Going back to school helped Medical Office student process her grief
Healing comes in many forms, and Gloria (Glo) Broadous felt that continuing her education might help her focus on something besides the pain of losing William, her husband of 37 years. “After a year and a half of just trying to get past the grief, I needed something positive to focus on,” she says. “I wasn’t sure I could do it, but if I could make a difference in other peoples’ lives, as it relates to their health, and give them peace of mind, maybe I could work through this process.”
Even though Glo had attended various colleges in Texas and took an occasional class, it had been 26 years since she had been a student. “I’m an avid reader and always studying something, so it was pretty easy to slide back into the classroom. I wasn’t intimidated by the classroom as much as I was by all the young minds,” she says. “It was the feeling of maybe not measuring up, but I ended up overcoming those initial fears.”
Previously, Glo had many responsibilities as co-pastor of the church she and William served. She was comfortable organizing the business side of operating a church, managing the church bookstore, and even helping older members of the congregation understand their medical treatment charges and insurance coverage. She wanted to do all she could to help anyone in need.
But she wanted to do more. “Let me get in there and get some understanding so that I could help others with their insurance EOB (Explanation of Benefits). I became good at it but needed to learn more of the language.”
Throughout the years, Glo had managed medical care and insurance billing for her father, then her mother and finally her husband prior to their passing. Maybe she could continue offering that kind of support on a professional level. It was an idea that took root in a ready garden. “I prayed, then just kind of threw myself into it,” she says.
Glo researched and visited three college campuses that offered Medical Office Administration in her quest to become a Medical Billing and Coding specialist. SJVC in Lancaster was the third college she explored. “I filled out the forms online and within minutes Jessica Cable, an Admissions Representative, contacted me,” she says. “And, I thought, ‘Whoa!’ When I had an interview with her she introduced me to (Campus) President Johnson. It was just so family-oriented, and I felt so welcomed. They were very accommodating in answering my questions. I felt like this was the place I was supposed to be.”
It was a very good first experience. “The other colleges paled in comparison,” says Glo. “The next thing I knew I was enrolled!”
She was excited to get back home and tell her daughter April, and April’s children Jeremiah (19) and Trinity (11) the exciting news. “Granna (as all the grandkids call her) is a student too! They were excited and said, ‘Just go for it, Granna!’ This pushes my grandchildren because I always tell them they can be anything they desire to be.”
It was time to give them an example of what her own advice looked like in action, and she had a few miles to walk in their shoes for that demonstration. Those shoes got a little tight after a couple of months in. “It was like learning a new language,” says Glo. “I began to ask myself, ‘What are you doing?’” She may have stumbled a bit, but she didn’t fall.
“I thought about my husband a lot,,’” she remembers. “When the discouragement came, I would remember that thing about running the race, staying in place and finishing well.”
“Gloria was successful because she had a positive can-do attitude,” says Cheri Johnson, Campus President. “She was in class on time and only missed a total of 1 hour and 50 minutes her entire time here. She studied and worked hard to achieve a 3.89 GPA and really gave it her all. She has a passion and desire to help others and is always kind and grateful for everything.”
Glo was a little surprised to find many new friends among her fellow classmates. “Initially, it was all young people and then some older ladies in their forties came in, then a couple of guys in their thirties wanting to get into the medical field, and some twenty-somethings too,” she says. They all gravitated toward each other during breaks. “We ended up sitting at this table and it was good because we began to ask questions – life and class questions. We had a lot of round-table talk.”
But when she got home, it was all business. “When I would leave school, I’d come home and do what I needed to do, then hit the books,” says Glo. “I always trained my children to be disciplined in their study habits. The grandchildren know that when Granna has to study, they disappear.”
Gloria completed her Medical Office Administration program in August and immediately went to work at Advance Imaging Center as a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist. She is enjoying her work and especially likes helping people better understand the many and sometimes confusing aspects of their medical insurance.
“I’m very compassionate, and when other people hurt, I hurt too,” says Glo. “And I’m not satisfied until they are relieved in some kind of way.”
Glo’s natural and career abilities will take her wherever she wants to go. “Who knows where this will lead me,” she muses. “One of my instructors was always saying that the more initials you have behind your name, the higher you can go.”
“Gloria has the ability to write her own ticket, as far as success,” says Cheri Johnson. “I have no doubt that she will be successful in the field and find opportunities to advance.”
When they were alive, Glo’s parents George and Lillie gave her the example of behavior she would most hope to emulate. “They were people who had a strong foundation and fortitude that they imparted into me,” she attests. “Love people and treat people the way you want to be treated. Their deeds and their works – they lived it.”
Gloria has four living children and 11 grandchildren for whom she is a role model. She wants them to see that you can push through life’s pain and tragedies in ways that can lift you higher and shine a light for others to follow. She will inspire all who know her to run the race and finish well.
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