Shari Colabello

Shari Colabello

1. What is your first and last name, current school, which program are you in, and how many years do you have left?
Shari Colabello
Clarkson College, Omaha Ne.
Health Information Management
Pursuing an associate degree in Health Information Technology
Expected graduation: December 2017

2. What got you interested in a degree in HIM?
I have always been interested in being part of health care in some capacity. My late husband and I were small business owners for many years so I had a solid business background. After my youngest was on her way in college, I decided it was a perfect time to do something that I was passionate about and that was getting into health care. In the HIM department I am able to combine my business experience with the healthcare field.

3. What career path do you intend to pursue once you graduate?
I actually would love to work in a hospital in an HIM department. I realize that in this area of study there are opportunities to telecommute but the idea of being out there in the fast-paced health care setting is appealing to me. I think I feel this way because this is a brand-new career for me and I am very excited to become part of that. I have started my coding classes this semester and absolutely love this area of study. This may be a definite possibility of a career path I would pursue.

4. What have you found to be the most challenging experiences you have had in the HIM program so far?
The greatest challenge for me personally was the decision to go back to college after so many years. This created a huge learning curve for me but one that I am so happy to have done. I began taking classes in medical terminology and pharmacology and this was difficult for me because I had no medical background. The HIM profession involves areas of study that are constantly changing such as technology and rules and regulations concerning the health record. This is challenging in the sense that a student needs to be completely open and aware that things are changing and not to let yourself get overwhelmed. I personally love that I am exposed to new ideas all the time and that is what makes this field of study exciting.

5. If you could change one thing about the HIM program, what would it be?
I believe that the HIM professional needs to be well rounded in the different areas of healthcare. Learning about the history of medicine, how hospitals and clinics operate, role of PT and OT and many more, only enriches our understanding of the healthcare profession as a whole. I am very fortunate to be studying at Clarkson where this is standard in our program. Some of the required core classes at Clarkson challenge us as students to expand our thinking and stress the moral and ethical way we need to approach our work. I believe these classes enrich our education and I feel will help me be a better health care professional.

6. What is an element of being an HIM program you wish more people understood?
One element that I feel may not be realized is the role that an HIM professional has as stewards of the medical record. The extent of knowledge needed to understand the changing technology along with privacy and security of the health record is challenging. HIM professionals also need a solid background in medical terminology and knowledge of how the healthcare system works as a whole.

7. What do you think will change about the HIM profession over the next five to ten years? Why?
The main area of growth will be in more health records shifting from paper and hybrid systems to electronic. With that being said, this creates an ongoing need for HIM professionals to remain skilled and knowledgeable in order to keep up with the changes. Technology is constantly changing in all area of our lives in how we communicate and it is no different in the medical field. As medical advances are constantly being made using new technology, the HIM profession is also changing at the same pace with keeping up with cutting edge technology.

8. What would you tell someone who is thinking about enrolling in the HIM program?
I believe the main thing is having the passion to be in healthcare. The HIM field will give someone that opportunity along with using their business skills. I could have chosen another route in business but for me it was the desire to be part of health care in some capacity. The other thing I would mention is that this profession offers so many different opportunities and choices of jobs.

9. What is one way you think we could engage the student population in the state HIM association?
I would love to see more networking opportunities made available to students. I think it would be exciting for students to become more involved in professional organizations and be able to interact with those who are out there in the real world. I feel that you gain so much from learning from others that you cannot get from a textbook.

10. Is there any additional information you would like to share with us?
The only other thing I want to add is the satisfaction of being able to have more than just a job. At my age I never would be going back to school to begin a completely new career if I was not passionate about it. I look forward to coming home at the end of my day and knowing that I made a contribution to a field that cares for people. I look forward to approaching my career with high integrity and am so proud that Clarkson is preparing me to meet the challenges ahead.