Yvonne at desk

Breaking the Code to a Fulfilling Career

When Yvonne Stovall took early retirement from her United States Post Office position, she never dreamed it would be the catalyst to inspire her achievement of a college degree, let alone a more meaningful career.

Yvonne, a South Holland resident, contemplated her options. She was 49 years young, and she knew she wanted to continue working. Yvonne felt fortunate that she could take her time to find something she would truly love. She and her family had their own battles with cancer, and while thoughts of working in the medical field always stayed with her, Yvonne didn’t want to work hands-on with patients at this stage in her life.

Then, she received a sign in the mail: a postcard arrived with information about the Allied Health programs at her local community college. She read about South Suburban College’s Coding Specialist Program and knew immediately this is what she was called to do.

“Easier said than done,” thought Yvonne. How was she going to get into college when her last significant educational experience was earning a GED more than 30 years ago? “Not as hard as I thought.” Yvonne found enrollment at community college was easy, and when she spoke with a counselor in January of 2017 she learned there were just four basic prerequisites she needed before applying into the program.

Yvonne became confident she could “go for it” and with the help of SSC’s support services, she became eligible to apply for the Fall 2017 entry into the Coding Specialist Program, and was accepted.

“It was awesome! The counselors helped me, the Academic Assistance Center was excellent, and my Coding instructors were extraordinary,” said Yvonne. “It wasn’t easy [although Yvonne earned mostly A’s] but I really enjoyed it. Better yet, everything that I was learning I was able to apply later on in my job interviews and on the job.”

Yvonne graduated in July of 2018 (Coding Specialist is a three-semester program) and earned both In-Patient Coder and Physician Coder Certifications. She interviewed with Franciscan Alliance shortly after graduation. “They were impressed with my knowledge of codes and I received an offer the next day,” said Yvonne.

After just nine months of employment, Yvonne was promoted to Ambulatory Hospitalist Coder I and is now working entirely from home.

True to form, Yvonne doesn’t plan to stop there in her pursuit of advancement. “I want to keep moving forward in my level of coding. SSC prepared me well and motivated me to put everything I had into it, and I am so grateful I did,” said Yvonne.

The success Yvonne experienced through her education gave her the confidence to write her own story overcoming roadblocks in both her professional and personal life, including dealing with an unexpected divorce. “I love to travel, and now I have the ability to provide for myself and work remotely. How great is that?”