Health Information Associate II, Parkland Health and Hospital System, Dallasand Baylor Medical Center at Irving
“I started nursing school 20 years ago, but life happened — my husband was in the military and was stationed in different places and we had two kids, so I just wasn’t able to finish. So after all that time, I was at Brookhaven College with my daughter, who was registering for classes there, and saw a flier about the Medical Front Office program. I went to the information session and then signed right up for classes. I got the job at Baylor about three months after I finished my certificate, in the spring of 2008.
“I had had previous experience in electronic medical records, but not in a medical setting — I had worked for a company that did document imaging for a long time. My current job isn’t exactly in my field, but it’s gotten my foot in the door and is giving me experience.
“There’s not a thing I don’t use from the information I learned in the Medical Front Office program: insurance, coding, medical terminology. The classes did a very good job of teaching skills that we’d really need. We were always learning from people who have worked in the field, not just learned information in a classroom.
“I’m very comfortable with the knowledge I gained in the program because I have a really good understanding of the job that I’m supposed to do. Everything I learned in class lines up very well with the job; it’s all real-world stuff. There’s what the book says, and that’s great in theory, but it really helps me feel confident in my work that I also have hands-on knowledge.
“Another thing I took with me from the program is the learning how to work as part of a team because on the job that’s how we provide quality care for our patients. We have to use teamwork to provide the information that doctors need, so that when they sit down with medical records they can provide the quality of care a patient needs.
“I am part of a big team, and I feel that I’m doing something meaningful: I’m helping patients get the best quality of care that they can. I love feeling that what I’m doing has significance and what I do will make a difference in people’s lives.”
Margaret Lembcke earned a credit certificate in Brookhaven College’s Medical Front Office program as one of the program’s first two graduates. In her position as a health information associate at both Parkland Health and Hospital System of Dallas and Baylor Medical Center at Irving, she helps to make sure that patients’ charts and imaging records are complete and legal documents, with all information correct and accounted for.