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Shearwater Health Advisors

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Donna Della

As the Program Manager of Shearwater’s Medical Coding Academy, I have been given the opportunity to help nurses get involved in medical coding through their scholarship program.

What's your job about?

I’m a Program Manager for Shearwater’s Medical Coding Academy, a scholarship program that helps nurses get involved in medical coding. I start my workday by going over my schedule to make sure any meetings are at the top of my mind. I respond to emails while my mind is still fresh; I like to make sure that I am giving them my full attention. In between meetings, I check in with my direct reports to see if they need anything from me. My role is fulfilling because I am helping nurses realize that there are clinical careers outside the hospital setting and there is no need to go overseas to provide for their families.

Have you imagined what happens after you leave the hospital or a physician consult? Medical coders ensure that physicians and facilities will continue providing health care by ensuring that the government and/or the insurance payers reimburse the costs of your visit. We transform diagnoses and procedures into medical codes which are used in the billing process. An interesting aspect of our job is that we read through a lot of medical records which allows us to improve our expertise in different clinical processes.

What's your background?

I was born in Malabon but relocated to Quezon City, which allowed easier travel to and from FEU during college. I think college is the stage wherein I transitioned from an easy-go-lucky kid to a responsible young adult. College has made me more independent and more confident, and FEU has taught me to pursue dreams with passion! As a Registered Nurse in the Philippines, it has been a long-time struggle to land a job in the clinical setting. And even if you find one, you will be underpaid and overworked, so eventually, I had to find the next best thing: CPO (Clinical Process Outsourcing). This line of work allowed me to be a nurse outside of a bedside setting. I believe I am doing meaningful work by helping the revenue cycle management of the healthcare system. One of the most important qualities a nurse should have is excellent communication skills. You will prosper in any industry if you know how to communicate effectively, not only to your patients but also to the people around you.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

Oprah says, “you always know it’s the right thing when in the end there is peace.” and I agree. Despite the long days and sometimes even nights, seeing the results of the coding certification exam made it all worth the time, effort, and exhaustion. Being able to impact the lives of fellow nurses by helping them with the program is something for which I will always be grateful to Shearwater. I would also like to give the utmost respect and credit to the trainers of the Medical Coding Academy because they’re the real heroes in the lives of our scholars!

What are the limitations of your job?

"Every master was once a beginner" - this has been my aphorism since I started in 2015. No one started as an expert. Everyone needs to begin with something. I think the biggest limitation of my job is time. The program is time-constrained so it needed to contain the foundations of Medical Coding. Developing expertise will take time.

What is your favorite memory working with someone at work (e.g. coworker, superior, client)?

In 2018 and 2019, a few clients visited our office to certify me to head the training here in Manila. During work hours, we needed to be professionals and accomplish our tasks. But my favorite memory is spending time with them after work. We dined out, shared jokes, and even shared a few Filipino words with them. To top all that off, I was certified as their training expert here in Manila! This experience opened another opportunity for me - in 2020, I traveled to North Carolina to attend the training certification onsite. Being acknowledged by Shearwater and its clients will always be a favorite memory of mine.

What do you wish people knew about your job?

I wish that people would see that we, in the CPO industry, are also making great contributions to the healthcare delivery system.

Do you have some advice on how to be successful in CPO for those aspiring student nurses, or newly graduate nurses, or new NLE passers?

For the longest time, we have limited ourselves in finding a job in the clinical setting. Although I have great appreciation and regard for bedside nurses, I found myself thriving within the Clinical Process Outsourcing (CPO) Industry. Keep an open mind and learn how to ignore nay-sayers; because at the end of the day, you'll have to pause and ask your self "for whom do I live, myself or others?"

Good luck and I hope that you also find the calling to your profession in the CPO industry just like I did!