three young women with Internet addiction using their smartphones in a cafe

Healthcare and Internet Addiction: Is the Internet Affecting Your Health?

three young women with Internet addiction using their smartphones in a cafe

Most of us associate addiction with excessive drug or alcohol use. These forms of addiction are often referred to as chemical dependency. When a person is addicted to substances, key changes have occurred within the functioning of the central nervous system (CNS), the brain’s chemistry, and even the brain’s size. As a result of these alterations, stopping “cold turkey” often leads to widespread physiological distress. So how can addiction possibly apply to the Internet? In a world in which people constantly carry Internet-connected devices with them and use these devices all of the time, Internet addiction is fast becoming a reality. Worse still, it affects people at every age and stage of life. Internet addicts can be eight years old or 80. What’s common among them is that they cannot stop or limit their Internet use without experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Understanding the Brain’s Reward Pathway and Its Role in Addiction

People use addictive substances or engage in addictive behaviors simply because doing so feels good. With drugs and alcohol, using these substances instantly triggers the release of “feel good” chemicals or neurotransmitters. These chemicals are normally and naturally produced and released as a means for rewarding positive and ultimately beneficial behaviors. For instance, you might get a dopamine rush following a rigorous workout. Other neurotransmitters might be released in response to healthy social engagement, choosing to eat a salad for lunch rather than an ice cream cone, or doing something good for others. When the brain’s reward system is working effectively, people are being motivated to repeat beneficial behaviors via the release of “feel good” chemicals.

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Reconditioning the Reward Pathway Creates the Conditions for Addiction

The path to addiction is found when the production and release of neurotransmitters are being manipulated by an outside agent. Rather than using hard liquor, opiates, tobacco, or other chemical substances to trigger neurotransmitters, some people are using the Internet.

The Internet promises instant gratification, immersive distractions, and even alternate realities that remove people entirely from the stressors of real life. Using the Internet makes some people feel relaxed and euphoric, and it does so by manipulating the brain’s reward pathway.

Much like substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder, Internet addiction can actually wear the reward pathway out, alter the functioning of the brain’s reward pathway, and associate unhealthy overuse with beneficial behaviors. When the Internet is taken away, much like any other addict, an addicted person will feel depressed, angry, frustrated, unmotivated, and unsure. These are just a few of the many common signs of Internet addiction and withdrawal.

Comorbidities and Internet Addiction

There’s also the surprising addition of comorbidities that can make Internet addiction diagnosis and treatment all the more challenging. Given the relatively recent advent of the Internet, much is still not understood about Internet addiction. This is an addictive mechanism that’s constantly changing, and one that’s becoming increasingly more pervasive with each new web-connected innovation and service. Are people with general anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, depressive disorder, or other secondary mental health issues at greater risk?

And what of sexual addiction? Does the repeated viewing of online pornographic materials qualify as Internet addiction or sexual addiction? When a person suffers from both, can the same treatment modalities and recommendations be used?

Strategies for Treating Internet Addiction

Ignoring the symptoms of an addict in withdrawal is hardly a beneficial or ethical form of treatment. Much like people detoxing from drugs or alcohol, Internet addicts can experience significant discomfort when their “drug of choice” is taken away. Moreover, given the changes that have occurred across the brain’s reward pathway, this isn’t merely perceived discomfort; it’s genuine, legitimate, and difficult to navigate without intervention. For healthcare professionals, finding the right interventions for individual needs is key to preventing total relapse.

One of the biggest challenges of treating addiction to the Internet is the fact that total cessation is rarely an option. The Internet is both pervasive and essential. People have to use it from time to time. When treating alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, you certainly wouldn’t tell a patient to moderate their alcohol or drug use. Addiction treatment for these things requires total, lifelong abstinence, and ongoing strategies for preventing relapse. With Internet addiction, successful intervention often entails encouraging people to find new and more beneficial ways of triggering their reward pathway, whether by engaging in physical exercise or taking advantage of naturally relaxing stimuli such as the scented candles and soothing soaps offered by Avidity Medical Scentations. Sign up now for product notifications to learn when the candles and soaps will be available. Follow our blog to learn more about common health issues and to stay up to date on the latest news in healthcare.

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The Role of Sex in Healthcare: 10 Medical Conditions That Can Affect Your Intimacy

sexual health concept; african-american couple ignoring each other in bed

It’s easy to overlook your sexual health when dealing with a chronic illness, especially if you deal with acute symptoms that are more pressing. However,  intimacy is important to many people.  Discovering that you struggle to connect with your partner or get as much enjoyment out of sex as you once did can take a toll on your mental health. That’s why it’s important to be aware of chronic conditions that can impact your sex life and speak frankly to your doctor and partner about it.

10 Conditions That Can Impact Your Sexual Health 

1. Heart Disease

Heart disease, attacks, and failure can contribute to sexual health concerns because your heart doesn’t work optimally. You probably know that proper blood flow is necessary for a strong erection. However, blood is also the source of vaginal lubrication. The result? Low desire, performance problems, painful sex, and difficulty having an orgasm, all of which can lead to anxiety about sex.

2. High Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), you may suffer from sexual health issues in two ways. First, high blood pressure causes arteries to harden over time, decreasing blood flow. Diuretics and beta-blockers commonly prescribed to those with high blood pressure can also impede blood flow and sexual performance.

3. Diabetes

When it comes to diabetes, imbalanced blood sugar is just the tip of the iceberg. The condition can decrease desire and vaginal lubrication in women. Women with diabetes are also more susceptible to yeast and urinary tract infections which make sex painful.

Diabetes also poses potential ramifications for men because it lowers testosterone, a hormone that plays a role in sex drive. Furthermore, diabetes degrades blood vessels, making it more difficult to get hard. 

4. Arthritis

Because arthritis causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in at least one joint, it can make sex more painful and less pleasurable. This is especially true of positions and activities that are physically demanding. However, you may be able to adjust your activities to decrease pain so you can still enjoy sex. 

5. Depression

Not only does depression decrease interest in our favorite activities, including sex, but the medications used to treat it are notorious for impeding libido, erections, and orgasms. If you experience depression, treating it might alleviate your sexual health concerns However, if you find that your prescription impacts your sex life, discuss options with your doctor.

6. Allergies

You may not want to slip between the sheets when your eyes are itchy and your nose is running. But medications that provide relief may create sexual problems. This is particularly true of antihistamines because they dry out more than just your sinuses. The resulting painful sex can seriously dampen libido. Fortunately, you might still be able to have pleasurable sex by using a personal lubricant.

7. Cancer

Both cancer and chemotherapy can wreak havoc on your body. You may feel tired and weak, not to mention less than attractive, because of their harsh effects.  Low desire, erection problems, and vaginal dryness are all common with chemotherapy. Surgical interventions can also cause pain and scarring that can interfere with your love life.

8. Asthma

Unsurprisingly, sex can sometimes trigger an asthma attack that requires you to use an inhaler.  Of course, it’s not a big deal if you let your partner know that this might happen. Suggest positions that allow for easy breathing, and keep your inhaler within reach. People who manage their asthma well are less likely to have sexual health problems. 

9. HIV/AIDS

The human immunodeficiency virus, which can sometimes develop into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is inextricable from sex, which transmits it and suffers because of it. Some people may become abstinent because they don’t want to infect others or wish to avoid the stigma of HIV.  Rates of depression and anxiety, both of which impact sex drive and satisfaction, are higher for those with HIV than those without. Fortunately, there are ways to effectively treat HIV to prevent AIDS, improve patients’ quality of life, and prevent transmission to restore sexual satisfaction.

10.  COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is one respiratory illness that can cause muscle weakness, fatigue, and decreased stamina, making sex undesirable, difficult, or painful. Sexual activity can also can shortness of breath that potentially leads to low blood oxygen levels (hypoxia). Some people have experienced relief by using their inhalers before become intimate with their partners.

Talk About Sexual Health

If you have one of the conditions listed above, don’t be ashamed to talk about your sexual health with your doctor. They can recommend treatments or medications that can improve not just your time in bed but also your overall quality of life. 

For more healthcare information, check out the Avidity Medical Design Blog or sign up for a course by the Avidity Medical Design Academy. For soaps and candles that support relaxation, peace of mind, and intimacy, visit Avidity Medical Scentations and sign up for product notifications to learn when the soaps and candles will be available.

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“Oh, My Aching Back!”: The Role of Ergonomics in Healthcare

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If you are working in the healthcare field, or in any field that involves sitting at your desk all day, or moving around the work site all day long, understanding the role of ergonomics is crucial to maintaining your physical health at work. Ergonomics is the study of how people work in different environments, and safely coordinating the work that needs to be done among different individuals in different work environments, so that the work matches the worker, and the task matches each worker’s physical capability. Ergonomics in healthcare involves creating a healthy and efficient workplace to benefit healthcare professionals, patients, and other employees who work in clinics, doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other medical settings.

Ergonomics is important for nurses, for example, because nurses must safely lift patients from hospital beds without injurying themselves or the patients when they are lifted from their hospital bed. For patients who have been bedridden for a long period of time, nurses must carefully and safely turn them over to prevent them from getting bed sores, and avoid injurying the muscles in their back, arms or legs, as well as avoiding injury to the bedridden patient. Ergonomics also focuses on healthcare workers who spend the bulk of their days working at a desk. In today’s medical world, this includes almost everyone. 

If you work at your desk all day, ergonomic strategies help reduce back aches and pains caused by sitting for prolonged periods of time. This also improves productivity and patient outcomes in the healthcare setting. Advancements in ergonomic science strengthen the quality of healthcare work environments and the entire healthcare system. 

Advancements in Ergonomics in Healthcare

As ergonomics is a science, it is constantly changing in an effort to improve the healthcare work environment. Current advancements include workplace design, such as designing nursing stations to maximize performance by minimizing ergonomic limitations (bending, reaching, lifting outside the body’s capacity for safety). 

Ergonomics involve constantly researching different workplace environments. Advancements in healthcare ergonomics include a focus on the physical, cognitive, and organizational requirements of healthcare professionals, as well as work responsibilities in the healthcare environment. Healthcare decisionmakers, as well as other decisionmakers outside of the healthcare arena, are more willing to invest in different areas of healthcare when they see the work efficiency and work productivity resulting from employees working safely.  

The Effects of Ergonomics in Healthcare

Ergonomics means improving your ability to work and easing the physical strain on your body, especially when you work at your desk all day. Reduced physical strain means fewer injuries in the workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational injuries may include pinched nerves, carpal tunnel syndrome, and activities that may cause you to overexert your muscles. Ergonomics teach employees about proper posture to avoid or lessen repetitive motion injuries caused by repetitive movements such as typing all day. Injuries can also be reduced by proper seat and desk positioning to avoid stress on the neck and back.

Working ergonomically means you miss fewer days from work due to physical injuries on the job, fewer errors, less stress, increased work satisfaction, increased work productivity, and better patient outcomes in the healthcare setting.

What Ergonomics in Healthcare Means to You

Ergonomics benefits everyone, both healthcare and non-healthcare professionals alike, and regardless of environment. Whether you are an office worker, a healthcare professional, a student, or a patient resting comfortably in a hospital bed, or sitting in a chair in the reception area waiting to see your doctor, understanding the importance of ergonomics can help you prevent short-term and long-term health problems. It is important to remember that ergonomics is not only confined to maintaining good physical health in the workplace. Ergonomics are used to measure workplace objectives, employee productivity, possible health risks, missed days from work due to musculoskeletal injuries, and environmental safety

For more in-depth insights into the healthcare industry, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog. Enroll in a healthcare course offered through Avidity Medical Design Academy. Purchase healthy candles and soaps with inspirational messages to remind you to stay healthy. Visit Avidity Medical Scentations and sign up to receive notifications on product availability.

The Powerful Health Benefits of Aromatherapy: Healthy Stress-Free Scents in a Relaxing Environment

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Our sense of smell is an important part of physical, mental, and spiritual health. – Avidity Medical Scentations (http://aviditymedicalscentations.com)

When you buy your friend or family member scented soaps or candles, you actually provide them with the valuable benefits of aromatherapy, especially in a relaxing stress-free environment, and especially after a hard day’s work.

Aromatherapy has been around since the time of Hippocrates. But, like many ancient remedies, it has been relegated to alternative medicine. Modern Western medicine generally uses pharmacology and medical procedures to heal the body. However, it is slowly coming around to recognize the impact the olfactory system has on the body. 

The Olfactory System and Your Health

The olfactory system is your body’s sense of smell. Amazingly, scientists claim it can distinguish somewhere between 30,000 and 1 trillion scents.

You might think olfactory cells would be confined to the nasal region of the human body, but they are everywhere! Olfactory cells exist in the heart, intestines, liver, and skin, among many other organs. 

Since these scent cells are all over your body, it is not surprising that aromatherapy could offer many kinds of health benefits. 

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Avidity Medical Scentations (http://aviditymedicalscentations.com) – Smelling scented soaps help you relax and promote peace of mind after a hard day’s work.

Benefits of Aromatherapy and Science

Research has offered somewhat inconclusive results because the methods used in aromatherapy are not standardized. Furthermore, the results depend on personal responses. However, the studies focusing on benefits reveal potential breakthroughs in pain relief and the reduction of stress and anxiety. 

Most of its supporters can attest to the benefits of aromatherapy that research has supported. These benefits break down into three categories: 

  • Physical Health.
  • Mental Health.
  • Spiritual Health.

Science doesn’t have all the answers. However, it does offer evidence of the benefits of aromatherapy that fit into these three categories. For example, headache or other pain relief (physical) and stress reduction (mental and/or spiritual). 

Scented Products and Your Health

When considering scented products for yourself or as a gift, there are many reasons to choose a product. One of those reasons should be the impact a certain scent could have on your health. Not only will you enjoy the pleasure of the scent or the memories that it evokes, but you may experience the reduction of medical symptoms that could greatly enhance your life. 

Visit Avidity Medical Scentations and sign up to receive our product notifications. Each candle or soap will offer you the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy. It also comes with an inspirational message to remind you to maintain good mental, physical, and spiritual health in everyday living. 

Our sense of smell is very complex, and it is interconnected to the rest of our body through our olfactory system. Scientists and healthcare professionals may not understand exactly how or why it works. However, they are beginning to understand that it is an important part of physical, mental, and spiritual health. Take steps now to support your health and well being. Go to Avidity Medical Scentations to sign up for notifications on our healthcare candles and soaps. Each candle or soap includes a health care reminder message to remind you to take steps to maintain your health and well being every day.

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3 Things to Bring to Your Next Doctor’s Appointment

A mother and daughter speaking to a doctor who is wearing blue scrubs and a stethoscope during a doctor's appointment..
A physician needs to know all aspects of the patient’s care to provide the best results and care possible.

Scheduling a doctor’s appointment, but forgetting the things that you wanted to discuss when you get there, is an experience that many, if not all, patients can relate to. Preparing in advance for your next visit can help make your doctor’s appointment a much smoother experience, in terms of the feedback and advice provided by your doctor based on the information that you bring to the visit. With that in mind, let’s talk about some things to bring to your next doctor’s office visit.

What to Bring to Your Next Doctor’s Appointment

First, you will need all documentation for insurance, testing, previous history, and other doctors that have been seen. Second, bring your current medications and basic knowledge of noted reactions, logs, and how you take them. Last, remember to write out a list of discussion topics and cover each with your provider. 

1. Bring Your Documentation.

At each appointment, the receptionist at the front desk will ask if any of your information has changed since your last visit, and will sometimes request documentation pertaining to any changes since your last visit. The nurse may also request some information prior to the doctor coming into the room to begin your visit. Remember to bring these key pieces of information to your next doctor’s visit:

  • Your identification.
  • Proof of medical insurance (or advise that you will be self pay).
  • Results of any images or testing recently done at a different facility, in the event that this information has not been forwarded to your doctor’s office and added to your medical record.
  • Your updated medical history if you are a new patient.
  • Records from specialists if not readily available in your doctor’s office.  

Remember to keep your physician up to date on any aspects of your health, so that your doctor can maintain the continuity of your care, in case you need to be seen by a consulting physician or be seen at a different healthcare facility. Proper documentation will allow the physician to review your records and immediately understand, at a glance, how different aspects of your current treatment may be affecting your health. 

bunch of white oval medication tablets and white medication capsules

2. Bring Your List of Current Medications.

Most physicians will have a record of what medications have been prescribed to you by the office. However, it is important that you bring your list of medications to your next appointment for verification of proper use and correct dosage in relation to your treatment. It is also important to make a list of any reactions and concerns about your medications that you may want to discuss during your next visit. As part of your list, you will also need to include any new medications that were prescribed by other physicians as well, so that these can be reviewed and considered in relation to any other medications, for any potential adverse reactions to the mix of medications.  

3. Bring Any New Medical Problems or Medical Worries That You Have.

Most people visit the doctor because they have concerns over medications or conditions that have developed. It is helpful to keep a list of medical problems or issues that occur between visits, in addition to keeping your medication list, so that all of your medical information remains up to date between appointments. A medical problem list can help you keep your concerns organized by date, all in one place, and help your doctor pinpoint how, why, and when they occurred in relation to other events that might have occurred at the same time, such as an outdoor camping trip, or starting a new medication. Present your problem list to your doctor to discuss your ongoing needs and care, and any potential adjustments that may need to be made. Some documentation, like blood sugar logs or blood pressure readings, are especially important in terms of helping your doctor understand what is happening at home between visits. Also, when you keep a medical problem list between visits, you won’t have to remember things that might have occurred several months prior to your visit for example, but that you may have forgotten all about by the date of your scheduled appointment.

The most important thing to remember is that your doctor needs to know about all aspects of your health in order to provide the best results and the best care possible. It is better to bring more documentation than you think will be necessary to your next appointment, because there may be some information included that the doctor has not received, and may be missing from your medical record.

For more informative healthcare articles, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog. Stay up to date on the latest tips and trends in healthcare. If you are interested in taking a course in healthcare, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy to learn more about the types of healthcare courses that you can take in your spare time, with lessons that you can immediately apply to everyday living, as soon as you finish each course. 

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Robots in Healthcare: How Robots are Helping Patients in the Field of Healthcare

A man doing physical therapy by using an exoskeleton to walk on a treadmill

If you are interested in a career in the healthcare industry and have researched a bit about its future, you must have come across the use of robots in healthcare. These robots offer many possibilities that are beneficial to you as a healthcare worker as well as your patients. Robots can improve patient outcomes, while providing much needed help, but never replacing, healthcare professionals who constantly strive to optimize patient care. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how robots are helping to improve patient outcomes in the healthcare industry.

Robots in Action: From High Precision Surgery to Delivery of Medical Supplies

Healthcare robots are currently used primarily in surgical procedures and prosthetics. Robots are also used in other areas of healthcare, such as dispensing medication, disinfecting rooms, and delivering medical supplies, for example.

How Robots are Being Used in Healthcare

There are several different types of robots currently in use in the healthcare industry. If you are a patient, you might have encountered some of these robots in doctors offices or hospitals. The types of robots include:

  1. Surgical-assistance robots. These robots are used in high precision surgeries and minimally-invasive surgeries, such as chemical ablation and radiofrequency ablation. One example of a surgical-assistance robot can be found in the da Vinci Surgical System.
  2. Mobile robots are used in transporting patients, moving heavy loads, cleaning, and disinfection of rooms. A good example a mobile robot is the TUG autonomous mobile delivery robot, which is used to carry heavy machinery.
  3. Service robots track medical supplies, quickly set up rooms, and perform other general logistical tasks related to healthcare.
  4. Social robots are robotic care assistants. Physicians can use these robots to interact directly with patients if necessary due to time constraints. These robots can also reduce time-consuming and expensive home visits.
  5. Exoskeletons help with surgical procedures and assist in recovery. An example is the Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) exoskeleton that helps victims of stroke learn to walk again, and helps patients during the process of rehabilitation.

The Robot-Healthcare Worker Symbiosis

The important thing to remember is that, while there are fears that robots in healthcare might replace human staff, robots will never replace humans, and never replace doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Robots are only designed to help, not to replace, workers in healthcare. Also, from a financial standpoint, robots are currently expensive pieces of machinery, so it would not be cost-effective to replace all human workers in a health facility with robots. They also need to be programmed by humans, set up by humans, and monitored by humans, especially in relation to the test results that they produce and how they function in the clinical setting. If and when robots fail, the practical skills, creativity, and human decision-making skills must take over, in the form of the healthcare professional. Most importantly, patients will always require the human touch, when engaging with healthcare professionals, as well as a caring and sympathetic human, with a compassionate listening ear when describing medical issues and addressing medical concerns.

Robots in Healthcare and the Demand for Human Input

The programming, maintenance, monitoring of performance, and repair of robots in healthcare settings provides additional job opportunities for medical technicians. Medical technicians must program the robots, and ensure that they are performing correctly. As a result, healthcare workers will always be in demand to provide both the medical school knowledge and the hands-on medical experience needed to accurately monitor and interpret the behavior of robots, in addition to completing the tasks that are required of human beings in the healthcare environment. This creates new job opportunities for individuals who are in the medical field, and those who are training for future positions in the medical field.

How Healthcare Robots Help You and Your Patients

The use of robots in healthcare settings can enhance your career experience if you work in the medical field, and as stated previously, improve patient outcomes. The need for food and sleep does not hinder machines, unlike humans, and fatigue is not a factor when perform monotonous tasks for long periods of time.

In addition to these benefits, healthcare robots can perform tasks that may be potentially dangerous for human healthcare workers, such as testing solutions that might be harmful, and reducing exposure to highly contagious pathogens when used in a laboratory setting. This frees up time for healthcare workers to perform other tasks that need human interaction, such as spending more time caring for patients, and taking additional time to answer patient questions, time that may not be available without the extra assistance of the robot. This may be especially beneficial for elderly patients, or patients with hearing or speech impediments, that may require extra time to speak about medical issues during an office visit, fore example.

Patient Attitudes Toward Healthcare Robots

Unlike robots in manufacturing, healthcare robots are relatively new, and learning about how patients feel about robots being using in healthcare is also still relatively new. Some research suggests that most patients have a positive attitude towards robots, though it takes time to warm up to them.

With this in mind, what are your thoughts about robots being used in healthcare?

If you are a patient, how do you feel about a robot providing assistance to you at your next doctor’s office or hospital visit?

If you are a healthcare professional, do you think having a robot could help you in your work? Why or why not?

Leave a reply to these questions in the field below.

More Tips to Help You Improve Your *Medical* Memory (Part 2)

A  senior male staff nurse demonstrates the medical mannequin to a group of medical student nurses . They are all standing around the hospital bed listening to him .
Nothing is ever achieved overnight when it comes to practicing, teaching, or learning in the medical field.

Imagine standing in front of your instructor on the day of your check-offs and your mind goes blank. Lucky for you, you memorized a shortcut to the procedure, closed your eyes, repeated it, and with confidence, you performed the task flawlessly. How did you get there? Here are 10 more ideas that can help, whether you are a healthcare student, a healthcare teacher, or you just want to improve your medical memory in other areas of your life. Improving your medical memory is important and can be incorporated into all areas of your life. We discussed 10 tips for improving your medical memory in Part 1. Now let’s look at 10 additional ways to improve your medical memory.

Know your learning style

The most basic step to learning how to have a perfect recall of the steps to your procedure is knowing how you learn. Are you tactile, auditory, or visual? Tactile learners need to write it down, make a model, or complete repetitive tasks to memorize topics. Auditory learners can listen to repetitive speech to understand their tasks. Visual learners use writings, graphs, charts, and other images to retain their information.

Rinse and Repeat

Unfortunately, one of the best ways for medical students to learn a procedure is to repeat it. As previously discussed in Part 1, this means either practicing the actual procedure, watching it done over and over, or listening to dictation to accomplish memorization. It takes some time to retain knowledge in long-term memory, and so must be done frequently and correctly.

Remember to Use Mnemonics

If you are an instructor, you can sometimes have an occasional lapse in memory when teaching. Luckily, you can improve your memory by teaching mnemonics to your students. For example, if you are a teacher, you can teach your students the ABCs of CPR. The ABCs of CPR are: Airway- Breathing- Circulation. If you are a student, this mnemonic is easy to remember and simple to recall.

Cheat Sheets

Your surgeon, before performing more complex procedures, reviews the procedures and how to perform them. Even the higher-level medical professional could use a written reminder, procedure book, or mental breakdown of procedures before performing them to enhance memory recall.

Rest

Not everything has to do with learning. Your brain will not retain all the information your medical career needs to be able to regurgitate without the proper care. Resting your brain allows it time to transfer the short-term cram session into long-term memory.

Don’t cram!

You will not do your brain any favors by not studying daily, doing repetitions, and learning everything you need to know just before the appointed time. Yes, you will be able to remember some things, but it will not be retained in your long-term memory and once you forget it- it is gone.

Teach others

Ironically, the best way to learn and retain medical knowledge is to teach it. A nurse may learn a better way to insert an IV when the student she observes performed the task slightly differently than the way she was instructed. This is an example of a “teachable moment” when mastering medical memorization techniques.

Take time to research

The more you know about a subject, the more your brain connects the dots and the easier it is to recall what you have learned. Find ways to make boring topics interesting, and your memory recall will improve.

Associate your medical topics with non-medical topics

If you are a tactile learner, you may make a routine out of a procedure. Once repeated, most of it becomes muscle memory. If you memorize by association, lab values can be associated with baking times, for example. Associating certain songs with a medical topic can help you remember medical information. For example, you could use a song rhythm to keep the beat when practicing CPR techniques.

Take the time to learn

Nothing is ever achieved overnight when it comes to practicing, teaching, or learning in the medical field. Even though everything is fast-paced, you need to take the time to learn and memorize your chosen tricks.

Learn your style, use the tricks and tips your instructor provides, or remember to review materials regularly before performing tasks. Follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog to learn more about many different areas of healthcare. Visit Avidity Medical Design Academy to enroll in a healthcare course to help you continue to broaden your fund of knowledge about many different healthcare subjects that you can use in everyday living.

10 Things You Can Do To Improve Your *Medical* Memory Today (Part 1)

A young woman holding a book while sitting at a table and looking at a laptop while studying
Memory is a skill that is improved upon over time.

Our brains are capable of incredible things, but it doesn’t feel like it when we struggle with memory. Forgetting a name or where your put your car keys is a common annoyance most people accept as normal. However, the inability to recall certain information can harm a person’s education or career. In the medical world, it can harm lives. Here are 10 things you can do to improve your medical memory. These tips might only be used to pass an exam or recall an administrative procedure, but they could be used to save a life. 

  • Use Mnemonic Devices: A mnemonic device is an acronym, rhyme, or other cognitive hint to make memorizing things easier. You might be familiar with mnemonic devices used to memorize the musical notes on a staff or the names of the planets. FAST is a familiar medical mnemonic device to identify signs of a stroke (Face, Arm, Speech, Time).
  • Try Using Visualization: Creating a mental picture of a space can also improve memory, especially when it comes to memorizing chronological or sequential items. Choose a space that is familiar, and visualize those items in that space as you walk through the room. Recall that space and the items when needed to improve recollection. 
  • Repeat Often: There are reasons many of us had to memorize simple addition or multiplication tables. Repetition helps to cement memories. It takes time and isn’t always the most efficient way to recall items, but it works. 
  • Apply What You LearnYou may have studied for hours, but remembering how to actually do something sometimes requires experience. This rings true even for medical coding or administrative tasks that are less experiential and more data-driven. Once you use information, your brain prioritizes it as worthy of remembering. 
  • Practice Using Your Memory in Different SituationsIf you look at the winners of memory championships, they are never first-time contestants. This is because remembering things does not rely solely on natural ability. It is a skill that is improved upon over time. 
  • Enhance Your Auxiliary KnowledgeWhen you are new to a subject, information seems overwhelming and out-of-reach. While it is crucial to focus on the fundamentals when learning, some auxiliary knowledge can spark interest and create relevance. When it comes to medical memory, case studies can enhance auxiliary knowledge. 
  • Use Your SensesMany people say smell is strongly correlated with memory, and most people anecdotally agree with this thought. Anything that you can do to engage more senses (i.e. reading, watching, and speaking) will improve your medical memory. Take notes. Read your notes aloud. Watch lectures. It will all help. 
  • Eat a Healthy DietMany foods and beverages contain chemicals that are toxins to the brain, so eat a healthy diet. Drink lots of water. Your gut feeds your mind, so a healthy diet will improve memory. 
  • Get a Good Night’s Sleep: If you don’t get enough sleep, your neurons won’t work properly. This means your memory function will diminish. Instead of cramming the night before a test or important workday, go to bed early. You will perform better. 
  • Don’t Procrastinate: Don’t wait until the last minute to memorize something important. The stress involved in last-minute cramming limits the brain’s ability to retain information. Instead, work on memorizing information consistently. Not only will you get better at it, but you’ll have time to commit it to long-term memory. 

Improve Your Medical Memory with Additional Practice

The medical field is one filled with a ton of information, and it is impossible to remember it all. That is why you see experienced medical professionals searching through reference materials. This is not to mention the constant barrage of new information. Using the tips above, you can improve your medical memory and remember the things that are essential to do your job in a way that is efficient, correct, and safe. Follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog for more healthcare tips that you can use in everyday living. Visit Avidity Medical Design Academy to enroll in an online healthcare course to learn even more about the field.