From Student to Instructor: Meet Portland’s Mindy Burns Smith

medical office administration, health care careers, concorde career college

When 28 years on her feet as an operating room nurse began taking its toll, Mindy Burns Smith started pursuing other options for a life working in health care.

Today, the path she chose led her full circle, back to Concorde Career College, where she’s an instructor in the Medical Office Administration (MOA) program.

When it’s time for a change…

About the time the physical nature of being an Operating Room nurse started telling Smith’s body it was time for a change, she attended a seminar on medical coding and billing and realized that her vast background and clinical knowledge could come in great use in medical office administration.

Soon after, she ran across an advertisement for Concorde’s Portland campus that happened to mention its Insurance Coding & Billing (ICBS) program.

“After a phone call to the school, I met with admissions and got an immediate good vibe when I came to campus and met everyone,” Smith said. “So, I enrolled and started the ICBS program in Nov. of 2004.”

Going back to school for a second degree certainly wasn’t easy for Smith. Not only was she an adult learner returning to class after an absence of nearly three decades, but she was a single parent to two boys.

She also needed to keep her full-time nursing job to make ends meet. Most of her days consisted of rising at 7 a.m., work until 3:30 p.m., grab dinner, travel to school, complete her homework in the Learning Resource Center, attend class from 6-10 p.m., go home, kiss her boys goodnight, go to sleep and repeat.

And Another Change…

Despite the hectic schedule, Smith graduated from the ICBS program in Sept. 2005 and went to work in a urological surgeon’s office a month later as office manager, back office nurse, biller and coder.

When that doctor started talking about retirement, Smith started looking for something else in the coding/billing area and saw a posting for an instructor position at Concorde-Portland.

It Can Lead to Good Things

It just so happened the program director was one of her former instructors. Smith started teaching at Concorde part-time in June 2011 and became full time in Jan. 2012. In Oct. 2011, the ICBS program morphed into the Medical Office Administration program.

“I draw on my experiences in the office every day,” Smith said. “The MOA program is a wonderful way for students to get some experience and hands-on practice to help them get an entry-level position in medical facilities and offices. Once they get that beginning experience, they can go on to better jobs and certifications to expand their horizons using the Concorde foundation they learned in the program.

“I would recommend Concorde to any student looking into this type of career because the whole team is dedicated to helping them gain useful, practical knowledge in the health care field. I had a fabulous experience as a student here. It helped me get a great job and then allowed me to be able to come back and pass on my knowledge and experiences to the next generation of students.

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Lucy Vang | Medical Assistant Graduate

“Concorde was one of my best vehicles that helped me gain the confidence I needed to change my life. … It all started with a vision, a will and Concorde.”

Kontessa Brown | Dental Assisting Graduate

“I think it’s an amazing school. When I sat down for boards, I felt more than adequately prepared. If you put the work in, your success is almost guaranteed.”