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I passed the national certification for medical coders, but need advice on how to get such a job when I don't have the experience they want.

Tuesday December 10, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I have more than 30 years of nursing experience, having been a CRNA for more than 20 years. I had to stop due to health issues. I have recently passed the national certification as a medical coder. All coder jobs want experience, but I am having trouble finding an entry-level coding job. I am hoping to get in to auditing. I also have several years experience as an expert witness for anesthesia med-mal cases.

Because of my health issues, a part-time job is a requirement. A remote job would be best, and I’m hoping you have some suggestions for me.

Considering Coding

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Considering Coding,

Your coding knowledge and certification is valuable and can be used in many different ways and places, with or without coding experience. And just for the record, if all coding position wanted only applicants with experience, no one new would ever come into the field. All experienced people started somewhere. So even though that is your perception, there are opportunities for you.

Because ideally you are looking for part-time and home-based positions, I would start by contacting nursing agencies who do non-bedside placement.

You also should contact your state Quality Improvement Organization about opportunities. They may or may not have remote positions, but they do audit work, quality studies and more. Find them here: http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/QualityImprovementOrgs/index.html?redirect=/QualityImprovementOrgs/. Scroll down and under “Related Links,” click on the QIO state directory link.

When there's something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. So find nurse coders and/or auditors by searching the Internet and social media channels (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) and asking around. Also, do some informational interviewing (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing) with coders/auditors to find out what job might be the best fit for you. Networking is a very effective way to find a job at any phase of your career.

Best wishes,


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www. Nurse.com/Events.