Care + Career

      Resources, news and fun for NHA certification candidates and alumni.

      Welcome to the world of coding with Arlene James (Normandin)

      The healthcare industry changes everyday, making continuing education vital to your success as an allied health professional. That’s why NHA requires Continuing Education (CE) credits to maintain certification. And when it comes to creating new educational content, we turn to some of the industry’s top experts — active leaders of the allied health community who are helping shape the future of healthcare.

      Welcome to the world of coding with Arlene James (Normandin), CPC. She is the expert responsible for the new CE article series: Coding Case Studies. 

      In this series, coders will put their knowledge to the test by reading a variety of case studies and deciding how to code each visit. Each coding bundle includes five scenarios that take place in different health care settings. Scenarios in each packet also include different levels of coding-- beginner, intermeidate and advanced. You can earn three CE credits for each coding bundle in the series.

      Are you ready to move your career forward?

      Besides keeping your certification current, Arlene has some great advice. She suggests asking your supervisor for additional responsibilities. Let them know that you are eager to learn by volunteering to work on projects or request to be introduced to a new specialty area of coding. 

      “It's nice to find your niche or what you love to work on most, but try something new. It can become a great feeling of accomplishment," she says. 

      By getting out of her comfort zone, Arlene was able to become a billing & coding instructor at a community college, where she helps enrich the lives of her students through education. She believes you should also learn to showcase your soft skills. Some of the most important lessons in healthcare come with experience and aren't always learned in the classroom. Employers are looking for allied healthcare workers who are both competent and skilled in these areas:

      • Team-oriented
      • Strong written communicator 
      • Strong oral communicator or presenter of information
      • Self-motivated
      • Compassionate and empathetic

      Arlene James, Coding CPC .png

       With over 35 years of experience in billing and coding, Arlene has some valuable career insights to share. We asked her a few questions to help you get to know more about her outlook on the industry and some of the tips that lead to her career success. 


      What advice would you give to someone early in their career and new to the coding industry?

      Many hospitals and physicians’ offices would love you to have 3-5 years experience before hiring a coder – which certainly doesn’t help a “newbie” in our profession. During an interview, suggest scenarios on your own and give  the correct answers. Share an article you may have recently read on an update in coding or billing that they may not know about. Get your foot in the door, then make yourself known as the go-getter in the office. 

      Who has inspired you to continue advancing in your career?

      My parents inspired me, especially my mom. They saw my diligence and how hard working I was in my coding career. They have been so encouraging to me and always expressed how proud they were.  

      There have been other co-workers and supervisors who inspired me by commending my dedication and saw my advancement and eagerness. One supervisor helped me obtain my AAPC certification with his commendation and love for coding, and a few managers gave me many “kudos” in my hard efforts. 

      Who is this CE series for?

      There are scenarios for beginning, intermediate and advanced coders. You will also practice the use of modifiers and how to use them correctly. Prepare to be challenged - and don't forget your books! CPT,  ICD-10 and Level II HCPCS manual are necessary to complete the case studies.


      NHA certificate holders have exclusive access to our CE library with no additional fees. To access Arlene's article and earn three CE credits per case study bundle, log in to your NHA account now.

      Before completing NHA CE, you should check the rules or regulations of the licensing or regulatory agency of your state, in case there are different requirements.


      We’re grateful to have experts like Arlene contributing valuable content in our newest CE series: “Coding Case Studies.” We believe there’s no better source of learning than from the men and women who are actively working — and leading — the industry today.

      Topics: Insider, continuing education