Coders and Networking: It Goes Both Ways

Coders and Networking: It Goes Both Ways


by Rebecca Harmon, MPM, RHIA, CCA

My first three blogs on networking focused on how you can benefit from networking. Now it’s time to talk about reverse networking, or helping others.

We all need to remember our roots. Once upon a time we were knocking on the door of opportunity, hoping someone would open it and give us a chance. Now here we are – gainfully employed with a job title, a cubicle, a remote workstation or an office and a regular paycheck. We’ve made it! And that’s great but now it’s time to pay back more than our student loans: it’s time to give back. A payment is due on the good fortune that, along with our hard work, helped open doors for us. The best part about this isn’t how easy it is, but that it will also make us feel great. We will reap increased benefits for in helping others our ties to the professional community and our stature are strengthened immeasurably.

One of the easiest ways to reach back and help is to advocate for accepting student interns at your workplace. In my department we accept multiple students from the CAHIIM-accredited programs in the city: the community college HIT program, and the University undergraduate and graduate HIM programs. It’s a lot of work, but there’s no better way to support the growth and professional development of the next generation of HIM professionals and coders than to allow them to learn alongside you and your team. We call it growing the bench and our leadership team takes it very seriously.

If you’re not in a position to offer a formal internship to students, consider volunteering a few hours at your school’s open house or being a guest speaker in an HIT or HIM classroom so you can talk about what doors your education has opened for you. Be willing to share your email address (create one to use just for this) so people can reach out to you after the event. Consider leveraging Social Media to offer your unique perspective on the Coding or HIM professions, or create a LinkedIn page and post updates on related jobs, comment on relevant news articles or write a blog!

Now that you’re a regular at Professional Meetings, volunteer for the outreach committee, the education committee or in some other capacity that allows you to reach out. Most of the time, all it takes is a smile and a reassuring conversation. It’s normal for people to be unsure of themselves when starting down a new path and a friendly face lets them know that they’re not alone.

You can also stay informed about job openings in your organization and pass the information along. Pay attention to the factors that help others get hired and make a list of the things that job seekers can do that will help to tip the balance in their favor at interview time.

Lastly, be willing to talk to people wherever you go. You never know when your openness and willingness to share will be the tipping point in someone’s career. Each one of us is a link in a long chain of caring professionals who took the time to reach out and lend a hand. Once you’ve made it, remember to reach back and continue that tradition.

Other posts in this series:
Stay in Touch! Build your Network of Contacts to Help your Coding Career
Attn Coders: Make the Most of Attending your first Professional Meeting
Looking for a Coding Job? Try Networking Outside the Profession

About the Author

Rebecca Harmon, MPM, RHIA, CCA
Rebecca Harmon returned to HIM practice in a leadership role after spending many years as an HIM educator. Tapping her broad history of diverse healthcare experience that began with a tour of duty in the US Navy, Rebecca writes regularly and speaks on education, workforce issues, management and life. An energetic and engaging speaker, Ms. Harmon enjoys sharing her unique perspective with student, faculty, professional and community groups.

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