Medical Billing and Coding Program Director Leads and Inspires By Example
Nearly every workplace has one or more “go-to” people, those employees who wear multiple hats, always get the job done, and seem to have all the answers—or at least know where to find them.
On the Sacramento campus of Carrington College, Edson “Eddie” Smith-Bozek is one of those people.
As program director or instructor for four programs—Medical Billing and Coding, Medical Administrative Assistant, Health Information Technology and Health Studies—Smith-Bozek teaches and provides one-on-one online and on-campus coaching to nearly 40 students each semester.
Smith-Bozek, who acknowledges he’s “always been pretty good at identifying problems and figuring out solutions”, has also developed a reputation on campus for his abilities at assessing and repairing even the stickiest software glitches. That same troubleshooting talent is also well-utilized in his position as the campus Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) coordinator, a position in which he evaluates and monitors safety and injury prevention procedures.
And as if all that weren’t enough, Smith-Bozek is also occasionally responsible for arriving before dawn to open the Sacramento campus, preparing it for the arrival of students, faculty and staff.
“I guess I do wear a lot of hats,” says Smith-Bozek, who has been with Carrington since 2008. “I feel like I’m in the perfect place for a guy who loves variety and a challenge.”
Smith-Bozek, who holds associate degrees in Health Information Technology and Business Administration, is currently completing his BA in Health Information Management. He says he relates to students who want more out of their careers and their lives.
“I feel like I’m doing exactly what I was meant to do, but it hasn’t always been that way,” he explains. “Before I decided to pursue my career in education, I worked as a liquor store clerk, a roofer, a phlebotomist and a medical assistant. I understand when people decide they don’t want to work in fast food or a warehouse anymore, because I’ve done those jobs. My own career path is proof that it can sometimes take a while for a person to discover his or her true calling. That’s one of the reasons I love helping students take their own next steps.”
No matter what program a student chooses to pursue, Smith-Bozek encourages them to develop what he considers a secret weapon for success: strong time management skills.
“Learning to manage your time effectively is essential to success in school, in business, and in life,” Smith-Bozek believes. “Creating a schedule and sticking to it isn’t always easy. Structure can be challenging and frustrating. But it’s also the best way I know to stay focused, to be productive, and to get the job done.”
While Smith-Bozek does his best to practice what he preaches, he admits he sometimes works well beyond traditional office hours.
“The biggest challenge of my job is coordinating time,” Smith-Bozek says. “About 70% of the students I teach or coach are online. I’ve worked with students from Maine to Alaska and everywhere in between. I rarely meet my students face to face. Fortunately, the internet has made the world very small and very connected. There are times I’m answering a student’s email at midnight because they’re in a different time zone and I know they’re waiting for the information.”
Smith-Bozek says that while not everyone enjoys burning the midnight oil, he considers it part of his job—and a service he’s grateful to provide his students.
“Students come to Carrington with a desire to improve their lives,” Smith-Bozek says. “Not everyone wants to change the world. For some students, the immediate goal is to develop the necessary skills to land a good, reliable job. Whatever their next step happens to be, we offer students the tools and training to succeed.”