How an Indiana University Northwest student found a degree, career she loves
GARY, Ind. — Working in healthcare was always the plan for Alaiya Melton. Ever since she was a kid, she envisioned herself being a doctor or a nurse. But after starting college, she realized a change was necessary.
Melton originally went to school to study radiography at Ball State University. While she was still passionate about healthcare, she quickly realized direct patient care wasn’t for her. So, she began researching different career paths.
She found Indiana University Northwest, close to her home in Hobart, Indiana, which had a Health Information Management (HIM) program. Melton knew some of her peers going there and was familiar with the campus since her sister graduated from IU Northwest in 2019.
“I always knew I wanted to work in healthcare, I just didn’t know what aspect,” Melton said. “I started researching radiography and I tried doing that until I was like, ‘I can’t. I got to figure out something else.’ That’s when I found HIM.”
Many people in Melton’s family work in education, but she had a cousin who has a degree in health administration. Melton talked to her about the work she did, and it piqued Melton's interest.
Health information, essentially, is the business side of healthcare. While Melton respects the jobs doctors, nurses and other professionals in healthcare do working directly with patients, non-patient-facing jobs seemed like a better fit for her.
She still had a passion for healthcare. She still wanted to make a difference.
Description of the video:
my name is Alaiya Melton I'm currently a
junior at IUN I'm going to be graduating
the bachelor's program of health
information management next spring so I
am from Hobart I grew up there
um my sister went to IUN graduated from
there in 2019. when I graduated high
school in 2019 I actually went to Ball
State for my freshman year and I was
majoring in radiography I've always
wanted to work in healthcare like every
kid has a dream of like being a doctor
like being a nurse so I always knew that
I wanted to work in healthcare I just
didn't really know what aspect until I
started researching radiography going
through radiography in the classes and
learning what we had to do I realized
that I am not a people person very much
I just wanted something where I would be
able to sort of work at my own pace work
on my own and not really have to deal
with like the highs and lows that come
with working in the public and then the
pandemic hit so I came home went to IUN
loved the school I have a bunch of
friends that go there I had a cousin who
actually has a degree in Health
Administration that was a lot more of
sort of like a social service but
business type degree and I was like okay
that sounds really cool so I did like
research that too and then when I got to
him and I found out that it's a lot more
on the tech side I was like Bingo him is
the business portion of healthcare we're
not really patient facing we don't
really have to deal with very many
patients during the day we handle the
business the coding part everything that
we do is more individually centered a
lot of them do have Flex hours so you're
able to pick your schedule and
I want to work remote I want to pick my
schedule I like coding so I like doing
things that are more business-like
rather than patient focused I don't know
why I thought about radiography at first
why I didn't jump right into him working
in this profession and working with
people that understand like health
information management I love it I won't
go back to anything else.
For those looking to work in healthcare but don’t feel like they’re in the right job, Melton suggested looking at your options. She started with a web search looking for “non-patient-focused jobs in healthcare.” It helped lead her to a career she doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon.
Careers in health information combine medicine, information management and technology to acquire, analyze and protect patients’ medical information. Many new graduates start their careers as analysts or coders. All the technical aspects of health information sounded great to Melton, as did the career benefits.
“I looked into HIM … and I fell in love with it,” Melton said. “A lot of professionals do have flex hours, so you’re able to pick your schedule. I want to work remote, I want to pick my schedule.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Melton couldn’t help but grow a little envious of people working from home while she was working in retail at a mall. She was ready to find a job to set her up for the rest of her life.
Jumping into a thriving career field that pays well and allows her to work from home? Health information checked all the boxes.
And Melton made it her priority to stand out.
Learn more about IU Northwest’s health information management degrees
Through IU Northwest, Melton and one of her classmates applied and received internships within the Community Healthcare System working in the patient financial office. It was an opportunity Melton couldn’t pass up. Not only did she see what the day-to-day of working in health information is like, but she hopes it will help her land a job when she finishes her bachelor’s degree in 2024.
“It was extremely important,” Melton said of connecting her educational experience with the professional experience of her internship. “I was able to use my knowledge from those classes and put it toward my current work. My boss is an HIM graduate, as well. So, I was able to go to her with any questions I had, and it really helped me love my job even more.”
While Melton takes her academics and future career seriously, she also recommends undergraduates to have fun in college, mentioning the various on-campus activities IU Northwest offers for its students. She also suggested getting close to your classmates; you never know when one of your peers can help you find a job in the future.
“Working in this profession and working with people who understand health information management, I love it,” Melton said. “I won’t go back to anything else.”