your own assignments and following ethical practices will prepare you for compliance and legal obligations you’ll face as an industry professional.”

Interpersonal skills
This skill has to do with good communication skills. In the student setting, you can develop this skill by learning to effectively communicate with your instructors and classmates—especially about the concepts you’re having trouble understanding. In the work setting, you need to communicate with many healthcare professionals, including physicians who you may need to ask for clarification on the documentation you reviewing.

Technical skills
On the job, you will be using various computer systems to perform your responsibilities. The article’s author says “A job requirement for this industry is to use and navigate through medical software systems and coding software.” In your Career Step training, you are given the opportunity to learn how to use an encoder program, and the more proficient you become with this coding software program the better you will be prepared for employment. 

Time management
Taking an online program is excellent preparation for this area! To be successful, you need to use time management practices to complete the program in the allotted time. It can be difficult, especially with other obligations that need your attention, to effectively manage your time in the course. However, by developing this skill as a student you will be much better prepared to effectively manage your time in a professional setting.

In closing, the author says “The goal is to increase your chances of landing that dream job. Carrying yourself as a professional is the first step towards getting an interview. Take time to evaluate your current level of professionalism. Make necessary changes or improvements to your behavior.” This is excellent advice to help you transition from being a student to employment as a medical coder.

You can find the full Professional Students Make Better Employees article on the AAPC website.

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