Top 5 Reasons You’ll Make a Great Medical Assistant

Careers in healthcare are on the rise, and medical assisting continues to be projected as one of the fastest growing occupations. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook for medical assistants is quite impressive. In fact, it’s projected to have a much faster than average job growth all the way through to the year 2024. From 2014 to 2024, it is expected that medical assistant employment will grow by 23%. As a result of this, you may be asking yourself – would I make a good medical assistant?

There are many traits that contribute to a person being successful as a medical assistant. Take a look at the top five reasons you’ll make a great medical assistant.

You are a Good Listener.

Listening is essential in the healthcare field. During the course of your day, you will need to listen to the needs and concerns of your patients and extract vital information to relay to the medical team. Not only will you be expected to listen to your patients, but you will also need to listen to doctors and nurses. You must be able to take instructions from them for multiple patients at a time and execute those directions properly. This is another vital skill that requires you to be able to listen carefully.

You are Compassionate. 

As a medical assistant, you are going to have patients that are experiencing many different emotions and it is an essential part of your job to be there to comfort and support them.  In some cases, your patients may be in pain or have terminal conditions that require a high level of compassion and empathy.

You Love Helping People.

 There is hardly a greater field, than healthcare for a caring person who loves to help people. As a medical assistant, you have the opportunity to have a positive impact on people every day.  Whether you are taking a patient’s history, performing a blood draw or helping a patient understand their condition, what you do really matters and has an ultimate effect on the patient’s well-being.

You Work Well Under Pressure.

Dealing with patients that have a serious illnesses, or life threatening injuries, is not easy. Being able to maintain your professional demeanor while you are under intense pressure is essential to good patient care.  In addition, working in a busy medical office can get quite hectic.  Being a medical assistant requires someone who is patient, tolerant, and in-control even when under pressure.

You are a Team Player.

 Working in healthcare means being a part of a team that includes doctors, specialists, nurses, administrators, and more. The ability to work well as a team is an integral part of being a medical assistant.  You will need to be able to work with different personalities and different skill levels in an effort to provide your patients with the most comprehensive care. Providers rely heavily upon a strong team of professionals to help everything run smoothly.

Does this sound like you? While you may not possess all of these traits yet, you can get there. If you’re ready to start your healthcare career training, we’re here to help. Check out the Medical Assisting program at STVT today to find the location closest to you.

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator/Blog Editor – South Texas Vocational Technical Institute

Tips for a Healthy and Happy Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is one of the most celebrated holidays of the year and rightfully so.  We’re celebrating the birth of, not only our nation, but the birth of democracy itself.  And how do we choose to celebrate? With fireworks, family, sunshine and barbecues, of course!

But the holiday can also come with a few potential hazards if you’re not careful. Not to worry; we’ve got some helpful tips to make this Fourth a happy and healthy one!

Bring some earplugs

And no, they’re not to tune out your annoying cousin Larry.  Fireworks can produce a sound output that is in the 150 to 175 decibel range. The World Health Organization recommends that adults not be exposed to more than 140 decibels of peak sound pressure and for children, the recommendation is 120 decibels. Ear protection is recommended for decibels above 85.  So be sure to grab a pair of earplugs before you head out to enjoy the fireworks.

Apply Sunscreen

To keep your skin from matching the red, in the red, white, and blue of the American flag, you’ll want to apply sunscreen.  According to the American Academy of Dermatology it takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you. So you’ll want to put it on before you’re out in the sun. You’ll want to use something with an SPF of 30 or higher, that is water resistant and provides broad-spectrum coverage. Reapply every couple of hours to prevent sunburn. Follow the American Academy of Dermatology’s tips on How to apply sunscreen and you should be covered.

Stay Hydrated

Being outside in the sun for a picnic or barbeque cookout can make you more susceptible to dehydration and other health risks. Keeping a bottle of water nearby will help to keep you cool and hydrated throughout the day’s festivities. Plus alternating each alcoholic beverage (if you are of age) with a bottle of water, will help to stave off alcohol-induced dehydration.

Practice Safe Barbecuing

So you’re the one who’s manning or woman-ing the grill; then it’s up to you to make sure that you’re practicing safe barbecuing. This means that you’re designating different plates for the raw and cooked meat, you’re marinating food in the refrigerator and not out on the counter, you’re cooking the food thoroughly, you’re not leaving the food out in the sun for more than 2 hours (one if temperatures are really extreme), and you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions for safely operating your grill.

Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a happy and healthy Fourth of July!

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator/Blog Editor – South Texas Vocational Technical Institute

What Food Labels Aren’t Telling Us

Food Labels 101

You would think that if you wanted to know exactly what is in your food, you would just read the label. Think again. Although labels are supposed to be there to tell us exactly what’s in the food we’re about to purchase, they can be extremely deceiving. With consumers being more health conscious than they ever have been, food companies have figured out how to trick us with misleading claims and clever marketing phrases.

Labeling claims are carefully crafted to catch your attention and convince you that the product is healthier than it actually is. Look out for these common, but misleading phrases found on food labels.

Natural

This is possibly the most misleading term in the food industry. This does not mean that the product is healthy or even all that natural. The word “Natural” is used to reel in unaware consumers who tend to believe it means the same thing as “organic”, which it does not. In fact, when it comes to labeling foods, the term has no clear meaning and isn’t regulated by the FDA, much less, any agency. A recent survey of 1,005 adults  by Consumer Reports found that more than half of consumers usually seek out products with “natural” on the label, based on the false belief that they’re made without GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms), hormones, or artificial ingredients.

Low Fat

Food labels claiming that the product is “low fat” can be found on everything from yogurt to salad dressing. Unlike the term “natural”, the FDA does regulate when this claim can be used. This may seem to offer the assurance that the food has a significant nutritional benefit, but in fact it could be the opposite. Low fat products are processed to reduce either calories or fat and some products are simply watered down. Often when these things are removed something is added in their place, like sugar or artificial ingredients.

Cage free or Free Range

The terms “cage free” or “free range” might conjure up lovely images of happy hens frolicking around a farm yard all day, without a care in the world, but unfortunately this is not the case. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) defines free range as having exposure to the outdoors. The problem is that there are no requirements for the amount, duration or quality of the outdoor exposure. Most “free range” or “cage free” birds spend their lives in extremely over-crowded warehouses, with little exposure to the outdoors. Diseases run rampant in these conditions, due to unclean surroundings, tight quarters and contaminated feed. If you are looking for eggs or poultry from happy birds, look for “pasture raised” on the labels.

Sugar Free

Products labeled “sugar free” may not contain refined sugar, but it is often replaced with something far less healthy. “Sugar free” usually indicates the presence of artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. Aspartame, sucralose, and other artificial sweeteners can have just as many, if not more negative health effects than regular sugar. Just because a food has no added sugar, doesn’t mean that it’s sugar free! Juice, for example has no sugar added to it, but the naturally-occurring sugar in an 8 ounce glass of juice still contains anywhere from 24 to 36 grams of sugar – the equivalent of six to nine teaspoons.

Finding your way in the supermarket jungle

Making informed choices on the food that we buy for ourselves and our families can be difficult when food companies are constantly trying to mislead us, but here are a few suggestions to help you find your way:

  1. Stay informed – the best way to avoid being pulled-in by healthy-sounding deceptive marketing phrases is to become knowledgeable about the foods that you should be eating.
  2. Be skeptical – If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  3. Shop the Perimeter – The perimeter of the store is where the freshest and least processed foods are generally found, such as fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish.
  4. Keep it simple – Avoid foods that contain more than five ingredients, artificial ingredients or ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Want to see if you’ve learned a few things about food labels? Take the Web MD quiz here.

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator – Ancora Education