Data-Driven and Purpose-Filled: Meet Sylvia Sanders, BU HIM Graduate

Sylvia Sanders is data-driven and loves getting into the details, but she used to work in a field that wasn’t fulfilling to her – she knew she wanted something more. She decided to combine her love for details and data with healthcare and move into a career in health information management. Sylvia’s journey began at a different school, which Sylvia learned after completing coursework that it had not finalized its accreditation of her program. Without an accredited program and degree, Sylvia could not sit for the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) exam through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Sylvia needed to find an accredited program and soon discovered Bryan U’s Health Information Management (HIM) program, which is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

After speaking with a friendly and supportive admissions staff at Bryan U, she learned that she would only need to take nine courses to complete her degree. She states: “In the end, it was the feel of the phone calls I had with the BU staff, the program’s accreditation, and the fact that the majority of my credits would transfer that led me to choose Bryan.”  Sylvia also liked the innovative direction her program was going at BU, in addition to the online experience, which was also vital for her. The online format of Bryan U’s program gave her the flexibility that allowed her to keep working at her job, keep up with her outside obligations, and still finish on time.

After completing her coursework and graduating from BU’s HIM program, Sylvia was fully prepared to sit for the RHIT exam. The HIM program at Bryan has the RHIT certification exam information woven in the course curriculum, as well as opportunities for practice exams, along with pre- and post-tests, ensuring that graduates are fully prepared to pass. Sylvia graduated from Bryan in July and was able to sit for and pass her RHIT exam by October. Sylvia also felt that the program took a practical, true-to-life approach to the learning materials. Now that she’s on the job and working in the field, she sees where her course work applies to her day-to-day duties. “The technology I utilized as a student at Bryan is very applicable to what I use today in the field.”

Currently, Sylvia is working at RI International as an E-Health Record Administrator and Trainer on the Electronic Medical Records Team. What she finds most fulfilling in her career is the direction it has taken. When she began working in the field, she was on the front-end in the records office, learning the day-to-day processes, including data storage management and security. Now that she’s moved to the back-end, she can utilize her previous experience and her education from Bryan to correct errors, build useful software widgets, and implement new programs. In addition to her day job, Sylvia continues working part-time at Bryan as an Academic Specialist. In this role, she is able to give back and support students in the HIM program who may need extra help or guidance in a class or on an assignment. She also helps with smaller curriculum projects and has even served as a subject matter expert for the RHIT exam preparation course. “I really enjoy helping the students. It’s especially rewarding when you see someone who is struggling, and you work with them and watch them improve. It really feels good to give back in that way.”

Bryan U exceeded Sylvia’s expectations in so many ways, from the excellent communication to the assignments and virtual experiences, which she found to be very motivational and compelling. One of the best memories was her first course, which was all about student success and mindset. She felt it gave her the tools to succeed in her program, and she found the coursework to be very inspirational.

Sylvia’s advice to students thinking about Bryan: “Do it. Take the plunge into your education and your career. It is so worth it in the end!”

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