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I Am AAPC: Beth Helsel, RN, CPC, CRC

I Am AAPC: Beth Helsel, RN, CPC, CRC

I graduated from nursing school in 1999 and entered the world of healthcare as a registered nurse. Throughout my nursing career, I gained experience in pediatrics, family practice, and internal medicine in a variety of settings. My first experience with coding came when I took a job as a registered nurse assessment coordinator at a nursing home. I became a self-taught coder in this role, and discovered I really liked the paperwork side of nursing and enjoyed coding, as well.

Nursing Leads to Chart Auditing

The next step I took in my career led me to chart auditing for a large physician practice. I was challenged and increased my knowledge base in coding, auditing, and quality initiatives. I gained a lot of knowledge from educating providers on evaluation and management, as well as documentation and coding guidelines. This role was such a great way to combine both nursing and coding.

Chart Auditing Leads to Educating

I’ve been a physician educator in the Risk Adjustment department of a health plan for the past four years. In this capacity, I call on both my nursing and coding experience.
I first obtained my Certified Professional Coding (CPC®) credential, and then went on to obtain my Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC™) credential.
In working with risk adjustment, I have expanded my teaching experience to public and private coding and documentation classes. I have spoken at my Johnstown, Pa., local chapter, and I had the opportunity to serve as education officer. It felt great to give back to the chapter through education and proctoring. I encourage you to get involved in your local chapter.

Advice to Grow By

Keep challenging yourself to gain more knowledge. Surround yourself with knowledgeable people; seek current information you must know to do your job well; and earn relevant certifications. I already have in mind the next certification I’d like to try for.
As you grow in your career, look for someone who can be a mentor. Find a person who has been through similar experiences, a person to push you and help you to grow. I have been blessed in my career to find a great mentor. When I had doubts about taking a risk, she challenged me to keep growing. She saw my strengths and experience and recognized an opportunity that turned out to be a great fit for me. I hope you are lucky enough to find that person, too.

Embrace Opportunity and Expect the Unexpected

Be ready for and embrace unexpected turns in life. They are the pathway to personal and career growth. If you told me four years ago that I’d love teaching, I may have doubted you. Time and experience have changed my point of view. Embracing opportunity means never shying away from a new challenge. No matter what happens, the experience is invaluable.

2 Responses to “I Am AAPC: Beth Helsel, RN, CPC, CRC”

  1. Kimberly Hope Scott, RN, CPC says:

    I would love to speak with you! I became an RN in 1990, and worked in ER, PACU, CCU, CTVU, acute and chronic hemodialysis for 27 years. I got my CPC certification last month, and am now pursuing my CRC and COC certifications. I am having a very hard time getting a remote coder job ( which is what I need due to changing family circumstances).
    All the companies post that they are seeking 3 to 5 yrs experience coding. Which I’ll never have, unless I can get my foot in the door! Any advice for me?

  2. Sheila caron says:

    I also am a RN but in January 2010 battle appendecele carcinoma went back to work June 2010 but due to further complications step away and went to IT as an analyst of EHR. Then in 2019 a 2nd battle cancer this time breast cancer but during my treatment I was unable to get any sleep, and extremely fatigue. We had moved from ME to NC 2015 but I still work remotely for ME and was being prescribed HRT from a doctor in ME. Once I was dx in 2019 I knew I needed local care and tried to find in network providers to continue me on HRT that has been working for me 10 yrs. unfortunate I was not successful so I looked outside the insurance and found an integrated healthcare that works with me and my symptoms. My insomnia and extreme fatigue started during radiation I reached out to my doctors for help they RX sleep aids but they were short lived eventually I had to leave my job from lack of sleep and fatigue, due to the time I found some one to work with me on my hormones I was a mess. Eventually my hormones were corrected, but I still struggled with insomnia and fatigue, the doctor was confident something else was going on so he ran some blood work, and was he right my body was fighting pneumonia my IgG 125 u/ml the range 0-99 and my IgM 1400u/ml range 0-769; EBV Ab VCA IgM 67.5 u/ml range 0.0-35.9, EBV Ab VCA IgG 165.0 u/ml range 0.0-17.9; EBV Nuclear Antigen IgG 296.0 u/ml range 0.0-17.9! OMG no wonder I am extremely fatigue and can not sleep. I am on antibiotics and starting to feel better but have been contemplating coding/ auditing for a while.
    20 years ago in I worked for BCBS processing claims and loved it, but went in to be an RN.
    I am thinking of starting with the COC course then hopefully progress to auditing. Any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you