Credentialing & Privileging | 10.15.20
Certification Return on Investment: A Personal Journey
As many seasoned or new medical staff services professionals do, I began my career because someone believed that I had the critical and analytical thinking and attention to detail skills needed to work in a medical staff office. At the time, I did not know what a medical staff was or what duties and responsibilities those employed in the department had. I slowly began climbing my career ladder, starting as an administrative assistant. A couple of years later, I was trained to become a credentialing specialist and was promoted to credentialing specialist lead. These promotions occurred without me even considering certification.
However, I was in for a surprise; I had just completed my Bachelor of Science in criminal justice and was on track to be promoted to manager. The position had two requirements — have a bachelor’s degree and a Certified Provider Credentialing Specialist (CPCS) certification. I could only check off the first requirement. Meanwhile, my boss at the time was conspicuously “sharing the benefits of certification every other day.”
Since my upcoming promotion required me to be certified, I had to act immediately. My boss graciously allowed me to sign up for a two-day CPCS pre-certification course, and I sat for the test a month after. Voila! After patiently waiting six–eight weeks for the test results, I passed. This accomplishment “elevated my stock” among my peers. I noticed that those who had never taken my expertise seriously began acknowledging me publicly and privately.
Achieving certification enhanced the passion I already had for our profession. I gained the respect of my peers, physicians, physician leaders, accreditation surveyors, and auditors. I became a constant and reliable source both within and outside my healthcare organization. Return on investment (ROI) in our profession is simple. Whatever money used to purchase study and practice materials or the fees paid to sit for the certification exam, in the long run, is returned two-fold once you receive confirmation that you successfully passed the exam. For instance, it increases the possibility of advancement within your organization or gives you the courage to step out of your comfort zone and apply for a managerial position. Believe me when I say that achieving certification is a boost to your confidence and a validation of your knowledge and skills.
If you have sat for one of the certification tests and have failed, you may be discouraged, but I am here to tell you to not give up. Start by making a reassessment of your study practices. How much time a week, or day, are you setting aside to study? Should you join a study group or seek the help of a mentor? The ROI benefits may be unique to each certificant; however, I am positive that it outweighs the reasons why you should not sit for the exam. In my journey, the ROI continues to reap its benefits. I will never forget when my name was given to my chief medical officer as a replacement for the soon-to-be-vacated position of director of my department a couple of years ago. The sky is the limit!
Patricia E. Brown, MMHA, MBA, CPCS, CPMSM, is the director of credentialing and medical staff services at Touchette Regional Hospital. She is a member of the NAMSS Certification Committee (CCN).