Health Information Management

A Note from the Instructors: Transitioning to the CDI role

CDI Strategies, March 24, 2016

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By Sharme Brodie, RN, CCDS

Usually the attendees in the basic CDI Boot Camp are brand new to the role—many haven’t even started their position prior to attending the class. As the class goes on (by the end of the second day or beginning of the third day) I start to see the changes in their facial expressions and body language. I know right then that they are thinking: “What did I get myself into?” and “How do I get out?”

It’s usually  when I have a conversation about the position having a steep learning curve, even for the most experienced professionals. For those who hail from nursing backgrounds, we discuss that many will mourn the loss of that daily patient interaction as they transition from taking care of patients and their families to writing queries.

The CDI position includes perks which draw many of us to this role: no weekends, no nights, limited holidays. And let’s not forget less pain and punishment to our bodies now that we no longer have to lift patients or push beds. Although this might be what originally pulls you into this position, believe me, it will not be why you stay.

Most CDI specialists who stay pass the first six to nine months (when the lessons of this new profession are at their most overwhelming) will start to feel like they are coming out of a tunnel. The training you receive will start to make sense. Then, somewhere between nine months and a year, you become confident in what you are doing, and actually start to really enjoy the position. It may not be saving lives but it is a very important position.

We help our organizations keep the money they earned so they can continue to take care of the patients that come through the doors. We have an impact on budgets that pay for supplies, staff members, and improvements made to the facilities. We improve physician and hospital profiles, which helps families and the community. Most importantly, we affect quality of care, and the quality of the patients’ charts by making sure all of the documentation is accurate.

We might not be part of the core bedside team anymore, but this job is important for the organization as a whole.

If you are thinking about joining the CDI ranks, whatever your background may be, just remember it does take time to learn and acquire the skills you will need to be a good CDI specialist. The learning curve may be steep, but it’s not impossible. And, in the end, you will really enjoy the challenge. 


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