Medical Assistants to Help Prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Medical Assistants to Help Prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Medical Assistants to Help Prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

In December of 2018, the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) renewed their efforts to spread awareness about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). According to the AAMA, “Prenatal alcohol exposure is a leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities. The term FASDs is used to define the range of physical, mental, behavioral, and learning disabilities that can result from prenatal alcohol exposure.”

For the past four years, the AAMA has collaborated with the Mountain Plains FASD Practice and Implementation Center (Mountain Plains PIC) in a coordinated national effort to prevent FASDs. They have joined forces to better prepare Medical Assistants to “reduce alcohol-exposed pregnancies (AEPs) and intervene with patients who engage in risky or hazardous alcohol use.” Additionally, this not-for-profit initiative is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, recent funding from the CDC will allow for continued collaboration through 2022!

Check out what the AAMA had to say about this news in their December press release:

“This new collaboration, known as the Medical Assistant Practice Improvement Collaborative (MA-PIC), will build on the work started by the Mountain Plains PIC by developing, delivering, disseminating, and evaluating training and materials for Medical Assisting students and practitioners on how to conduct alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI). These activities will teach Medical Assistants to assist their overseeing providers in identifying patients’ risky drinking behaviors and provide health education to change those behaviors, especially among women of childbearing age to prevent AEPs and FASDs.”

The Importance of Medical Assistants

According to the AAMA, screening and intervention for patients drinking alcohol at unhealthy levels is more effective when Medical Assistants are a part of the healthcare team. Consider the skills and knowledge Medical Assistants have when it comes to providing patient education and prevention techniques. The AAMA lists the following as reasons why Medical Assistants could play a key role in screening for unhealthy alcohol use:

  • Their high level of patient interaction
  • Their vital role as liaison between patient and provider
  • Their familiarity with electronic medical records/patient health history
  • Their ability to connect with patients culturally and linguistically
  • Their scope of practice allows them to be trained as health coaches, provide counseling and education to reinforce physician advice, and follow up with patients

Since physicians usually do not have the time for alcohol screening or brief intervention, reallocating these tasks to Medical Assistants would save them time and ultimately benefit the patient. The AAMA said it best: “To maximize efficiency, Medical Assistants can conduct screening as part of the routine patient intake, thereby increasing the chance of identifying risky drinking in patient populations. Making the provider aware of a patient’s positive screening results facilitates follow-up and can improve integrated preventive care in healthcare teams.”

Without a doubt, Medical Assistants are key players on the healthcare team. They have the unique opportunity to advance the goals of this national health initiative and help put an end to dangerous alcohol consumption.

About the Medical Assistant Program at Provo College

Are you interested in Medical Assistant training? Provo offers an MA program that can be completed in as little as 10 months! An exemplary school, Provo College is known for giving power to students and associates by teaching cutting-edge, skills-based education, and leadership and personal effectiveness skills to have the career and life they desire. They are caring professionals who empower individuals to achieve personal excellence through student-centered, market-driven education.

At Provo, current MA students learn through informative lectures and practical training. Graduates of their MA program are eligible to take the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification exam offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In other words, students that have successfully completed the program will meet the educational requirements for the National Certification exam for Medical Assistants and may be eligible to sit for it. This exam is administered on campus and may be taken through the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).

For more information, please contact a school representative at (801) 818-8901. Change your future with Provo!

Pregnant and in Scrubs: Work Tips For The Expecting Nurse

Pregnant and in Scrubs: Work Tips for the Expecting Nurse

Pregnant and in Scrubs: Work Tips For The Expecting Nurse

Nurses are notoriously hardworking people, and very few things can change that—even pregnancy. When they learn they’re pregnant, many nurses just trade their old scrubs for maternity scrubs and keep working, sometimes right up to when labor begins.

“During my pregnancy, I worked up until the very last minute. Literally,” writes nurse Cassie in her blog. “My water broke at 38 weeks, 6 days while in a patient’s room! The shift before my water broke, I was performing CPR in order to save a patient’s life! It was exhausting, both mentally and physically, but I feel like I had a healthier pregnancy because I continued to work. Of course, it’s always best to consult with your doctor before following any advice because each and every pregnancy is unique.”

The drive to work hard and treat patients is admirable, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make the job less stressful, reduce risk to mother and baby, and address certain challenges before they arise. Here are just a few of the ways nurses can balance work and pregnancy.

  1. Keep Your OB In The Loop – Your OB should be the final word on any course of action regarding your pregnancy, so before laying out your work plan, make sure your doctor is on board. Let her know that you’re a nurse and communicate your job’s demands so that she has all the facts and figures in front of her. And if she recommends taking it easy, take it easy.
  2. Invest In Your Shoes – Two things are certain in pregnancy—you will gain some weight, and your feet will eventually start to hurt. So plan to invest in shoes that provide extra comfort while still conforming to your work and safety requirements. Compression socks are also a lifesaver.
  3. Tell Your Managers and Co-Workers Sooner Rather Than Later – Your pregnancy will impact your ability to do your job—for some, it will just be small things, like needing an extra bathroom break here and there. For others, the challenge will be more impactful—smells that drive you from a room, exhaustion, and morning sickness. So make sure your managers and your co-workers know as early as possible that changes are ahead so they can adjust accordingly.
  4. Consider An 8-Hour Shift – This isn’t a possibility at all hospitals or clinics, but it’s certainly worth looking into. If you find you’re struggling with the 12-hour shift, see if you can temporarily switch to an 8-hour to allow some extra rest. And if this isn’t an option, part-time may be something to consider.
  5. Look Into Light Duty Shifts – Again, this isn’t an option at all hospitals, but some do have the option of assigning light duty shifts to nurses. Light duty shifts typically involve more paperwork and managerial tasks rather than the more strenuous tasks of lifting patients and similar responsibilities.
  6. Fill That Nursing Bag – Before, you may have used your nursing bag for alcohol swabs and lip balm, but now, be sure to stock it with pregnancy essentials. Pack an anti-nausea pack, snacks to help keep you going when the cravings hit, and crackers to provide a little extra help when nausea strikes.
  7. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself – Every pregnancy is different, and while some nurses seem to breeze through, others may struggle a little more. Remember that your pregnancy is unique to you, so don’t judge yourself too harshly if you feel you’re struggling more than others around you. And remember, as your body changes, your tolerance may as well. Sights, smells, and sounds that never bothered you before may turn your face green now. Just know your new limits, and don’t get discouraged. You’ve got this!

For many nurses, it can be frustrating to feel like you aren’t operating at 100% capacity for 9+ months, but the most important thing to remember is that you have help and no one is expecting you to be a superhero. Ask for help when you need it, don’t push yourself beyond your limits, and most of all—take a breath and enjoy the moment. You’re going to do great!

If you are interested in beginning your own career as a nurse or medical assistant, Provo College can help make that dream a reality. Contact us today for more information!

Medical Assistant Writes Children’s Books

Medical Assistant Writes Children’s Books

Medical Assistant Writes Children’s Books

Whenever you visit your doctor, you will likely come across a Medical Assistant! They fill a dynamic role on the healthcare team, one that can include both administrative and clinical functions. So you might see them behind the front desk, in the exam room, or sitting with a patient’s family.

Now you might be seeing them in children’s books, too! We’d like to shed a light on one particular Medical Assistant that was featured in a recent article by Cathy Cassata. After becoming a grandmother, Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Debra Soloman decided to write educational books for her grandchildren…

Spotlight: Debra Soloman, CMA

Debra Soloman received her Medical Assisting degree in Omaha, Nebraska. According to Cassata, she has spent the last 18 years working in family practice, urology, and cardiology. Currently, Soloman works for the Methodist Diagnostic Center. She recently obtained an associate’s degree in applied sciences as well, with a major in medical management!

In addition to her promising healthcare career, Soloman has always felt compelled to write and create stories. Cassata states that Solomon’s most recent book, I Have Autism, “was written for her 7-year-old grandson, Xavier, who has the disorder.” She quoted Soloman as saying: “I wrote it to help him so that he would understand himself. He loves and adores it. The first time he read it, he smiled at every single page.”

According to Cassata, each page features sentiments that relate to Xavier along with a matching picture. For example, “the first page shows an illustration of a boy holding his hands over his ears with the words ‘Sometimes loud noises hurt my ears.’ Another page displays a picture of the boy holding his hands in front of his face along with the statement ‘I get really shy and nervous around a lot of people.’”

Solomon would like to donate several copies of the book to her grandson’s school in addition to the Autism Center of Nebraska Inc. Her books are entirely self-published, and they can be found on a website called Lulu. She related to Cassata that all profits garnered from I Have Autism will go toward services her grandson needs as well as a college fund for the future.

In the meantime, Solomon plans to write more books. She says the next one will revolve around her two granddaughters: “It will be about all the wonderful things that come with having a sister. They live on a farm, so I’ll feature the farm too.”

For more information, be sure to check out Cathy Cassata’s article on the AAMA website! There you’ll find more amazing stories about inspirational MAs, too.

About the Medical Assistant Program at Provo College

If you’re interested in Medical Assistant training, Provo offers an MA program that can be completed in as little as 10 months. The Eagle Gate College Group is known for giving power to students and associates by teaching cutting-edge, skills-based education, and leadership and personal effectiveness skills to have the career and life they desire. They are caring professionals who empower individuals to achieve personal excellence through student-centered, market-driven education.

For more information, please contact a school representative at (801) 818-8901. Change your future with Provo!

Nurses Rally After Controversial Playing Cards Comment

Nurses Rally After Controversial “Playing Cards” Comment

Nurses Rally After Controversial Playing Cards Comment

This week was a busy one for the healthcare community. Researchers discovered that hospital curtains are potentially a source for drug-resistant bacteria transmission. Reusable tourniquets for venipuncture, another study revealed, are another source for contamination. And scientists in Israel successfully 3D printed a miniature human heart (including blood vessels and other supporting structures)… using actual cells from a single donor.

However, the biggest story—in terms of discussion—wasn’t any of these but the nationwide reaction to a lawmaker’s comments about nurses playing cards.

In case you missed it (or were confused by all the nurse card-playing memes that suddenly flooded Facebook), the issue began during a discussion on a bill that would protect nurses’ rights to meal breaks and overtime protection. While arguing that small, rural hospitals should be excluded from this protection, Washington state senator Maureen Walsh (R) commented that nurses at small hospitals “probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”

The reaction from nurses across the country was swift.

The response began with the Washington State Nurses Association in a blog post that became so popular, it crashed the website.

The comments, the association wrote, were “incredibly disrespectful and patronizing. No, senator, nurses are not sitting around playing cards. They are taking care of your neighbors, your family, your community.”

Across social media, thousands of nurses rallied, posting everything from humorous memes to open letters and challenges asking the state senator to follow a nurse on a 12-hour shift. All of these nurses proudly stood up for the hard work done twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week by men and women in scrubs.

Nurse Maddie Allen posted a photo of a table covered in medical flash cards, writing “1 years’ worth of flashcards in a nursing degree. Never had a single chance to even look at them at a clinical site. These are the cards it takes to simply learn enough base knowledge, so we never play cards with someone’s life. #nursesdontplaycards”

Patients, first responders, and other medical professionals also chimed in. “I worked in an ICU as a unit coordinator during undergrad,” tweeted one, “and I remember begging a few nurses to grab a snack on more than one occasion because they never had a chance to eat. I literally put a cracker in one of their mouths while they were wheeling a patient. #nursesdontplaycards”

One nurse even went so far as to post the step results of her Fitbit following her last three shifts.

“I love how health professionals come together when stuff like this happens,” tweeted another. “It’s like we’re siblings who poke fun of each other, but when someone else messes with one of us, you’re gonna deal with the whole family!”

Across all social media platforms, the message was unified—nurses are some of the hardest working professionals in the country, they are the backbone of the healthcare system, and they have an army of avid supporters behind them.

The backlash over the state senator’s comments have also thrown a very important issue into the spotlight, the need to care for nurses (read our previous blog on the subject here). Simply put, research and years of data have proven again and again that rested, supported nurses provide the best care, make the fewest mistakes, and result in the best possible treatment for patients.

“Study after study show that unplanned overtime assignments have a high potential to be unsafe,” warns the viral WSNA blog. “Working more than 10 hours in a given day, when unplanned, results in lower quality of care, higher RN burnout, decreased patient satisfaction, and increased errors.”

It says something about just how incredible the nursing profession is that an entire country rallies so quickly to their defense. Nurses truly are a priceless gift, and the world needs more of them.

If you are interested in beginning your own career as a nurse or medical assistant, Provo College can help make that dream a reality. Contact us today for more information!

finding the best MA school near me

Picking the Right MA Program for You

Once you’ve made the decision to pursue Medical Assisting, it’s time to find a program that will equip you with the education and practical skills you’ll need to be successful in the field. When you consider the impact higher education can have on your future, it makes sense that you would only want to invest in the best schools. If you find yourself conducting online searches for “finding the best MA school near me” or “finding the best medical programs in my area,” there are some critical questions you might want to ask before making any big changes.

It’s important to note that not all Medical Assistant programs are the same. Some programs are held in a traditional classroom with a seasoned instructor providing informative lectures. Other programs are held entirely online, creating flexibility for working professionals or those not in ideal locations. This is why it’s so important to discern your strengths, limitations, and needs. For instance, if you’re looking for a program that offers a combination of expert lectures and active learning, Provo College maintains a dynamic program that might be ideal for you!

All About Medical Assisting Curriculums

finding the best MA school near me

Many Medical Assisting curriculums focus on practical skills required for the career, including a background in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, basic medical procedures, and administrative policies. Core skills are usually gained in the classroom before getting put to the test through hands-on lab work and supervised externships. When considering different Medical Assistant programs, it’s important to ask about the number of hours the program provides/requires for a supervised externship.

Some Medical Assisting students highly value the mentorship and practical experience that can be gained through a real-world externship. Successful graduates will then have the ability to interview for open Medical Assisting jobs at clinics, physicians’ offices, and hospitals, where they can market the experience they’ve gained through school. Additionally, some Medical Assisting programs also provide students with a general skillset that includes interpersonal communication, professionalism, and problem solving. Others might also include lessons on OSHA and HIPAA guidelines.

All About the Importance of Due Diligence

While searching for programs that interest you, the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) suggests that you thoroughly investigate these programs before taking further action. You can typically do so by either poring through each institution’s website or contacting the program directors with a few questions. On the AAMA’s website, they list several sample questions that you might want to ask:

+ What are the tuition costs and financial aid options?

+ What are the academic prerequisites?

+ How long does it take to complete the program?

+ What specific topics are covered?

+ What does the practicum involve?

+ What percent of the program’s students/graduates pass the CMA (AAMA) Exam?

+ Will you contact the AAMA Certification Department and give them permission to share your exam pass rates with me?

All About the MA Program at Provo College

Committing to online research and meeting with school representatives are some of the best ways to learn more about the Medical Assistant programs in your area. Another option is to hold informational interviews with graduates of the programs you are considering. Working Medical Assistants will likely be able to give you a unique perspective on the advantages and disadvantages of these programs. To help you narrow down your decision, we’d like to tell you a little more about Provo College!

The Eagle Gate College Group is known for giving power to students and associates by teaching cutting-edge, skills-based education, and leadership and personal effectiveness skills to have the career and life they desire. We are caring professionals who empower individuals to achieve personal excellence through student-centered, market-driven education.

If you’d like to change your career but do not want to spend years in school, you might want to consider the Medical Assistant program at Provo College; it can be completed in as little as 10 months. For more information, please contact a school representative at (801) 818-8901!

Lack of School Nurses Reaches Crisis Levels

Lack of School Nurses Reaches Crisis Levels

Lack of School Nurses Reaches Crisis Levels

The desperate need for nurses nationwide is very well-known, making the RN license (especially a BSN degree) all the more valuable for those looking at a career in healthcare. But one niche of nursing—school nurses—has hit a new level of need, and it could be costing kids their lives.

According to CBS News, only three out of five schools across the country has a full-time school nurse, which forces teachers and administrators (often with no medical training) to try and fill the void. For the kids caught in the middle, it’s a risky situation, especially with one quarter of students now living with some form of medical complication—like asthma or diabetes.

And for some kids, the lack of a school nurse hits home in the worst possible way.

“They failed him all ways. Like they wasn’t there to help him,” says parent Rasheen Pressley. “He was my only son…There weren’t nobody there to help him. Nothing.”

During what started as a normal school day, Pressley’s 9-year-old son collapsed while in the school cafeteria, likely due to a heart defect he’d had since birth. Staff who’d been trained in CPR alone tried their best to revive the boy but were ultimately unsuccessful. And because he’d collapsed on a day when the part-time school nurse wasn’t present, no trained healthcare professional was on site who could have possibly changed the outcome.

It’s a story echoed across the country, as over the past several years, multiple children have died at schools with no nurse on duty.

According to the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), the shortage is a crisis, with over 40 percent of schools without a full-time nurse, and 25 percent without a nurse at all.

And even the part-time nurses are struggling to meet the demand.

“If you have a workload that doesn’t enable you to care for the students in a way that you need, it’s like drinking water from a fire hose,” says Donna Mazyck, executive director of the NASN.

“I’m often stressed because I have to figure out the safest way to balance it,” says Denie Gorbey-Creese, a Maryland school nurse who covers two schools. “If I’m busy with an emergency at my other school, I’m not available right away, so it might delay their care some. I would love to be able to be in one place, so that I could provide the care that kids need. I also think I would get to know the kids a lot better.”

In the meantime, schools and politicians are doing what they can to close the gap. Several cities, such as Philadelphia and Cincinnati, have formed partnerships between local children’s hospitals and the school system to identify needs and provide additional care. Next month, the U.S. Congress is expected to introduce the Nurse Act, a bill that would provide grant money for schools to hire school nurses.

But no plan will be able to completely solve the problem without one crucial ingredient—the nurses themselves. Schools and politicians can move mountains to raise funds and create additional positions, but without highly trained, hardworking, driven RN’s (especially those with BSN degrees), students will always be at risk.

If you are interested in beginning your own career as a nurse or medical assistant, Provo College can help make that dream a reality. Contact us today for more information!