[Posted by Claire Sharifi, on behalf of Nicole Capdarest-Arest]
Inspired by Michelle Lieggi and Michelle Rachal, fellow NCNMLG members who received professional development awards to apply for AHIP status, I similarly was very happy to receive NCNMLG’s support to help me put forward an application for AHIP, Senior Member status. Although I’ve been a medical librarian for over 5 years, the application fee for AHIP credentialing had thus far been a barrier to my putting forward an application. But this year, with the grant received from NCNMLG, I finally had everything it took (medical library experience, publications, CE credits, and the application fee) to apply. I’m proud to say my application was just accepted by the MLA Credentialing Committee, and I can now put “AHIP” in my signature line!
To help others out there who might be thinking about going through the AHIP application process, here are a few tips:
- Organize! You will need to have evidence of all of your professional achievements. So if you’re thinking of applying for AHIP, start being diligent about organizing and documenting your CE credits, conference attendance, teaching activities, publications, etc. You will have to provide documentation for everything in PDF format. It’s way easier to get it all uploaded into the system if you are very organized and have this all in one place on your computer with a file naming system.
- PDF compiling software. If you have PDF compiling software (like Adobe Acrobat Pro or similar software), this will be extremely helpful! The submission system asks that you upload supporting documents into as few PDFs as possible. Thanks to having access to good PDF compiling software, I was able to combine all my supporting documentation into one huge PDF, which I then uploaded in one go to the submission system. This made it easier on my end as the submission system can be a little tricky to deal with and, in my opinion at least, it also makes for a more professional looking submission that is easier for the committee to review.
- Plan time. The submission documentation along with sitting at the computer and actually processing the submission form takes more time than expected. Plan for at least several days (if not months, depending on how much time you can work per sitting), even if you’re already extremely organized as mentioned above. You’ll also need a copy of your diploma or master’s degree transcript, so if you don’t have that already, you may need extra time to contact your university to get that.
- Self-care. Be patient with the process. Because you may or may not have been organized in the past about collecting evidence for your professional accomplishments, part of the process may be frustrating (i.e., “I know I have that CE certificate somewhere?!). Remember you don’t have to have every single thing you’ve ever done, just as long as you have enough points overall to satisfy the criteria of the level you’re applying for. It’s a good reminder going forward to keep better track of your accomplishments in an organized way. Give yourself breaks when you need to, and know that you’ll get everything done in due time. This credential is for you!
Overall, I’m extremely grateful to NCNMLG for funding my AHIP application. It was a process that, though time consuming, I found extremely rewarding and well worth it.
Nicole Capdarest-Arest, MA(LIS), AHIP