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UMFK provides "everything you need" for online students in growing job sector

February 16, 2016

NR16008

Nurse holding a tablet computerWith an innovative program to reach students anywhere in the world for the lowest cost, the University of Maine at Fort Kent is preparing students with coursework and internships for the fastest growing sector of the healthcare industry.

Launched in 2012 as a result of state and federal mandates, the UMFK Health Information Technology Program provides coursework and internships for people interested in a lucrative position in the growing field of managing electronic medical records.

UMFK Director of Nursing and Allied Health Dr. Erin Soucy said, “Anybody who has an interest in the healthcare field and likes technology would enjoy studying in this program.”

The University conducts the program entirely online, making it an ideal solution for part-time and full-time students who need a flexible schedule and who are unable to relocate to Fort Kent, said Soucy.

One aspect of the program is the ability of students to gain valuable experience with internships. Dr. Soucy said the University has developed partnerships with local health agencies so students can apply what they learned in their coursework.

A recent UMFK graduate took advantage of an internship at Fish River Rural Health in Eagle Lake. Executive Director of the facility, Heather Pelletier, said the experience was so valuable they wanted to hire the student. “We tried to keep her, but she moved away,” Pelletier said.

UMFK provides the instruction students need by providing courses in information security, health records, understanding the way the industry manages healthcare information, and learning how quality patient outcomes can improve when there is high quality in the medical record.

Executive Director Pelletier said the UMFK program was an excellent preparation for the student. “She was extremely prepared. She did not need a lot of pre-instruction. When she came in, she knew where health care was at. She knew paper records were in the past.”

Dr. Soucy said, “Internships allow students to gain experience. They are often able to secure employment and, at the very least, have good references from agencies to help them reach their career goals.”

Pelletier's opinions affirm Dr. Soucy's description of the value of the internship. “You come equipped with everything you need to know to be a successful member of health IT staff at a federally qualified health center.”

“The Department of Labor, both nationally and in the State of Maine, cites health information as one of the fastest growing job markets,” added Soucy.

To find out more about UMFK's Health Information Technology program, go to https://www.umfk.edu/allied_health/health_technology/ or contact Dr. Erin Soucy, Ph.D., RN, at esoucy@maine.edu