Deciding what to do with the rest of your life at age 18 can be a very challenging decision, and it’s one Eagan Health Information Technician (HIT) graduate Jennifer Knutson knows about firsthand.
Knutson attended a four-year university right after high school and earned a business degree in marketing. However, once her job search began, she realized she wasn’t finding the type of work she wanted. After accepting an entry level position at HealthPartners as a service specialist, Knutson was learning more and more about the Health Information Technology field and decided she wanted to make a big change in plans.
“My position there really intrigued me and I realized that I was interested in the data side of health information,” said Knutson. “I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get into a coding position or another position that really interested me without having the formal education and background for it. So that’s when I decided I should get my associate’s degree and get credentialed.”
Balancing work and school is often a common challenge for most students, and this was no different for Knutson. While working toward her associate degree, she held a full-time position with Mayo Clinic Health Systems. However, a new twist was added to her life – the birth of her first child.
“It was a struggle,” Knutson said. “It was really hard after I had my first daughter because I started school and was working 50 hours a week as well. It took a lot of support from our family and friends to manage.”
A big part of what made it possible for Knutson to balance work, kids and school was the flexibility Rasmussen College provided with online coursework.
“Being able to work full-time while having flexibility with online courses really was the big selling point for me,” said Knutson.
How Rasmussen prepared her for a new career
Knutson says the focus on real-world situations in the HIT curriculum was very helpful in preparing her for things she now sees on a regular basis at work; part of that real-world focus comes from the background of her instructors’.
“I really enjoyed that my instructors all also worked full time in the health information field so I knew that the education I was getting was a true picture of what the job actually is and not just information from a textbook,” Knutson said.
The practicum work Knutson completed also prepared her for what to expect in the HIT field on a day-to-day basis.
“We worked with real charts from real patients so you knew these would be the types of things you’d actually see [in the field], [and that it wasn’t] some made-up situation,” Knutson said.
Another aspect of her educational experience Knutson enjoyed was the ability to watch multiple instructors’ webinars if she was struggling with a subject.
“I had one instructor that really stuck out to me as incredibly knowledgeable about health information and coding,” said Knutson. “I took every opportunity I could to follow her and get her view on the topics we covered. It was really helpful to have another perspective if I was having trouble following what other instructors had to say about a topic.”
A career finally on track
Now that Knutson has graduated with her associate degree she has started a new job as Charge Capture Auditor for Park Nicollet Health Systems. While it took some time for Knutson to settle into her current career path, she says she is comfortable with where she is in her life.
“I really like where I’m at right now and I love coming to work every day,” said Knutson. “I know I have a purpose here and also have the background and the knowledge to back up what I’m doing every day. I’m completely confident in what I’m doing so the next step for me is to flourish in my career.”
Share your story
If you have a success story from your tenure at Rasmussen College and would like to share it, please email me, Will Erstad, at firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to leave a comment below.