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.


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.

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!

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!

Medical Billing Online Students, Update Windows or PAY!

For the past year or so, this blog has been periodically reporting on the new Windows 10 operating system and the saga of users being nagged to death to take the free update.  If you have been procrastinating and trying to avoid updating the computer you use to study medical billing online classes, there’s good news and bad news.  The good news is, soon, the nagging will stop.  Microsoft has announced the free update period for accepting the upgrade to Windows 10 will end on July 29.  The bad news is, if you neglect to accept the free update by that date, it will cost you around $200 to upgrade at any point in the future.

Medical billing online classes require a student to have a good, dependable computer that runs efficiently.  It makes online learning all the easier.  Having a slow, glitchy machine can make the medical billing online study experience a frustrating one.  So it seems like a good idea to upgrade to the newest, fastest version of the Windows operating system.

“But we don’t want to change and deal with all the hassles that involves” say many computer owners.  While it is true, there is always some challenge to be expected when one does a large scale upgrade to their systems, this blogger can attest to the relatively painless process upgrading to Windows 10 involves.  I have upgraded several of the computers in our offices here at the Allen School Blog and can tell you that most of the update happened overnight, leaving the new operating system ready to use the next morning.  For the most part, the Windows 10 OS is intuitive and takes the best of Windows 7 (which most everyone loved) and Windows 8 (which most everyone hated) and rolls them into a single, effective OS.

Windows 10 reinstates the “Start Menu” which had been stripped out of Windows 8 to the chagrin of many users.  It also reduces the prominence of the “tiled” interface which most people hated about Windows 8 as well.  The tiles can still be seen under the Start Menu for those who favor them (typically those with touch screen interfaces on their computers).  Windows 10 also comes with Cortana, Windows’s version of Siri (the artificial intelligence assistant offered with most Apple operating systems) and numerous other productivity boosting bells and whistles.

The time is running out to update for free.  So what are you waiting for?

Allen School Blog Stands with Orlando

Tragically, this blog marks the grim news of the 50 killed and 53 injured in this country’s latest instance of gun violence.  We here at the Allen School Blog stand in solidarity with the LGBT community of Orlando, Florida and all members of that city grappling with the unspeakable hatred and evil that has been inflicted upon all of us as Americans.

Whether these senseless killings were driven by religious fundamentalism, or hatred against people for their sexual orientation, the fact is that it was an act of pure malevolence.  There can be no room in a free society for those who would seek to impose their will or viewpoints upon others at the point of a gun.  As the details continue to trickle out, let’s all. as Americans, treat one another with dignity and respect, and to resolve our differences without resorting to prejudice, enmity or violence.



Congrats to Allen School Grads

The current crop of Allen School students graduated over this past weekend.  Let’s all wish these newly certified nursing assistants, medical office assistants and billing and coding agents the best of luck as they make their way toward the future.  Here’s a link to the Allen School Facebook page with some pics from the graduation ceremonies.  We know you’re going to be most successful in your new careers.

If you are someone who is considering a new career as a certified nursing assistant, a medical office assistant or a medical billing and coding professional, get started today with your enrollment.  New classes are beginning soon!

Should Medical Coding Online Students Buy Computers on Craigslist?

Decided to begin a new career by taking medical coding online studies through the Allen School? That means you’re going to need a good computer to access the course materials and other activities involved in medical coding online studies.  You may be considering buying a second hand computer as away to save some money.  Not a bad idea.  Many people turn to online classified website, www.Craigslist.com for the wealth of sellers and options.

While most of the millions of Craigslist users never have a bad go of it, there are some bad actors that lurk on those pages.  Consider the case of this one fellow who ran across a known filer of frivolous lawsuits.  The seller simply wanted to sell a used computer printer for $40, and after years of legal wrangling, wound up having to pay the scammer a $30,000 judgment.

But don’t let this story scare you away.  Craigslist can be a great place to find a good desktop or laptop computer for far less than it would cost to purchase one new.  But make sure to follow these suggestions for being careful buying from private sellers who aren’t obligated like a commercial seller to ensure you’re treated fairly.

  1. If it seems to good to be true, RUN!  Nobody is ever going to sell you a $3000 laptop for $200.  EVER! Ridiculously low asking prices are often indicative of stolen goods.
  2. Avoid buying from Craigslist sellers far from where you live.  Better to find someone near you so that you can examine the items in person before handing over the cash.
  3. Meet sellers in well-trafficked public places like a coffee shop, or a public library or other public building.  That way you lessen the risk of being scammed and you have a place to test the item before concluding the transaction.
  4. Never send anyone money via wire or Paypal or any conveyance.  Always do business with Craigslist sellers in person or don’t do it at all.