26-year-old Jessica Osorio is one of the first graduates of the Healthcare Administration Pathways program, a three-month accelerated training towards a specialized certificate in the healthcare revenue cycle. After three years of staying home to care for her two kids, Jessica decided to reenter the workforce. We talked to her about her experience reentering the workforce and going through the program.
When the pandemic started, I got laid off from my job, so my husband and I decided that I would stay home to raise our kids and that he would work more. We lived paycheck to paycheck, but it was worth it for our kid’s safety. I was a stay-at-home mom for three years, but with the pandemic easing and my youngest reaching school-age, I knew it was time to return to work.
But things were different now; I was older and would soon age out of my parent’s health insurance. I knew I didn’t want to return to retail or janitorial work where the wages were low and they didn’t offer any benefits.
I was searching online for inspiration and hoping to gain the confidence to take my job search in a different direction. I read a post on Reddit that said, “Don’t wait until things get bad when looking for a career change to take action in your life.” The bottom of the post listed helpful local resources, and the San Diego Workforce Partnership was one of them. I looked through the program options and saw that the Healthcare Administration Pathways program had a customer service component, which I had experience in, and I chose to sign up. The next day, I received a call from the program specialist, Morgan.
Morgan is fantastic! He quickly got me through the enrollment process and was helpful throughout the program. I was anxious at first and had a lot of self-doubt as the course included a lot of reading, I had zero healthcare experience and everything was new to me. I had to learn when I could study and take the time to focus. Initially, I did it all in one sitting but quickly realized I had to spread out my schedule. I was filled with guilt because I couldn’t give my kids the attention that they were used to. But overtime, they started to know when it was “mommy’s study time.” Even though the guilt was a challenge, I focused on cherishing the time I did get to spend with them. And through it all, I knew that I was working to create a better life for them and in the end it was all going to be worth it.
The program taught me a lot about the administration side of healthcare, but I still needed more hands-on experience, so what I learned could sink in. Thankfully, the professor was helpful and gave us realistic advice about what would happen after we completed the program and got a job. We also received job-prep training which taught us how to search for jobs, negotiate salaries and ask the right questions in the interview process to ensure the job was a right fit for what we needed.
When it was time to look for a job, Morgan shared links to job postings, and one was at UC San Diego’s La Jolla Patient Access department, which I applied for. The process happened fast. I got a call from a manager at UC San Diego, and within a week I had my first interview. Many of us from the program were applying to the same places, so my mindset during the process was that I wouldn’t get the job and that it was simply practice where I could gain interview experience. However, the hiring manager was very impressed and even told me that some of the people who applied had been working in healthcare revenue for years and couldn’t answer the questions that I was able to during the interview. It was all because of the Healthcare Administration Pathways program! I received a call back the same day and they offered me a full-time position, even though I only applied for part-time. Two weeks later, after collecting my references, they told me the job was mine.
Many of my co-workers were surprised that I didn’t have healthcare experience, so I spent the first few weeks shadowing my peers and learning more about the healthcare industry. I work with a great team who are fast-paced, but are always willing to help me when I am having trouble and have taught me a lot in a short amount of time. My professor was right about what to expect; much of the real learning happens on the job. I felt a little overwhelmed at first, but I was told recently that in the coming weeks I will start using more of the administration skills and working directly with EPIC, the platform I learned during the program.
I feel satisfied with my job and go to work feeling happy every day, which I did not have before at my previous jobs. I would tell anyone who dreams of something better that it is possible and always worthwhile. If you don’t try, you will always fail. And if you end up in a program that may not be the right fit, the Workforce Partnership will work with you to find one that better matches what you are looking for.