I Am AAPC: Samantha Turman, CPC-A, CRCST, CIS
I had worked as a Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) in the operating room for over 10 years when I received an email from the educational department about a medical coding program scholarship opportunity. I had no clue what medical coding was, but I was interested. I applied and was granted a scholarship. I started the course while I worked full time. The more I learned, the more I wanted to become a coder. The thought of telling a patient’s story with numbers was intriguing.
Time to Get Certified
After graduation, I was fresh and excited and wanted to take AAPC’s Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) exam. I took my first exam nervous and unprepared; I didn’t know what to expect. I had never taken a test lasting 5 hours and 40 minutes. I did not complete the exam and failed the test. I remember thinking to myself, “I ran out of time, that’s it.”
If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again
I scheduled to take the test again. All I needed was to work on my timing, so I thought. I took the exam again, and my timing was better. I failed the exam again, however. I took the exam three more times. I was at my wits’ end; I was so close to passing each time.
I knew that I was too close to give up. Besides, my children were watching and I wanted to set a good example. I knew that for me to pass, I had to do something I hadn’t done on the other exams. I logged on to the AAPC website to reschedule and to browse. It never occurred to me that AAPC was there to help me succeed. All I had to do differently was ask for help.
Help Me, AAPC!
I saw the names of my local chapter officers and I called the first name I saw, President-elect Donielle Martin, MBA, CPC. Martin was warm, empathetic, and listened with attention while encouraging me. I had no clue she was the local chapter president at the time; it wasn’t important. Martin went right to work and introduced me to Member Development Chair Rhonda Carney, CPC. Carney, while in school herself, became my tutor. I was excited to be a part of such an organization. I took the exam again, and I failed, again. I called Carney and she didn’t allow me even a moment of self pity.
Seventh Time Is a Charm
Carney told me, “We are going to meet and go over section by section. You can do this! Everything you need to know to pass is in the book.” I took the exam for the seventh time on June 13, 2015, and I passed! I was ecstatic.
I remembered something my daughter told me, “You don’t fail until you give up.” For anyone who wants to give up I say, “Reach out.” There are so many resources available for members through AAPC.