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Patient Safety in Nursing
Medical errors are a medical professional’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, they are also quite common. According to research from Johns Hopkins University, patient mortality due to medical errors was noted as the third leading cause of death in the United States within the last five years.
While improving medical errors can be a complex issue, several reliable strategies can help significantly reduce incidence rates. For many hospitals, the road to better outcomes begins with the implementation of improved patient safety protocols. If designed and deployed effectively, these protocols empower healthcare administrators to learn from past mistakes, improve the trustworthiness of their medical staff, minimize errors, and, most importantly, reduce patient mortality rates.
What is Patient Safety in Nursing?
Understanding patient safety in nursing is the first step towards reducing the risk of medical errors. Patient safety has been defined by the Institute of Medicine simply as “the prevention of harm to patients.” Others have expanded on this definition, emphasizing the need to promote patient safety through the creation of a care delivery system that focuses on preventing errors and learning from those that occur. A robust, successful patient safety strategy will use evidence-based outcomes to constantly improve patient safety protocols and establish an enduring culture of learning and improvement.
Nurses are a crucial part of any hospital’s efforts to improve patient safety. Nurses have the most direct interaction with patients of any healthcare professional—they consistently monitor patients’ conditions, administer medication, and communicate self-care and discharge information. Because nurses are directly involved with patients on a day-to-day, often hourly level, improving their ability to provide accurate, high-quality care is paramount to the success of any holistic patient safety strategy.
But while nurses play a vital role in patient safety, they are certainly not alone. Patient safety must be viewed as a collaborative effort, one that hospital administrators, doctors, and physicians’ assistants are equally engaged in. Only when all healthcare professionals commit to reducing medical errors will meaningful, measurable improvements be made.
How do Nurses Ensure Patient Safety in the Hospital?
An effective approach for improving patient safety measures in nursing must be tailored to nurses and the unique role they play in providing bedside care. Many nurses find it helpful to break patient safety down into a set of tangible tactics geared towards minimizing medical errors and improving patient outcomes, including:
A patient’s medical condition can change in the blink of an eye, meaning nurses must be prepared to quickly identify any complications that arise. Continuing education significantly improves nurses’ patient monitoring skills, helping them better understand the nuances of wound progression, pressure ulcers, and other bedside conditions so that they can spot complications before they become dangerous.
Access to new technology also helps nurses monitor patients more effectively. While bedside alarms are commonplace in most hospital settings, technological innovations like medicine barcode scanning and laser temperature checks continue to improve the quality of patient monitoring.
Patients’ lack of compliance with their post-discharge self-care routine, including wound management, medication regimens, and occupational therapy, is a common source of preventable error in healthcare. According to a study from the Mayo Clinic, medication errors are present in approximately 50% of patients once they are discharged. More specifically, a study found that 59.2% of cardiac patients had a misunderstanding in indication, dose, or frequency of their cardiac medication.
Educating patients on their post-discharge care is a simple, yet effective, example of how nurses can improve patient safety. By working with patients to ensure they have a thorough understanding of their medical condition and self-care routine before they are discharged, nurses help facilitate a smooth recovery. If patients seem unable to recall or comprehend their outpatient care requirements, it may be necessary for nurses to ensure compliance with a family member.
Despite their laser focus on a patient’s condition, physicians are still susceptible to human error. In the operating room and beyond, nurses serve, among many roles, as an extra pair of eyes, ready to call a timeout before the physician makes a mistake.
To help doctors avoid mistakes whenever possible, nurses must maintain a keen understanding of each patient’s existing medical record and any procedure they are receiving. This heightened awareness will empower nurses to more readily identify conflicting medications or surgical risks that could put the patient in jeopardy.
How do Nurses Promote Patient Safety?
Promoting patient safety in nursing requires the cultivation of intentional communication and collaboration—a responsibility that falls on the shoulders of leaders within the hospital’s nursing department. In a healthy workplace environment, effective nurse administrators will applaud those who strive to diligently minimize medical errors and alert others when errors have occurred, setting the tone for a respectful, transparent medical team.
On the contrary, administrators that partake in shaming their employees for making honest mistakes or calling attention to the mistakes of others will only stifle communication. Afraid to speak up, employees will sweep mistakes under the rug, directly jeopardizing patient safety. This type of fear-induced workplace culture adds a layer of stress to an already high-stress profession, further impacting a nurse’s ability to effectively care for their patients.
FAQ: Becoming A Certified Medical Assistant
Patient Care and the Importance of Doctor/Patient Relationships
One of the foundations of clinical care is the doctor-patient relationship. Developing a positive, trusting bond with patients enables you to form more accurate diagnoses and treatment plans. It also has a significant impact on patient care and overall patient health outcomes.
A positive experience with their doctor encourages patients to be more active in their healing process. When patients trust their doctors, they experience less anxiety and comprehend medical information more readily. They are also more likely to disclose information relevant to their condition. This allows for better diagnostics and offers the opportunity for a collaborative approach to recovery.
However, trust is just one aspect of the doctor-patient relationship. Many other factors influence the relationship between doctors and their patents, which can impact the quality of patient care.
5 Factors that Influence Doctor-Patient Relationships
Effective communication is the key to any successful doctor-patient relationship. When there is miscommunication between a doctor and their patient, this can have serious negative consequences. These include mismanaging treatment expectations, causing the patient to feel frustrated, and failure to adhere to treatment protocols.
An excellent place to begin when forming doctor-patient relationships is personalizing your communication. Remembering small details about your patients’ lives beyond their illness makes them feel understood.
Patients need to trust doctors with their health, and in some cases, their lives. Doctors need to trust patients to be forthcoming with critical medical information, and to follow medical protocols to facilitate healing. However, trust in a doctor-patient relationship is hard to build and can be damaged easily if patients are not treated with dignity.
When patients are seeking help for a medical condition, they are placed in a vulnerable position. This can often make them feel embarrassed or anxious. Being treated impersonally or being rushed through exams and tests may feel disrespectful. Patients may also ash out when under stress or try to compensate for their feelings of helplessness by self-diagnosing.
The doctor’s response to these situations can have an impact on the relationship with their patients. Dismissing beliefs or emotions shows a lack of respect for your patient and can make them less willing to cooperate and collaborate on health goals.
With the rising cost of medical bills, medical professionals are feeling pressured to receive or visit more patients within a single shift. This increased workload and the time constraints it imposes increases doctor stress levels, causing them to appear less approachable to patients.
Workload and time are inextricably linked. The greater a doctor’s workload, the less time they can spend with each patient. Limiting the time spent with patients can lead to rushing through examinations and potentially overlooking crucial medical information or data that could improve patient care and recovery.
4 Ways to Strengthen Doctor-Patient Relationships
1. Be Patient
Patience is an integral part of a successful doctor-patient relationship. When patients feel anxious and stressed, keep calm, and understand, it takes time for a patient to accept the nature of their condition.
2. Be Mindful
Mindfulness is simply being aware of yourself and others. In a medical setting, this can mean being aware of how your body language sends subtle messages to patients about your level of engagement and how much value you place on your doctor-patient relationship. Fidgeting, crossing your legs, or somber facial expressions can make you appear unapproachable.
Use mindfulness techniques to help you focus on your patients and encourage better verbal and non-verbal communication. Mindfulness is also an excellent way to manage work stress. When you are less stressed, you will perform better and improve patient care.
3. Listen Actively
As a doctor, it is vital to listen to your patients. In addition to gaining valuable insights into your patients’ condition, active listening also enables you to infer information they are not offering, which can also impact your patient care plan. Listening without interruption also encourages trust because patients feel you empathize with their situation.
Try active listening techniques like paraphrasing what your patients are saying and repeating it back to them to clarify their point. Label their emotions and validate their concerns by responding with sincerity and empathy.
4. Focus on Quality Interactions
Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the workday, and you may struggle to find the time for extended, in-depth consultations with patients. However, this means that it is even more important to have quality patient interactions.
A quality interaction involves dedicating 100% of the time you have with a patient to their needs. This can be achieved through effective time management, active listening techniques, and giving the patient your undivided attention.
The Wrap UpA strong doctor-patient relationship has positive implications for improving patient care. You can enhance your relationship with your patients by making some simple changes to the way you approach communicating with patients and managing your actions and reactions.
Article shared from MEDIjobs
The Characteristics of a Professional Nursing Student
Credit: Minority Nurse Magazine
If you are a nursing student, I would like to welcome you to the fabulous field of nursing! There is nothing more rewarding than serving in this meaningful profession. I anticipate you plan to practice in this arena upon graduating and passing the state board exam. However, be cognizant that one of the most challenging transformations your nurse educator will be responsible for will be in assisting you to become a professional in the medical field.
I know that you think that your instructors are always nagging you about your appearance, but at the end of this process, you will understand how important this transition is in order to socialize you. You have certainly heard educators discussing first impressions and how important they are in establishing credibility and rapport with your patients and with the health care team. As health care professionals, our demeanor affects everyone around us while we are on duty. Since I am a nurse educator, I would like to disclose some of the dos and don’ts of your daily conduct that you should be aware of as a student entering the nursing profession.
Let us start with the basics: punctuality. Have you ever heard the statement that when you are on time, you are late and when you are early you are on time? This applies to both the classroom and clinical setting. It is disturbing and disruptive as latecomers arrive to the classroom once lecture or testing has begun. As you enter the room tardy, open and close the door, remove extraneous clothing (coats, scarves, etc.), retrieve necessary items from your book bag… Well, you get the idea. While you catch up with the rest of the class, your colleagues have preceded you in doing so. Consequently, the energy in the room shifts as you now settle in for a long day of studies. Have you considered how your lack of punctuality affects those around you? Maybe it is time you do so.
You may ask, “How about makeup? How much is too much?” My answer for this is that if you are putting false eyelashes on before attending class and clinical, you clearly have too much time on your hands. Why not spend those extra 10 minutes reviewing notes taken during lecture or take a quick peek at those index cards? Why not work on those intravenous drip calculations you have been struggling with? It only takes a few minutes out of your day to commit to tackling the less desirable tasks. Facial makeup now takes second place once you realize that the extra minutes you use to embellish your outward appearance would be better spent on nurturing critical thinking skills.
Do you ever have downtime? By this I mean the time you have during breaks and lunch. How do you spend this time? Watching kitten videos, catching up with the celebrities, or perhaps finishing a movie or television show? I tire of overhearing the latest on the pop stars—the Kardashians, etc. You must know that your instructors are observing you and that we are very much aware of what occupies your time. No, we are not telepathic. We know by the incomplete homework you turn in (or not) and by the multitude of excuses you have for late assignment submissions. We know by the test scores that you feel are acceptable, even when we, as instructors, know you can perform academically better. I implore you to spend all the time that you have honing your skills for nursing. There is plenty of curriculum to embrace, so do so every moment you have. I promise you will not be disappointed.
It is not cool to have your shoelaces or velcro straps untied. This look appears anything less than professional. It is hard to take anyone seriously who has not taken the time to attend to such details before entering the clinical arena. Another detail worth addressing is gum chewing. Along with the former offenses, it is difficult to accept that the person who is chewing gum is focused on anything other than smacking idly while passively listening or speaking to their audience. In my profession, potential candidates for employment were simply dismissed during an interview because of gum chewing. Do not let this be your fate while seeking employment.
Confine all cracks, cleavage, tummies, and tattoos for activities aside from nursing. Let me be clear: cover all external crevices at all times while in uniform. Having these body images in view is unprofessional and if you want to be taken seriously, save this look for socializing (e.g., dating, clubbing, or spending weekends with friends). Your patient nor your instructor desires to be distracted.
While we are noting external appearances, there is a reason for us to request that you not wear jewelry larger than stud earrings and a wedding band. The focus on you should not be about your taste in jewelry. Jewelry is a vehicle for the transmission of germs, and while I am addressing the chain of infection, allow me to broach the topic of nails. Remember your lecture on infection control: hand washing in between patients, before and after meals, after smoking and toileting? You discovered how microbes harbor under long nails and in cuticles. The studies have been done, and the results are in. Nails are to be no longer than one-quarter of an inch. You cannot effectively palpate or percuss body contours and abnormalities with long nails.
Uniforms: the glorious look of a uniform, but only if it is clean and ironed. No wrinkles are allowed on uniforms or lab coats. Your first impression from your mentors and patients should exude professionalism as noted in unsullied and tidy apparel. Your patients want to know that they are safe with you—that you will protect them, not infect them. Not only does appearance count but so do scents. I will take the fresh aroma of antiseptic soap from thoroughly washed hands any day over the stench of cigarettes. While you are observing your patients, let it be known that they are observing you, too. Leave them with an impression you can be proud of. Think about your appearance this way: when you are practicing in the clinical setting, you are interviewing for potential employment.
When you are in class or clinical, you are in a work zone. No cell phones allowed! Please stop checking them. Instead, check the cell phones at the door and place them on silent, in your pocket, or in your car. I am looking forward to the day when administrators will mandate that cell phones be left with the instructor or outside of class and clinical altogether. I am aware of the potential family emergencies, children, health-related issues, etc. There must be arrangements for emergency calls. If a protocol does exist and despite this, we find our students clinging to these electronic devices making it difficult for instructors to maintain our students’ attention. For example, during clinical orientation (I am ashamed to say) students and educators are now being in-serviced regarding prohibiting cell phone use. Cell phones are not to be used in the facilities while practicing. It should be common sense that when you are at work, you should not have time for texting, checking emails, or Instagram. You should be working, which means meeting the needs of your patients.
In meeting patient needs, how do you communicate with them? Do you use “honey,” “sweetie pie,” or other affectionate terms with your patients? This is unacceptable as it is highly probable that your patients are older than you and as such, deserve your utmost respect. Along with respect for your patients, I would also like to add appropriate communication to use with your instructor: never use obscenities. You will develop a plethora of new words in this profession, none of which is profanity. Good communication skills entail proper dialogue with your instructor, among colleagues, patients, and health care providers. Using the last name with the prefixes Miss, Mrs., or Mr. is acceptable unless your patient has given you permission to call him or her otherwise. And how will you know how you should address your patients? If the patient does not inform you that they would like to be called by another name, simply ask them after having addressed them formally. You will always gain the respect of your patients by being respectful.
Did you know that your posture and gait say so much about you? Walk like you have purpose. Strut up that hallway and answer those call lights as if it were necessary, because it is. Exhibit energy and enthusiasm as opposed to being lethargic. You may be tired, but keep it moving! Your patients want to know that you have the vigor required to take care of them. For this emotionally and physically exhausting profession, I would advise you to follow the Beatitudes: be well rested, be fit, and be well nourished. Nursing is a taxing profession. Take care of yourselves so that you can take care of others.
What to Expect in Nursing School Clinicals: Top Questions, Answered
Written by Mariam Yazdi from Nurse.org
Nerves…confusion…chaos…all of the above?!?!
Your first time in a hospital for clinic rotations can be daunting. While pulling up to the hospital parking lot at the crack of dawn, your mind might be racing — “Where do I show up…what do I bring…what am I going to be doing…who is going to be my nurse…are they going to be nice…how do I not make a fool of myself?”
The first and most important thing to remember is this — giving in to the nerves of your first day at clinical will only cloud your thinking and could give you a negative experience. If your thoughts start getting the best of you, take deep breaths and remember — everyone starts right here!
What Are Nursing School Clinicals?
Nursing school is typically divided into three major components: didactic, simulation lab, and clinicals.
- Clinicals are the hands-on, hospital-site, “on-the-field” portion of nursing school.
- The didactic segment of school or the in-classroom lectures, provide a fundamental layer of knowledge for students to apply in the actual hospital setting.
- Nursing programs use the simulation lab or a pseudo-clinical experience, to allow for future nurses to practice the various skills and tasks they need, in a safe, non-risk environment before touching real patients.
How Do Nursing School Clinicals Work?
Clinicals are organized through your nursing program. You will have a clinical instructor (who may or may not also give lectures in class) and they will be on-site with you for part or all of the clinical rotation. This clinical instructor is your liaison between the hospital and school.
Your clinical instructor is there to assist you with any questions you may have, but they are also there to grade you on your performance and effort. You are not shadowing your clinical instructor, as they are not directly caring for patients. You will shadow one of the staff nurses who has a patient assignment.
Will I Have My Own Patients?
In the beginning, no. This takes time. By the end of the program, however, there is usually a final practicum or preceptorship, where you will spend upwards of 180 hours dedicated to one unit and one nurse. In this time, you may be given the responsibility of a small patient load by yourself (with the assistance of your preceptor, of course.)
How Are Clinicals Graded?
Every school has its own system of grading the clinical portion of the program. Typically, clinicals are graded on four things:
Homework will generally consist of care plans. Care plans are a way for you to connect the patients you see with the nursing process:
- Nursing diagnosis
Schools will require at least one to four care plans per clinical rotation. And speaking from experience, don’t procrastinate! Finish those care plans as soon as you get out of the hospital, while the information is fresh in your mind.
What Happens If I Fail A Clinical?
Clinicals are a subjective experience, and it’s not very common to fail clinicals because there is a lot of support and interaction with the instructors. If you put in the effort — you’re on time, you complete your care plans, you ask questions, and you’re engaged — you will not fail clinicals.
If, however, there is a circumstance where you could not complete your hours, or your instructor determines that you should not pass clinicals, it is important to assess the situation and determine what is preventing you from passing. Have a conversation with your clinical instructor and with your program director if needed. Coming together and forming a plan on how to best move forward will help you get through a sticky situation.
What Do I Wear To Clinicals?
Your school will give you a list of guidelines on what to wear to clinicals. Usually, these guidelines consist of the mandated school uniform and badge (remember that your badge is an absolute must…don’t get caught without it!). Comfortable shoes are important, and if you find it difficult to be on your feet for long hours, compression stockings are definitely a plus.
In your pocket, you should have at least a couple of pens, pencils for care plan drafts, and maybe even a highlighter. A small notebook for notes will be useful throughout the day. And of course, a stethoscope!
What Specialties Will I Observe During Clinicals?
Clinicals serve as a way for nursing students to get exposure to different specialties in healthcare. Clinical rotations will typically include:
- Labor and delivery
- Critical care
- Community health
How To Use Clinicals As A Powerful Networking Tool
You may not feel drawn to every specialty you are exposed to but you should always try to make a good impression. Even if you feel invisible as a nursing student, you are still leaving an impression with those you meet, particularly other nurses and managers.
If you stay engaged, keep a positive attitude, and take the extra step to introduce yourself to the manager or charge nurse, you will be remembered when it comes time to complete a job application. If this makes you nervous — even better! Challenge yourself to introduce yourself to a manager, even if you know you don’t want to work in that department. This will help you practice pushing through those nerves.
The Dirty Secrets Of Clinicals
Being a student is a difficult time in the lifespan of a healthcare professional. Going into a hospital as a nursing student, you would think that the nurses around you are excited and supportive of your new journey — and don’t get me wrong, a lot of them are. However, hospital settings can have very tense and stressed energies, and this can be reflected in the attitude of the nurses that you are shadowing or interacting with at the hospital. Unfortunately, you will likely encounter nurses who are seemingly not pleased about having you around and may not readily include you in the day’s activities.
Every student in the medical field will feel this to a degree, and it doesn’t do much for fostering a positive environment or cultivating relationships between nurses and students. But there is always a way to handle this.
First, remind yourself that you cannot control how other people feel or act. You can only handle yourself and your own emotions — and it is NOT worth it to have a negative clinical experience due to the attitude of others. Begin by taking deep breaths when you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by all the unknown factors of a clinical experience. Then remind yourself that you are an intelligent person worthy of being in this clinical rotation.
Remember that you are doing your very best, and just because you don’t know how to start an IV today, don’t know what labetalol does, or feel terribly awkward talking to patients doesn’t mean it’s going to be this way forever. You are at the beginning of your journey, a gorgeous and beautifully blooming one. One day you will look back at this time and say — wow! I’ve come such a long way!
10 Tips for Online Nursing Class Success
Written by Chaunie Brusie from Nurse.org
Attending nursing classes online can have a lot of benefits, like accommodating your current work schedule (hellllooooo night shift), allowing you to attend class in your pajamas, and fit in family life.
But all that flexibility can also make online classes challenging. Without an in-person class to attend combined with the distractions of home life, it can be difficult to stay on-task and motivated. For many people, however, the good outweighs the bad, so if online nursing school is in your future, here are some tips for success.
1. Stay Ahead of Schedule
Julie Widzinski, a mom of three active boys and a current Family Nurse Practitioner student, advises anyone taking classes online to stay ahead of their classwork. She points out that most online class formats allow you to see the entire course schedule ahead of time, which can help you plan school work around your life and even work in advance.
“I try to get ahead as best as I can, so if something comes up with the kids, etc., I don’t have to be stuck doing work,” Widzinski explains. “, when the deadline is Wednesday, I usually try posting on Monday.”
2. Do NOT Clean Before You Do Your Homework
I know exactly what you’re thinking — you’re home, you have some time set aside to do your homework, but you’re just going to switch the laundry real quick. Oh, and maybe get dinner started in the crockpot so it can cook while you work. Well, next thing you know you’re making a grocery list and ordering groceries because you noticed you were out of something in the pantry and an hour has gone by and you’re still not working.
Housework of any kind has a way of sucking you in (it’s the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” scenario, except for adults), so if you have work that’s due or you’ve committed a time slot to study, you need to just sit your butt down, ignore the housework completely, and make sure you do your homework first. The dishes will be there when you’re done, but you might lose that precious time to work or burn up all of your energy if you try to clean first.
3. Leave Your Home
That being said, if you absolutely cannot avoid getting distracted at home, you may find you work better out of your house or apartment, so head to a local coffee shop, restaurant during a slow time (like late afternoon), or the library. And, if it’s not possible to leave your home, even studying in your car or out on the back porch might help (I’ve even been known to do my online work in a parking lot where the WiFi will still work #noshame). Getting some fresh scenery can also help you stay energized in a new way that staying home can’t.
4. Utilize Time-Blocking
If you’re not familiar with time-blocking, it’s a time-management strategy designed to help you be more productive with your time. Essentially, instead of switching from one task to another, you “block” off time for each specific task so your brain can be completely focused on one thing at a time. So, instead of studying, then looking something up, then trying to answer your online discussion board, you block off a certain amount of time for each task: 30 minutes to study, 30 minutes to research, and 10 to answer your discussion questions, for instance.
You can even use a time-blocking app, such as Toggl, to help you stay on task if you’re using the computer to work; the app will block other distractions, such as texts or calls, or even web browsing if you need that limited so you can stay completely focused.
5. Don’t Work with any other Screens On
Sure, it may be tempting to plop down on the couch with a little bit of your favorite show on in the background as you work, but trust me, you will be much more effective and efficient if you study or complete your assignments with no other distractions.
Research shows that you might be just fine — or even more on-task with some background noise, like chatter from your family or the background of a coffee house — but when it comes to other screens or visual distractions, our brains just can’t handle both tasks at once. Just say no to screens while studying.
6. Invest in Noise-Cancelling Headphones
In an ideal world, sure, you may only complete your work or studying in a tranquil environment with a fresh cup of coffee and the birds chirping in the background. But in the real world, especially if you have a family, you’ll be cramming for a test while your kids wrestle in the living room or your partner wanders in and out of the bedroom looking for that one item right in front of their face that they just “can’t find.”
So, for the days that you can’t get away from them or just can’t answer another question about what’s for dinner, put on your noise-canceling headphones and (literally) block them all out. You can pick up a pair for around $60 on Amazon and you should 100% ask your accountant if you can write those off as a job-related expense.
7. Get an Accountability Partner
If staying on task and motivated is a challenge for you, try linking up with an accountability partner from your class. Ask one of your classmates if you can be accountability partners and set a system of checking in with each other; you’ll be less likely to blow off studying if you know your partner is expecting a text from you. Even better, find an IRL partner so you have to stay committed.
If you don’t know anyone in “real life” from your nursing class or don’t feel comfortable asking them, find an accountability partner online — there are many different online nursing student support groups.
Alternatively, you could find an accountability partner who is working toward a different goal. For instance, you check in when it’s time to study and they have to check in when it’s time for them to hit the gym. That way, you both win!
8. Ask for Help
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because you’re taking an online class that you’re on your own—your professor is still available to help you if you’re struggling. In fact, his or her “office hours” might be even more accessible than an in-person professor, so don’t be afraid to schedule time to chat, video conference, or speak on the phone if there are concepts you need additional assistance with.
9. Keep a Back-up Copy of Your Work
When I was attending a graduate school program, I can’t tell you how many times I typed a long, thought-out discussion into the online class board only to have the thing completely disappear in some kind of glitch. With a newborn and a toddler at home at the time, I had precious little time to work, so I quickly learned to type out my answers in a Word or Google doc first, save it, then transfer the work to the online submission forms—that way, there was no risk of losing it.
10. Know What Works For You and Your Family!
It sounds simple, but it’s a strategy that can serve you well when taking classes online because ultimately, you’re in charge of your own success. If you know that you have more energy in the morning, schedule your most intense work during that time. Conversely, if you’re a night owl, make that your most productive time. Save less intense work, such as outlining or writing out your schedule, for your energy “downtimes.”
If you have a family, don’t let yourself feel guilty for using your high-energy times to work, even if it’s when the kids are clamoring for you, or your partner wants to spend time with you. If your kids are at home with you all day, use your school time as a time for them to work on quiet projects. You could even use this time to “teach” them about your own school work – think of this as “patient education.”
School is a short time in your life and it’s important to understand what works best for you—and stick to that schedule so ultimately you can all benefit.
Medical Assisting Career Basics
Medical assistants provide administrative and clinical support to medical professionals in a variety of health care settings. You can become a medical assistant in as little as a year after graduating high school through Sumner College’s medical assisting program. Once your medical assistant education process is completed, there is an equally wide array of career choices for graduates. This guide will give a background to the medical assisting profession, explain how to become a medical assistant, outline college program options, explore job opportunities and show what graduates can expect once working as a medical assistant.
MEDICAL ASSISTING CAREER BASICS
Becoming a medical assistant calls for a combination of formal education and hands-on training, which can be completed in 7.5 months at Sumner College. Those who want to earn certification must have some level of formal education in order to do so. Though certification is not required in order to work as a medical assistant, many students opt for certification in order to look more attractive to potential employers.
MEDICAL ASSISTING CAREER IN-DEPTH
There are two primary tasks for medical assistants. First, they engage in administrative tasks such as filling out insurance forms, processing medical bills, answering the telephone and handling patient scheduling. Second, they assist other health care providers, such as doctors, nurses and physician assistants, in providing medical care to patients. For example, they often take a patient’s weight, blood pressure and other basic vital sign readings at the beginning of an appointment. They also collect fluid samples and tissue specimens for laboratory testing. Depending on the medical office or health care setting, medical assistants may work exclusively in one of these areas or work in both. Generally, the smaller the office, the more likely a medical assistant will take on both roles.
5 Steps To Becoming A Certified Medical Assistant
If you’re service-oriented, flexible and dedicated to patient care, becoming a certified medical assistant may be a good career path for you. You can choose a variety of different training programs to become a medical assistant, such as on-the-job training, online training, on-campus training, or even a medical assistant program that combines all these elements. If you’re interested in finding a certificate program, here are the steps you can take to become a certified medical assistant.
5 Steps to Becoming a Certified Medical Assistant
1. Complete Appropriate Training
2. Apply and Study for the Certification Exam
3. Pass the CMA Exam
4. Ace Your Job Interview
5. Keep Your Momentum
It’s possible to become a medical assistant with simply a high school diploma or GED, plus appropriate on-the-job training – but most employers prefer to hire medical assistants that have already gone through formal training and been certified through an accredited program. In fact, it’s often difficult to find a physician who is willing to hire an untrained and inexperienced medical assistant. Becoming certified also typically ensures that you can expect a higher pay grade – as much as $12,000 higher than a non-certified medical assistant, by some estimates. Going through the certification process is a good signal to employers that you’ve been tested and shown to display the kind of skills and expertise they want for their patients.
Medical Assistant Job Overview
A medical assistant supports physicians, nurses, patients and other members of a health care team. Medical assistants carry out a wide variety of important tasks, some of which are more administrative in nature, while others involve directly working with patients. Some of those administrative duties may include things like answering telephones and scheduling appointments, updating patients’ medical records, submitting insurance requests, and coordinating hospital intake or laboratory tests. In particular, electronic medical records management is becoming a larger component of medical assistant duties.
More clinical duties may include drawing blood or removing sutures, assisting physicians during exams, taking medical histories and helping patients prepare for the examination. In addition, most medical assistants will know how to take vital signs. Many times, a medical assistant may be the first person a patient interacts with inside a medical office – and some medical assistants may also give injections or medications as permitted by state law under the direction of a physician. A certified medical assistant may also assist with prescription preparation or changes and help with some minor outpatient clinical procedures.
Overall, the outlook is positive for medical assistant jobs, as aging baby boomers continue to drive demand for medical assistance. This strain on the physician population means that more opportunities will grow for medical assistants to perform basic clinical and administrative duties. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 160,000 new jobs are forecast to be available to medical assistants across the nation between 2012 and 2022 – an employment growth rate that’s much faster than average. You’ll typically see most medical assistants working in primary care, which is a steadily growing slice of the medical field.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a successful medical office assistant will display the following characteristics: communication skills, ability to work well under pressure, attention to detail, customer service ability, listening skills, knowledge of medical terminology, clerical skills, knowledge of medical treatment and more. In general, someone starting out as a certified medical assistant can expect to earn around $40,000 at the beginning of their career.
5 Steps to Becoming a Certified Medical Assistant
While being certified isn’t always a requirement for medical assistant jobs, it is certainly recommended and preferred. Here are the steps you can take to obtain medical assistant certification.
1. Complete Appropriate Training
Before you can take your certification exam, you must complete training through an accredited program – and choosing the right program for you can be a daunting task. You’ll want to look for a program that has been accredited through either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Going through the medical assistant certification process typically takes around a year or less.
You should give some thought to how you might like your medical career to develop so that you can choose the right kind of medical assistant training. For example, if you eventually want to move into other healthcare fields, you might want to pursue an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree before taking your exam. This helps lay the foundation for future study. But if you want to move quickly into the workforce, you might prefer going for a different kind of certificate program that’s more streamlined. Certificates can be earned through technical or vocational schools or online. There are even hybrid programs that incorporate both classroom and online study.
Carefully consider the types of courses offered as well – while most medical assistants handle a wide variety of tasks, you do have the option with some programs of specializing in a specific area, like administration or patient care. Administrative specialties will include coursework in medical billing issues, insurance, and general customer service, while a patient care field of study will emphasize skills like medical terminology, EKG, anatomy, and phlebotomy. You also have the option of specializing in a particular field, such as ophthalmology, obstetrics, or podiatry.
Most training programs will include some type of hands-on training or externship in order to build clinical experience. If you can handle the workload, you may also consider finding an entry-level position just to help gather clinical experience along the way as you study. Look for opportunities with doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals.
2. Apply and Study for the Certification Exam
Before you take your exam, you need to apply through the appropriate accrediting body. You’ll need to show that you’ve completed appropriate training and have all the proper documentation. During this process, you’ll likely be able to select the date on which you’d like to take your exam. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to study for your certification exam; even with appropriate training, the test is challenging.
But you do have many options for guided test preparation. You can find several exam preparation programs available from a variety of professional organizations – and if it’s helpful, the American Association of Medical Assistants even offers a CMA practice exam you can take to gauge your readiness. These kinds of programs can supplement your previous work and focus your efforts on what’s most important for acing the exam.
3. Pass the CMA Certification Exam
While most states don’t require that you be certified to be employed as a medical assistant, the credential is preferred by most employers. You have several options to choose from in terms of accrediting bodies and the exams they offer. For example, the National Center for Competency Testing offers the National Certified Medical Assistant exam. The Certified Medical Assistants exam, from the American Association of Medical Assistants, is given in January, June, and October every year. Additionally, the National Health career Association offers a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant credential, and the corresponding Certified Medical Administrative Assistant certification.
Whichever test you take, make sure you’re familiar with the testing center you’ll use – especially its test-taking policies, along with what to bring with you and what to expect the day of your exam. Generally, you’ll receive an initial pass/fail notice as soon as you submit your exam, with your official results following by mail within three to four weeks.
4. Ace Your Job Interview
Once you have your certification, you’re well-positioned to ace an interview with a physician’s office and get to work. Make sure to carefully research the facility and team you’re interviewing with, and practice answers to questions that showcase your skills, what you know about the medical practice, and how well you’ll fit into the team’s culture. Also, make sure to come armed with your own questions that show your interest in both the practice as a whole and the specific position.
5. Keep Your Momentum
Don’t let getting your first medical assistant job be the punctuation mark on your career; once you’ve taken this step, make sure you look for opportunities to take your career even further. For example, you may eventually decide to go back to school in order to enhance your career options. If you earn an associate degree initially, you may decide to go back for a bachelor’s degree. Or you can also choose to expand your options as a medical assistant by becoming additionally certified in a variety of areas, like office programs, medications, phlebotomy or others.
Medical Equipment Needed as a Medical Assistant
Certified medical assistants are called upon to successfully operate a wide variety of medical equipment in the course of their day-to-day duties. For example, a medical assistant in a primary care or other clinical setting may use any of the following:
Biohazard Sharps Containers
Surgical instruments like forceps, scalpels, etc.
Ultimately, the types of medical tools a certified medical assistant will need to use will depend on the type of office setting and the office equipment favored by the health care staff. Some pieces of equipment, like EKG machines, computers, X-ray equipment, and scales will be supplied by the employer, while other, more personal pieces of equipment, like a stethoscope, penlights, etc. may need to be purchased independently by the medical assistant. In general, the major medical equipment will be supplied by the medical facility, while the smaller tools of the trade that a medical assistant might carry throughout the day may need to be purchased independently by the specific medical assistant.
In addition, clinical medical assistants will need to be well-versed in infection control – most medical offices use standardized sterilization products like Hibiclens or Cavicide to ensure that their clinical areas remain pathogen-free for the safety of both patients and the medical team. It’s likely that once hired by a particular medical practice, you will receive any appropriate training on that medical team’s specific equipment.
Becoming a Certified Medical Assistant
If you’re interested in becoming a certified medical assistant, your choice is a good one – medical assistant jobs are some of the most appealing in the healthcare industry, and good medical assistants are in high demand. Medical assistants are vital and valued members of the health care community. A position as a certified medical assistant can offer solid pay and benefits, job security and continued employment potential. While not required in most states, certification is strongly recommended within the healthcare industry.
Overall, the process for becoming certified is reasonably attainable, especially when compared with its benefits. If you decide to pursue medical assistant certification, follow the steps listed here, and you’ll be well on your way to success in one of the most rewarding and promising career paths within the medical industry.
Content shared from USA Medical and Surgical Supply
The Career Outlook for Medical Assisting
If you’re thinking of training to be a medical assistant, this could be a great career path to follow. To help you make an informed decision about pursuing a career in medical assisting we have attempted to answer the following questions:
- What does the future hold for the medical assistant profession?
- What trends can we expect to see in the employment environment and jobs market?
- What should you look for when choosing a medical assistant program?
- What should schools be doing to help their medical assisting graduates get the best jobs?
Number of Schools with Medical Assisting Graduates
Firstly, let’s look at how many schools offer medical assistant training. The total number of educational institutions providing 1 year certificate, 2 year diploma and Associate’s degree medical assisting programs rose from 1,840 in 2011 to 1,944 in 2013. The majority of programs were 2 year diplomas, followed by degrees. The biggest increase was in 2 year diplomas.
Although the number of schools offering medical assisting training has been increasing, the number of completions – that is the number of people graduating – has declined by quite a lot since 2011. There were overall 140,000 medical assisting graduates in 2011, of which 86 percent came from private for profits institutions, but in 2013 there were 35,000 fewer medical assisting graduates, 105,000 in total, which is a drop of 25 percent over the two year period. Most of this drop was in the private for profits sector.
The Drop in Medical Assistant Completions is Not Typical of the Market
The number of graduates from medical assisting programs declined a lot more than the number of graduates from all programs overall. Over the same time period, there was only a 1 percent drop in overall completion rates across all programs in the US. The completions for private for profit programs were down by 14 percent, but that was still much less than the medical assisting completion rate, which was down by 25 percent. This decline in completions could be attributed to a decline in the number of students enrolling on medical assistant programs in the first place.
Medical Assistant Placement Rates by School Size and Degree Level
Given that there are fewer medical assistants graduating, one would expect the job placement rates for successful graduates to be good overall, but that doesn’t appear to be the situation. There is no statistically significant difference in the placement rate between schools with under 100 and over 100 completions.
Looking at 1 and 2 year and degree programs, there is actually not much difference in placement rates. For 1 year certificates, the placement rate is between 71-72 percent. For diplomas it is slightly lower, between 68-71 percent. The placement rate for degrees is slightly higher at 73-74 percent, but it is important to bear in mind that a 2 year degree will take twice as long as a 1 year certificate to complete, with only a 1-2 percent increase in the job placement rate.
So, does the fact that there are fewer graduates and placement rates are still not great overall mean there is less demand for medical assistants? Really the question should be is the healthcare market growing in a way that will mean more demand for medical assistants in the future?
In answer to that, all estimates predict healthcare expenditures to rise and the healthcare industry is forecast to grow to a $5 trillion sector of the economy by 2022 and to grow faster than any other sector. One of the costs of health expenditure is labor, within which is medical assisting.
Healthcare Industry Trends
Due to various factors, such as an aging population, a rise in the amount of treatments available, and the increase in obesity, there will be an increase in the need for healthcare. With regards to the aging population, people over 60 cost the healthcare industry 2-3 times as much per year as working age people.
There will also be a huge increase in the number of people overall who have access to healthcare due to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. It is estimated that an additional 9 million people will gain access to healthcare, as well as all those who were on plans that didn’t cover them for pre-existing conditions.
Huge changes in the delivery of healthcare are required as a result of the Affordable Care Act, which is putting pressure on both costs and quality of outcomes. Importantly, many patients will increasingly receive treatment away from the hospital, in outpatient clinics, in doctor’s offices and at home, as hospitals are the highest cost venues in the healthcare system.
Another trend is that people are having to work to the top of their license. A doctor will only do things only a doctor can do and will delegate tasks that can be done by a nurse to a nurse, who will in turn delegate work that can be done by a medical assistant to a medical assistant.
This is resulting in more demand for lower skilled employees. There are also changes in what can be done by medical assistants.
Implications for Medical Assisting
This general increase in demand for healthcare means there will be more patients and thus more demand for medical assistants to take care of them. The shift in treatment to lower cost ambulatory venues such as doctor’s offices, where the majority of medical assistants are employed, also means an increased need for medical assistants.
Medical assistants have the advantages of being multi-skilled, with the flexibility to provide low level clinical care as well as perform administrative tasks, combined with relatively few regulatory constraints, which makes them appealing employees to healthcare providers.
Electronic patient records mean a growing demand for medical assistants with informatic skills. It is important to note that a certified medical assistant can be counted towards the Meaningful Use statistics, which means the demand for certified medical assistants will increase, as only those with certification will be counted.
With the focus on treatment away from hospitals, sicker patients requiring more care will be released to their homes, rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes, and will require someone with the right level of training to help them, so there could be an increase in medical assisting jobs in this field.
Medical assistants may also be in demand to fulfill non-traditional roles or those that were previously done by doctors or nurses, such as health coaches, health communicators and patient care coordinators.
As the delivery of healthcare changes there will be more demand for medical assisting skills, especially professionalism, clinical knowledge and informatics. With the prevalence of geriatric and obesity issues, medical assistants may choose to get specialized training in these areas to differentiate themselves in the job market.
The Medical Assistant Job Market
So what is happening in the medical assistant job market? The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the demand for medical assistants will continue to grow at a similar rate of around 2.6-3 percent over the next decade. But this could be a conservative estimate according to data published by WANTED Analytics, which looks at job postings on the internet. This data shows the number of medical assistant job postings rose around 11.5 percent a year in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and this figure was around 12 percent for 2014 (at the time of the report). This suggests that the annual increase in demand for medical assistants is likely to be closer to 10 percent than 3 percent, which is a much bigger growth than in other job markets.
In the period 2011-2013 there was a 25 percent increase in job postings, while at the same time the number of completions dropped by around 25 percent. This gap between the number of medical assisting graduates and the number of jobs is a growing opportunity for medical assistants, as it means less competition for jobs and may even result in a shortage of workers with medical assisting skills.
Employment and Job Postings per Completion
Back in 2011 the market was quite saturated, with 1.1 job postings for every graduate, and 3.8 people working as medical assistants for every medical assisting graduate. From 2012 onward these numbers have risen, so the number of job postings per graduate increased to 1.3 in 2012, 1.8 in 2013 and was estimated to grow to 2.3 in 2014 at the time of the report, suggesting twice as many job postings as there are graduates.
It is important to remember that many of these job vacancies will be taken by people who are already working as medical assistants rather than new graduates, but even so the employment outlook for newly qualified medical assistants is much improved than it was only a few years ago. Figures for 2014 suggest there will be 6.4 people employed as medical assistants for every graduate that year, which is almost twice as many as back in 2011, which is good news for the overall employment prospects of medical assistants.
What Venues will Employ Medical Assistants in the Future?
So where exactly will medical assistants work in the future? Offices of Physicians are the largest venue for medical assistant employment today, and this is also one of the fastest growing sectors, forecast to increase 27 percent through 2022.
The venue with the fastest growth in medical assistant jobs is outpatient care centers, where jobs are likely to increase by 57 percent. Hospitals have the slowest growth of any venue, around 9 percent, although being the largest employers with 7,100 new jobs. It is worth knowing that although the majority of medical assistant jobs are in physician’s offices not hospitals, many physician’s offices are part of hospital chains, so the hospital HR department may post the jobs and handle the recruitment process.
The concept of patient centred medical homes means there will be satisfaction metrics for those providers, meaning that customer satisfaction will matter more than it did in the past. As a medical assistant is often the first person that a patient sees, their interpersonal and communication skills are very important in terms of satisfaction ratings for patient centred medical care facilities. Professionalism of medical assistants will become even more important.
With an increase in patient centred medical care providers, which are most likely to be ambulatory facilities where medical assistants are prevalent, there should be an increased demand for medical assistants.
What skills and qualifications are employers looking for in medical assistants?
Looking at the job postings data, a consistent requirement is proficiency in Electronic Medical Records. With the Meaningful Use regulations the ability to handle healthcare records is becoming increasingly important. Some employers are looking for specialist skill sets such as bilingual (Spanish), pediatrics, geriatrics and quality assurance. It is clear that employers require medical assistants with a combination of clinical skills and electronic administrative skills.
Professionalism is a key skill required in getting a job. Doctor’s offices may be willing to train someone that fits their environment, but they are unlikely to hire someone that lacks the professional skills needed to work in front of patients.
How important is Certification?
The data showed that many employers specifically wanted to hire medical assistants with some type of certification. The CMA credential (Certified Medical Assistant) was the most commonly required type, requested in 20,000 job postings, which is nearly 25 percent of postings that were looked at in the report. Other titles were also mentioned, such as RMA, NCMA and CCMA.
This suggests that being certified is becoming increasingly important for medical assistants. Medical assistants without credentials can improve their chances in the job market by finding out which exam they could take to get a certification. Some exams require graduation from a programmatically accredited program. However, the CCMA exam is open to those with experience in the field and who have graduated from an institutionally accredited program. It is worth taking test prep courses before taking the exam. Given the emphasis on certification these days, many schools include exam preparation courses as part of their medical assisting programs and encourage students to sit a certification exam upon graduation.
Certification is likely to become even more important due to the Meaningful Use requirements in the Affordable Care Act that stipulate only certified medical assistants will count towards Meaningful Use statistics. Doctor’s offices will be allowed to earn incentives for employing certified medical assistants, whereas uncertified medical assistants do not qualify them for the incentives.
Job Placement Rates
Schools display their job placement rates in their disclosure statements on their websites. For a graduate to be included in the statistics they must be employed in medical assisting or a closely related field. With fewer medical assisting graduates and more jobs available, the percentage of newly qualified medical assistants finding a job should be good. However, BLS statistics show only a very small correlation between placement rates and job openings. So what affects a program’s job placement rate?
What are the Effects of Campus Size on Placement?
The data showed that the median placement rate for medical assistant programs is similar regardless of school size at just under or over 70 percent. There is not much difference between the placement rates for an average school with only 25 students compared to an average school with over 300 students. Placement rates actually vary widely between schools of the same size, from around 68-80 percent. It appears that school size does not play a part in placement rates.
What Do the Top-Performing Medical Assistant Programs have in common?
It appears that the key to good job placement rates is good management, with well managed programs placing the most graduates. Gray Associates analyzed a selection of the top medical assistant schools – defined by a job placement rate of 80 percent or better – which varied in size, growth rate and geography. They concluded that “placement of medical assistants is a function of the quality of the school and its placement effort, not a function of the market in which the school participates”.
What are the Best Practices of the Medical Assistant Programs with the top placement rates?
So what do these best performing schools do to place a higher percentage of their medical assisting graduates than other schools? The report found comprehensive similarities in how these schools attract, train and place students and develop their students during the process.
It could be assumed that the better performing schools would be more selective in their admissions process, for example accepting only students with a high GPA or better SAT scores who would be most likely to graduate. Perhaps they screened for felonies and other criminal penalties, or looked for students from the most attractive neighborhoods. Actually the schools in this study had open admissions policies. Most did not use IQ screening and only one or two screened for felonies. They accepted students from all neighborhoods.
What the top schools had in common was they were good at orientation. For example, they ran sessions to identify a student’s personal purpose for becoming a medical assistant and some set specific goals for each student. They made the applicants aware of the program details to make sure they understood the academic requirements of the courses and how they could fit the courses into their schedules.
Before the students began any classes the schools exercised professionalism by telling them what they would need to do in order to get a job at the end of their training, such as writing a resume, cleaning up their online presence or removing tattoos. The emphasis was that preparing for the job hunt began on the first day at school and should not be left until just before or after graduation.
The best schools encouraged their students to take certification exams upon graduation and as such designed their programs to prepare students for success in the exams. The focus was on the academic quality of the programs even if they were not programmatically accredited, and there were high expectations placed on their faculty of performance in the certification exams.
Programmatic accreditation provides an external benchmark for academic programs and this appears to be particularly important for smaller schools where it can be hard to keep track of all the changes and requirements in medical assisting. If a program is accredited, the accrediting body keeps the school up to date on what needs to be changed within the program and provides a benchmark for the quality of the education.
The medical assisting schools with the best placement rates placed a strong emphasis on coaching, especially for at risk students. The teaching staff were professional and committed to their students, being demanding but at the same time caring for the individuals and having a belief in each student’s ability to succeed. It is very important that instructors believe in their students, who are often from disadvantaged backgrounds, have not done well in high school and have limited financial resources. Often students doubt their abilities and instructors play an important role in instilling the confidence they need to succeed in their studies and job hunt.
The top-performing schools were found to place an emphasis on the importance of professionalism right from the start of the program, not just towards the end in preparation for the externship. Professionalism includes appearance, communication, clothing, dentistry, hygiene and tattoo removal. One of the best schools offered free services to help students improve their chances of getting a job, such as a parlor that volunteered to remove tattoos and a dentist who could fix or replace teeth.
Many of the schools with the best placement rates helped students to use software to monitor and clean up their online presence, such as their Facebook pages, so that employers would not find evidence of inappropriate behaviors. One school even helped students to expunge criminal records such as arrest records and other incidents not leading to conviction, so these would not impede their ability to get a job.
The management of the externship program had a big impact on placement rates for the best-performing schools. Those schools with a lower percentage of graduates getting a medical assisting job had a few things in common. They often had externships that were run by the faculty, or the externship site wasn’t carefully monitored, or there was a lack of communication or discipline with externship sites that took students on as a form of free labor but didn’t go on to hire them.
In contrast, the better-performing schools ran a very organized and disciplined externship program in partnership with the faculty, excluding externship sites that provided a bad experience or didn’t go on to hire graduates. Sites were also advised on ways in which they could improve the externship experience for students.
Representatives from the placement organization visited the externship sites to meet the sponsors and students to assess how the externship was progressing. Students received instruction to prepare them for the externship experience in advance, so they knew what to expect, what the standards for success were and the importance of key things such as professionalism, punctuality and appearance.
Both in the job placement process and the externship process, the top medical assistant schools focused on matching students to the best suited jobs and employers. For instance, a student who struggled a bit under pressure would be matched to a less high paced job in an extended care environment, where they would fit in better than in a busy doctor’s office with many patients coming into the office and calling on the phone. The students that were best able to succeed in a high pressure environment were put into matching jobs. Those with less people skills were matched with more administrative or records keeping roles.
The final best practice was having a well managed advisory board made up of many people, where any employer could join. Often their meetings included over 20 employers. The other important aspect is that at each advisory board meeting careful notes were taken on what was said, so that at the start of each meeting there was a readjustment of the progress made against the suggestions from the previous meeting. This ensured that the advice of the advisory board was clearly listened to in the instruction and management of the medical assisting program.
What is the future for online medical assistant programs?
Advances in technology mean there are some cutting edge things happening in medical assistant education. As a result, online medical assisting programs are becoming more common, usually as a part of a traditional on-ground program, although some independent online programs are available. Schools are able to use the internet to provide online resources and materials to enhance the classroom experience.
Schools can provide resources where students can go to run simulations online or get extra practice in behaviors they have learned in a lab, which is particularly useful in preparation for an externship. For example, students may be able go through an online simulation of giving an x-ray.
The Future is Bright for Medical Assistants
To conclude, the future for medical assistants looks promising. There will be a growing need for healthcare, meaning more jobs for medical assistants. These jobs are most likely to be in doctor’s offices and ambulatory venues. Professionalism, Electronic Medical Records skills and certification will become increasingly important. Job placement rate should be considered when selecting a medical assistant program. The best schools have well-run externships, prepare their students for certification exams and help them in their job search by supporting them over the course of their training. If you want a rewarding career in the growing healthcare industry, medical assisting could be for you.
Comprehensive Research Study of the Medical Assisting Profession by Bob Atkins, CEO of Gray Associates
7 Habits of Highly Effective Nursing Students
Nursing school is challenging, whether you’re a new student or a seasoned professional in an RN to BSN. Between the volume of material to cover, the hours of studying to understand it all and learning to care for patients, nursing students have to work hard to stay on top of it all.
The good news is that it is possible to do a great job in nursing school and still have time for family, friends and fun. Making these seven habits a part of your life can make you a more effective – and successful – nursing student, no matter what stage you’re in.
Habit 1: Manage Your Time
There’s a reason this is the first habit to master: it’s the most important! Balancing classes, studying, work, family obligations and a personal life takes some serious planning.
Break each day into blocks of time and then decide what’s the most important thing for each block. For example, you know you need time to sleep. Will you manage to get eight hours every day? Or should you plan for seven? Proper sleep is the foundation for a healthy, stress-free nursing school experience, so don’t skimp on it.
Schoolwork is the next important chunk for nursing school students. Tests, papers, and important assignments all require a certain amount of study time. Plan ahead and block out sufficient study time every day. Try not to let it get away from you.
Working nurses who are studying for a BSN need to become experts at balancing school, studying and their shifts, often while caring for family members.
That’s where strict scheduling helps.
Enlist your family to keep a master calendar so everyone knows when you’re working, going to class and studying. And be sure to schedule some free time for the things you like to do, whether it’s working out, reading, listening to music or spending time with your family. That balance will help you get through the rigors of nursing school.
Habit 2: Study Smart
Some people can cram for a test and make it work. But in nursing, you really have to understand the material and how to apply it in real-world situations. You’ll be using your reasoning skills to apply the right choices to different conditions, and not choosing between answers “A” or “B” on a test. That’s why you need to study smart. Try these ideas to make your study time work more effectively for you:
Study effectively. Don’t spend four hours on something that should really take two. Try dividing a four-hour study block into four, one-hour study segments, and space them out a bit. You’ll probably comprehend the material much better and finish faster.
Avoid distractions. When you sit down to study, put away any books, materials and devices that you don’t need. Avoid the temptation to check your texts or social media.
Review classwork ahead of time. Read through text before you get to class.
Practice. When you finish a section of reading, run through some practice test questions. See if you can answer them without your notes.
Give yourself enough time. Most students underestimate the amount of time it will take to finish an assignment, study or write a paper. Be realistic.
Habit 3: Ask for Help
This is a tough one! For most of us, asking for help seems like a sign of weakness or failure, but it’s not. Seek out someone who’s been in your nursing shoes, and can offer advice or just listen. They’ll help you get through the difficult spots.
Habit 4: Focus
Now more than ever, nursing students are multi-tasking. It’s so easy to get distracted by a message or alert, and get way off track. The fact is that almost no one is good at multi-tasking. So try to focus on one thing at a time. Eliminate distractions by organizing your study space, and turn off your phone, TV and music. When you focus on studying, you’ll finish faster, leaving more time for catching up on social media and your favorite shows.
Habit 5: Make Realistic Goals
Keep it real, and you’ll be much more successful in reaching your goals. Sure, it would be great to study for eight hours over the weekend, but is it really possible? Can you aim for four and make that happen? How about setting daily goals like covering one major section and one smaller chapter? You’ll feel better about yourself when you make and reach smaller goals along the way to the big goal – your BSN degree.
Habit 6: Be Proactive
Planning ahead and staying on top of your assignments will save you lots of time, and prevent a rush to complete everything right before the end of the term. Also, take the initiative to ask questions of your instructors. Find out early about their standards and preferences, and you’ll complete assignments right the first time.
Habit 7: Reward Yourself
With all the challenges of nursing school, it’s not easy to do your best over the long haul. You will probably get tired of studying when you’d rather be spending time with your family or friends. That’s when it’s time to set a goal and reward yourself when you reach it. Getting into the habit of motivating yourself, controlling your behavior and doing something nice for yourself will take you far, both in nursing school and in your career.
These 7 Habits Can Make Nursing School Better
Creating good habits can make nursing school much easier, no matter how challenging it can be. Managing your time, being proactive, rewarding yourself, studying smart, focusing and asking for help will keep you happy and healthy while you earn that degree. Also, consider online nursing programs, which are designed for working professionals, and allow you to attend classes as your schedule permits.
Medical Assisting Career Description
A Medical Assistant is responsible for completing administrative and clinical tasks for healthcare facilities and providers. Additionally, these professionals take and record confidential patient information using Electronic Health Records, only discussing this information with other professionals who are helping to treat a patient.
“One of the greatest parts of entering medical assisting is that this career in healthcare can be an entry point to other nursing and patient care positions,” a Certified Medical Assistant in South Carolina, said.
To become a Medical Assistant, a professional is typically required to graduate from a post-secondary education program such as Sumner College to obtain a certificate. This takes 7.5 months to complete. In some states, there are no formal educational requirements, but many employers prefer to hire Medical Assistants who have obtained certification.
Usually education requirements depend on the state, but most require at least a technical diploma.
To advance in a career as a MA, a person can continue their education and learn a specialization. Alternatively an MA can advance by moving into a team leader or supervisory role.
So, in the field as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), some professionals choose to pursue additional education, perhaps earning an Associate’s Degree. Others develop specializations, such as becoming an Administrative Medical Assistant, Clinical Medical Assistant, Ophthalmic Medical Assistants or Podiatric Medical Assistant, and move into leadership roles.
To become a successful Medical Assistant, professionals should be able to use Electronic Health Records to record patient history and data, measure vital signs and help physicians perform patient examinations as needed. Medical Assistants must possess important technical skills so that they can operate basic clinical instruments such as stethoscopes, blood pressure monitors, syringes and needles. They should also be able to give patients injections or medications (as directed by a physician and as permitted by State law), schedule appointments and prepare blood samples for laboratory testing.
To perform the necessary responsibilities, MA’s need to know medical terminology, ICD 10 codes, basic pharmacology, how to draw blood and how to take vital signs.
Medical Assistants should possess strong interpersonal and analytical skills, as patients need to be able to discuss personal information and problems with these professionals. They should also be detail oriented, and able to accurately record and relay patient information/data, as well as to collect data/results and code a patient’s medical records for billing. And empathy is the most important characteristic.
Most CMAs work full-time, and many work evenings, weekends or holidays to accommodate patients and to ensure that all shifts are covered within facilities that are constantly open.
A Medical Assistant’s day is usually very busy. They are usually the patient’s first point of contact with the healthcare facility.
There’s no better time to beginning a path toward becoming a Medical Assistant than now! With Medical Assistants having held about 634,400 positions coupled with a projected growth of 23 percent over the next decade, this profession has proven to become increasingly in demand.
With the majority working in primary care facilities, a steadily growing sector within the healthcare industry, the highest employing facilities of Medical Assistants are the offices of Physicians, state, local and private hospitals, outpatient care centers and the offices of Chiropractors.
There is great salary potential in a career as a Certified Medical. Assistant. For example, the median annual wage for someone in the role was $34,800, whereas the top 10 percent made more than $48,720. While the lowest 10 percent made less than $25,820 there exists great potential for raises and advancement.
Additionally, the highest paying employers include outpatient care centers, state, local and private hospitals, the offices of physicians and chiropractors.
Some content inspired by Careers in Healthcare.
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What is the Difference Between an RN and a BSN?
When people hear or see the abbreviations RN and BSN, they often think they are the same things, but there is a difference between an RN and a BSN. In fact, they are two very distinct and different things. An individual with a BSN is going to be an RN, but an RN does not necessarily always have a BSN. Sound confusing? Here is a more in-depth description of the differences between an RN and a BSN.
What is an RN?
The letters RN are used to designate the credential of Registered Nurse. A registered nurse is an individual who provides and coordinates patient care, educates the community about health issues, educates patients on healthcare and provides support to patients and their families. Beside every doctor, you will probably find an RN assisting. To become an RN, an individual must complete a formal training program, which consists of coursework, lab studies and clinical rotations.
Once the training has been completed, the student must pass the NCLEX-RN to obtain licensure, which is required in all states. An individual can become an RN in one of these three ways.
- Complete an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN)
- Complete a diploma nursing program
- Complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (BSN)
What is a BSN?
The BSN, which stands for Bachelor of Science in Nursing, is a degree level program in nursing. Unlike the associate’s degree and diploma nursing programs, which can be completed in two years, the BSN requires four years of study. The student completes the same nursing curriculum but also takes general education courses. A graduate of a BSN typically also has more career opportunities available to them than the individual with the associate’s degree or the diploma.
Career Opportunities for RNs with a BSN
There are many career opportunities for RNs who complete the BSN program. Nurse Journal states that many nursing students choose the diploma or associate degree program so they can begin their careers sooner but choose to pursue the BSN later in their careers. Since they already have nursing degrees, they can typically earn the BSN in two years rather than the usual four years. Having a bachelor’s degree allows RNs the chance to pursue specialized areas of nursing and earn higher wages.
Some of specialized areas of nursing can be obtained after a few years of experience working as RNs, and some require some additional training. Here are some career opportunities for RNs with a BSN.
- Pediatric Nurse
- Critical Care Nurse
- Oncology Nurse
- Clinical Nurse Manager
- Research Nurse
- Nurse Informaticist
- Clinical Nurse Educator
- Surgical Nurse
- Public Health Nurse
Career Outlook for RNs
RNs are highly in demand and are expected to see a job growth of 15 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The gaining population continues to be in need of qualified healthcare professionals like RNs. As RNs retire, there will also be a need for more RNs. As of May 2017, RNs earned annual wages that ranged from $48,690 to more than $104,100.
While an individual can become an RN through a couple of different paths, RNs with a BSN typically find the best career opportunities and wage potentials. Knowing the difference between an RN and a BSN can help an aspiring RN choose the right program and degree level.
Shared from Best College Reviews