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APPRENTICE SPOTLIGHT: Imelda Resendez - Success Story

Medical Coder I, Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, Dignity Health, SEIU-UHW & Joint Employer Education Fund Participant


Imelda Resendez’s first job in healthcare was as a Medical Assistant at Dignity Health’s Mercy Medical Center in 1995. “I spent six years working there, but after having children, the long hours and weekend work wasn’t working out.” Imelda left her position and settled for a part-time job at a local doctor’s office to support her family and care for her children.


Thirteen years later, in 2008, Imelda returned to Dignity Health as part of the registration team in the Patient Access Department. She learned every aspect of her job and covered multiple areas and departments. Her hard work finally paid off with a promotion in 2018 to Lead Patient Access Clerk. While that new position increased her salary, Imelda’s main focus was career growth. “I felt like I had reached my goals there and there wasn’t any more room for growth or for a promotion.”


That opportunity for a career change came in 2019, when the SEIU-UHW & Joint Employer Education Fund launched a new medical coding apprenticeship program. “I knew I was capable of so much more, but I didn’t know how to get there.When I was offered a spot in the coding apprenticeship, I felt like it happened at exactly the right time in my life.”


Imelda completed the initial coursework and passed her certified professional coder exam in 2020. Unfortunately, the pandemic slowed down her plans to get a coding position as all related trainings were put on pause.


In March 2022, as the world returned to normal, the Education Fund contacted Imelda again with another opportunity to complete her journey to becoming a full-time medical coder. She began the projected yearlong apprenticeship program in May 2022. Imelda completed all aspects of her registered apprenticeship program in February 2023 and is now officially working as a Dignity Health Medical Coder I! “The coding apprenticeship was excellent! The training was hard, but I enjoyed learning from the best instructors, and I will always be grateful for this opportunity.”


Imelda loves her new job as Medical Coder, and she now has the flexibility to work from home, making it easier to meet family obligations. “The apprenticeship experience gave me confidence. I gained confidence, and I now know that I can accomplish anything that comes my way.”


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