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Charissa McCarthy-Pullman, CHAM
Access Learning Consultant
Integris Health
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
CHAM since 2011

What drew you to the NAHAM Certification program?
My Administrative Director, Amber Harris, is CHAM certified, and she encouraged her direct reports to become certified as well. NAHAM has always been an important organization here at INTEGRIS Health. After hearing more and reading more, about the certification, I decided to pursue the opportunity.
 
What is the most rewarding aspect of having the CHAM certification?
The thing I find most rewarding about having the CHAM certification is the sense of accomplishment it brings to me personally. Professionally, it opens up doors of communication to speak to others about my profession and it also builds confidence in others that my expertize in the area is backed by a national certification.
 
Would you recommend the NAHAM credentialing program to others? Why?
I would and do recommend certification to others because it is a great personal accomplishment, it is a great way to distinguish yourself professionally, and it is a national certification that communicates to others your hard work and sense of commitment to your profession a national certification also is recognized in different job markets and it is a transferable recognition.
 
How does certification distinguish you from other patient access healthcare professionals?
Certification lets others know that you have made the investment (both financial and time) to become nationally certified. It shows commitment to your profession and to professional growth.

Was earning a credential in healthcare something you aspired for?
Earning a certification in any profession is something that brings more credibility and often brings more clarity than simply a job title or job description, so it made sense for me to earn this credential.

What were your reasons for seeking certification?
I sought certification at the encouragement of my boss, and I also sought it because we promote a culture here at INTEGRIS Health of excellence. Certification is part of that distinction.
 
Was the NAHAM Certification process what you expected?
Absolutely! It was very challenging! I studied every day for at least an hour for several months, and the exam called on me to use all my experiences in healthcare and all my time studying.
 
What have been the rewards of earning your credential?
It has been a great personal reward. If times get difficult, I simply remind myself that I took and passed the CHAM certification. It is also rewarding to be able to wear the CHAM pin on my name badge and to be able to explain what the acronym of “CHAM” stands for when communicating with others. It’s rewarding to be able to give more insight into our industry and the standards of excellence that INTEGRIS Health promotes.
 
What advice would you give those seeking to earn their credential?
Go for it! Study, learn, experience as much as you can in patient access by job-shadowing different roles, talking with others and learning. Becoming certified is a gift you give yourself. Just like education or professional growth, it is something you take with you wherever you go and it is something no one can take away from you.

What does your hospital’s executive management think of your earning of the CHAM credential?
We are very fortunate that our executive management team is very supportive of certification and encourage all to take the CHAM or CHAA exam(s), respectively. INTEGRIS Health has been in partnership with and a proponent of the NAHAM organization for a long time. This is a relationship we are proud of, and we hope to continue to grow in the area of certification and involvement. Thank you!

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