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.

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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.

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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.

The Benefits of YouTube in Healthcare eLearning

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.

Want more information about healthcare networking and other subjects related to healthcare? Visit the Avidity Medical Design blog.

Interested in learning more about social media networking in healthcare? Visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.

health insurance forms

Three Things Healthcare Employees Should Know About Health Insurance

health insurance forms

Health insurance can be a complicated and frustrating thing to deal with. Too often, there seems to be a gap in understanding between healthcare employees who work in different areas of healthcare. For example, a pharmacy technician might be savvier on a particular aspect of healthcare insurance than a nurse, or vice-versa. This gap in understanding healthcare insurance can make it harder for different healthcare professionals to communicate with one another. This might cause delays and potential errors in patient documentation. Three of the most important areas of healthcare insurance that healthcare professionals may misunderstand are: deductibles, prior authorizations, and HSA cards.

Deductibles

deductible is the amount of money a patient, or the insured, will pay before their insurance begins to pick up the cost. The amount varies among plans. Some patients will have a separate deductible for their prescription drugs. Insurance plans with a lower monthly premium typically have a higher deductible that will need to be met. Family plans will often have both individual and family deductibles. The important thing to remember is that all insurance plans are not alike. With so many variables in place, always have your patients contact their insurance company so that they understand what their insurance will cover, especially if they need to undergo a major procedure, such as a surgery for example, or a procedure that involves a hospital stay.

Prior Authorizations

Occasionally, an insurance company will require prior authorization before they agree to pay for a specific prescription, surgical procedure, radiology scan, or lab test, for example. There are several reasons why. If it is a medical procedure, they may view the procedure as not being medically necessary or repetitive. If it is a prescription, there may be a less expensive generic alternative drug that the doctor could prescribe, and the insurance company may choose to cover the generic alternative rather than the brand name of the same medication. If a patient is having multiple scans or tests done, an authorization might be required to ensure that the tests are not duplicates, and the facility is not billing for tests that have already been performed at a previous visit. Most pharmacies and facilities send a prior authorization request to the doctor automatically. Because of this, the patient needs to have a clear understanding of how the doctor’s office handles administrative procedures pertaining to prior authorizations.

HSA Cards

These days, many insurance policies come with an HSA (Health Savings Account). Such accounts come with a pool of money that can be used for medical expenses such as appointment copays, prescriptions, and procedures. They are a great resource, especially when the patient needs to pay an unexpected medical bill. This can also help the patient offset the costs incurred with a high deductible. Depending on the insurance plan, the HSA funds may expire or roll over. They also offer a number of tax benefits, making them an attractive alternative that many patients might consider when signing up for an insurance plan.

To work effectively in the field of healthcare, you must understand how insurance works, and the role that insurance plays in the care of your patients. This will give you an advantage when helping your patients, and it will make the billing and payment process easier for both yourself and your patients. Patient care is one of the most important aspects of healthcare and a little extra knowledge, especially about insurance processes and procedures, can go a long way.

For more information and insights on different healthcare topics, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog, or consider enrolling in one of the many courses offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.

20 Common Medical Conditions You Can Treat With Home Remedies

Woman drinking herbal tea

You might have grown up hearing your grandmother tell you about a variety of home remedies for common medical conditions. Some of your grandmother’s home remedies might actually be very effective for treating common medical conditions that may not be serious enough to require a trip to the emergency room.

This article is not a substitute for medical advice. If you have any doubt about whether you need to see a doctor, do not hesitate to schedule an office visit or make a trip to the emergency room.

With that being said, let’s take a look at 20 common medical conditions that you may be able to treat with home remedies.

1. ACNE

If you have stubborn acne which can occur at any age, there is a natural remedy which may help.  Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties. You can simply dab some apple cider vinegar onto the areas where you have acne, and do this several times a day, to alleviate the problem.  

2. ARTHRITIS

Joint stiffness and pain from arthritis can happen as we age, but there is help. You can try rubbing some flaxseed oil on your joints, for example. Flaxseed oil is a known anti-inflammatory that might help with your arthritis.  Tai chi, meditation, heat packs, ice packs, yoga, and weight loss might also help as well.

3. ATHLETE’S FOOT 

Athlete’s foot, caused by a virus infecting the foot, becomes worse if moisture is trapped inside your shoes.

Several different home remedies might help kill the athlete’s foot virus. You can try a mix of 25 to 50 percent tea tree oil, or 50 to 75 percent coconut oil, and apply it several times a day. You might also try applying full strength hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to your feet several times a day.

If you have athlete’s foot and you are also a diabetic, don’t try to treat it yourself. See a doctor right away. Even if you’re not diabetic, but the rash does not go away, or the rash turns into a sore that leaks fluid, spreads to other areas of your body, or affects your toenails, seek medical attention immediately.

4. BURNS

Man putting calamine lotion on bug bite

Whether you burn yourself on an iron or a toaster, or you are burned in a fire, the condition is very painful.

You can treat small, minor burns at home. Start by running cool, not cold water, over the burn area. Then try applying a cold compress. You might also try applying some aloe vera gel, or some diluted cider vinegar to the burn area.

What’s interesting is that the old remedy of putting butter on a burn can actually harm your skin, because the grease in the butter slows down the release of heat from your skin. When you run cool water on your burn area, instead of applying butter, it releases the heat from the burn area and may soothe the burn area more quickly than applying butter.

If you have increased pain, redness, swelling, fever, or oozing, however, these are signs that you need to see a doctor. If the burn is larger than 2 inches, and it is painful for more than a few hours, or it worsens over time, get medical attention as soon as possible.

If you have a minor skin burn, try applying some honey to the burn area to get some quick relief. Honey is a great natural remedy that you can buy over the counter. It removes heat from the burn, and it is antimicrobial, so it helps to keep the area free from infection. Remember to always consult a physician immediately if your burn becomes a serious or ongoing chronic condition. 

5. COUGH

The Healthline site lists 92 conditions that may cause coughs. Most often, though, this symptom is a result of a cold or the flu.

People swear by a variety of home remedies for treating a cough. You might try honey and lemon, or your might try different lozenges. You could also try covering your head with a towel and then leaning over a pot of steam, or sipping alcoholic beverages, or eating dishes made with hot peppers (if you don’t have high blood pressure).

Generally, coughing improves once you get over the cold or flu, but sometimes a cough can be serious. Seek medical attention if you experience chest pain, wheezing, or shortness of breath, or if you start to cough up blood. Green or yellow mucus, or a fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit, are also signs that you need immediate medical attention.

6. DARK CIRCLES AROUND YOUR EYES 

Dark circles can be an annoying cosmetic problem, but not usually a medical condition. It happens because the skin under your eyelids is very thin, and when blood is pooled in the area beneath your eyes, it causes your undereye area to look discolored.

Lack of sleep, excess stress, eye strain, or other issues of general wellness can cause this problem. The Mayo Clinic says it’s okay to use home remedies to treat dark circles, but if discoloration and swelling appear under just one of your eyes, or it gets worse over time, then it’s time to make an appointment to see your doctor.

You might also want to try some popular topical treatments. For example, you might want to try closing your eyes, and applying cucumber slices or cooled wet tea bags to your eyes while you have them closed. Another suggestion would be to try placing a mask of pureed mint leaves around the perimeter of your eyes. Don’t forget that rest, stress relief, and good nutrition are essential to helping with dark circles under the eyes. Staying out of the sun can also help too. 

7. DIARRHEA

If you’ve ever suffered from diarrhea, you’ve probably heard of the “BRAT” diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast). It is a bland diet that you can use temporarily to give your stomach a rest. Try this, and see if it helps with your diarrhea.  

8. GOUT 

If you’ve ever suffered from gout, you know it can be a painful experience. Gout is a form of arthritis. Gout occurs when you have too much uric acid in your blood. It can be caused by eating the wrong foods or drinking alcohol, for example, because the alcohol causes uric acid to form in your blood. Symptoms include intense pain in the big toe, a swollen foot, or a swollen knee joint, for example.

A mild case of gout can be treated at home. If you have gout, try to ice and elevate the affected joint. Ask for help with daily tasks so you can relax as much as possible, especially if you have gout in your feet or your knee joints. Drink plenty of fluids, but no alcohol or sweet sodas. You might also try some common home remedies for gout, such as concentrated tart cherry juice, ginger, magnesium supplements, a mix of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, warm water, and turmeric.

Always call your doctor the first time you have symptoms so you can learn about ways to control your uric acid by avoiding certain foods and certain drinks for instance, to help prevent future attacks of gout. You can find additional information by contacting the Arthritis Foundation.

9. HAIR LOSS

Hair loss can occur at any age, in both men and women. Hair loss may occur for any number of reasons, including stress, low vitamin levels, anemia, or chemotherapy, for example. If you are losing your hair, you might try coconut oil hair treatments, or you might consider taking ginseng, fish oil, or Visviscal vitamin supplements (to promote hair growth from the inside out). Massaging the scalp might help also. You can find some additional tips for hair growth here.

10. HEADACHES

You can get headaches for a variety of reasons. Headaches may be caused stress, or caused by a medical condition that has not been treated. High blood pressure or depression might also cause headaches. More severe forms of headaches include migraine headaches and tension headaches. Migraine headaches are often caused by stress or anxiety, while tension headaches are caused by muscle spasms in the head and neck region. The mental stress of daily life can also cause eye strain that can lead to headaches, as well as sitting or working in an uncomfortable position.

Relieving stress, getting enough rest, and healthy eating can help you prevent different types of headaches. For immediate relief without medication, try placing hot or cold packs on your forehead or back of the neck. You might also try drinking some water or a caffeinated beverage, or getting a neck massage. Aspirin, ibuprofen, or other mild pain medication often offer relief, but it’s best to avoid long term use. If your headaches are frequent or are severe enough to disrupt your life, see your physician as soon as possible. Click this link for more suggestions on how to relieve headaches.

11. HEARTBURN

Many of us have probably experienced heartburn, the burning pain in the upper abdomen, usually at night or after eating a heavy meal. Heartburn can be brief, or it can become a chronic condition that occurs over a long length of time.

When it only occurs once and awhile, or only when we eat certain foods (and we expect to get heartburn from eating certain foods we like), it is not usually a serious condition. But if you start to have chest pain or pressure in addition to heartburn, this might be a sign of a heart attack. In this situation, you should call your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room immediately, especially if the condition persists, or if you have other symptoms such as difficulty eating or nausea and vomiting in addition to the heartburn and the chest pain or chest pressure.

To alleviate heartburn, you can also try standing up straighter, wearing loose clothing, taking a mix of backing soda and water, drinking pure organic apple cider (also available at your local vitamin store), sleeping in an elevated position, and other home remedies.

12. INDIGESTION OR UPSET STOMACH

You can get indigestion or an upset stomach from something as simple as eating or drinking too much, or can be a sign of a more serious undiagnosed condition, especially if you have indigestion or an upset stomach that lasts for a longer length of time. You might try drinking ginger ale, because the real ginger helps with queasiness. You can also try drinking some ginger tea to help settle your stomach. You might also find some good teas to settle your stomach by making a quick trip to the nearest Vitamin Shoppe, or to another vitamin store in your area.  

13. INGROWN TOENAILS 

If you have ingrown toenails, your shoes or socks might be too tight. Ingrown toenails can also be caused by wearing high heels, or not trimming your toenails correctly, so remember to always trim your toenails straight across. Don’t make the sides rounded. Training your skin is another great way to cure or prevent problems with ingrown toenails. Apply lotion every evening, and push the skin away from the sides of your toenail. Your goal is to free the tip of your nail by pulling your skin to the side. Try soaking your feet several times a day in warm water also. Another suggestion is to run a strand of thin dental floss back and forth between your toenail and your skin, once you have separated the two.

To prevent ingrown toenails, remember to wear absorbent, natural fiber socks, or socks made of modern moisture wicking materials. Change your shoes and socks as often as possible, and see your doctor if the problem does not resolve itself quickly. If you are a diabetic, talk with your doctor to confirm that it is okay to cut your own toenails, and about the best method to use when cutting your toenails if you are a diabetic, because your doctor may want you to cut your toenails to the shape of your toes, and not straight across.

14. INSECT BITES

It’s hard to get through summer, without at least a mosquito bite or a bee sting. Unless you have an allergic reaction to a bee sting, for example, you can usually treat yourself at home without making a trip to the emergency room.

Apply rubbing alcohol or ammonia immediately to the affected area to prevent pain and swelling. You can also try using cold packs to reduce swelling. If your skin is itching, try applying some calamine lotion or some rubbing alcohol to the area to stop the itching.

If the insect bite causes severe hives, redness, and heat, call your doctor. If red streaks appear on your skin, moving away from the bite site, or if you experience shortness of breath, get immediate medical attention. WebMD’s insect bite diagnosis section offers a great guide for home treatment and deciding whether you need to seek help for your insect bite.  

15. INSOMNIA

Are you having a hard time sleeping or staying asleep? You might try drinking a cup of chamomile tea. This is an old remedy that works really well. You might also try listening to subliminal videos or downloading audio tracks from YouTube for relaxation. If you download audio tracks for relaxation, try plugging a sleep mask into your listening device, and placing the sleep mask over your eyes to block out light while you listen, to help you drift off to a peaceful night’s sleep and to block out excess noise. If you have a TV in your bedroom, consider moving your TV out of your bedroom, or turning it off before you go to sleep. Considering purchasing blackout curtains to block light from coming into your bedroom. Another suggestion would be to turn on a ceiling fan to use as white noise and to create a peaceful atmosphere for sleep.

16. MENSTRUAL CRAMPS

Menstrual cramps are caused by contractions in the uterus during the female monthly menstrual cycle. If you are a female and you suffer from cramps each month, try wearing loose fitting clothing. You might also try some herbal tea, such as green tea, ginger tea, or a tea that you can purchase in a vitamin store to relieve cramps. Also try a heating pad with an automatic shut-off option, in case you fall asleep after placing it on your stomach or your lower back overnight. Contrary to old wives’ tales, a hot bath might help also.

17. NASAL CONGESTION

Nasal congestion is usually caused by a cold or seasonal allergy. If you have nasal congestion from a cold or seasonal allergies, you can use natural saline spray. A few squirts to each nostril will moisten your nasal passages and help with inflammation.  

18. POISON IVY

If you go camping in the summertime, for example, you might accidentally come in contact with poison ivy. Some people are immune to the effects of this plant, but if you are not immune to poison ivy, it can cause itching, skin rash, blisters, and shortness of breath, among other conditions.

A common home cure that you can try is calamine. You can also try an oatmeal bath with Epsom salt. Consider trying a paste of cold coffee and baking soda, or rubbing a banana peel or watermelon rind over your skin rash.

If your rash extends to the eyes or your mucous membranes, or if you have a fever, trouble breathing or swallowing, or puss-filled blisters, you need to see a physician immediately. Here is an excellent link for poison ivy treatment and prevention information.

19. ROUGH DRY SKIN

There are many reasons why you might have rough dry skin. You might be washing your hands frequently or dry weather may cause your skin to become rough or dry. To moisturize your skin, check your kitchen cabinet and see if you have any olive oil in your kitchen. If so, rub some olive oil lightly on your skin to get some instant relief.  

20. SORE MUSCLES

If you’ve been standing on your feet all day, or you just ache all over from exercising or working outdoors, for example, try pouring some Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) into a warm relaxing bath.  

Can you think of some more home remedies? Feel free to add some more home remedies to our Facebook page. If you’d like to learn more about different areas of healthcare, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog for news you can use about many different healthcare subjects. If you’re interested in pursing a career in healthcare, or you’re interested in learning about healthcare-related subjects, such as how to prevent disease by eating fruits and vegetables, enroll in the fruits and vegetables course offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy. Visit our website for more information on the many different courses that we offer.

6 Smart Social Media Tips: How You Can Use Social Media to Get Ahead in Your Healthcare Career

social media applications on iphone

Mastering social media is important for a successful career in any industry, and healthcare is no exception. There are special challenges when using social media in the healthcare setting, however.  If you share patient information by mistake, you could violate HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This is the law that protects the patient’s privacy, secures the patient’s medical record, and includes steps for notifying the Office of Civil Rights, or the OCR, when a security breach occurs and the patient’s medical record is illegally accessed.  In light of these considerations, you may be wondering where to start, or how to use social media to further your career as a healthcare professional. Here are six things you can do to invent or improve your social media presence as a healthcare professional:

1. Start a social media account (or several social media accounts).  

You might choose to start a social media account to invent or improve your social media presence in the healthcare field. Some of the most popular and recognizable social media platforms include LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. LinkedIn is popular with many industries, and healthcare is no exception.  If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, you should definitely create a LinkedIn account, as well as an account on Twitter and Facebook for networking purposes, if you don’t already have one. Remember that you may want to create a separate business account, so that you don’t mix the information pertaining to your personal account with your business account.

2. Add anyone you meet.  

Make sure you add, follow, connect with, and friend as many people as you can to increase your professional network.  People from your classes and your professors are great first connections and serve as a great starting point to further your healthcare career.

3. List all the skills you can think of.  

This tip is specific to LinkedIn. Don’t be shy about listing your skills, as well as your educational and career achievements on LinkedIn. Recruiters use those skills to search for good healthcare candidates like yourself, especially when new positions open up, so give yourself credit and include as many of your accomplishments as possible on your LinkedIn page.

4. Follow healthcare businesses and leaders. 

Make sure you add healthcare-related businesses near you, or businesses that you are interested in. You can also follow Avidity Medical Design Consultants, LLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Reddit, for example.

5. Find things to share.  

Share information relevant to healthcare.  Pick things that interest you so your network can see you are passionate about healthcare.  Make sure not to share anything that can be seen as controversial; remember, future employers may see these posts.  The Avidity Medical Design Blog is a good place to get posts to share; there are many articles on the blog that pertain to a wide variety of healthcare subjects. 

6. Post and share often. 

The more you post and share, the more your name will come up in other people’s feeds, and the more your followers will look forward to new posts on different healthcare topics. These topics may pertain to pursuing a career in healthcare, advancing in the healthcare field if you’re already a healthcare professional, or preventative healthcare tips.

You can use these tips to enhance your social media presence on just about any platform.  In summary, no matter what social media site you choose, just remember these two rules when using social media as a healthcare professional:

  • Don’t share confidential information.  Again, HIPAA violations have serious consequences, including possible financial penalties, up to and including criminal prosecution. Be aware of this and avoid sharing confidential patient information on social media. You do not want to risk violating HIPAA law by posting confidential information about patients.
  • Don’t share controversial information.  This is another reason why you may want to have a professional account separate from your personal one. The information that you share may potentially be controversial from a healthcare treatment or technology standpoint, so you want to be careful about the information that you share.

You can start finding useful information to share by reviewing the articles on the Avidity Medical Design Blog. You may also want to follow the blog for useful, up-to-date, and pertinent insights on healthcare trends.