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FCC Health Informatics Students Secure Employment Prior to Graduation

Three of the six Health Informatics students at Frontier Community College have been able to obtain employment in their area of study prior to their graduation from FCC. Their other classmates are currently interviewing and hope to join them in employment status in the near future. Obtaining a new career thanks to their education in Health Informatics from left are: Valerie Scott and Cathy Henry of Fairfield, and Jennifer Thomason of Albion. Pictured with the students is Full-Time Health Informatics Faculty member Jodi Peach of Albion. 

With graduation quickly approaching, many college students are searching for jobs in their area of study. At Frontier Community College, half of the 2017 graduates in the Health Informatics program have already secured job placement in their related field of study nearly a month before graduation. The three students already securing work all have a few of the same traits in common: all are non-traditional students that are married and have children, that have completed the program in two years and secured jobs prior to graduating from their career and technical education program. All are graduating on May 12 with either honors or high honors and were all nominated to Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges for 2016-2017. Their fellow classmates are also already interviewing for positions to hopefully join them in employment very soon.

Valerie Scott of Fairfield found the Health Informatics program during her second time around at FCC following her layoff from Airtex after over 11 years of service there. With no previous health care experience, the Health Informatics program seemed interesting to Valerie in part due to the variety of jobs available in the field. Working full time and going to school full time proved to be a difficult task that nearly made Scott want to quit school going into the last semester since an internship was also required to complete the program. Just days before the semester was to begin, Scott received a second call back from Fairfield Memorial Hospital with a job offer for a registration position. After going through over 100 applications and informing Scott they would prefer someone that was out of school, Scott was informed they wanted to work with her around her school schedule because her education and experience spoke volumes to what she could bring to the position.

Working at FMH since December 28, 2016 and using her position as her internship, Scott started out in the registration department and is currently working in health information. In her position, she is responsible for processing emergency room records, Horizon Clinic records, records releases, scanning and filing, correcting chart deficiencies, and more. Already working full time while finishing school full time, Scott currently works Monday through Friday, working before and after class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Her schedule should become more normal following graduation.

Thanks to her education in the Health Informatics program, Scott states she loves what she is doing now and knows she will always be able to find work in the health care field.

Jennifer Thomason of Albion will also be graduating on May 12, and already has work secured with her PRN Physician Office Float Receptionist position she obtained on April 25 at Wabash General Hospital. Working as needed when others are on vacation or sick, Thomason answers phones, completes appointment reminders, registers and checks-out patients, among many other duties.

Thomason was looking for something different in her career when she saw an article in the newspaper about new Health Informatics instructor Jodi Peach of Albion two years ago. The program sounded interesting to Thomason, who found it challenging to go to college for the first time after being out of high school for nearly thirty years.

Serving as the Secretary of the Health Informatics Club on campus, Thomason also worked full time while going to school full time during her first semester in college. Thomason’s hard work paid off as she received recognition as a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Member and received the Illinois Rural Health Association Scholarship during her time at FCC. She learned that there is a wide variety of jobs available in the Health Informatics field, even in our local area.

Completing her internship this semester at Wabash General Hospital helped lead Thomason to the job she has now. Thomason says she would recommend this program to anyone interested in getting into the health care field on the non-clinical side of things because of the variety of jobs available with a Health Informatics degree.

Cathy Henry of Fairfield was a stay at home mom before she decided to make the commitment to go to college. Meeting with FCC academic advisor Eric Resor to sign up for the Executive Office Professional program, Resor suggested looking into the Health Informatics program after meeting with Henry. Giving it a go, Henry went on to obtain Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society honors and served as the President of the Health Informatics Club during her time at FCC. Henry enjoyed the program and learned much more than she could have imagined. She recommends the program to future students because you are not limited to just one job area after completing the program.

Completing her internship this semester at Christopher Rural Health Planning Corporation, Henry was called just two weeks later with a job offer to start on April 6 as a receptionist to answer phones, check patients in and out, collect co-payments, enter and update registration paperwork, and more. Currently working full days Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Henry will go full time following graduation on May 12.

As President of the Health Informatics Club, Henry and her fellow classmates attended college fairs at area high schools to help promote the program to potential students with instructor Jodi Peach. She also helped initiate many activities and fundraisers that have raised funds to help past, present, and even future students.

Health Informatics Faculty member Jodi Peach had nothing but praise for this group of students. “They are ideal students. They don’t make excuses for their education, they just do the work. I knew early on they were very goal oriented. They were like a breath of fresh air and I can’t wait to see where they go. They were here to get an education in health care and I just feel really honored to be a part of that.”

Henry’s words of advice were echoed by her fellow peers, “If you want to go to school to get an education and better yourself, no matter what is going on in your life – you can do it.”

For more information on the Health Informatics program, contact FCC at (618) 842-3711.

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