Legionnaire’s Disease Kills 4, Infects 67 more in NYC

nursing assistant trainingHealth 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!  

Today! Free Windows 10 Upgrade for Medical Billing Online Students

Free Windows 10 for Medical Billing Online StudentsAs 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!

Study Medical Billing and Coding Online (from the beach)

medical billing classes online from the beachOne of the best things about studying medical billing and coding online with the Allen School is the unbelievable freedom that comes with it. You can pretty much take your studies with you wherever you go, as long as you have a reliable laptop and a good wireless signal.  That means, if your family is taking a trip to the beach, you needn’t necessarily stay behind to study.  Many beaches are well withing wireless broadband hot spots and you can set up in the shade of a beach umbrella and listen to the pounding of the surf as you study. (In fact we recently offered some other life hacks for studying from the seashore here.)If you opt to do this every once in a while, the following information is important.  If you use spray on sunscreens, researchers are warning that they may be dangerous.  According to a piece published by Yahoo! Beauty, the phthalates used as propellant in the spray sunscreens may be dangerous to inhale; especially for children.  Also, those sprays containing titanium dioxide should be avoided too as this compound is a known carcinogen.Dermatologists also warn about the spray sunblock, suggesting that the spray is easy to apply unevenly making it more likely you’ll be lacking coverage from damaging radiation.  An FDA spokesperson confirms the agency is currently re-evaluating these products to determine if these concerns are sufficient enough to warrant changing the approval of spray on sunscreens.So, if you’re going to take a study day at the beach (which this blogger HIGHLY recommends), perhaps play it safe and slather up with the good, old fashioned, tried-and-true sunscreen lotion.

Medical Assistants: New Warning on NSAIDs

medical assistant trainingStudying to become a medical assistant means staying abreast of trends in medicine.  We here at the Allen School blog try to bring medically-relevant news stories to the attention of our readership.  Whether you’re studying medical assistant training or nursing assistant training, these stories may come in handy as you move into the real workday world with your new degree or certification.Today’s bit of news is about NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.  You may know these Ibuprofen medicines by their name brands like Advil and Motrin or the naproxen varieties like Aleve.  According to a recently issued warning by the FDA, the NSAIDs have been found to represent “a small, increased risk of triggering a heart attack or stroke, even if you don’t have an existing heart condition. And, that’s true even within the first few weeks of taking the drugs. Your risk is also upped if you take the medications for extended periods of time and if you take larger doses.”  Read the full FDA warning here.The FDA recommends people should avoid these drugs if:
  • they suffer from stomach ulcers or bleeding (even if they’d had these conditions in the past);
  • they suffer from high blood pressure;
  • they have any form of kidney disease (because NSAIDs have been associated with kidney failure);
  • they’ve ever had a stroke or transient ischemic attack.

The FDA also says people should avoid NSAIDs if:

  • they’re undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery;
  • they’ve been taking aspirin to protect against heart attack;
  • they are women in the third trimester of pregnancy.
For simple fever reduction or pain relief, the recommendation is to take acetaminophen (Tylenol).  For more on the risks, read the article here.  Knowing about the latest discoveries and advancements in medicine will make you a very well-prepared medical office assistant.

Hacks for Studying Medical Billing Online Classes (From the Beach!)

medical billing online classes

This hack will keep the sand outta your laptop while you study medical billing online classes (from the beach)!

OK, so if you’re like me, you like to play hooky every once in a while.  And although technology has made many elements of modern life easier, it is something of a double edged sword.  Take for instance, the extent to which wireless devices and ubiquitous WiFi has made it less possible to truly disconnect.  Hooky used to be about leaving the classroom behind.  But with today’s technology, hooky now involves at least faking the appearance of being where you’re supposed to be.  You’re really at the beach, but you bring your tablet and log in so that it seems like you’re at home, dutifully working or studying medical billing online classes – just, from the beach instead of your bedroom.With this in mind, assuming that most of you will likely play hooky at least one day this Summer season, we’re providing you with the following list of innovative beach hacks to make your beach experience more enjoyable (courtesy of Yahoo! Makers).
  • Place Your Touch Screen Cell Phone in a Ziplock Bag
  • Attach Your Keys to a Cork, So They Float
  • Keep Money in an Empty Chapstick, Magic Marker (or even a diaper) for Safe Keeping
  • Lie on a Fitted Sheet to Keep Out Sand
  • Sneak Beer on the Beach by Hiding It in a Soda Cup
View the details on these hacks and others including tips for flip flop maintenance, beach towel comfort and utility improvements and others at the Yahoo! Makers slideshow here.  Then, enjoy your beach day and get back to your medical billing online classes tomorrow (only, with a better tan!)


Etiquette for Post Job Interview Follow-Up

dos and don'ts of applying for nursing assistant jobsSo you’ve submitted a well-crafted application for that nursing assistant job you applied for after completing nursing assistant certification with the Allen School.   Several days pass and you have heard nothing.  Did your application make it to the intended recipient?  Did it fall off the edge of the earth into a giant cosmic paper shredder?  Did the hiring manager’s dog eat it?  What gives?  And how can you find out the status of your application without looking desperate or like a creepy stalker?  Here are some do’s and don’ts.DO: Connect with the Hiring ManagerBesides the application you sent to the email address in the job listing, you should make an effort to run down the email address of the hiring manager serving the department in which you’ve applied.  Google is your friend.  But if the Google search doesn’t yield a name and email, you can try LinkedIn or, perhaps more immediately satisfying, call the switchboard of the organization and simply ask for the hiring manager’s name and email.  Make sure you let both the operator and the hiring manager know that you’ve followed instructions first and sent the application as directed.  Note that you also wanted to reach out directly to introduce yourself and make sure they’ve received your materials.DON’T: Be a Creepy StalkerChecking the status of your application twice daily is a poor idea.  Wait maybe 5 business days after applying before following up with the hiring manager to let them know you’re very interested in the position.  Better you send an email than make a phone call since it will be less intrusive than interrupting the hiring manager’s day by phone.DO: Be Clear and Concise in your MessageSay something brief like, “Last week I submitted my candidacy for the _______ position you have available.  Just wanted to make sure you’d gotten my application and that there was nothing else I could provide you to aid your decision.  I believe I am quite well-matched to the job’s requirements and I would greatly value the opportunity to speak with you when you’re ready to begin interviewing.”DON’T: Be a Spam FactoryYou’ve sent one follow up message.  Now sit on your hands. No matter how anxious, or how much you really REALLY want this job, sending message after message (especially in the absence of any response) make you seem desperate and annoying.  Not exactly the kind of person anyone would be excited to hire.DO: Leverage the Awesome Power of LinkedInTo find out all the people that work within the organization, simply enter the company name into LinkedIn.  You may be surprised how small the professional community can be.  Find someone you’re connected with, or even a friend of someone you’re connected with on LinkedIn and ask for a direct introduction to the hiring manager.  You can also ask people who work in the company for inside information on the nature of the work and the workplace environment.DON’T: Stop Looking for a JobIt may seem like the most perfect position for you. The one you’ve dreamed your whole life of landing.  But, it is imperative to hedge even the safest of bets by continuing to seek opportunities while your applications wend their way through the hiring process.  Despite how well-aligned things sometimes appear, the unexpected is always unexpected.  Keep your self open and in play with as many opportunities as you can.Nursing assistant certification is the first step in landing your dream job in an exciting field.

Independence is a Beautiful Thing for Nursing Assistants

us_flag-1920x1080With the nation’s Independence Day festivities behind us, I thought today would be a great day to examine the ways a nursing assistant certification from Allen School enables a greater level of independence among those who complete their studies and embark on a new career as a certified nursing assistant.Geographical Independence With certified nursing assistants in high demand across the entire country, earning your certification is like printing an all-access travel pass for yourself.  Always wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest?  Perhaps you favor the warmer climates of the South or the painted desertscapes of the Southwest.  With your certification in hand, you can move to pretty much any corner of the country and hook up with gainful employment quickly.Financial Independence A job in the medical industry such as a nursing assistant role boasts far greater earning power than jobs in retail, service industries and many others.  This is why so many people of all ages decide to leave the long hours and low pay behind to pursue a career in health sciences.  Wouldn’t you enjoy the greater financial freedom that comes with a solid career trajectory and a bigger paycheck?Emotional Independence It is human nature to aspire to more.  For many people working in dead end careers, the feeling of being trapped in their own life can be a debilitating and self-esteem destroying experience.  Sometimes, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees when mired in this kind of self-doubt.  And with bills to pay and other obligations, turning the page and engaging in a new course of study for a new career can seem overwhelming.  Yet, if you ask any graduate of the Allen School who took the brave steps to become nursing assistants, they will all confirm that it is totally worth the effort and the risk involved.So this Independence Day, take stock in yourself and make the decision to liberate yourself from the confines of your current life.  A new, liberated life awaits!

A Post NOT for Online Medical Billing Program Students

ride to Allen School in comfort We frequently post stories about neat technologies and other interesting items that underscore the benefits of studying online medical billing classes with the Allen School. From stories about the latest computer system upgrades to avoiding commuting during miserable winter weather, many of our posts underscore the good reasons to be on online medical billing program student.But not today!  Today, we’re gonna talk about one reason it is awesome to be a ground campus student of medical assistant courses or certified nursing assistant training.  It gives me great pleasure to share with you ground school students, the new Ford MoDe electric bicycle.  According to auto enthusiast site BoldRide.com, “This beautiful piece of engineering and design packs an electric motor and battery into its frame and can fold down to be stored and charged in any new Ford vehicle. However, it also features unique front and rear suspension assemblies which can be configured for road, mountain or city biking – greatly increasing its versatility and potentially cutting a cyclist’s fleet from two or three bikes down to just one.”Designed to be a perfect city commute vehicle, the MoDe, from automaker Ford, offers a unique and effortless way to make the commute to the ground campus.  Even if you live in another borough or even across the river in New Jersey, you can drive your Ford to the station, carry the foldable e-Bike onto the train and then ride the rest of the way in style and power-assisted comfort.  This nifty toy will turn the tables a bit, making online students envious of their commuting cohorts taking classes at Allen Schools physical campuses.Note: also nice to ride around the beautiful desertscapes of the new Phoenix, Arizona Allen School campus.

Cautionary Tale for the Medical Assistant Training Candidate

don't let burnout damage your medical assistant training So you’re taking medical assistant training in preparation for a job in a field where compassionate care-giving is the name of the game.  You selected medical assistant training because you’re a naturally nurturing person who derives great satisfaction from helping others and offering comfort to the afflicted.  However, just as in any other career, after many years of service, it is possible to become callous and burned out.Here’s a cautionary tale illustrating why it is absolutely imperative to maintain a deeply rooted sense of professionalism so that when you find yourself feeling jaded and ambivalent about your work, you remember why you first got into the field and can find healthy, appropriate outlets for the frustration instead of acting poorly like the people in this story.A disquieting story in the Washington Post tells the story of an anesthesiologist and the rest of a surgical team in a northern Virgina hospital who had clearly grown bitter about serving patients.  The Post framed the story:

“Sitting in his surgical gown inside a large medical suite in Reston, Va., a Vienna man prepared for his colonoscopy by pressing record on his smartphone, to capture the instructions his doctor would give him after the procedure.

But as soon as he pressed play on his way home, he was shocked out of his anesthesia-induced stupor: He found that he had recorded the entire examination and that the surgical team had mocked and insulted him as soon as he drifted off to sleep.”

What the patient recorded included the burned-out anesthesiologist expressing a desire to “punch [the patient] in his face to ‘man him up’ a little”.  She also mocked the man for having a rash on his penis, joking that it was probably syphilis and calling him a “retard”.  Read the whole shocking story and listen to the recordings used as evidence in the trial here. Then consider that it cost the medical group, the doctors and medical assistants named in the suit $500,000.00 in punitive damages awarded by the jury hearing the case brought by the patient.It is not a character flaw if one does become burned out on any job.  It happens to everyone at one point or another in every career.  It is a function of simply being human.  It is how you handle those feelings that separates the true professional from the hack.  Always remember that in your role as a medical assistant, you’re graced with the trust of every patient who relies on you for compassionate, professional treatment.  Never take that trust lightly.

You’re Never Too Young/Old to Achieve

nursing assistant or medical assistant trainingMaybe you’re about to turn 50 and have been downsized from your lifelong career in a disappearing industry.  Or maybe you’re just out of high school, like the subject of this incredible article about a 17 year old who invented a radical and brilliant new medical product.

Consider young Joe Landolina, the 22 year-old who invented “VetiGel” when he was just 17.  Vetigel, a gel applied directly to wounds, stops bleeding within seconds and heals wounds altogether in just minutes!  Landolina invented the algae-based polymer in his gradfather’s lab and has parlayed his breakthrough into Suneris, a biotech company that manufactures the gel. Last week, Suneris announced that it will begin shipping VetiGel to veterinarians later this summer and the article suggests humans won’t be far behind. 

The implications for you Joe should be eye opening for you.  Regardless of your age or the preconceptions about where you should be along your career trajectory at any age stories like this serve to illustrate that the only prerequisite for success in life is the drive to succeed and a healthy dose of sustained effort.  You could become a medical assistant at age 21 as easily as you could at age 55.  You could earn your certification as a nursing assistant beginning fresh out of high school or after having racked up decades of workplace experience before deciding (for whatever reason) to embark along a new career path.