Body Language Tips for Landing Medical Assistant Jobs

Done with your medical assistant training and ready to begin interviewing for your first medical assistant jobs?  Then you’ll probably want to know the following tips for using the unspoken dialogue of body language to your advantage in the interview.

Here are some tips for leveraging body language cues to help increase your attractiveness as a candidate for medical assistant jobs in the eyes of hiring managers.

1. Demonstrate your Excitement for the Position

Being excited and enthusiastic is a great way to make a strong first impression on a hiring manager.  It also provides you the opportunity to work your knowledge of the role into the discussion.  If you’re in introverted person by nature, or just not comfortable with robust displays of emotion, just focus on remembering to smile.  Nothing is more disarming than a simple, authentic smile.

2. Maintain the Right level of Eye-Contact

Not too much or you’ll seem creepy or overly aggressive.  But not looking people in the eye indicates deception or may simply make you seem less than confident about your abilities.  Studies suggest meeting eyes about 60% of the time with your interviewer makes one appear friendly, interested and trustworthy.  So the eyes have it!

3. Nod your head

Don’t be a bobblehead, wagging your dome wildly.  But do try and nod in an affirmative way when making your points to the interviewer about your qualification for the role and you will notice they’ll be inclined to nod back in kind.  It is an affirmative gesture that people intuitively mirror leading to positive impressions.

4. Keep your Palms Open

Everyone intuits the negative or blocking energy from a posture showing crossed hands or clenched fists. These behaviors suggest a person is closed off to the ideas being discussed.  Instead, keeping your hands open and palms upturned conveys trust and makes people better at ease.

Here’s a link to a Forbes slideshow demonstrating 10 body language errors to avoid for some more help in preparing yourself for a medical assistant job interview.  Good luck out there!


Ransomware: At the Nexus of Medical Office Assistant Training and IT

An interesting story rests at the intersection of medical office assistant training and IT-centric activities like online medical billing.  According to news reports, MedStar, a health network of 10 Maryland hospitals, was  struck by a ransomware attack last week.  What’s ransomware?  If you’re soon to complete medical office assistant training or online medical billing classes, you’re on your way into career positions that require you to be knowledgeable almost as much about IT as medicine – ergo you MUST learn about ransomware so you can help keep it away from the computer systems in the offices where you’ll be employed.

Ransomware is a type of virus that is delivered via an email.  Typically, the email has what looks like a legitimate purpose, with a seemingly innocent subject line.  Many victims report the email subject says “Invoice Inside – Please Remit”.  Inside the email is an attachment that looks like the invoice.  When the diligent medical office assistant opens the attached invoice to process it, the virus is inserted into the computer.  The virus immediately shuts the use out of the computer and will not allow the user re-entry until a ransom is paid to the hackers.

This article from techie site ArsTechnica details the failure of MedStar IT personnel to properly guard against this form of cyberattack.   While MedStar was able to gain reentry to its entire network of infected computers without paying the hacker’s ransom, there was still a good deal of waste and headache caused by the event which idled the company’s workforce for a period of time while the issue was sorted out.  Obviously, this is something that any organization would rather avoid than figure out the hard way (like MedStar).

It pays for people like you taking medical office assistant training to educate yourself on computer systems and IT considerations like this.  You needn’t be a geeky propeller-head or a serious computer nerd.  But knowing about tricky virus scams like this – and how they’re communicated – can really be a lifesaver (no pun intended) when your office is confronted with attacks like this.  Be aware of emails with attachments from senders you’re not familiar with.  Don’t be afraid to show anything suspicious to IT team workers if you think there’s a chance it is a scam.  The life you save may be your computer’s.


Reducing Cable Bills for Online Medical Billing Classes

You’ve made the wise decision to study online medical billing classes with the Allen School.  You’re ready to embark on a path toward better job security and pay.  So why not take a few steps to protect your imminent earning power a bit more by lowering the cost of the cable internet subscription you’re using to study online medical billing classes?  Here’s how you can interact with the billing people at your cable provider to gain a discount on your monthly cable bill.

Step 1 – Review Your Current Package and Costs
Determine what cable services you’re paying for (it may also include TV and phone).  See if there are services you’re paying for that you aren’t using like certain movie channels for example.  Also, determine if you can purchase your own cable modem instead of renting theirs every month.  Perhaps you can do with a slower internet speed too if you’re only using it for web surfing and online medical billing classes.  If you’re not gaming, you may be able to save by purchasing a slower speed connection.

Step 2 – Be Ready for Your Call
Research what the competing cable providers in your area are offering for similar service.  Knowing what lower cost competitors may be in your neighborhood can be a powerful negotiation tool.  Also, if you’ve noticed a recent jump in your rate, make sure it wasn’t from the conclusion of a promotional rate you received when you first signed up.
Step 3 – Call Your Provider
Ask for the cable provider’s “retention department”.  They’re the ones authorized to negotiate.  Explain that you’re not able to continue to pay the high rate and that you’ve been talking to the competitor who offers similar service for a lower rate.  Just make sure not to make threats to the people in retention.  No one responds well to that.  Be nice and they’ll likely lower your rate to keep you as a customer.
Step 4 – Avoid the Upsell
The retention person may first try to avoid lowering your rate by instead offering you more services for the same rate you’re already paying.  A movie channel package or extra premium channels.  Stay focused.  You’re there to lower the bill, not accept more services.  Courteously decline any such offers and reiterate that you’re in need of a lower payment.
Step 5 – Be Diligent
If the first rep you speak to won’t help you out, thank them kindly and then call back later.  Speak to a different rep.  Chances are, you’ll be able to negotiate a lower rate with a different person.
It may take an hour or two to get it all done, but there’s nothing better than saving money on the tools you’re using to study your medical billing online classes. 

Job Security for Certified Nursing Assistants

In case you were worried about the job security that comes with a job as a certified nursing assistant, let us reassure you.  The world is full of people willing to take exceedingly stupid chances with their health and physical safety.  There’s absolutely no shortage of people who will need serious medical attention after doing all manner of moronic activities.  We sometimes like to share these potential Darwin Award winners as proof that there will always be plenty of work for certified nursing assistants.  From people trying to jump their motorcycle from rooftop to rooftop, to people trying to wrestle alligators, the world is full of folks with poor judgement and the injuries that almost always follow.

Case in point:  The woman in the video below drops her hat accidentally into the tiger’s cage at her local zoo.  Typically, the large cats are kept well-fed and mostly docile.  But in this video, it is clear that the zookeeper had yet to feed the Bengal tiger and this woman almost became the tiger’s lunch, all over an easily replaceable ball cap.  You can hear the voices of astonished spectators who had some choice words for this foolhardy woman.  She should take consolation in knowing the words cannot hurt her.  Although a giant cat would’ve inflicted serious bodily harm upon her had she been caught before she could bound over the fence.

The moral of the story is, if you’re seeking a career opportunity in a field where it is unlikely for economic shifts to negatively impact your employment, you should definitely consider taking the courses so many certified nursing assistants have already taken to embark on a new, stable and secure career.  Folks like the woman in this video basically guarantee there’ll always be work available.

tigers make work for certified nursing assistants


Online Medical Billing Classes DON’T Lead to This

So, you’re considering taking online medical billing classes with the Allen School.  That’s a wonderful idea, and one that leads to so many interesting and affirmative occurrences in your life.  Online medical billing classes DO lead to the following:

  1. A new career
  2. Job security in a field noted for ongoing growth opportunities
  3. The freedom to study wherever you wish to be situated
  4. The freedom to work in any major US market
  5. Improved financial stability and security

There are some things which online medical billing classes DON’T lead to.  For example, according to the Money and Career Cheat Sheet at www.CheatSheet.com, there are 10 “worst jobs for 2016”.  You’ll note that not a single one of them includes medical billing and coding.  The top 10 worst jobs for 2016 are:

10. Firefighter

  • Annual median salary: $45,970
  • Growth outlook: 5%
  • Annual median salary: $23,210
  • Growth outlook: 13%

8. Advertising sales person

  • Annual median salary: $47,890
  • Growth outlook: -3%

7. Retail sales person

  • Annual median salary: $21,670
  • Growth outlook: 7%

6. Pest control worker

  • Annual median salary: $30,660
  • Growth outlook: -1%

5. Enlisted military

  • Annual median salary: $27,936
  • Growth outlook: N/A

4. Disc jockey

  • Annual median salary: $29,010
  • Growth outlook: -11%

3. Broadcaster

  • Annual median salary: $37,200
  • Growth outlook: -9%

2. Logger

  • Annual median salary: $35,160
  • Growth outlook: -4%

1. Newspaper reporter/print

  • Annual median salary: $36,390
  • Growth outlook: -9%

As you can see, all of these jobs come with negative growth outlooks.  So why not choose online medical billing and coding classes with the Allen School as a means to securing a great career with a bright future?


Eat This Before Medical Assistant Studies Exams

Its a well-known medical fact that different foods have positive or negative impacts on cognitive abilities.  According to nutritionists, these are the best kinds of foods and drinks to consume before taking exams that tax your thought processes.  Medical assistant studies can be rigorous and demanding of one’s brain power.  So here are some things we recommend chowing down on before you take your next medical assistant studies exams.

According to test prep expert, Kelly Roell in an article at About.com, the following foods/beverages are best for test takers.

Brain Food #1: Green tea

Key Ingredient: Polyphenols
Test Help: Brain protection and mood enhancement

According to Psychology Today, polyphenols, the bitter-tasting substance in green tea, can actually protect the brain from wear and tear. Plus, it helps dopamine production, which is key to a positive mental state. And really, when you’re going to take a test, you absolutely must have a positive attitude about it, or you’ll doom yourself to second-guessing, worry, and fear, which do not good scores make.

Brain Food #2: Eggs

Key Ingredient: Choline
Test Help: Memory improvement

Choline, the “B-vitamin”-like substance our bodies need, can help your brain do something it’s good at: remember stuff. Some studies have found that increasing choline intake can improve memory, and egg yolks are among the richest and easiest natural sources of choline. So scramble them up a few months before testing day to see if it helps you remember how to fill in an oval.

Brain Food #3: Wild Salmon

Key Ingredient: Omega-3-fatty acids
Test Help: Brain function improvement

The omega-3 fatty acid DHA is the major polyunsaturated fatty acid found in the brain. Eating food rich in omega-3’s, like wild-caught salmon, can improve brain function and mood. And improved brain function (reasoning, listening, responding, etc.) can lead to a higher test score. Allergic to fish? Try walnuts. Squirrels can’t have all the fun.

Brain Food #4: Dark chocolate

Key Ingredient: Flavonoids and Caffeine
Test Help: Focus and Concentration

We’ve all heard for a while now that in small quantities, 75% cacao content or higher dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and cholesterol because of its powerful antioxidant properties from the flavonoids. But one of the best uses of dark chocolate comes from its natural stimulant: caffeine. Why? It can help you focus your energy. Beware, though. Too much caffeine will send you through the roof and can actually work against you when you sit down to test. So eat the dark chocolate in isolation.

Brain Food #5: Acai berries

Key Ingredients: Antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids
Test Help: Brain Function and Mood

Acai has become so popular, that it seems cliché to want to consume it. For test-takers, though, the incredibly high antioxidant levels can help blood flow to the brain, which means in short, it’ll work better. And, since the acai berry has a ton of omega-3’s, it works on your mood, too, so you’ll be more confident of your abilities as you’re working your way through complex math problems.

So, on test day, why not try a cup of green tea, some scrambled eggs mixed with smoked wild-caught salmon, and an Acai smoothie followed by a piece of dark chocolate? Worst case scenario? You’ve had a healthy breakfast. Best case scenario? You improve your testing score.


Job Interview Torpedoes for Nursing Assistant Training Grads

So you’ve completed nursing assistant training at the Allen School and you’re about to set out to land a new job in an exciting field.  Or perhaps you’re long past having completed nursing assistant training and have already worked in a few places.  Either way, there are things you should know how to avoid if you don’t wish to torpedo your chances during the all-important job interview process.  After all, you won’t know if you blew the job interview.  You just won’t get a call back.  They certainly won’t call you back to debrief you on how/when you blew the opportunity.

So here are some fantastic tips on ways hiring managers report, candidates take themselves out of the running; and often times not even knowingly.

You Were Inflexible in Scheduling

The interview is only a small portion of what is used to gauge your suitability.  Many other factors – some overt and some intuitive – are factored into the decision to “hire” or “pass”.  When called to schedule an interview, if you seem inflexible about the time they offer, it can be a serious strike against you.  Yes, we’re all busy and perhaps the hiring manager offered a time you simply could not be available.  Unless it is impossible, you should try to accept the time they wish to offer.  If you cannot, be ready with several other suggestions for times that work for you so that you come across as both responsible and flexible.

You Arrived too Early (or Late!)

Everyone knows it is a dealbreaker to arrive at your interview late (especially without calling to let the interviewer know).  But being too early is also a turn off for many hiring managers. Being there a half hour or more early is a bad plan.  It conveys that you think the interviewer doesn’t have lots of other tasks to address.  If you do arrive to early, it is best to wait outside until just 5 to 10 minutes before your appointment.  Go sit in the park or have a cup of coffee instead of lingering on the waiting room couch.

You Weren’t Cool to the Gatekeeper

You may not know it, but receptionists hold a lot of power over your candidacy.  They can (and often do) report on your behavior and attitude to the interviewer.  So (and this really should go without saying) be courteous and friendly with reception.  While waiting, be well-mannered.  Don’t for example yak away on your cell phone.  Be professional with a quiet air of dignity.

You Used Your CV as a Script

The CV (or resume if you prefer) is the tool that gets you the interview.  It is not a cheat sheet for you to parrot back to the interviewer.  They can read and have already reviewed what you wrote on your resume.  Use the time instead to talk about how your qualifications and experience will bring value to the role you’re applying for.  If you’ve just completed your nursing assistant training and don’t have much on the job experience to tout, talk instead about how you bring the same dedication and effort you brought to nursing assistant training to the tasks you’ll be assigned on the job.

Failed to Ask Questions

Most hiring managers agree that the candidate who doesn’t ask any questions when given the opportunity to do so is often not well-engaged with the opportunity.  Don’t ask pointless questions either, just to have something to ask.  Do your homework about the position, the company, etc., and then ask a few cogent, thoughtful questions.  After all, before you’re hired is the right time to ask.  Once you’ve accepted the job, should you encounter facets of the role that you find objectionable, it is too late to lodge complaints because you’ve already accepted the job and the terms.

 


How Market Leaders Got their Names

Do you know how market leading technology organizations like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Apple, Samsung and others got their names?  Just like the Allen School Online for medical billing and coding classes online, the reasons behind some of these well-known brand names are often interesting stories.

Apple got its name because Steve Jobs liked apples and suggested the name for the fledgling company after returning from a trip to an orchard.  He also liked it because it put his company before his former employer (Atari) in the phone book.

Google was chosen as the way most people would likely spell the word “googol”.  Googol is an immense number (1 with 100 zeroes after it) that Google’s founders likened to the vast amount of information their search engine would give access to.

Yahoo! was simply an acronym for, “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”.

You can read about the origins of many more tech company names at this nifty article from Yahoo! Tech.

Here’s some information on the origins of the Allen School and Allen School Online for medical billing and coding classes online.

Allen School for Physicians’ Aides (the original name of the institution) was first incorporated in December, 1961 for the purpose of providing residents of the Jamaica, Queen’s area with a quality professional institution offering Allied Health Programs. The first graduating class was in June, 1962. Loretta Teich, purchased the institution on January 31st, 1980. Mrs. Teich owned an employment agency and found that applicants were not properly prepared for careers and lacked the appropriate skills necessary to enter the workforce. She decided to explore the possibility of being involved in skills based training to enhance the ability level of the applicants with whom her agency serviced. The Allen School was purchased.

Read the whole Allen School origin story here.


News Medical Office Assistant Training Can Use

You want to be as well-versed as you can be on current events emanating from the medical field if you’re to be a successful medical office assistant.  Even if you’re still taking your medical office assistant training, it pays to keep one eye on the health and wellness headlines.  This way, you’ll be knowledgeable about the latest and greatest ideas, advances and news that affects your patients once you’re done with medical office assistant training and working in a medical office somewhere.

Today’s installment comes to us via the Cleveland Clinic which has released research proving what many doctors had believed was a myth.  For people battling high cholesterol, Statins are the doctor’s go-to treatment.  These widely used drugs are known to reduce bad cholesterol in the bloodstream.  Yet for years, doctors had been dismissing complaints by some patients taking statins who reported increased levels of muscle spasms that began after they had taken their statin meds.

From the CBS Evening News:

Dr. Steven Nissen is the lead researcher of the Cleveland Clinic study. “We’ve confirmed that this is a problem and it’s real and we’ve given them an alternative,” he said.

Dr. Nissen said problems including muscle pain and weakness effect up to 10 percent of people on statins or three to four million Americans.

The study looked at more than 500 patients who reported side effects and are considered “statin intolerant.”

This latest research proves the veracity of the claims made by a not insignificant number of statin users and has led to the development of alternative treatments for high cholesterol among those who exhibit this side effect to the statins.  This is a good piece of information for you to have in your back pocket once you’ve completed medical office assistant training and get out there into the job world.  Your employer will be impressed if a high cholesterol patient taking statins complains of muscle cramping and you respond with this information from Dr. Nissen at the Cleveland Clinic.


Career Tips for Certified Nursing Assistants

You’re bound to hold a number of positions as certified nursing assistants are in great demand.  Over the course of your career, you’re likely to change employers multiple times.  And as with almost everything else one can do in the world, there is a right way and a wrong way to leave a job.  If you’ve been working in corporate healthcare you’ll likely have to endure an “exit interview” with corporate HR before you fully fly the coop.  The purpose of the exit interview is to provide the organization with some ideas about how to improve their workplace systems and processes.  It is also an opportunity for inexperienced workers to damage their professional reputations by falling victim to any number of pitfalls.  Here are some of those pitfalls culled from a list of things you should never say during an exit interview.

“My boss was a jerk.”  No matter how true this may be, it reflects poorly on you if you mention this to HR in your exit interview.  Remember, you may want to have the ability to use that jerk as an employment reference.

“My co-worker was lazy.”  Any variation on the theme that has you trash talking your former co-workers makes you come across as bitter.  Again, preservation of the reference is what you stand to gain by taking the high road.  No matter if you were always taking up the slack for a slacking co-worker.

“This place will fall apart without me.”  No one is indispensable and you too will be replaced.  You may be king or queen among certified nursing assistants, but the time for tooting your own horn was during the hiring interview, not the exit interview.  Saying this makes you look petty.

“I was never paid what I was worth and my new job pays much better.”  Again, you accepted the pay rate when you accepted the job.  Even if you are leaving because you feel you’re able to earn more elsewhere, it reflects poorly on you to be complaining about something you’d agreed to when you were hired.

“My new job is with a much better company.”  No one likes to be denigrated.  You have nothing to gain and reputational points to lose by trying to make your exit interviewer feel “less than” by comparing their employer unfavorably to yours.  You may be leaving.  But they’re staying.

Are you seeing a pattern here?  Certified nursing assistants can mostly choose where and for whom they want to work.  But getting the next job always depends to some extent on how you performed at the last job.  An exit interview may seem like a good time to unload all the bull you were forced to swallow on the job you’re leaving.  But it is far more professional to smile and be diplomatic.  Living well is the best revenge.  Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by being petty and vindictive.