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Medical Coding Certificate Program
Cooperative Education
Learning Outcomes Summary Paper
Summer 2002

Gail A. Waterman

  • Continue to Develop My Career in Medical Records
  • Achievements
  • Work at Home


    My career in Medical Records began at Holyoke Community College as “an older student” married, with two sons. My oldest son was a sophomore when I was a freshman. The financial strain got to be too great on the family budget. I withdrew and got a full-time job as a secretary so that my son could continue and graduate. Later, I worked full-time and attended Adult Education evening classes. Realizing that it was impossible for me to take the time off from work to do the required hospital internship in the Medical Records Program I transferred my credits into the Executive Secretarial Program and graduated with honors.

    Before accepting a secretarial position at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, I took the Civil Service exam for medical secretary, and as a result I was selected by the Federal Government to work as a medical secretary at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in Leeds, Massachusetts. While there I attended staff meetings, workshops, and training seminars in Medical Administration. Some time later I worked for a short time as an EKG Technician at Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

    While working at the University of Massachusetts in the Undergraduate Registrar’s office I became fascinated with the complexity of computers and consequently learned how to use various computer programs.

    Finally, enrolling in a more advanced course in computers I learned how to create and design WebPages/sites. Since that time I have created and designed several websites/pages. The most recent one is for this portfolio: (see Appendix A - for print out of computer screen--front/first page.) My knowledge and computer skills are very useful in what I am currently learning in medical records data entry today.

    Also while working on my internship I compiled a list of codes, terms, and phrases frequently used on the Emergency Department reports. This resulted in a guidebook I titled; “Medical Coders Lexicon for E. D. Coding” (see Appendix B - first draft).


    I began taking these courses in the Medical Coding Certificate Program a couple of years ago with the intention of giving my sister (also in the program) moral support. However, I was not able to complete the program as planned last year due to a broken ankle. Nonetheless, I decided to return this spring and reenroll in the “Advanced Coding” course. I have returned with a genuine interest and determination to complete the program.

    My initial motive for attending courses in the Medical Coding Certificate Program has changed--I am doing this for myself so that I may obtain a medical coding position in the Medical Records at some facility to supplement my income. expect to complete my internship by the middle of August 2002.

    I plan to work in a medical facility long enough to gain a reasonable degree of expertise and then be able to work in my own residence.

    And I am still soaring far beyond my wildest dreams.