The Opportunity to study HIM gave this learner hope, joy and a newfound passion!

Today is the third day of Health Information Management week and we are happy to share this story as part of our student showcase, to highlight the stories of our diverse community of learners across Canada.   

Please tune in every day this week, to read about a few of the learners in our Health Information Management Programs and their interesting backgrounds and personal stories. These stories have been personally written by our students so each will reflect their own personalities, values, lives and writing styles.     


Share a short bio about yourself and anything else that makes you unique or that you want people to know about you: 

Student: Krysten 
Stream: Part-Time Year 1 
Age Range: 25-34
Location: Welland, ON 

My name is Krysten. I’m 32 years old and I have a 6-year-old daughter who is the love of my life. I grew up in a small town in Southern Ontario. I have a tight knit family consisting of two loving parents, two wonderful brothers, and myself. I am also very close with my maternal grandparents and see them almost daily. Family relationships are extremely important to me and I work hard to ensure that they are maintained.  

I have several hobbies to keep myself busy during my spare time. I’m a creator; I like to use my creativity in many ways such as paper crafting, writing, and knitting. I love to read and get in as many books in a year as I can. I’m also a dancer. I started taking lessons at the age of 3 and have loved it ever since. I completed several examinations in multiple forms of dance and completed my teaching certification in highland dancing in the mid-2000’s. Dance has always been a big part of my life and now my daughter is continuing in my footsteps. Finally, I also like meditation and yoga to help destress and recharge my battery.  

One serious thing that many people who know me are aware of is that I suffer from Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and a specific diagnosed phobia. I have been seeing a team of professionals and taking medication for over half of my life. I have been hospitalized several times with various symptoms. While I won’t say that managing these illnesses has been easy, I have still been able to achieve personal goals despite these limitations. I am proud of the strength I’ve exhibited to bring myself out of the deepest of episodes and accomplish things that I set my mind to – even if it takes me a little longer than it would take a neuro-typical person.  

One of the things that I am very passionate about is advocating for mental illness sufferers and survivors. I speak out about my mental illness experiences for many reasons. I am not ashamed, but I am still definitely aware that there is a heavy stigma. I hope to continue to be an advocate and work towards abolishing the stigma and getting services to those who require them. My area has a serious lack of mental health services so I hope that in some small way, I can make a difference. 

What drew you into the field of HIM and your studies? 

There are several things that drew me to HIM. First, I love to learn. I consider myself to be a lifelong learner: I will always be learning something new! But with HIM, I decided to take my love of learning and turn it into a new career.  

Furthermore, I am fascinated by the human body and all things medical. I truly enjoyed learning about the brain and body during my university education. I had previously taken Anatomy and Physiology courses and found the content to be captivating. Taking HIM will allow me to explore these subjects further and increase my knowledge base. My daughter wants to be a doctor when she grows up, so the two of us often find ourselves reading about the body and how it works.  

Additionally, because of my mental illnesses, the HIM field really spoke to me as a career that would work for my life. It is work that I can do that will not harm my mental health. I am self-aware and have come to the realization that I really struggle with careers that put me on the front-line of dealing with the general public. It gives me a lot of anxiety and overwhelms me. HIM is a great career path for this reason. I can still work in an office environment, but I won’t have clients coming to me all day long.  

After working in customer service for over 15 years, I am ready for something new. HIM will allow me to work in a different environment that is better suited to my specific career related needs.  

Finally, I am skilled at administrative tasks that are important for a career in HIM. I can think quickly, type with speed and accuracy, apply knowledge from coursework in a professional setting, and think critically. 

Tell us about your professional, academic or other experience prior to beginning your studies in HIM 

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2014, shortly after giving birth to my daughter. I loved my university level schooling very much. But after I graduated, I found it difficult to find a career in the field in the area where I live, without obtaining an expensive master’s degree or PhD.  

In the area of medicine, I have attended several in person and online seminars about children’s wellness and mental health. I am also obtaining certification as an aromatherapist, which includes learning about the workings of the human body and natural remedies to several ailments.  

In addition, I have taken several unrelated courses such as mutual fund certification, and travel agent certification courses. As noted in the previous section, I love to learn and am constantly taking courses on various topics. This is something that I do with my free time and it does not impact my full-time career requirements.  

In terms of my career history, I have many years of experience in retail jobs, and have more recently gained experience in the financial industry. This results in over 15 years of customer service experience, some in a supervisory capacity. I picked up the career in the financial industry quickly because of my hard work and got promoted within a year of starting with the bank. 

Why did you choose to study with CHA Learning?  

The main reason why I chose CHA Learning is that I have a family friend who studied with them and now works in HIM for our local hospital system. She was so happy with her studies at CHA Learning and loves her career choice so much that she recommended it to me when I was looking for a new path. I went onto the CHA Learning website, excited about the new possibilities, and poked around to see what I could find out about this program. The more I read, the more I liked.  

This program would challenge me, as I do not have a working medical background. The idea of a challenge inspires me. The website was full of helpful information about the program and what could be expected for new students. It gave me a great picture of what I could expect if I enrolled in the program.  

In addition, I also like the fact that CHA Learning is Canadian and affiliated with a Canadian college. This allows me to trust that the education I’m receiving will be relevant to where I live and where I will be working.  

Finally, I decided on CHA Learning because of the flexibility of full and part-time streams. I’m a single mom and therefore need a full-time income. The part-time program allows me to continue to gain the paycheque that I need, while pursuing education to reach my career goals. 

Pick and describe one memorable experience during your education with CHA Learning 

Getting the call that I was going to be accepted into the program is the most memorable moment for me thus far. I had originally applied for the part-time program and wasn’t accepted right away because I do not have a medical work background.  

One night a little while later, I was sitting in my bedroom and my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number but decided to answer anyway – and it’s a good thing I did! The call was from the Program Coordinator, informing me that CHA Learning would like to offer me a place in the program. My experience in the finance sector and educational background was reviewed an accepted under CHA Learning’s PLAR exception for non-healthcare, transferrable professional experience. I can still picture this exact moment, clear as day.  

I can remember feeling elated that I was going to be able to participate in this reputable program and graduate with a certification that could assist me in my professional life. This call also gave me a feeling of hope – something that I was finding to be in short supply while I was off from work on my medical leave. By obtaining this certification, I can embark on a new chapter after experiencing some very difficult times with my health. I needed something to look forward to and work towards and CHA Learning gave that to me.  

Thank you, CHA Learning, for taking a chance on me! 


If you are interested in our Health Information Management Program read more about our full-time and part-time options. Applications are now open for the September 2020 intake.    

Questions? Contact us at: chalearning@healthcarecan.ca.