CNA Trainees – Know the Early Signs of Dementia

CNA trainees should never miss an opportunity to absorb the latest research from different corners of the medical establishment.  Being aware and sharp-eyed, a CNA can become an invaluable resource to the physicians and practices they’ll server in the course of their career.  Today let’s examine a condition that afflicts the aging and elderly.  With demographics in the US ensuring an enormous wave of Americans at or approaching retirement age (65), the onset of afflictions like dementia are guaranteed to be on the rise.

What should a CNA trainee know about the onset of dementia?  While the diagnosis of any disease or affliction is above the pay grade of the CNA, it is never wrong to be educated such that as an assistant, one would be able to contribute to the overall health and welfare of patients.


Medical Billing and Coding Classes Online to Beat the Heat

This entire week in the New York Metropolitan area is forecast to be exceptionally hot with very high humidity.  That combination of weather conditions ensures there will be a spike in instances of health issues resulting from the heat.  Heatstroke, dehydration, heat exhaustion, sunburn, asthma and other respiratory distresses all increase when the weather is like this.  Unless you’re a student taking medical billing and coding classes online and can stay all day long in your favorite air-conditioned wifi zone, you’re going to be commuting and working in this miserable heat and humidity.  You can be prepared to avoid heat-related health issues if you know what to do.  Here’s some advice directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Click on their graphic below for the full content of their recommendations for beating the heat and avoiding physical distress.

Medical billing and coding classes online help one avoid dangerous heat outdoors.

Image courtesy of the CDC

While landing a position in a solid, secure career field should be the primary reason to consider taking medical billing and coding classes online, avoiding the need to commute to and from school during the hottest dog days of summer is not a bad reason either.  Keep in mind that taking medical billing and coding classes online also keeps a student from the dangers and unpleasantry of commuting to and from campus in the worst of the winter weather too with the blizzards, ice storms, subzero winds and polar vortexes.


21st Century Skills Every Medical Office Assistant Student Needs

The knowledge people need to succeed is increasingly divergent from what they’re actually learning in school.   Traditional thinking about learning is seemingly no longer effective when it comes to providing students with the knowledge and understanding they need to survive according to the World Economic Forum report New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning Through Technology.   Every medical office assistant student must be able to collaborate, communicate and solve problems if they’re to be successful in the field.  These are all skills developed what the WEF report refers to as “social and emotional learning (SEL)”.  A good balance between traditional skills and the modern, social and emotional skills prepares students to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving economy.

The chart below illustrates the strategies used to foster social and emotional learning skills medical office assistant students and others.

SEL Skills

A recent analysis of 213 studies revealed that those who received SEL education scored, on average 11 percent higher on testing than those who did not.   This is evidence that SEL may contribute to long-term career benefits like higher employment rates and educational fulfillment.

The chart below, also courtesy of the World Economic Forum, illustrates in easy-to-grasp terms, the key skills a medical office assistant trainee needs to master to succeed in achieving that balance between traditional learning and SEL learning.

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For a job role like medical office assistant, the social and emotional training is even more important as these roles generally rely heavily on a person’s ability to interact and empathize with patients on a daily basis.


Online Medical Coding Class Students: Secure Your WiFi!

When you decided to take an online medical coding class, you splurged a little bit and purchased a new laptop to aid in your un-tethered study-lifestyle.  After all, online medical coding classes are best executed if your computer is speedy and not prone to “hang ups” due to overtaxed system resources or worse, crashes and the dreaded blue screen of death.  So how come you’re noticing slowing speeds with respect to page loads while navigating through your online medical coding class materials?

It may be because someone (or several people) are logging on to your wifi network without permission, using up bandwidth and slowing your browsing experience; all on your dime!  Yes, stealing wifi is a thing.  And there are steps you can take to find out if unauthorized users are logged on to your network and to boot them off if you find any.  According to Jess Boluyt at the CheatSheet.com, “One way to see what devices are connected to your Wi-Fi network (and to check whether you recognize all of them) is to log on to your router’s administrative page and check its DHCP Client Table, DHCP Client List, or the list of Attached Devices. From there, you’ll be able to see all of the computers, smartphones, tablets, and any other devices connected to your wireless router.”   If you see a strange/unknown device shown on the Attached Devices list, that’s good evidence your connection is being slowed by a parasite neighbor mooching your internet service to stream Netflix (or worse).

In addition, if navigating through your router’s administrative page seems intimidating and scary, there are a number of simple apps to help detect wifi free riders like Netgear’s GenieLinkys Connect, or Apple’s AirPort Utility for iOS.

Once you’ve determined there is a lazy freeloader pilfering your precious bandwidth, booting them off is as easy as changing the network password on the router and then updating all the authorized devices in your household to use the new password to authenticate.  The next time the moocher tries to logon, the password they’d been using will no longer let them onto the network.  And you’ll be back to lightning-speed learning with the rest of your online medical coding class.


Learn About New Public Health Issue to Aid in Nursing Assistant Training

For those students of the Allen School engaged in nursing assistant training, this blog always strives to cover the latest public health issues as they emerge.  Of course, this blog is not in any way meant to be an instructional aid.  We leave this important work to the experts and thought leaders among our esteemed faculty who deliver the actual, high quality, nursing assistant training to students.  It is merely our intention to raise awareness of emerging threats to public health so that our student body can be as informed as possible when they graduate and enter the workforce as certified nursing assistants.  The more you know…

Today’s crazy scary story is about a synthetic marijuana product called by the street name K2.  It is a substance that is smoked like marijuana.  But unlike its organic counterpart, K2 is laced with a synthetic active ingredient of unknown (not to mention unregulated) origin.  The effects of K2 are known to be far more potent and dangerous than the cannabis plant it emulates.  Proof of this fact was witnessed this morning in the Bushwick/Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn where police and paramedics were called in to treat dozens of users who’d recently smoked some tainted K2.  The scene was described as something out of the “Living Dead” zombie pictures.

View this short video aired by TV program “Inside Edition” to get a look at the effects of this potent and dangerous illegal drug.  You will likely be encountering patients suffering from the effects of this drug which is growing in popularity in some quarters.  Knowing what you’re up against in the field is an important skill from those taking nursing assistant training.

K2 Video Still


What Microsoft’s Purchase of Linkedin Means for Medical Office Assistants

You may have heard that Microsoft recently announced its acquisition of popular business-social network, LinkedIn for the princely sum of $26.2 billion.  Why should this matter to you as a medical office assistant training student with Allen School?

First, if you’re planning to study (or complete your studies) with the Allen School and enter the workforce as a medical office assistant, you should familiarize yourself with LinkedIn which is a tremendous resource for job hunting, networking and burnishing your online reputation as a professional.   LinkedIn enables users to find available positions and even to see who they may know that work within an organization where a job may be available.  That kind of insider connection sometimes makes it easier to land an interview and even the position itself.  LinkedIn is a great place to keep track of the people with whom you studied medical office assistant training.  As everyone progresses through their career, those early contacts can become very valuable later in one’s career.  LinkedIn enables users to stay in touch with their classmates, and then later, with colleagues, former colleagues, employers, former employers and even recruiters.

In addition, the site is an excellent place to stay abreast of trends and topics that are relevant to the industries in which you work.

So, now that Microsoft has purchased LinkedIn, what can users expect from this new relationship?  According to popular techie website, TechCrunch.com, “Microsoft details how it plans to use LinkedIn’s social graph as an integrated selling tool alongside its existing CRM products (which are second to Salesforce in the market currently). That can help users find leads, open conversations and close deals.”

Of greater relevance to medical office assistants, TechCrunch notes, “There are other elements of LinkedIn’s business that are interesting to consider in light of this acquisition. LinkedIn acquired Lynda.com, for example, to spearhead a move into offering online learning tools to users” which certainly has implications for online studies like the medical billing and coding classes offered by Allen School.  Most importantly though for medical office assistant trainees, the integration between LinkedIn and Microsoft promises to bring the productivity-boosting tools Microsoft is known for, together with the networking/recruitment and professional development functions for which LinkedIn is famous.  Taken together, this merger promises to make a more complete environment for users of all types to enjoy when it comes to finding jobs and performing on the job.


Tech Behind Online Medical Billing and Coding Classes Shouldn’t Be Barrier

So maybe you’re a middle aged person who has been downsized out of a job in a disappearing field like manufacturing.  Or perhaps you’re just tired of the long hours and abysmal pay of the retail and service sectors.  And you want to start a new career but don’t have time to attend classes at college given your age and levels of responsibility.  Maybe your niece suggests you look into online medical billing and coding classes.  “You can study on your own time schedule from your own location” she says.  But you’re not sure your computer skills are such that you’d be able to not only manage, but to learn the material using the virtual classroom environment.

Stop worrying!  You can do this.   There’s nothing about online medical billing and coding classes – from the subject matter to the technical ability required – that you cannot handle.  Consider that many people your age working for NASA just succeeded in sending a probe to Jupiter, arriving after 5 years of travel and falling into a perfect orbit around the giant planet.  The science, technology and expertise needed to achieve this astonishing feat is orders of magnitude more difficult than earning your certification with the Allen School’s online medical billing and coding classes.  And if you think all the folks at NASA are young, tech-savvy Millennials, you’re absolutely wrong!

Look, the bottom line is, if you’re using the internet and a browser like Internet Explorer or Chrome or Firefox to read this blog, you have all the technical ability you need to pursue a lucrative, stable new career in a field predicted to exhibit continued growth.  Take inspiration from NASA’s Juno probe that arrived today at Jupiter, 365 million miles from Earth.  Online medical billing and coding classes are simple compared to that great feat!  You can DO THIS!


Allen School Blog Wishes All a Happy 4th of July

To all the medical billing and coding online students,

To all the nursing assistant certification seekers,

To all the diligent medical office assistants out there,

From all of us at the Allen School Blog,

Have a happy, safe and healthy Fourth of July.

Happy Birthday America!


3 Good Questions in Medical Office Assistant Jobs Interviews

Going out into the field to land medical office assistant jobs can be a bit nerve wracking.  Actually, that’s true when interviewing for almost any job.  But, if you’re a person prone to proper planning – and it seems you are as evidenced by the fact that you studied at the Allen School before going out in search of medical office assistant jobs – you’ll probably like this list of three powerful questions to ask in your next interview.

‘Why is this position available?’

This question demonstrates a healthy level of curiosity and interest.  It is non-confrontational and at the same time, helps you to understand more about the history of the company and the position.  The answer you’ll get to this question will likely shed some light on whether the medical office assistant job you’ve applied for is the result of the company growing or because of turnover in the role.  Both of which are good things to know about the gig.

‘How does this job interact with the direction of the department and the company at large?

Asking this question will give you insight into the larger themes at play in the department where you’d be working and the company overall.  Understanding the broad, thematic forces driving the company’s direction (and the role of hiring within it) gives you better perspective on how to sell your skills in ways that are relevant to the job and the company.

‘What do you like most about working here?’

Enthusiasm is hard to hide.  Asking this question can often help you to decipher if the workplace is truly a positive, affirmative place.  If they place is a happy environment, you’ll be able to tell in the interviewer’s smile as they tell you about their favorite things regarding the workplace.  If they have very perfunctory and joyless responses, that can indicate the opposite.  Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job,” explains the benefit of asking this question.  “Are they thrilled about mentoring their staff, their product or service, the innovative atmosphere? Do they focus on only growth numbers and minimizing expenses, with no mention of the team, training, or growth opportunities? It gives you a sneak preview into your prospective manager’s priorities and all-important personality. This is where it pays to have your people radar up, to evaluate if this is a boss you can respect.”

Happy medical office assistant jobs hunting to all!


Fast Food that Doesn’t Provide Job Security to Certified Nursing Assistants

It has been over a year since this blog looked at gruesome fast food offerings.  For a while between 2011 and 2014, this blogger ran regular articles half-jokingly asserting that fast food restaurants in the US were actively working to ensure there was no shortage of demand for certified nursing assistants.  With each restaurant chain seeking to outdo the rest with ever-increasing odes to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, we gleefully reported on what seemed to be weekly additions to the deadly (if often delicious) one-upsmanship.

This February 2014 post from the Allen School Blog does a good job of recapping the “best of the worst” from McDonald’s McGriddle, to the Heart Attack Grill’s literally deadly Triple Bypass Burger to KFC’s fried-chicken-cutlets-as-buns-on-a-bacon-sandwich Double Down.  While we were clearly having some fun with horrible food porn, it is still true that America’s obsession with fast food is among the leading causes of the ailments and afflictions we mentioned earlier.  And it is also true that the ongoing health implications of the American diet most certainly keep certified nursing assistants in high demand in the workforce.

But times change and people change.  In the past several years since this blogger swore off the blogging equivalent of junk food (i.e. posts on these almost cartoonish foodstuffs), people’s attitudes toward dietary content have evolved.  And in response to changing market environments, the fast food industry seems to have embraced the changes as well.  Fast casual places like Chipotle Mexican Grill now offer healthier fare including brown rice, more fresh veggies, even a tofu product they call “Sofrito” – an option designed to be a replacement for heavier, fattier proteins like Pork Carnitas.  (Although Chipotle is still protecting job security for certified nursing assistants thanks to ongoing outbreaks of food borne illnesses for which they have been in the news in the past year.)

Not to be left behind, granddad of all fast foods, McDonald’s has announced it is bringing the Lobster Roll back for the summer to markets in New England including New York, where the Allen School is situated.  Made with real lobster and fresh vegetables this sandwich weighs in at a mere 290 calories which is about half the calories of the Big Mac.  That’s about as close to health food as  McDonald’s can get.  But before you start to worry that this trend may take a bite out of job security for certified nursing assistants (take a bite, get it?) McDonald’s also announced the release of a Dr. Pepper and Softserve Vanilla Ice Cream Float!