You Can Become a Certified Nursing Assistant (she did!)

You may be feeling like changing careers is difficult to do.  Especially if you’re making the change after having trained for and worked for some time in another field.  You may feel like it is an insurmountable challenge to attain a certified nursing assistant degree.  Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with computers.  Or maybe you’re not confident in your ability to internalize medical terminology.  Whatever your doubts and fears, know this: YOU CAN DO IT.

I recently blogged elsewhere about a scene from a favorite movie of mine – “The Edge”. Stranded in the wilderness with Alec Baldwin’s character, with no tools or weapons but a pocket knife, Hopkins’ character decides he is going to kill the grizzly bear stalking them both and with an appetite for human flesh.

Baldwin is dubious it can be done. Hopkins – having just explained that early man killed bear without benefit of modern weapons, using only hand-hewn spears – demands Baldwin verbalize – over and over – the very accurate perception that “What one man can do, another can do!”  Here’s the scene for you to check out:

When you’re letting insecurity get the best of you as you deliberate taking the next step in your career (like enrolling to earn your Nursing Assistant Certificate), just think of this scene and understand that many others have taken the path you’re about to take.  And many others have succeeded to do what you’re considering doing.  What one man (or woman) can do, another can do.  Sure as can be.

Realistic Answers to Unrealistic Job Interview Questions

job interviewYou’re about to complete your healthcare training school course of study and getting ready to reenter the workforce as a newly minted medical billing and coding pro or certified nursing assistant.  In spite of your new education, you’ll still be confronted with difficult questions from the hiring managers you’ll encounter along the way.  It can be a daunting task and many of us operate under the assumption that they (the hiring people) have the power and we (the candidates) are lowly, unworthy and should be obsequious.  Enter a fantastic resource:

The website at is run by LinkedIn Influencer and all around smart HR woman Liz Ryan whose objective is to prepare candidates for successful job hunting by pumping up their self-worth or as she calls it their “mojo”.  Case in point, the discussion she started on LinkedIn here about answering the question, “How much did you earn at your last job?”   As Liz points out, that is a freaking ruuuuude question.  Furthermore, it is not one you should feel obliged to answer.  Of course, you won’t get the job if you tell the person there to “get bent”.  But if you answer the question instead by articulating how much you want to earn in the new position, you accomplish the same thing.  That is, you give the employer a frame of reference.  If what you wish to earn is more than they are prepared to pay, then you’re simply not the right candidate.  However, if you tell them “I earned $31,000 a year in my last position” their salary offer to you will most co-incidentally be $31,250″; even if they were prepared to pay as much as $36,000 for the right candidate.

Read her entire piece on this topic and I also recommend the podcast at the bottom of her post that talks about how to deal with having been fired from your last job when applying for your next job.  Hint: you claim you quit and were not fired!  Liz’s whole attitude is positive and affirming and she’s just the best person to help fire you up if you’re about to seek a new position.  Enjoy!

Medical Assistant NOT on List of 18 Most Stressful Jobs

stressfreejobJada Graves writes for US News and World Report an article listing the top 18 most stressful jobs as listed by the US Department of Labor Statistics.  These are gigs defined as, “well-paying, society-building occupations for which workers potentially risk their emotional and physical health when clocking in each day”.  As you’d expect, these are positions that are the kinds of work you may have considered before deciding to instead pursue your certification taking medical assistant training – jobs like Taxi Driver, Police Officer, Roofer, Event Planner.

In fact, it bears  notice that not a single healthcare industry job made this list.  Not certified nursing assistant, not medical billing and coding pro, not even emergency room doctor!  Of course, the position of medical assistant certainly meets the criteria as being a “well-paid, society building occupation”.  Its just that being a member of this career group doesn’t have a heightened risk of driving you toward stomach ulcers or even an early grave.  That’s not to say there won’t be any stress on the job as a medical assistant.  But it stress simply isn’t going to be a regular feature of the job.

So if you’re on the doorstep of a career change and are currently considering your options, you should read this list and make sure you’re ready to risk your mental and physical health being in a high risk field.  Then, we recommend you skipping all that nonsense and enrolling to earn your medical assistant degree with Allen School.

The Intersection of Tech and Healthcare (Besides Online Medical Billing Classes)

yelpYes, it is true, studying online medical billing classes with the Allen School is an intersection between technology and healthcare.  However, it is not a particularly unique example of this intersection.  There are far more exotic instances of the melding of technology and medicine such as Internet enabled, remote control surgery for example.

This story however, is a fascinating example of this intersection along with a dash of crowd-sourcing thrown in for additional interest.  It turns out that researchers studying food poisoning have been monitoring popular restaurant review site to track instances of food-borne illness in the US.  Their research revealed that approximately 10% of Yelp reviewers claimed to have been given food poisoning in reviews they left on places they’d eaten.  What was surprising was that the Yelp data correlated strongly to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data on outbreaks of food borne illnesses.

When Yelp was developed, I doubt any of the technology minds there imagined this use for the technology tool they were building.  It just goes to show what unintended consequences can arise when technology is harnessed in pursuit of healthcare.  Do you have any funny stories stemming from your use of technology to study online medical billing classes with Allen School Online?  Share in the comments!

New Public Health Threat – Be Aware Nursing Assistant

sick toddlerIt seems like we’re writing posts like this one with increasing frequency.  I am referring to posts wherein we bring an emerging public health threat to the attention of our students taking nursing assistant courses.

This time we’re reporting on the emergence of a respiratory virus known as Enterovirus D68.  This illness has hospitalized patients in more than 21 states so far and has recently been reported in the New York area.  What is most distressing about this illness – which has symptoms similar to those of a common cold: fever, runny nose, couching and sneezing, body and muscle aches – is the fact that it seems to target young children the most.

While enteroviruses are not new and infect as many as 10 to 15 million people each year, the D68 strain is notoriously virulent, having been known to medical science since it emerged back in the early1960s. The strain is known to cause significant respiratory distress and is particularly dangerous for those with asthma.   Worse, there is no known treatment or inoculation against it.  Those diagnosed are typically treated with intravenous liquids, oxygen treatments and over the counter remedies.

According to the Washington Post, ” After a surge in cases of severe respiratory illnesses last month popped up in Illinois and Missouri, the CDC ran tests and determined dozens of the children who were hospitalized there tested positive for a rare enterovirus strain. Most recently, Alabama and Washington state hospitals have seen an influx of sick children. Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah are also now investigating cases of respiratory illnesses, CNN reported.

The CDC since confirmed nearly 100 cases in six states: Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky and Missouri. Some state laboratories may have confirmed cases too, but those were not included in the CDC’s total.”

With the illness seemingly making its way into the area with cases reported in Connecticut and New York, it seemed like a good time to let our nursing assistant trainees know about the emerging threat so they’ll be fully prepared when they complete their course of study and matriculate into the job force.

Leaving a Nursing Assistant Job? Don’t Say These Things!

LoudWe’ve done a lot of writing here at the Allen School blog about what to say and what not to say when you’re looking for a job.  So in the interest of change, we’re taking this opportunity to look at it from the other side of the equation.

Having earned your certification as a nursing assistant, you hold a credential that makes you a sought after human resource.  We’ve frequently covered the stories from Bureau of Labor statistics and other sources that confirm the healthcare industry is poised to continue to grow and that nursing assistants are in high demand.  As a result of all the available opportunities, it is likely that you may be moving from job to job as better opportunities arise and as your experience level grows.  Or perhaps as happens to everyone from time to time, you wind up in an employment situation where you’re at odds with management or co-workers.

Whatever the reason for leaving a position, there are some things you must avoid saying in spite of the fact that they may feel natural to say.   Even positive things like, “I am so excited for my new job” or “No thanks, I don’t need any help” can be as damaging as saying negative things like, “This place is a sinking ship” or “I’d never dream of working here again”.

Business Insider’s Jaqueline Smith’s article, “12 Things you Should Never Say on your Last Day of Work” lists all the things – positive and negative – that human nature urges us to utter on our final day at a job.  Read it and file the wisdom away for the future.  After all, your career as a nursing assistant will likely take you through numerous positions over the year and knowing what to say at the end of an engagement is often exquisitely tied to the beginning of another.

Back to School for Adults (Healthcare Training School that is)

adults in schoolIts back to school time!  “Hooray” shout countless moms and dads who have had just about enough of their children’s summertime shenanigans! But it is not just a time of the year to think about sending kiddos back to school.  If you’re an adult who is in need of a career change and seeking a pathway to more rewarding and gainful employment, then you may also be considering doing some “back to schooling” of your own.

If this describes where you are in your life at this point, you may wish to consider enrolling in healthcare training school with the Allen School.  Here you can gain certification to be a nursing assistant, a medical assistant or even a medical billing and coding professional.  All three jobs are in high demand and the healthcare field is among the top on every list of the most stable jobs with good long term prospects.

Going back to school for an adult is a different exercise for an adult as it is for a kid.  So we’ve found a great piece that delivers some very sound advice for grownups re-entering the school environment.  To summarize, the tips are:

  • Get Financial Help
  • Keep a strict schedule
  • Get your sleep
  • Delegate and learn to say no
  • Create a support group
Courtney Buell developed this list in an eZine article you can read here for the details on why each of these five tips is valuable to the adult rejoining the academic world.  You can do it!

Happy Labor Day from NYC’s Favorite Healthcare Training School

labor dayTo those of you enrolled in NYC’s favorite healthcare training school – the Allen School – with designs on entering the labor force after training for a rewarding and lucrative new career, this blogger wishes you a happy Labor Day!  Lest we forget the reason for this important holiday while we’re beaching, barbecuing, partying and what have you, I have included the following information explaining the origins of this celebration.

From Wikipedia:
“Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.

Labor Day was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, who organized the first parade in New York City. After the Haymarket Massacre, which occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886, U.S. President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the affair. Thus, in 1887, it was established as an official holiday in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored.”

Have a safe and happy Labor Day!

Moving Your Medical Assisting Career Forward

10 things

Indecision, shame, procrastination, pride, excuses, cavalier attitudes, ingratitude – these are all things that can stymie your efforts at moving forward in life and in your pursuit of medical assisting training for a new career.  This chart says a great deal in very few words, offering the 10 things one must give up in order to move forward towards their goals.  Are you ready to let go of these things and move closer toward your financial security and a rewarding career as a medical assistant?

4 Daily Steps to be a Successful Medical Coding Online Student

4stepsMotivating yourself, stepping up, staying focused and being critical.  These are the four things that, if done every day, will help a person to be much more successful in their career according to a recent article by the Business Insider.   These four tips come courtesy of James Caan, CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw Group who clearly achieved a high station in his career by following his own advice.

The truth is, these same four steps can be applied even before one enters the work world.  For those studying medical coding online with the Allen School as an example, practicing these same four steps on a daily basis can drive successful studies and help to develop the work habits that are critical to success one you’ve earned your certificate and begin to make your way into the workforce.

Ultimately, these four steps are relevant to everyone, no matter what kind of activity they’re involved in.  Whether it is studying to earn a nursing assistant certification, learning to make a souffle, mastering a second language, starting a dog walking business or any other pursuit; motivation, follow through, focus and metrics are key factors to planning for and attaining success in life.