Have you ever considered volunteering your time with WSHIMA? To be truthful with you, before three years ago, I hadn’t! First of all, I didn’t feel that I had been a part of the world of HIM long enough to have anything significant to contribute. Secondly, I found it to be very intimidating to consider. So, I think that makes me the perfect person to encourage all of you to think about volunteering, wherever you find yourself in your professional career at this time, whether you are a new graduate, currently working, or even retired.
My first experience with WSHIMA was as a student attending the 2011 annual convention at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane WA. I graduated that year and began working soon after. To continue earning my CEU’s I attended our regional chapter, INHIMA. I paid my dues and meeting fees, and I enjoyed the fruits of the labor of the local board without ever giving a thought as to how these meetings came together. Then in 2012, I was nominated to serve on the INHIMA board. I was curious about the experience and accepted the nomination. I was later elected to serve as INHIMA President Elect for 2013. One of the benefits of serving is that the President represents the regional board with WSHIMA. So in 2014, I began to attend the WSHIMA board meetings.
I have to admit to you that the first meeting I attended I felt like I was completely out of my element. I looked around the room at the group of professionals who had achieved a status in their careers that I hadn’t even yet contemplated. Their level of knowledge and dedication was astounding. Much of what they talked about went completely over my head at the time. I thought, “What am I doing here?!” On the flip side of that experience, was the way that they welcomed me and encouraged me to participate. I continued to attend and brought back ideas to share with our local chapter. I got to know these amazing and dynamic people, and I grew in personal and professional ways.
I have now finished my term with INHIMA, and in the meantime I have served on the WSHIMA Nominating, Coding, and Annual Convention Committees. I played a small role in helping to put together some of the coding sessions for the 2016 Annual Convention.
As a member attending the learning opportunities put together by our local and state organizations, it’s easy to take for granted how these offerings come together for us. The groups of people working behind the scenes to put them together can seem anonymous and bit like the man behind the green curtain. It’s not magic though and we can take the opportunity to give back and participate. I encourage you to consider being a part of this group of dedicated people. What you will find is that they are an amazing and welcoming group. You will learn that you do have much that you can offer, and that what you gain will be rewarding and well worth your time.
Cindy Stephens, RHIT