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Debbie Kesselring, CPCS

photo of Debbie Kesselring, CPCS

Medical Staff Services Coordinator, Bartlett Regional Hospital, Juneau, Alaska

“Alaska is so rural and spread out that we don’t have the educational opportunities available like there are in the lower 48. In the last few years, I’d been interested in going back for more education, and after I looked around on the Internet, I was drawn to El Centro’s program. I was born and raised in Alaska, though I spent a couple of years in Dallas a while back, so I was somewhat familiar with the community college system.

“I contacted Cindy Gassiot and enrolled for Spring 2009 classes. I’ve been working at the same hospital for 14 years and in my current job for 11 of those years, so I already had background in the field. Before starting El Centro’s program, I did things on the job because I was told to, but now my Medical Staff Services class (and I’ve just taken one so far!) has taught me the why.

“I’m a one-person department in the only hospital on the island where Juneau is located, in the southeast part of the state. I also do credentialing verification for Petersburg Medical Center, which is a 25-bed hospital.

“The best thing about El Centro’s program so far is the background of knowledge I’m getting, because I understand the importance of it. I just feel like a sponge soaking up information. I had worked in the hospital’s mental health unit for three years in a unit clerk’s position. Then they needed a full-time medical staff services position to be accredited as a joint-commissioned hospital, and I was on the spot.

“I have a passion for what I do, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. We credential 300 providers each year, and I have a fabulous medical staff that is dedicated to our community. I’m a very detail-oriented person, and I enjoy what I do.“

Though she lives and works in Alaska, Debbie Kesselring began taking online Medical Staff Services through El Centro College in Spring 2009 to earn the educational credentials of a job she has been doing for 11 years. She has served as the secretary/treasurer in the state of Alaska’s Medical Staff Services Association since 2004.