I have been a RN for 19 years and I’m interested in working as a nurse in medical billing/coding as a document specialist. Do you have any suggestions of an online program? What is the process to become self-employed and to get started in this area
Interested in Coding and Billing
Dear Donna replies:
Dear Interested in Coding and Billing,
To learn what you need to know to work in this specialty, you will need to do one of two things: Find a position in a setting where training is provided, which is possible but difficult to find. Take a series of related courses, which are offered through adult education programs at some colleges, through some private education companies and through related professional associations (see more on associations, below). This will require an investment of time and money.
Before you move forward with training though, I suggest that you do some informational interviewing (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) with several nurses already working in this specialty. By speaking with these nurses, you will be able to fully understand what is involved in working in this area, what the day-to-day work is like and what is the upside and downside to working in this specialty. Doing so will allow you to be certain it is right for you. Be sure you speak to nurse coders/billers as opposed to non-nurses in this specialty, both employed and self-employed. Where can you find these nurses? By asking around, searching on LinkedIn and other social media sites and through associations such as the Association of Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists (www.hcpro.com/acdis/).
You can also attend local chapter meetings of the above association (and others such as American Academy of Professional Coders (www.aapc.com) as a guest. When theres something you want to do or at least learn more about, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. This type of networking is also a very effective way to find job openings and get hired.
You will find more helpful tips in switching your specialty by reading this article: How to change specialties (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Change-Specialties).