Yes people, Labor Day is almost here and with it, the end of another summer. At the grocer just yesterday I noted that the big pile of watermelons was quickly dwindling and I lamented that soon, there would be no more watermelon for sale (except in small quantities, shipped in from Mexico and at an insane premium). So I bought the biggest one I could find and intend to enjoy its sweet juiciness but a few more times before the onslaught of the Fall.
With Fall fast approaching and “back to school” on everyone’s mind, now might be a good time to consider taking classes with the Allen School to earn your nursing assistant certification and enter a fantastic new career in the medical industry. You can ponder the possibilities over a juicy piece of the last of summer’s watermelon, prepared as shown above.
If you’re one of the online medical coding program students who has been following our coverage of the Windows 10 roll out here on the Allen School Blog, we hope you’ve had an easy go of it upgrading your operating system to the new Windows 10. It is truly a great operating system and will go a long way towards making your online medical coding program experience easier and more efficient. As such, we’re happy to share these tips and tricks with you for optimizing your use of Microsoft’s latest and greatest.
The following information comes courtesy of Tom McNamara of Download.com.
The New Start Menu and Cortana
The biggest gripe with Windows 8 (the previous generation of Windows as there was no ‘9’) was that they did away with the very familiar and useful “Start” button in favor of a mobile device-style “tile screen” which made it difficult to get to core features like the control panel and others. Windows 10 has restored the Start button but the new start menu is a hybrid between the old Start menu and the tiled interface for a best of both worlds arrangement. It works quite well.
Cortana is the artificial intelligence “assistant” that accepts voice commands. Thik “Siri” for your Windows machine. You can ask Cortana questions using your voice (as long as your computer is equipped with microphone) and it will answer. Pretty nifty.
We know that online medical coding program students are busy people. Many often maintain full time jobs and families while studying for their new career. So their computers are frequently doing double duty – some school work and some household or job related work. The virtual desktop feature in Windows 10 allows the user to build separate desktops. You could build one for online medical coding course purposes and another completely separate one for other interests and then toggle seamlessly between the two depending on the tasks at hand.
Formerly referred to as “SkyDrive”, this is Microsoft’s answer to the Google Drive. It is essentially a cloud storage system where you can store files, work collaboratively with users in the cloud and basically leverage all the accessibility and convenience of cloud computing.
McNamara’s post available here, has a lot more detail on these features and other exciting functionality from the new Windows 10. Its never been a better time to study online.
Tony the Tiger, the Honey Nut Bee, Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner, Produce Pete, Count Chocula, Ronald McDonald, Dr. Oz. These are all people (some real, some fictional) who grace our TeeVee boxes every day to tell us about the benefits of a balanced breakfast. And while many of them are shilling for sugar-coated breakfast cereals with about as much nutritive value as a bottle of Coca Cola, the undeniable truth is, eating a truly healthy breakfast is a best practice for students. Whether you’re taking medical assistant training courses, studying for your bar exam or any other educational activity, all studies indicate that having a good breakfast improves mental acuity and academic performance.
A good breakfast should include a proper balance between lean proteins and complex carbohydrates. It is also a great opportunity to get a couple servings of fresh fruits or veggies into your daily diet. We know it can be difficult for the busy student/worker/parent to take the extra time needed to prepare a good morning meal. But the benefits are truly worth the effort.
Here are some links to sites with healthy, easy-to-prepare breakfast recipes to help kickstart your new daily, healthy breakfast regimen.
Let us know of any good breakfast favorite recipes you may have by sharing them in the comments.
Chris Carlson, President of Sales Talent, Inc. says, “I find it remarkable how little effort many candidates put into a career search. In my view, if it’s worth the time it takes to prepare for, drive to and interview with a potential employer, it’s worth spending a little extra time to get the details right.” If you’re trying to land that first (or tenth) medical billing job, it is imperative that you send follow up letters or emails to your interviewers wherever you may have sat for an interview, in person or on the phone.
1) Differentiation – The job market is and will always be a competitive environment. There are almost always more applicants than jobs available. As such, if the hiring decision comes down to a choice between you and another equally qualified medical billing job seeker, give the hiring manager a reason to select you. A simple, sincere letter of thanks post-interview could be just the differentiation you need to beat the competition.
2) Articulate Your Interest – Writing a nice follow up letter does double duty. Clearly it demonstrates that you’re actively interested in the role available. But it also gives you the opportunity to demonstrate that you can form cogent thoughts on paper and articulate yourself which is a benefit in any candidate. If writing isn’t your bag, get someone with better writing skills to help you (or at least to proof your writing).
3) Demonstrate Follow-Through – Being an employee who is able to complete tasks all the way from inception through satisfactory or even exemplary conclusion makes you a valuable commodity. The act of sending a follow up message demonstrates that you don’t quit at the earliest convenient stopping point. It shows that you’re the kind of person who will see tasks through to their full conclusion; that you’re thorough and thoughtful. For why this matters, see Reason #1.
Carlson offers the following tips on how to craft a winning letter.
- As classy as a handwritten “Thank You” note is, timing is key. Always send an email within 24 hours of an interview. A best practice would be to send the email around 5pm that same day that you interviewed. This will put your message in front of the hiring manager(s) while they are stilling grappling with who will make the cut.
- Address concerns or opportunities that were uncovered in the interview.
- Send a “Thank you” email to each person that you interviewed with (yes, get a business card from each person you meet so you’ll have their email). Send them a message via Linkedin if they didn’t give you their business card.
- Keep your message short, professional and to the point.
Hospitals, doctors, nurses and nursing assistants across the US, but particularly in the Northeast have been grappling with a surging epidemic of heroin overdoses in recent months. Health officials report that heroin overdose deaths in the United States nearly quadrupled between 2002 and 2013, driven by heroin’s more affordable cost than prescription opiate painkillers.
According to a Reuters report, “the White House on Monday will announce a plan pairing law enforcement officials with public health workers in an effort to emphasize treatment rather than prosecution of addicts, the Washington Post said.” The ramifications of this new policy, focusing on treatment, will certainly be felt by those currently studying a nursing assistant program when they graduate and make their way into the healthcare workforce.
The White House’s shift in policy from a punitive to a care-driven posture comports with the care-giving ethos inherent in all medical industry jobs. People, like those taking certified nursing assistant programs, who enter into this field to provide comfort and care to the afflicted, should applaud this new, more human approach to a nasty and intractable social problem. Studying to become one such care giver with the Allen School prepares a man or woman to fight the good fight against this deadly scourge.
For those who decided to study medical office assistant training, certified nursing assistant training or medical billing online with the Allen School straight out of high school, landing that first job can be more difficult than landing subsequent jobs. Just like any other career field, hiring agents typically want people with experience. Yet, if no one gives a chance to a new graduate, no one would ever gain any experience. So, clearly, many fresh graduates are overcoming this paradox and convincing hiring managers that they would make great employees. So how do the successful ones accomplish this?
Besides having a certification from a well-respected institution like the Allen School, having a really thoughtfully produced résumé makes a world of difference. Yet, for those who are joining the workforce straight out of the academic world, there is very little that can be put down by way of on the job experience. Over at the Business Insider, there is a fantastic piece called, “7 reasons this is an excellent résumé for someone just starting out” and it contains some real pearls of wisdom to help you put together the best possible résumé in spite of thin work history. The comprehensive piece even includes a actual example to use as a template!
If you’re in that group the above-linked article is a must read. Some of the bullet-pointed nuggets of wisdom you can read about include:
- Focusing on a clean, easy-to-read layout
- Linking to an online professional profile (like a LinkedIn page, which as we’ve blogged about previously, one should build at the outset of their career and update regularly)
- Clear enunciation of your career goals
- A list of your social media skills
- and more…
Landing that first job will fill your sails and if you work diligently, you’ll then have your first piece of hard-earned job experience in this field to inform your next résumé.
For those studying online medical billing with the Allen School, the recent release of Windows 10, the newest operating system out of Redmond, WA represents the opportunity to have the latest and greatest suite of tools for highly effective online study. We’ve been covering the run up to the release of Windows 10 since having a solid computer workstation is essential to learning online. Now that Windows 10 has been made publicly available and many of our student/readers have doubtlessly upgraded, we’d like to offer the following five add-on software tools available to those using Windows 10.
Windows 10 doesn’t come with any decent word processing applications included. There are several free office suites available out there including mobile versions of Microsoft Office. But these aren’t well-suited for desktop use. Luckily, LibreOffice is a free suite of office tools that are almost exactly the same in terms of functionality as MS Office, without the big price tag. Check it out here.
Windows 10 doesn’t include the Windows Media Player app that came with earlier operating systems. But never fear. You can get a very capable media player software package for free from VLC and get back to watching DVDs in between marathon study sessions. Download for free at this link.
Windows 10 does have a photo editing app included but it is not as robust in its features as GIMP which is a full-featured alternative to Photoshop (which itself costs hundreds of dollars). Download GIMP for free here.
Yes, Windows 10 comes with a long-awaited replacement for the Internet Explorer browser which has been outclassed lately by competing browsers like Firefox and Chrome. The new Edge browser from Microsoft is included in the Windows 10 download. But, we’re still partial to Google’s Chrome browser which (according to this blogger’s anecdotal testing) still seems to be a faster page-loading, web-surfing tool. This is especially important to those studying online medical billing. To download Chrome, visit here.
Who doesn’t fancy a little music to study by? Windows 10 comes with the Groove music app which works quite well, but it also comes with a $9.99 monthly fee to use. So if you fancy a bit of music without the monthly billing, try Spotify which you can download for free here.
Up or Down, Markets Don’t Impact the Demand for Medical Office Assistants
People training with the Allen School to start a new career as a medical office assistant have a lot of things to be concerned about when it comes to economic and investment market indicators. Things like “which US cities see the most robust job growth” and “where housing costs are lowest” when they’re deciding where to begin their new, lucrative careers.
But here are three things the market is telling us today that don’t amount to a hill of beans for a newly minted medical office assistant.
1) US Factory Orders Advance 1.8% in June
The truth of the matter is, that whether or not the manufacturing sector of the US economy is booming or slumping, folks will always need to go to their doctor for everything from their annual physicals to treatments for seasonal afflictions like Flu and the common cold. In fact, there are literally thousands of ailments and afflictions keeping medical offices humming regardless of factory output.
2) Oil’s Downtrend Seems to be Ending
We all know that the price at the pump has come down significantly. The price of oil most definitely has a real and noticeable effect on economic output. But do you know what isn’t effected by low oil prices? Instances of swimmer’s ear, plantar’s warts, hay fever, acid reflux and countless other ailments which keep medical offices humming regardless of the price of crude.
3) Housing Data Beats Market Expectations
Do renters get sick more or less often than those who own their own home? Guess what, it doesn’t matter! Whether more people are pouring money into home ownership or living in frugal rental properties, they will all require medical attention at roughly the same rate statistically speaking. Ergo, the whims of the housing market do nothing to influence the extent to which medical offices hum with activity.
Perhaps you’re seeing the pattern here. The field of medicine, including the job of medical office assistant is mostly immune to the ebb and flow of economic changes. This is why it is such a stable field to work in and why people seek to earn their degree as a medical office assistant with the Allen School.
Health officials investigating the increasing numbers of Legionnaire’s disease in the South Bronx have found more than 5 cooling towers at buildings in the affected area that test positive for the pathogen that causes the disease. Experts in the NYC metro area are saying that the public should expect the numbers of the infected to climb in the next week or so. Teams of medical investigators are working furiously to identify the source of the outbreak so that it can be contained. This kind of information is always of interest to Allen School students working on their nursing assistant certifications.
Legionnaire’s is a type of pneumonia and is spread through breathing of contaminated air and vapor. According to Wikipedia, “Those with Legionnaires’ disease usually have fever, chills, and a cough, which may be dry or may produce sputum. Almost all with Legionnaires’ experience fever, while approximately half have cough with sputum, and one third cough up blood or bloody sputum. Some patients also have muscle aches, headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, loss of coordination (ataxia), or diarrhea and vomiting. Up to half of those with Legionnaires’ have gastrointestinal symptoms, and almost half have neurological symptoms, including confusion and impaired cognition.”
For certified nursing assistants and other medical office staff, being able to recognize the symptoms may play a positive role in helping to contain the spread of this dangerous disease. It is also important to realize that it can take 10 days for symptoms to appear after being exposed to the pathogen. So Allen School alums in positions at doctors’ offices and hospitals around the NY Metro area – stay vigilant!
As we’ve been posting about over the last year or so, people whose computers currently run the widely hated Windows 8 or 8.1 operating system will be provided a free update starting today. The update will replace Windows 8 with Microsoft’s latest and greatest, Windows 10 operating system. Windows 10 is reported to correct all the things users hated about Windows 8 including the return of the “start button” among other features.
If history is any guide, Windows 10 should be a hit. It seems like every other operating system release is widely embraced. People loved Windows XP but hated Windows Vista which replaced XP. They loved Windows 7 (which replaced the reviled Vista) but then hated Windows 8. Microsoft, perhaps wishing to put more distance between Windows 8 and its new release, skipped the number 9 and went directly to Windows 10.
Along with Windows 10, Microsoft is releasing a new web browser as well. Its operating name had been Project Spartan, but it is being released publicly as Microsoft Edge. It is replacing the long running Internet Explorer which, although in use by more computers than any other browser, is largely recognized as an inferior offering (when compared against the much better Firefox and Google Chrome browsers).
All of this is relevant to those studying medical billing online with the Allen School. After all, studying medical billing online means that one’s classroom is actually one’s computer. And if you’ve recently purchased a new machine that came pre-loaded with Windows 8 (as this blogger has) you’re probably very anxious to get rid of it. Starting today, you’re eligible to download Windows 10 for free, no strings attached. In fact, chances are, your computer has already downloaded it as part of Microsoft’s regular system updates. Here’s an article from Fortune with the details. Happy computing online students!