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After 32 years, I no longer want to do patient care. Would a course in coding, case management or minimum data set coordination be a good career move?

Wednesday December 5, 2012
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Dear Donna,

I have been a nurse for 32 years and am no longer interested in doing direct patient care. I did Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set collection and did like it. Do you suggest a course in coding, case management or minimum data set coordination?

No Longer Wants Patient Care

Dear Donna replies:

Dear No Longer Wants Patient Care,

Your HEDIS experience will serve you well as you move forward. Rather than pursuing coding, which will require an investment of time and money on your part, I suggest you look into case management, utilization review, MDS and HEDIS work, and becoming a clinical documentation specialist. This is a hot and growing field and you already have a foot in the door. Although many courses are offered, most nurses learn this work on the job, which is not that complicated.

Start attending local chapter meetings of related professional associations such as the Case Management Society of America (www.cmsa.org), or the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination (www.aanac.org). When there's something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. Networking is known to be a very effective way to find a job.

Many nurses don’t realize just how versatile and transferable their nursing knowledge and skills are. Some think they always need additional training, education and certification before they can do something else. While additional education is usually necessary in some cases — such as in coding and billing — you would be able to easily adapt to the other specialties mentioned above.

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://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.