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Can a seasoned hospice RN move into ICD coding? What can this RN do to help land a case management job other than applying for those jobs?

Thursday February 27, 2014
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Dear Donna,

I have been a hospice RN for nearly 20 years. My unit closed November 2013 and I have been on unemployment since that time. Most of the work out in the field I’m finding would be per diem work, which is not the type of work I want. I also feel it's time for me to make a change. I was thinking of going into ICD coding. Would you be able to tell me if that is an area that would be advisable for me to enter?

I have applied for jobs in case management, utilization management and as nurse navigator but have not had even one interview. I see that you will be in Atlantic City in April; I am interested in attending.

Wondering About ICD Coding

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wondering About ICD Coding,

Sometimes the universe facilitates a change of direction in our lives, whether we are ready for it or not. The best thing to do is to start exploring options, just as you are doing now. There are virtually endless opportunities for nurses.

Coding and billing is certainly one option for you. You would either need to find a job that offered on-the-job training, which is possible but not prevalent. Invest some time and money in a few courses to learn this specialty. Before you do, I suggest you participate in informational interviewing with some nurse coders to learn what the specialty is all about. You can make the most of the informational interview experience by reading my article, “The scoop on informational interviewing” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing). Find these nurse coders by doing an Internet search or asking your contacts who they know in this area. Informational Interviews would apply to any other specialty you are considering as well.

When looking to break into a new specialty, networking is a better, more effective way to find a job than simply applying for these jobs. Networking not only involves informational interviews but going to local chapter association meetings, even as a guest, to meet people working in a specific speciality. One such organization of interest to you is the Case Management Society of America (www.cmsa.org). Remember, when there's something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. Read “How to change specialties” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Change-Specialties) to prepare you to move into a new chapter of your career.

You also should attend career fairs to explore options, practice your self-marketing skills and network with prospective employers and agencies. Read “How to get the most out of attending a career fair” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Career-fair). See what's coming up in your area: (http://www.nurse.com/events/career-fairs).

My Atlantic City, New Jersey seminar, “Career alternatives for nurses” scheduled for April 9 would be an excellent for you as you begin exploring your career options. You'll get good information and resources to help you in your job search and get all of your career questions answered in person. I also provide creative tips and strategies to find the jobs that are never advertised and how to break into a new specialty.

To find out more about the seminar, click on this link: (http://www.nurse.com/events/ce-seminars). Then scroll down just past the Upcoming Seminars heading, and you’ll see the link to the April 9 “Career alternatives for nurses” seminar. Click on the Register Now tab to see full details about
the seminar.

Best wishes,
Donna


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.