Stars Align for Fargo Health Information Management Student


There are a precious few times in life where it just seems like the stars have aligned and by some stroke of luck everything in life is going your way. Fargo health information management student Brenna Welton is currently in the middle of one of those great runs of luck.

However, attributing her recent string of success to just luck is selling Welton short.  As the saying goes, you make your own luck. This is how Welton, with the help of Rasmussen College, created her own luck and began a new career she never imagined possible.

Making the switch

After graduating high school, Welton briefly attended North Dakota State College of Science with the hopes of becoming a dental hygienist. Ultimately, she was waitlisted for the program and she realized she didn’t want to tread water in school while waiting to get in to the program. She left NDSCS and had the first of her four daughters soon after. She spent several years working at a manufacturing plant near her hometown of Lisbon, North Dakota.

But as her family continued to grow, so did their childcare expenses. By the time Welton’s fourth daughter was born, the cost of childcare eclipsed what she was making at her job. That gave Welton more than enough incentive to leave her job and become a stay-at-home mom.

The transition to stay-at-home motherhood was an opportunity for Welton to not only spend time with her kids but to also make a return to school. Watching after her children is a full time job on its own, so the key for Welton was finding a school that would provide the scheduling flexibility she needed. She found exactly what she wanted in Rasmussen College and enrolled in the health information technician associate degree program in 2010.

Welton says she decided to pursue a healthcare related degree primarily due to the stability of the field. The factory where she was previously employed wasn’t doing very well, so it was often shut down. Healthcare, however, is “something that’s never going to go away.”

A successful start

Welton was naturally a little nervous about returning to school as it had been about a decade since she’d last been in a classroom. She says the staff at Rasmussen College did their best to keep her at ease.

“My student advisors have been great,” Welton says. “They checked up on me probably for the first year or so and reassured me that I was doing good and that I could make it—that was super helpful.”

Welton’s worries prior to starting classes turned out to be a little overblown—she’s been a consistent ‘A’ student right from the start. The key to her success has been organization, something she needs plenty of when managing assignment deadlines, her daughters’ activities and the coordination of the gymnastics program she coaches. Welton says a lot of her success can be attributed to simple determination.

“You have to want it,” she says. “If you have the drive you’ll be able to do it.”

A major part of the HIT curriculum is a practicum where students get to apply what they’ve learned in class to a real clinic. This experience can be a little intimidating for some, but Welton continued her streak of good performances. In fact, she did so well during her practicum at Family Medical Clinic in Lisbon that she was offered a part-time job soon after her practicum ended.

An even better finish

Welton earned an associate degree in 2012, and shortly after passed her RHIT certification exam. While she was happy with her position at the clinic, she wanted to take the next step in her education in order to open more doors in her healthcare career. She returned to Rasmussen College in January 2013 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in health information management.

Welton’s decision to return has already paid off—she started a new job in spring of 2014 working as an administrator for Ransom County Public Health. The job is a perfect fit for Welton, whose duties include tending to budgets, grant writing and managing “basically all aspects of public health.” Not only do her job duties align perfectly for her desired career, she doesn’t even have to leave her hometown—which is impressive when you consider that it’s a town of less than 3,000.

“I got so lucky … I wanted to be a healthcare administrator and here I am,” Welton says.

Although Welton says she initially planned to hold off on pursuing full time employment until her youngest daughter was in school, the opportunity was too good to pass up, especially with only a few months left before her daughter begins kindergarten. The transition to working full time while attending school had Welton bracing herself for a potential bump in the road academically—she says she was willing to accept a ‘B’—but her academic performance has stayed on track.  

She’s on track to graduate with a bachelor’s degree around June 2015. If the Brenna Welton from 2008 could see where she is now, both professionally and academically, she’d likely have a hard time believing it.

“I never imagined myself being here—I went from wearing grubby, dirty clothes every day working at a factory where I wished I could dress up and look nice,” Welton says. “I always wanted that. I didn’t exactly think I wanted to be a public health administrator at the time but this is more than I would have ever dreamed of me being.”

It looks as though the hard work she’s put in to make her own luck has finally paid off.

Make the change

Has your career stagnated? Or even failed to launch? An HIT associate degree or HIM bachelor’s degree from Rasmussen College could help you get back in the game and into the steadily growing healthcare industry.  Click the ‘Request Program Info’ button above to find out more!

About the author

Will Erstad

Will is a Sr. Content Specialist at Collegis Education. He researches and writes student-focused articles on a variety of topics for Rasmussen University. He is passionate about learning and enjoys writing engaging content to help current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.


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