As we reported a few weeks ago, Windows XP operating system is about to fade out of existence. With so many computers still running Microsoft’s most popular OS ever, this means many of the folks who studying medical billing and coding online using Windows XP computers have recently upgraded to a new system (or will be soon). That can be scary. Especially since, since they’ve still been using Window XP, that means they missed the incremental changes spread over the releases Microsoft issued between XP and the present (which includes Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and most recently, 8.1).
But fear not students of medical billing and coding school! The new Windows 8.1 is actually pretty easy to use- some might even say ‘fun’ – even if you’re an XP diehard. Microsoft built Windows 8 to act much more like a tablet, phablet or smartphone. If you have an iPhone or an Android phone, you’ll intuitively understand the “Tiles” which are similar to the apps on your tablet. What’s even more comforting is that the newest release, Windows 8.1 was issued specifically to restore some of the traditional Windows features that users complained were stripped out of Windows 8. Things like a START button and right clicking of things have been restored in 8.1. Overall, this blogger has found it to be the best of both worlds, tablet computing and classic Microsoft tools.
Bottom line, like anything new and different, it will take a little adjustment time, but if you’re being forced to upgrade by XP’s final log off, you’ll have even more fun studying online medical billing classes with 8.1!
So, I was absorbed in my tax filing process using the TurboTax tax preparation software (no endorsement implied, it’s just what I use) when the words “Certified Nurse Assistant Class” jumped off the computer screen at me. While I write about certified nursing assistant training regularly, I wasn’t expecting to see it in my tax software. But there it was.
It was a question from another user asking the user support community if certified nursing assistant courses could be listed as deductions on her tax return. The support representative had responded with the relevant link to the IRS publication that covers this question. Sure enough, it revealed that the kind of studies you can engage at Allen School, from certified nurse assistant courses to medical assistant certification to medical billing and coding online, were all eligible deductions. Now, I am not a tax expert by any stretch of the imagination. And I don’t recommend taking these deductions without first making sure they are proper for you given your personal tax situation. But it does seem probable that you can take this deduction. Check with your tax preparer first or read the IRS information very carefully to make sure you qualify.
April 15 is right around the corner! Good luck getting your taxes done and may your refund check be a fat one!
If so, you’ll be dealing with the issues surrounding what to do with your old computer. Discussions on the technologies used to take our medical billing and coding online course are a regular feature of the Allen School Blog. In these posts, we seek to provide good information to help our online students maximize their experiences studying by remote. Today’s post deals with the best practices you should use when disposing of an old computer, tablet, handheld or other device.
As we shared in this recent post about the end of Microsoft support for Windows XP, it may be time for many people to bite the bullet and buy a new computer. Yes, you can opt to purchase a newer operating system like Windows 7 or Windows 8. But chances are, if your machine is running XP, its probably at least 8-10 years old. And with a new OS costing close to $200 (and the prices of new computers lower than ever before) you may be better off simply purchasing a new machine that comes with the latest operating system pre-installed. But what to do with the old machine and the likely sensitive personal data that may be stored in the memory banks therein?
Dan Tynan for Yahoo! Tech explains the five key things you must do to properly dispose of old computer gear without leaving yourself vulnerable to identity theft or polluting the environment. The five things are as follows: Back it up, wipe it down, destroy it, recycle, keep records. Click here to read the details from Dan’s article and protect yourself and the earth when it is time to upgrade your hardware.
As a certified nursing assistant, you probably won’t be performing any brain surgery. That said, it is still interesting to note whenever a breakthrough is achieved in the medical field. As a member (or soon to be member) of this exciting career field, it should be a point of pride for you whenever such innovations occur. For our part here at the Allen School blog, we always try to publicize these occurrences.
Today’s nifty news story comes from University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands where neurosurgeons completed the first successful skull implant using a large, 3-D printed skull. The patient was a 22 year old woman with a bone disorder. This step marks the opening of an exciting new frontier in medicine wherein 3-D printers can be used to fabricate replacement parts for the human body.
If you’re just completing your certified nursing assistant course with us, you’re at the beginning of a fabulous career during a period in history which will be replete with fantastic breakthroughs that would have been considered science fiction just a few short decades ago.
The Allen School Blog always keeps an eye out for stories of people doing amazing things in healthcare with very little resources. Like the story we published about a Nigerian clinic operator who built an operable centrifuge out of a bicycle, or the doctoral student who developed a surgical suction device that could be manufactured and sold for a mere $3, today’s story offers the same spirit of frugal medical achievement.
According to this story from ABC News, “Manu Prakash, a professor at Stanford University and his students have developed a microscope out of a flat sheet of paper, a watch battery, LED, and optical units that when folded together, much like origami, creates a functional instrument with the resolution of 800 nanometers – basically magnifying an object up to 2,000 times.” This amazing idea and the ones referenced above prove that it doesn’t take a fortune to produce things that will help advance the cause of medicine and aid millions of people for decades to come.
Of course, the Allen School is also proof of that axiom. The certified nursing assistant course is eminently affordable and produces hundreds of certified nursing assistants every year. Certified nursing assistants who go out into their communities and, over the course of their lifetimes in this compelling career, provide comfort, aid suffering and help thousands upon thousands of people to reach better states of health and wellness.
There are many good reasons to get a nursing assistant education or to take medical assisting training: a stable career path, better compensation, strong employment numbers for the field. Yet, there is no better reason to become a certified nursing assistant or a medical office assistant than for all the good you will be able to do for your fellow humans over the course of your career.
Here’s a story that reminds all of us of the human element and the rewards that far outweigh monetary earnings. Little Sarah Murnaghan (and happy St. Patty’s to her) was born with Cystic Fibrosis and by age 10, her lungs were failing. She needed a double lung transplant to survive. After navigating serious legal issues surrounding the rules for transplant patients and age restrictions, she underwent a TWO transplant operations, as the first transplant was rejected.
Against all odds, physical, medical, legal and others, little Sarah has begun the arduous road to recovery. Just recently, she took her first bike ride ever on a little pink bicycle, a marker signaling her return to “normal little girl” status – a huge milestone for a brave little girl and her long-suffering family. None of this amazing story would be possible without the hard work and dedication of her surgeons, doctors, nurses, and the medical office staffs including certified nursing assistants and medical office assistants. THIS is why we go to healthcare training school!
If Your Machine Shows This Logo When You Boot, It's Critical to Update your OS Before 4/8
Many folks taking medical billing classes online with the Allen School do so for one very significant reason: to improve their financial lot in life. It is logical to assume that people who identify the need for more income may be doing the best they can with limited resources. If you’re among this group of people, and you’re studying medical billing and coding online using an older computer – particularly one running the Windows XP operating system – then you need to know the following, critical information.
Recent estimates show that nearly half a billion people still use computers running Microsoft Windows XP. The XP operating system, now more than a decade old, was at one time, the most popular operating system in the world. However, as security threats (and other computing needs) grew more sophisticated, Microsoft released new operating systems. Since XPs release, Microsoft has subsequently offered Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. Several years ago, Microsoft attempted to cease providing support for Windows XP, but was met with jeers from the millions of consumers still using the popular product. So Microsoft agreed to continue supporting the XP system with the security patches designed to keep the OS from being overtaken by viruses, spammers, hackers and other online threats. Yet, it hasn’t been profitable for Microsoft for many years to continue supporting what is essentially and obsolete product.
The Allen School Blog first warned of this move by Microsoft in this post from last December, but the cutoff date had not yet been announced. Well, it is now official. Support for Windows XP will cease on April 8, 2014. Repeat, support for Windows XP will cease on April 8, 2014. So if you’re scraping by using an old computer with this outdated operating system, you need to update to a newer OS or after April 8, your machine will be subject to what experts suggest may be a 66% increase in viruses and hacking attacks.
The KFC Double Down, the McGriddle, the Quadruple Bypass Burger and now the Waffle Taco! Long time readers of the Allen School Blog know I have a predilection for reporting on the worst excesses of the American Fast Food industry, which seems to have no self control when it comes to developing foods that may ultimately kill their customers. I just find it almost comical the lengths to which fast food producers will go to stuff more fat, sodium, sugar and calories in their offerings with seeming disregard for the health consequences.
Today, Taco Bell joined the illustrious list of over-the-top fast food merchants with the announcement that it will be entering into the highly competitive “breakfast” segment of the fast food market with something called the “Waffletaco”. As the name implies, it is a taco-shell shaped Belgian waffle stuffed with sausage, egg and cheese and is intended to be topped with a torrent of maple syrup. Why am I appalled and intrigued at the same time? I know I should avoid this nutritional abomination like the plague, yet, I am oddly seduced by this siren song of breakfasty goodness.
Whether you favor or scorn such fanciful fast food creations, the bottom line is they must be good for business. The publicity these monster menu items produces is reason enough for these purveyors of heart disease to continue to try and one-up each other with ever more bizarre and unhealthy products. And what is good for their business also happens to be good for Certified Nurse Assistant schools like the Allen School. The contribution of the Waffletaco to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, sleep apnea and a host of other ailments keeps demand high for well-trained medical office assistants, certified nurse assistants and all other healthcare professionals! So bon appetit!
If you’ve been reading this blog over the years, you know I rarely (if ever) give any product or service endorsements (except to recommend particularly useful websites or particularly over-the-top fast food creations). But I feel like the experience I recently had buying a new laptop computer was worth sharing. Especially for those of you who are studying medical billing and coding online (or those who may be considering it.)
Did you know that most computer manufacturers sell “scratch & dent” and “refurbished” products through websites not typically connected with their main website? Yep. Its true. In the past, I have purchased machines from Dell Outlet, HP Outlet and just this week, “Lenovo Outlet” stores. I have purchased “scratch and dents” which, although it sounds scary, typically means nothing more than tiny cosmetic blemishes that aren’t even noticeable. Refurbs are almost always machines that were ordered, delivered and sent back because the buyer didn’t want it when it arrived (read: found a lower price elsewhere). Or perhaps there was a defective component when they buyer first booted the machine. So it is sent back to the factory where the original manufacturer’s technicians replace the faulty component, returning the machine to virtually brand-new status.
These “Manufacturer’s Outlet” sites sell these computers beginning at 50% off! And the deals get even better than that. I bought a refurbed Lenovo laptop with a touch screen, a superfast dual core processor (3Ghz), 6GB of RAM memory, DVD burner, webcam, Dolby speakers and Windows 8 operating system. It was a $1100 ,machine. I paid $388.00!
Studying online to earn your degree in medical billing is a smart way to go. Be smart about buying a good computer to support your studies.
Nursing assistant schools should expect to continue to be in high demand if its true what the World Health Organization (WHO) is reporting. According to a report from CNN, the WHO has been sounding the alarm that cancer is approaching global pandemic proportions with almost 1 in every 8 deaths worldwide attributable to the disease. Whether it is colon cancer in men, cervical cancer in women, or lung cancer among smokers, cancer is on the rise as more countries become industrialized and adopt Western lifestyles.
While this is truly ghastly news, it should be noted that one of the byproducts of this spreading disease is an ongoing, high demand for people with nursing assistant education and all other types of healthcare related workers. While many of the steps people can take to minimize their cancer risk (like quitting smoking and increasing physical activity) are not something a certified nurse assistant can influence directly, there are other things that require direct involvement of a nursing assistant. For example, vaccinations. Women can get vaccinated against HPV virus which is a precursor to cervical cancer.
In any case, the silver lining in this troubling story is particularly bright for those taking nursing assistant training with the Allen School.