HIT 60 Professional Practice Experience (PPE) Frequently Asked Questions
HIT 60 Professional Practice Experience is designed to provide Health Information Technology students with practical work experience in CAHIIM associate-level HIM competencies and domains that focus on skill building and practical application of theory. Students will observe and experience day-to-day HIM operations and complete special projects with supervision.
There are several ways in which a student may gain PPE experience. Traditionally, most PPE sites are acute care hospitals or non-acute sites such as ambulatory care clinics, larger physician practices, long-term acute care hospitals, skilled nursing and long-term care facilities, home health, and hospice centers. Today, many students are placed in organizations where health information is managed, examined, or used for administrative, financial, or clinical decision-making.
Students enroll in HIT 60 in the last semester of the program. The course prerequisites are HIT 10,11,15,20,35,40 and 42.
Yes. Students must meet Health & Safety Requirements by the given deadlines in order to be eligible to register for HIT 60. Those requirements include:
- Proof of immunity by either vaccination records or titers (blood tests)
- Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap)
- Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)
- Hepatitis B
- Varicella (Chickenpox)
- Influenza (flu) shot (seasonal)
- Any additional vaccinations mandated by the PPE site.
- Tuberculosis Screening (2-step screening)
- Current Physical Examination (within 6 months prior to start of HIT 60)
- Criminal Background Check (within 3 months prior to start of HIT 60)
- Drug Screening (within 3 months prior to start of HIT 60)
- CPR Certification
The HIT Program Director will attempt to place students in one of the PPE site facilities in which Shasta College already has an affiliation agreement with, but ultimately it is the responsibility of the student to find and arrange his or her own PPE placement.
A student is not guaranteed PPE placement if there is more demand than PPE sites available. If a student cannot be placed, they will receive priority for the next semester the course is offered.
Student placement at a PPE site facility must be approved by the HIT Program Director.
Determine which health information facilities are close to you and begin contacting the HIM Director or Manager to introduce yourself and inquire as to the possibility of having them host your professional practice experience. Remember, the PPE site does not have to be a traditional HIM facility, i.e. acute care hospital. Extend your search to non-traditional HIM facilities as well.
In order to meet HIM professionals that may be interested in hosting your professional practice experience, consider:
- Attending HIM professional association meetings, conventions, and educational sessions, such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the California Heath Information Association (CHIA), or your local HIM chapter/association.
- Becoming a committee volunteer or volunteering for a HIM related event.
- Asking your supervisor, if you are already working in the HIM field, to introduce you to managers in other departments that interact with health information professionals, health records, and/or healthcare data.
- Asking the HIT Program Director, or your Shasta College instructors, if they may have any contacts with HIM professionals in your community.
- Networking with your student peers that are working in the healthcare field and ask them if they may be able to provide you with names of HIM professionals to contact.
Although not encouraged, students already working in the HIM field are allowed to complete their professional practice experience at their place of employment if they are not paid for their PPE hours and they are not performing their daily job duties as part of the professional practice experience. Work hours do not count toward PPE hours.
PPE is conducted as a non-paid experience.
Students are required to complete 60 hours of PPE. If the student is unable to complete the entire 60 hours onsite, or the site is unable to provide the total required hours, the remaining non-field based hours will be completed with AHIMA Virtual Lab (VLab) activities or other projects and assignments given by the Shasta College HIT 60 instructor or the PPE site supervisor.
Note that in some cases, a student may be placed at a non-clinical PPE site in which the student completes a project for the site but does not physically go to the site. In these cases, all 60 hours will be project-based.
The sooner the better! In order for a student to be placed at a PPE site, a legal affiliation agreement between the PPE site facility and Shasta College must be in place. This process can sometimes take up to 6 months to complete.
Approximately 12 months prior to the semester in which HIT 60 will be offered, students will be asked to complete a HIT 60 Enrollment Interest Form indicating their PPE location preference and any PPE site(s) that they are interested in.
Students are responsible for:
- Tuition and course fees
- Fees associated with completing the health and safety requirements
- Transportation to and from the PPE site
- Parking fees, if any
- Meals while working at the PPE site.