Plate of healthy food

5 Health Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start a New Diet

Plate of healthy food

You’ve heard about this great new diet, and it’s promising real results. You hope this diet will work, after having tried so many others before it, and you’re thinking about trying it out, just to see what it’s all about. Before you try out your new diet, one that may or may not work, ask yourself these 5 important questions to make sure that the diet is safe, and to make sure it’s the right diet for you.

1. Does your new diet eliminate certain food groups?

When you start to review the details of your new diet, ask yourself this question: Does the diet require you to eliminate a specific food group, or does it require you to add more of a certain food group? The majority of diets have you eliminating carbs and sugar. At first, this seems like a great solution and you might see quick results when you eliminate breads, sweets, cereals, etc. The problem is that, even after just one month, your body is going to start to react to this change and approach it’s nutrition like it’s in starvation mode. It’s going to take its store of sugars from your muscles and your liver and then it’s going to tell your digestive system to hold as much sugar as possible because you are depriving your body of this component. Now you will start to gain weight as your body starts making more fat. Instead, look for a diet that includes a well-rounded mix of the vital nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy.

2. Does your new diet promise that you only need to make a temporary change?

Does your new diet give you a way to change your eating plan for a short time, and then promises that you can return to your normal eating pattern after you lose the weight? You’ll have short-term “success” for about 6-8 weeks, and then when you go back to your normal way of eating, you will most likely gain all of the weight back, and possibly gain additional weight, as your body tries to adjust to the rapid changes. Instead, look for a diet that teaches you how to eat for life with healthy results.

3. Is it one size fits all?

Most plans are designed for a woman approximately 5’4″ who does moderate exercise. If you don’t fall into this category (i.e., if you are taller or shorter, or if you do more or less exercise, or if you are a man, etc.), you may not achieve the results you want. Instead, look for a diet that teaches you how to modify the plan to fit your specific characteristics.

4. Can I dine out?

Does your new diet allow you to eat out and still make good food choices that will fit into the diet? If not, you have 2 options: a) don’t eat out anymore; or b) go off the diet each time you are going out to lunch or dinner. Neither answer is going to help you stay on the diet long term. Instead, look for a diet that teaches you the skills to choose foods on the menu that fit into your new diet permanently.

5. Do you have to buy special foods or special drinks to stay on the diet?

It may be easy to choose a diet that gives you exactly what you need to eat in the exact portions. You may get a shake that has everything you need to replace a meal, or you may get snacks and supplements to help you stay on the diet. Unless you are prepared to purchase these items for the rest of your life, you increase the chances of failing on your new diet and regaining the weight, when you try to go back to foods that you can buy on your own. Instead, look for a diet that uses a meal plan that you can shop for in your local supermarket.

Before you begin a new diet, ask your doctor for advice on choosing the right diet, especially if you have one or more medical conditions that may need to be closely monitored, or that may be affected by starting a new diet, especially a diet that requires you to eliminate or add certain food groups. By checking with your doctor first, you can develop a comfortable long-term eating plan that balances your unique medical and nutritional needs with a plan for long-term success in terms of taking the weight off and keeping it off. 

For more informative articles on many different healthcare subjects, visit the Avidity Medical Design Blog.

To take an online healthcare course, such as “How to Prevent Disease in Your Body (By Eating Fruits and Vegetables!),” visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.

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hospital cybersecurity

3 Things Every Medical Professional Should Know About Cybersecurity

hospital cybersecurity

The healthcare industry faces unique and growing threats to cybersecurity, due to the amount of personal data stored on servers, and the relatively low level of cybersecurity in place for smaller healthcare facilities. The typical medical facility stores electronic health records (EHRs), employment data for thousands of individuals, and personal identity details for many healthcare employees and providers. Although larger healthcare facilities have taken additional steps to implement a multilayered security process to protect healthcare data at all levels of the organization, the abundance of information that needs to be protected, combined with less awareness of security risk in individual practices and smaller medical facilities, makes some healthcare facilities a prime target for cybercrime. If you work for a doctor’s office or a small to mid-size medical facility, or if you are thinking about pursing a career in healthcare, review the following three risks to understand how you can help your facility take steps to reduce security risk before it is too late.

The three risks that you should be aware of include:

  1. The risk of attack by ransomware.
  2. The risk of attack to medical devices.
  3. The risk of password violations and phishing attempts.

The Risk of Attack By Ransomware

Since any business can be crippled by a ransomware attack, a cyberattack that locks a medical facility out of its own records is putting patients’ lives at risk. One Ohio hospital found this out the hard way; Ohio Valley Medical Center had to turn emergency room patients away after a ransomware attack locked them out of their own systems. Because ransomware is a malicious software program that blocks users from accessing the data stored on their own computer until a “ransom,” or money is paid to unlock their computer and regain access to their own data, in the case of the Ohio Valley Medical Center security breach, ambulances were diverted and computer systems were taken offline to address the attack. This meant that if you were a patient, you would not have been able to get the care that you needed while the facility struggled to resolve the ransomware issue. Sadly, this is not an unusual occurrence, and criminals have figured out that disrupting care is the fastest way to a quick payday when it comes to ransomware. 

The Risk of Attack to Medical Devices

Many of the devices used in a standard hospital setting are equipped with IoT based technology. This type of technology allows healthcare providers to collect data easily and to monitor patients long distance. Since these devices are directly accessing the healthcare facility’s network, they increase the risk of a cyberattack. While the use of IV stands, insulin pumps and other devices save lives, medical professionals should be aware that they are putting themselves and their patients at greater risk when using these devices. Placing these devices on a dedicated, separate network can drastically reduce the risk of a security breach. Keeping an accurate inventory of medical devices and where they are located in your facility can also help reduce the risk of attacks to your medical devices.

The Risk of Password Violations and Phishing Attempts

Providers and staff members can inadvertently increase a facility’s risk of cyberattack. From poor password choices, including options like “PASSWORD” and “QWERTY”, to a lack of awareness about phishing, employees may accidentally increase the risk of cyberattack. Scheduling online training sessions that incorporate best practices for password use, and how to recognize phishing and ransomware attempts, can drastically reduce the likelihood of responding to these cyberattacks. The IT department can also take additional steps to help protect your facility and ensure that no one without the right to access sensitive patient or employee data can get into your computer network. 

Being aware of these three risks allows you to take steps to protect your facility, contact your manager and/or help desk if something looks suspicious in terms of information access, and safeguard the data of patients as well as managers and other employees in your healthcare facility.

For more informative articles on healthcare, visit the Avidity Medical Design Blog.

To take an online course in healthcare, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy

Shot of a young medical practitioner using a digital tablet in a hospital

How to Stay Healthy If You Work in the Hospital

nurse holding patient's hand

You’ve just been hired for a new job in healthcare. Your new position involves working in a hospital in your area. It doesn’t matter whether you are working as a doctor, as a nurse, as a therapist, as a medical coder, or as a receptionist in patient scheduling or patient registration. If you work in a hospital, and you interact with patients at any level throughout the day, you have to take steps to keep yourself healthy, not only for the sake of your patients, but for the sake of yourself, your friends, and your family members as well. Staying healthy means walking a fine line between balancing your responsibilities in terms of caring for other people’s health with taking care of your own health. The unfortunate truth is that you have a lot working against you. Since the vast majority of patients are sick people, since they are coming to the hospital, this means exposing yourself to numerous communicable diseases and conditions, especially if you interact with patients, as well as other staff members.

Here are some things you can do to try to minimize your risk of getting sick in the hospital (and consequently becoming a patient yourself):

Hospital Work Can Be Stressful

If you are new to working in a hospital, it means not only opening yourself up to potential physical illnesses but also opening yourself up to potential mental issues as well, in the form of stress. Although for some positions, a stressful job with long work hours typically “goes with the territory,” so to speak, some jobs are more stressful than others, especially in the hospital setting.

Work stress is associated with a number of physical and medical issues, including:

  • Weight gain, possibly leading to obesity.
  • Stomach problems.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Headaches or migraines, depending on your stress level.
  • Fatigue or insomnia.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Worsening health conditions that may already exist, apart from working in the hospital setting.

Stress on the job is also associated with mental health issues such as:

  • Inability to focus.
  • Irritability.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Isolationism.
  • Drug and alcohol use.

If you work in a hospital, you may be more susceptible to the effects of stressful situations, especially if your work involves caring for patients in life-or-death situations.

Maintaining healthy exercise and eating habits can help you minimize the effects of physical illness and work-related stress, especially if your stress involves making decisions on behalf of patients in crucial situations where time is of the essence. Maintaining a healthy personal life outside of work can also help you operate at maximum efficiency when you’re on the job. Starting a new job in a new hospital means a fresh opportunity to start off right. 

woman doing meditation at park during sunrise

Also consider doing deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques to stay balanced, focused, stress-free (to the greatest extent possible), and most of all, on track, even if you do not work directly with patients.

Maintain a healthy social life outside of your job, that doesn’t conflict with your work schedule. Take a vacation by yourself if you choose to, without family members or friends at the beach or on a faraway resort, just to unwind, regroup, regather, and refocus.

For more informative articles on healthcare, visit the Avidity Medical Design blog.

To enroll in an online course in healthcare, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.

The Surprising Link Between Poor Oral Health and Heart Problems

woman brushing teeth in mirror

You try to stay relatively healthy while eating right and exercising occasionally. But did you know that oral health plays a major role in our overall health as well? It turns out that poor oral health can affect your entire body, including your heart.

The relationship between poor oral health and heart problems is an issue that seems to be validated by numerous studies. Although the reasons are not entirely clear, researchers have some evidence-based beliefs about how it might happen. So let’s take a look at how poor oral health might lead to heart problems down the line.

Poor Oral Health May Lead to Bacterial Infection

One study found that poor oral health might lead to bacterial infection. These bacteria can travel through the body and then seep into the bloodstream, over time. Researchers think that the same bacteria that causes gingivitis and periodontitis can also cause inflammation and damage to our blood vessels. As a result, tiny blood clots might develop, which can in turn lead to a heart attack or a stroke.

The same study found a correlation between gum disease, heart disease, and smoking. This was a study that examined almost a million people and at least 65,000 cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks. The study found that there was a link between tooth loss and heart problems. However, this study also found that smoking was also just as strong (if not a stronger) predictor of cardiovascular problems as was tooth loss.

Still, other studies have found links between gum disease and heart disease, tooth loss, coronary artery disease, and high blood pressure. And it’s not just heart problems that seem linked to oral health.

They’ve also found links between diabetes, pancreatic cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis and heart problems. More research is needed to further illuminate the connections, but we do know that taking good care of your oral health is a safe bet.

Brushing, flossing and regular dental appointments can go a long way towards influencing your oral and overall health for the better.

For more informative articles on a variety of healthcare subjects, visit the Avidity Medical Design blog.

To enroll in an online healthcare course, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.

Five Ways Working the Night Shift Impacts Your Health (And How to Handle It) :-)

Working the night shift is never easy. If this is something you have to do regularly, you may begin to see some negative effects on both your physical and mental health. Here are five of the biggest ways the night shift might impact you, and what you can do to take care of yourself while working these difficult hours.

Social Isolation

Working nights means that your schedule will almost never be in sync with the work schedule of your friends and family, which can lead to feelings of depression, loneliness, and isolation. While it can be easy to push social engagements low on your priorities list, it is important to make time to spend with the people you care about. Just inviting friends over to catch up and watch a movie can help you feel connected and, as a result, can drastically improve your mental and emotional health.

female nurse smiling

Insomnia

Although fatigue frequently comes with overnight work, this doesn’t mean you’ll be able to fall asleep as soon as you get home. In fact, insomnia is a common problem for people who work overnight shifts, due to a disruption in your circadian rhythm. If you can, invest in blackout curtains and wear sunglasses on your commute home at the end of your shift. Exercising regularly, wearing ear plugs or listening to white noise, and keeping to the same daily sleep schedule, if possible, can all help you avoid insomnia.

Weight Gain

Stress, lack of time, and fatigue are all factors that can lead to unhealthy behavior and weight gain, especially if you work the night shift. If you are exhausted, the last thing you want to do is cook a meal from scratch. Meal prepping and batch cooking are excellent ways to ensure you’ll always have access to a quick and healthy meal, and snacks like trail mix and jerky can help you avoid getting snacks from the vending machine in the wee hours of the morning, while you’re taking breaks on the night shift. 

Depression

Even if you make an effort to spend time with friends, overnight work can severely impact your mental health. Along with fatigue and poor diet and exercise habits, lack of sunlight can be very detrimental to your mental health. If your schedule allows, try to get some natural sunlight before you report to work. If not, using a sunlamp when you wake up can help you combat feelings of depression caused by a nocturnal schedule.

Stress

All of the health problems caused by overnight work can lead to high levels of stress. Chronic stress is always a drain on the body, so it is important to make a conscious effort to find ways to relax. This could mean meditating, drawing, drinking tea—find the things that calm you down, and make them a priority.

Overnight work is challenging, but the more you know about the health risks involved in working the night shift, and how to stay healthy when you work the night shift, the better you’ll be able to take care of yourself. For more helpful tips on different areas of healthcare, be sure to visit our blog.

3 Ways a New Work Environment Can Impact Your Health (and What You Can Do About it)

You may be wondering how your new career in the healthcare field will affect your life. But have you thought about how your new work environment can impact your health? CNN reported in the article, “A bad work environment can be bad for your health”, that there was a direct impact on stress level and risk of cardiac disease based on an employee’s work environment. Therefore, what are some health hazards and ways that you can maintain your health while transitioning to your new job?

Not Enough Hours in the Day

It’s all too common to be understaffed and overworked, especially in the healthcare environment. You may feel that you need to forego taking a break, avoid eating lunch, or eat lunch on the run, in order to get everything done. While scarfing down your lunch on the run may seem like a better option than skipping lunch altogether, you may have some health concerns that come from eating on the go. Indigestion, nausea and bloating may have you reaching for a Tums or some Pepto-Bismol, for example. A better option would be to force yourself to sit down and take 30 minutes to an hour to eat lunch. If you finish early, enjoy those few moments of peace, resisting the urge to get more work done during this time.

No Personal Space

Sometimes, the lines can become blurred when it comes to separating your work life from your home life. If you work from home, it can be hard to balance the two while keeping them separate from one another. The mental toll that this takes can leave you drained emotionally as you obsess about work duties while neglecting interests and hobbies that you once enjoyed. Take back your personal life. If you have a home office, keep work in the office space and during office hours only. Make it a priority to spend time doing the things you enjoy or spending time with family and friends. 

man coding on desktop computer
Cropped image of It specialist working on code

Intense and/or Repetitive Physical Exertion

Are your daily work tasks leaving you achy and physically exhausted at the end of the day? Back and neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome and migraine headaches are some potential side effects, especially when you are at your desk most of the day, or your job is especially stressful. Learn about ergonomics and body mechanics and incorporate both of these into your daily routine at work. Get out of your chair and stretch at least once every hour that you are at work. If your job has you on your feet all day, sit down, stretch your legs, rotate your feet and ankles, and elevate your feet in the breakroom to improve circulation. 

As you consider a new career in the medical field, check out these courses that Avidity Medical Design Academy offers to help you succeed on the job and in your personal life. 

Self-Care for Healthcare Professionals

woman doing meditation at park during sunrise

If you work in the healthcare field, you know that some positions, such as nursing, require long hours and stressful working conditions that can leave you drained. You know that you have to take care of yourself to avoid burnout, but the challenge is, how do you find the time? Self-care for healthcare workers isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity — so here are a few tips for a self-care routine that you can fit into your schedule and fit into your budget.

Try Yoga and Meditation

You can enjoy the benefits of practicing yoga without joining an expensive gym or squeezing into a crowded studio class. With free instructional videos readily available online, you can fit a quick yoga or meditation routine into your schedule. Even just 15 minutes before or after your shift can leave you feeling more relaxed, mindful, and focused.

Eat Healthier

Self-care is not just relaxing and taking it easy. It requires self discipline. The good news is that eating healthy won’t add any extra time to your busy schedule. You can make small nutrition changes over time, and you can keep track of what feels good with a food journal. Making healthy changes can leave you with more energy and more mental clarity to tackle the day, especially if your position involves working directly with patients.

Practice Saying “No”

While you can’t say “no” to everything, chances are that you can find a few ways to reduce stress in your life by setting healthy boundaries, especially after a long and stressful day on the job. Maybe you can stop checking your emails before bed. If you check your emails, maybe you can postpone responding to your emails until you get back to work. Maybe you can choose to stay home instead of going to a social event when you really don’t have the energy to socialize and you have an even more stressful week ahead. This doesn’t mean withdrawing from friends or not fulfilling obligations. It just means thinking critically about whether going to a particular event, whether it is for business or with family, is going to drain your energy.

Making time for self-care can help you perform better at work, and feel better, too, even if you are not working in the healthcare field. For more help with navigating your healthcare career, visit the Avidity Medical Design blog.

How to Ask for a Raise If You Are a Healthcare Employee (and Even If You’re Not One!) :-)

Not many people would turn down extra money. Asking for a raise can be hard, but it never hurts to let your employer know you want a little more money.  The worst they can say is no.  If you’re thinking of asking for a raise, here are a few things to think about:

In an atmosphere of tight budgets and low unemployment, the thought of asking your manager for a raise can make you feel worried and stressed out. You might wonder what the response might be, and if the response is no, you might wonder what the reason might be. Although you might feel stressed about asking for a salary increase and the reaction you might receive, the high cost of onboarding new hires coupled with a limited available workforce helps motivate companies to reward employees who know how to ask for what they want. Before you ask for a raise, however, there are a few steps you should take to prepare yourself, to increase the likelihood that the answer might be a “Yes” instead of a “No.”

Here are five steps to help you prepare to ask for a raise:

Step 1: Do your homework first.

Step 2: Know how much you are worth in terms of salary.

Step 3: Come prepared with facts and figures.

Step 4: Find the right person to ask.

Step 5: Put your request in writing and include documents that support giving you a salary increase.

how to master technology in the online learning environment

Step 1: Do Your Homework

Whether you work in the healthcare setting or not, some things are consistent in terms of an employer’s mindset. Every employer wants to keep employees who are skilled and who do their job well. Most employers do not want to deal with high employee turnover and constantly having to train new employees because the employees who are already trained and working up to speed choose to leave the company due to low pay. Companies realize that employees expect annual raises, regardless of the type of work they do and the area of the company, or the healthcare setting, that they work in. So the first step is to do your homework. Know what your employer’s policies are in terms of how and when they choose to give raises. The company may have a clearly defined merit system that they use to determine your rate of pay, based on your job, length of employment, and your level of responsibility, especially if you work in a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office. So the first step is to know your employer’s policy in terms of pay increases if the policies are not spelled out in the employee handbook.

Also, do some research online to determine the average rate of pay for other employees who work in the same area, who have the same position, and who have the same level of responsibility that you have. Join online discussion boards that pertain to your area of healthcare, or pertain to the area that you work in if it is outside of healthcare. Post questions about the average salary for your field on the discussion boards. Remember that geography is also factor in terms of your salary. For example, if you work as a certified nursing assistant in Louisville, Kentucky, for example, you may be paid more, or less, than a certified nursing assistant who works in Los Angeles, California, and who performs the same duties that you have. It all depends on the facility, patient population, and the number of skilled workers available. A registered nurse will be paid more for higher patient acuity positions, professional certifications, and for his or her length of experience, than a new nursing school graduate.

Step 2: Know How Much You Are Worth in Terms of Salary

There’s a lot of information available on how to evaluate your pay. Check out different websites to come up with a number to ask for.  Meeting metrics and getting extra training makes you more valuable, so factor that in as well. A good rule of thumb is to ask for 10% to 20% more than what you currently make. Above all else, keep in mind that your worth in terms of your salary does not reflect your worth as in individual. You are always worth more as an individual than you are in terms of your salary, past, present, or future, so don’t confuse the individual worth with salary worth when you are trying to calculate your worth in terms of compensation.

Step 3: Come Prepared with Facts and Figures

Highlight Your Training. When you start to negotiate your raise, come prepared with facts and figures. Start by highlighting your training. If necessary, get more training in certain areas of healthcare, or in the field that you work in if it is not related to healthcare. Remember that you can make a stronger case to support the argument that you need more money when you can say that you have specialized training in a particular area, especially if it is important to be able to do your job well. Extra courses or certifications make you a more valuable employee and spotlight your accomplishments.  Make sure your employer knows about everything you’ve accomplished, both in the workplace and in terms of your training. Be prepared to discuss your current skills and commitment to long-term professional development. Stay realistic about your job potential and your job performance, but don’t undervalue yourself in the process.

Highlight your workplace achievements. You probably already know what metrics your company is measuring you on.  For nurses, it may be seeing patients in a given time frame.  If you’re a medical coder, you normally must code a certain number of charts per day, while maintaining a certain quality standard, usually 95% or above. Regardless of what the metrics are, you’ll want to highlight positive stats and excellent quality during your negotiation.  If you’re constantly meeting or exceeding goals, you’ve proven that you’re a valuable employee.  That gives you a good case for a salary increase. Cite your most recent positive evaluation, audit scores, and letters of commendation, as well as thank you notes from patients, families, and peers. Be ready to discuss any previously challenging areas of your job where you have improved, and show how you take criticism as a constructive way to raise your customer service abilities and to better your peer relationships. 

Highlight your flexibility. When you negotiate your salary, remember to include issues that don’t appear to be related to salary at first glance, such as the schedule are dyou are willing to work and your level of flexibility. If you are willing to work a shift that no one else wants, if you are willing to perform a task that no one else wants to perform, if you are willing to make personal accommodations in your own life to make sure that the job gets done on time, then mention these things during your salary negotiations. This underscores the fact that you deserve a raise.

Highlight what you’ve done in terms of dollars and cents. If your contributions to the company, or the healthcare organization that you work for, resulted in increased revenue for the organization and improved their bottom line because you met or exceeded the job expectation, especially in terms of exceeding a certain quota, remember to mention this during your discussions about your salary increase.

Step 4: Find the Right Person to Ask

Your direct manager may not have the power to increase your salary, even if they feel you deserve it.  Since different companies have different policies and procedures, it can be hard to find the right person to talk to when it comes to asking for your salary increase. Other circumstances may also intervene; you might know the right person to ask, but they may be unavailable. The person may be on vacation, or they may be in meetings off and on during the day, or when you call to schedule some time to talk about getting a raise, you may get their voice mail or they may not respond to your email right away. As a result, it may take some time to reach the person you need to speak to. Don’t let this hold you back. Be persistent. Try another route if necessary. Speak to another person in the chain of command who can contact the person you need to speak to more quickly, and who they normally respond to more quickly. Don’t give up. If all else fails, discuss how to go about getting a raise with your supervisor or HR team, and see if they have any suggestions on an alternate route you can take, and go from there.

When you ask for your raise, be professional, just like you were during your interview. If your immediate supervisor is the person who has the power to give you a raise, then speak with them. Remember that even if you have a friendly relationship with your supervisor, you don’t want to have a casual laid back attitude when it comes to asking for your raise. Before you reach out to your supervisor for a face-to-face meeting to discuss your raise, you’ll want to gather your supporting information, consider your job skills, your past evaluations, leadership style, and peer relationships. If you are a healthcare employee, your professional approach won’t just be appreciated, it will be valued, respected, and, most of all, expected. 

Step 5: Put Your Request in Writing and Include Supporting Documents

When you sit down to negotiate salary, bring a letter of request for a salary increase with you to your meeting, and be sure to include supporting documentation. Or you can send it by email if you are not speaking with your manager face to face. Your letter of request should be as specific and as detailed as possible, and should not be an emotional or personal plea for a pay increase. Your letter should echo any statements that you make in terms of why you feel you deserve a raise. This is important because your letter will become a permanent part of your employee record, and it will substantiate your verbal request to everyone involved in making the decision about whether to give you a raise. Supporting documents should include emails from satisfied clients and any other written acknowledgements of the value of the work that you do for the company, or the healthcare organization that you work with.

If you’re not getting any traction when you ask for an increase, and you work in the healthcare setting, you might want to sharpen your skillset through training.  Take a look at some Avidity courses here that might help make you a more valuable employee.

Conclusion

In conclusion, remember that it’s never easy to ask for a raise, whether you work in healthcare or outside of the field of healthcare. But with a little time, planning, forethought, self-promotion, and flexibility you can negotiate with confidence and increase the likelihood that you will get the raise you want.

For more informative articles, visit the Avidity Medical Design blog.

Interested in learning how to become a professional in healthcare? Visit the Avidity Medical Design Academy website now and sign up for this course:

How to Use Meetup Groups for Social Networking in Healthcare

group of healthcare professionals meeting

If you are in the healthcare industry, or if you are thinking about becoming a healthcare professional, it is important to connect with other colleagues in the healthcare field, for several reasons:

1. You want to stay up to date on current healthcare topics and trends in your area of specialization, especially if your area of specialization involves hands-on patient care, such as nursing, for example.

2. You want to be one of the first to know about new job opportunities that may not yet be advertised in your area of healthcare.

3. You want to establish contacts, long-term friendships, and business relationships with colleagues who are willing to recommend you for future job opportunities. A great way to connect with other healthcare professionals is through Meetup.com.

The Story of Meetup.com

Meetup.com is a social networking platform that allows you to connect with people with similar interests by attending social events that are sponsored by the group that you belong to (as well as an occasional online event). The Meetup groups on Meetup.com have been around since 2002. These groups make it easy to connect with other people with similar interests, for business or just for fun. Social events sponsored by Meetup groups take place in different areas of your city. These events may be business networking events, luncheons, or dinners held at different restaurants around the city, where you exchange business cards and talk about your healthcare experience, or a healthcare career that you are currently pursuing or interested in pursuing. These events can also be fun things to do that give you the opportunity to meet and hang out with other individuals interested in the healthcare field. Your Meetup group may meet once a month, twice a month, or every two or three months, depending on the social events scheduled by the organizer of the group.

Connect With Others in the Healthcare Industry

Although Meetup groups are primarily designed to connect with other people with similar interests, healthcare professionals (and their patients) have much to gain. This is because Meetups involve networking, and networking is about sharing. Healthcare improves and saves lives. With the knowledge that you gain from networking with others in the healthcare field, you can improve the quality of a patient’s life or even save a patient’s life, especially if your work in the healthcare field involves direct patient care. If you want to stay up to date on anything from alternative healthcare treatments to technological advances in healthcare, Meetup groups can help you find the information you need by learning from other professionals in the same field in a relaxed social setting. 

Another reason that Meetups are ideal for healthcare professionals is that the healthcare system has become focused on providing evidence-based care to improve patient outcomes. Not only can other healthcare professionals share valuable anecdotes and usable research, the Meetup platform creates a great place to talk about healthcare in general, even if you don’t work in healthcare or you’re not interested in pursuing a career in healthcare. It’s also nice to talk to like-minded individuals about an area of healthcare that you are interested in learning about. The difference between online networking and attending a social event sponsored by a Meetup group, is that Meetup groups allow you to connect face-to-face with other individuals, instead of connecting only online, where it might be harder and it might take longer to establish a meaningful business relationship or make a personal connection.

Find Out What’s Happening Near You

Another nice thing about Meetup groups is that you can live in practically any city and find a group that you can join. Geography is not an issue. Although social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter make it easy to communicate with someone in a different city or in a different country, the face-to-face social element is missing when you send a text or respond to an email. This is why, if you want to connect with other healthcare professionals in a social setting, you might want to consider joining a Meetup group, especially if you just moved to a new city, and you don’t know many people, and you want to establish business and social connections in your new city.

woman doing meditation at park during sunrise

Stay Physically Fit and Become Accountable for Your Own Health

Even if you are not in the healthcare field, Meetup groups can help you take charge of your own health. The thing that is missing from many internet-enabled communications is accountability when it comes to joining a social media group. Social media groups are casual, and many people join without any true dedication. Want to lose weight? Join a low-carb group. Want to get healthier? Join an exercise group. These are motivational tools, but there is no accountability, and you can still sit on your couch and eat tacos all you want. Email and texting also doesn’t work because is it lacks the group connection. Meetup groups allow everyone to “meet up,” and even if it’s not face-to-face, it will still be coordinated and accessible. This helps everyone stay on track in terms of achieving their personal physical fitness goals. 

How to Get Started with Meetups

Start by visiting the Meetup.com website, and search for healthcare groups you might be interested in joining. Searching on the keywords, “Health,” “Healthcare,” or “Medicine” yields results for a variety of different Meetup groups, such as groups for healthcare networking, healthy living, health technology, health and wellness, physical fitness, and alternative medicine. You can click on the thumbnails for each group to learn what the group is about, the number of members in the group, the organizers of the group, past events, upcoming events, and whether the group is public or private. If the group is public, anyone can join. If the group is private, you may need to request permission to join by completing a brief online questionnaire posted by the group organizer, and then getting approval to join the group from the group organizer after the answers to your questionnaire are reviewed. You can also read the profiles of current members, to get a better understanding of the types of members who already belong to the same group.

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Create Your Meetup Profile

Once you find a healthcare group (or several healthcare groups) that you are interested in joining, it’s time to create your Meetup profile. Once you join the group, you can choose the events you would like to attend. You may choose to attend a few events or all of the events, depending on your schedule and level of interest. Keep in mind, however, that Meetup groups thrive on active participation from their members. Some groups may become inactive due to lack of participation, so it’s important to try to attend as many events as possible for the group(s) you decide to join, if your schedule permits. Since the majority of the Meetup events are face to face, this gives you a chance to establish connections with other members, especially longtime members, of each group, who can tell you more about their own experience with the group, and give you their own opinions of the group based on having joined several years prior to your decision to join the same group.

Form Your Own Healthcare Meetup Group

If you can’t find a healthcare Meetup group that you are interested in, consider creating your own. Write a description of what you’re hoping to accomplish within your new Meetup group, such as meeting those who already have healthcare careers, those who are completing a degree in healthcare, or those who are interested in alternative medicine or health and wellness issues, for example.

Decide where you want to meet, such as local parks, breweries, or restaurants. Create a schedule for your Meetups, so people will know when you’re going to host social events each month, where each event will be held, or if the location is still to be determined. You can even charge a certain amount per event to offset the cost of Meetup.com for hosts.

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