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Fulfilling Her Need to Serve

Stress, worry, and fear. These feelings and emotions are a fraction of what health care workers faced head-on during the pandemic. The stress alone caused a mass exodus of front-line health workers. In surveys from the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation as many as 30 percent of workers said they wanted out of the profession.

That was also true for Tulsa Tech student Kristy Irvine. “I was a nurse for 25 years, and the pandemic put me on a different level of stress and being away from my family,” she said.

Like many Americans, the pandemic caused Irvine to reevaluate her life. But she did not want to abandon what she had learned over the last quarter century.

“I didn’t want to go back to college and get another degree, so I was like ‘Medical Coding, I can do that’,” Irvine said.

With her plans in place, she needed to figure out where to retrain for her new career.

“I have two boys in high school at Broken Arrow, and Tulsa Tech has a large footprint there,” she said. “So, I got the catalog and found Medical Coding.” 

The nine-month, all-day adult program is helping her get back into the workforce. Yet, she worried if the program was the right fit, so she used her connections to do some research.

“I knew a few people in medical coding and asked them about Tulsa Tech, and they told me it was a great place, “she said. “Then I talked with the instructor here, which made me want to apply.”

Now sitting in a classroom again, Irvine says she finds the change oddly satisfying. But she still yearns to get back into the workforce and back to the goal of caring for people.

“It is amazing that I can take a nine-month course and walk back into the hospital and take care of the patient,” she said. “While I am not impacting their care, I can still impact their lives.”

A recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that the Medical Coding field will grow by seven percent over the decade. And jobs pay well, with an average salary here in Northeast Oklahoma of almost $43,000.

“I guess caring for people is just something you cannot take out of me,” Irvine said with a chuckle. “I am glad I can add this to my base knowledge and return to serving others.”

If you want to change careers or get ahead in your current job, Tulsa Tech can help. With a multitude of training options, Tulsa Tech can fit your needs.