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. 

A female pharmacist sits with a senior female patient in the pharmacist consultation area and discusses her prescription and choice of medication. In the background a father and daughter stand at the dispensing counter and are served by a female pharmacy assistant .

Seeking a Healthcare Career? 7 Steps to Creating a Professional Demeanor That Keeps You on the Job

In the healthcare industry, maintaining a professional demeanor is critical. Not only do you want to be sure that you’ll be recognized for the time and effort you’ve put into your studies, you want to be sure that patients have a sense of confidence in you. You’re responsible for dealing with sensitive and private information, providing advice and treatment, and reassuring patients. With a calm, professional demeanor, you’ll be better able to control your patient interactions and put yourself in a better position to increase patient confidence. 

A female pharmacist sits with a senior female patient in the pharmacist consultation area and discusses her prescription and choice of medication. In the background a father and daughter stand at the dispensing counter and are served by a female pharmacy assistant .

Step One: Be Positive

No, you don’t need to go skipping down the halls, singing about all the wonderful opportunities that are open to you. Rather, you should maintain a positive attitude whenever you interact with your patients or coworkers. An attitude of doom and gloom or constant complaints–especially complaints relating to your job or coworkers–can quickly destroy patient confidence and convince them that they can’t trust you to adequately handle their case, which can, over time, erode your odds of promotion or even destroy your career. Instead, try to be upbeat. Remember why you chose to do what you do and why you enjoy it. When a coworker, from a nurse to a doctor, asks you to accomplish a task, do it cheerfully and calmly. This simple step inspires a great deal more confidence in your patients than seeing you come in complaining before you’ve even had a chance to get to know them. A dose of positive can go a long way toward improving your professional appearance. 

Step Two: Avoid Drama

“You know, we were just back in the nurse’s station talking about Deborah’s husband and…” “I don’t want to cause trouble, but you’ve dealt with Dr. Brown, and I haven’t been impressed with his diagnoses in the past.” Whether you’re talking directly to a patient or chatting at the nurse’s station, one of the fastest ways to decrease patient confidence and drop that professional demeanor is to get involved in drama. Your personal life doesn’t belong at work, especially when you’re dealing with patients. Instead, keep it professional while you’re on the clock! Avoid conflict with coworkers, and try not to get sucked into drama–even if a patient is the one to initiate the complaint. 

Step Three: Get Organized

There’s something reassuring about a medical professional who walks into a room and already knows exactly where everything is. Whether it’s a routine exam or an emergency, they don’t have to scramble for the proper materials; rather, they’re able to easily access exactly what they need. In many medical settings, it can be hard to keep up with simple organization tasks, but it’s a step that’s well worth it! Create a system that works for you, whether you’re pushing medical carts down the halls of a hospital or organizing an exam room in an office. Organize your personal supplies so that you know exactly where everything is. This can create a big difference in the way you appear to both patients and colleagues. 

Step Four: Listen

One of the most effective ways to create an aura of professionalism is to simply listen to those around you–both other workers and patients. As a doctor, for example, if a nurse tells you something, there’s a good chance that it’s important, whether they’ve observed odd patient behavior or noted a symptom you need to pay attention to. It also pays to listen to patients. Sometimes, they’re babbling just to talk or to calm their nerves, but other times, they may have something to say that genuinely relates to their care. Simply listening to them and giving genuine, considered responses can help increase their confidence in you and put you in a better position to provide high-quality care. 

Step Five: Be Honest

A little girl is at the doctors office for a check up. A nurse is sitting with them and talking to the mother.

It’s often tempting to blur the truth a little in a work environment, especially when you’re dealing with difficult patients. “Of course I remembered to tell the patient X.” “It wasn’t my turn to complete X task.” If you want to create a more professional attitude, however, be honest–both with your colleagues and with your patients. Own up to your mistakes and do what’s necessary to make it right. If things are way behind in the office, don’t tell patients that they’ll be seen in just a few minutes–give them an accurate assessment of what your schedule looks like, then offer them the ability to choose for themselves how they want to handle it. Honesty truly is the best policy–and it creates a more professional demeanor and appearance for your entire office. 

Step Six: Check the Small Stuff

As a medical professional, you know that there’s really no “small stuff” when it comes to dealing with patients. Inevitably, it’s the test you forgot to run or the gauge you forgot to check that turns out to be the most important to your patient. If you want to maintain a more professional demeanor, take the time to check the small stuff. Not only does this increase your quality of patient care, it shows your patients that you genuinely care about them and are willing to work hard to get to the bottom of whatever problem they’re having. 

Step Seven: Check Your Appearance

As nice as it would be if appearances didn’t matter, your appearance can go a long way toward establishing your professionalism in the eyes of your patients and your colleagues. Do a quick appearance check each day to make sure that you look as professional as possible. Check your scrubs to be sure that they’re clean and unstained. If they’re starting to look too worn, it may be time for a replacement. Keep your hair up and away from your face. For women, makeup should be professional and clean, rather than obvious or overdone. Take a quick look in the mirror: do you look like a medical professional that you’d want to treat you? If not, clean up your appearance for the benefit of everyone around you.

Taking the leap to become more professional can go a long way toward advancing your medical career and improving the confidence that patients have in you. With these seven steps, you can transform your demeanor so that patients will be able to more easily see just how capable you are. Want more information? Check out our course entitled, “How to Learn Professionalism in Healthcare (with Real-World Examples!),” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy, which offers strategies to increase your professionalism and give you a winning attitude for success. Click here to learn more about this course.

More Tips: A 4-Step Guide to Professional Dress in the Medical Office

While proper attire is important in any office, professional dress in the medical office is crucial. Maintaining a professional appearance is the key to patient comfort and trust. Below is a 4-step guide to help navigate the pitfalls of dressing for the medical office.

Professional Dress in the Medical Office

First off, medical office personnel deal with patients at a very personal level. They have contact with the patient physically and they have general access to highly sensitive information such as health history and social security numbers. By presenting themselves professionally, office staff provide an environment that ensures patient confidence. Patients need to feel safe in the office and that their information is being handled respectfully and professionally.

  1. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. It is important to have a clean and well-maintained appearance. Cleanliness is paramount in a medical office. Unclean bodies and hair can be alarming for patients, but even simple things like ripped clothing, wrinkled clothing or improperly fitting clothing can project an environment that fails to take patient health and safety seriously. Meanwhile, meticulous dress and appearance help project the idea that cleanliness, orderliness and professionalism are important and therefore, so are patient health and safety.
  2. Accessories. Understated accessories including hair, nails, make-up and tattoos keep the focus on the patient and not on the staff. Drawing attention with large jewelry or visible tattoos can unintentionally project the idea that the patient is secondary. Also, extreme hair, excessive make-up and long nails can give patients the idea that their health and safety is not the primary focus in the office.
  3. Shoes. While many medical professionals spend hours on their feet, they should exercise care when selecting footwear. Especially for medical professionals in scrubs, shoes can stand out to patients so, it is important to make sure they are not only comfortable, but maintain a professional appearance. Dansko-style clogs are good examples of acceptable shoes, while snow boots, slipper-style shoes, Converse or other athletic shoes, Uggs, cowboy boots, and high heels are examples of shoes that should not be worn in a medical environment.
  4. Clothing. A medical professional should wear clothing that is classic, professional, and well-fitted. It should allow the employee to project confidence and professionalism, which will in turn provide patients with reassurance that their lives are in good hands. Clothing that is revealing, offensive (as in t-shirts with messages on them), or made of any material that either sheds (like sequins or glitter) or is not considered professional (like jeans, leather or spandex)should not be worn.

By dressing in a professional and timeless fashion, the employee allows for the focus to remain where it belongs, on the patient. Employees in the medical office should consistently review their attire to make sure it projects the idea, from the patient’s perspective, that the primary focus in the office is on the safety and comfort of its patients.

If you are interested in learning more about how to be a professional in healthcare, enroll in the course entitled, “How to Learn Professionalism in Healthcare (with REAL-WORLD Examples!)” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy. Click here to learn more about this course.

Professional Communication and Its Importance in the Doctor’s Office

It isn’t what you say, it’s how you say it.

This is one of the cardinal rules of professional communication, and it’s important to remember. Think of the message you’re trying to convey as a passenger in a car. Pulling out your everyday language would be like showing up to a company event in a beat-up clunker with mismatched paint. It will get your point to the destination, but it won’t be well-received showing up in that ride. If you use professional language free of jargon, slang, and other colorful expressions though then it’s like you’re delivering your point in a sleek, shiny sedan. It’s obvious in your expression that you know what you’re talking about, and you’re here to work.

Professional Communication in the Doctor’s Office

professional communication in a doctor's officeNowhere is proper communication more important than it is in the doctor’s office. Not only do you need to put on a professional face for patients and co-workers, but what you say could quite literally alter someone’s life. So rather than using jargon to explain a medical decision to a patient, or a slang term to relate a patient’s problem to a doctor, it’s best to use the correct terminology.

It’s also important to dot your I’s and cross your T’s.

It isn’t just your spoken words either. With so much of the medical field depending on patient files it’s important for you to beable to express yourself in text as well. Every report, every chart, could be the key to the next doctor providing the right care. That’s why it’s so important for you to make sure your writing is legible and sensical, otherwise it could lead to serious problems down the line when someone whom you don’t know tries to interpret the guide you left behind.

For more information on the importance of professional communication in the doctor’s office simply contact us today!

How To Improve Employee Workplace Performance

An article recently published in the Journal of Organizational Psychology states that research found that employees do, in fact, draw support from their subordinates, and each employee can play an important role in the supportive environment of the workplace. The study also revealed a positive relationship between support and job performance, meaning the more supported employees felt in the workplace, the better they were at their job. The following are a few tips on ways in which you can improve employee workplace performance within your organization.

employee workplace performanceEncourage communication

In this regard, you need to be open-minded and encourage expression of ideas and suggestions without criticizing any part of it. Hold frequent staff meetings, provide suggestion boxes, or conduct surveys. Communicate clear goals and objectives to your employees, while maintaining an open-door policy.

Positive work environment

Keep the workplace setting clean and nice looking to promote a cheerful attitude. Little things such as natural light and personal space for each employee will help in creating a positive work environment. And don’t forget to keep things fun. For example, acknowledge an employee’s birthday by having the team sing happy birthday or putting up a sign in the office.

Show appreciation

Acknowledge achievements and offer words of encouragement, such as ‘nice job.’ This will make an employee feel as if they matter in a way that gives their work a sense of purpose. When things go well at your organization, always extend credit to your staff.

Provide effective training

Employees can be helped to improve their skills through in-house development and on-the-job training. Allow your employees to attend seminars and workshops, or enroll in an online eLearning course. Also, keep in mind that training is not a one time event, but rather a continuous activity.

Job performance and the employees’ level of happiness impact the potential of success for an organization.With both an appropriate performance management system and a positive approach to influencing people that increases happiness, an organization’s key results can more likely be achieved and sustained. Be sure to keep the above tips in mind when working towards improving employee performance in the workplace.

For more information, or if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at Avidity Medical Design today.

Improve Employee Workplace Performance with Specialized Healthcare Courses

Employees feel tension being available around-the-clock, according to a recent survey from Randstad. This research shows that employee morale and engagement are on the decline because of a lack of coping skills. The question is: how do you improve employee workplace performance?

employee workplace performance

Training and development form passion and purpose. It’s important that companies make sure employees have access to the proper training which will develop the skills needed to succeed in a competitive employment market.

Our healthcare management courses provide you with the tools you need to achieve a sense of balance. “If you can increase the average level of engagement in your organization, you will likely see the productivity of your entire workforce increase,” explains Michael C. Mankins in Three Ways to Actually Engage Employees.

Take advantage of the specialized healthcare curriculum development services offered by Avidity Medical Design. We design curriculum based on your personal needs, and also teach the courses that we develop.

Avidity Medical Design incorporates one or more instructional design strategies within each course to help students apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations. Sheila D. McCray, MS, CCS, CCS-P, is the principal of Avidity Medical Design. She has a M.S. in Instructional and Performance Technology from Boise State University, and certifications in Captivate, Dreamweaver, SharePoint, MS Office, and multiple healthcare-related areas.

Contact us to get started today. If you have any other questions or comments, we’re here to help you. Thanks!

Keys to Effective Employee Management

In today’s economy, employee management becomes even more crucial to a business’s success. Even though things started to pick up from the standpoint of our current recession, our healthcare industry is still struggling in part due to the Affordable Care Act. In fact, a recent poll listed financial issues as the top problem for healthcare system management. Any business, especially in healthcare, would be wise to exert extra effort in terms of employee management in these turbulent times. In our economy,employees won’t hesitate to leave for a better salary, and prospective employees won’t want to work for a business with poor employee management.

Some current issues facing corporate employee management are as follows:

  • Employees who find it difficult to relate to one another with regard to business endeavors because they are all trained differently and aren’t on the same page.
  • Employees who receive lower salaries and sparse raises, which are almost unavoidable in our current economy.
  • Employees who lack technical savvy. Many businesses heavily use technology in everyday dealings, and some employees may not be up to speed in terms of technology.
  • Employees who have a negative attitude and, as a result, impact the productivity of other coworkers.
  • Employees who leak information via social media. This is increasingly problematic due to the ease with which employees can access social media.

Ten Great Ways to Manage Your EmployeesNot addressing these issues and poor employment management, in general, will lead to a decline in employee productivity and employee retention. A great way to address the issue of difficult employee relationships, for example, is to have a mandatory training course that helps all employees get on the same page in terms of professional workplace communication. This is especially crucial in the area of health information management, where healthcare practitioners are all trained in the same general subject matter but with differing approaches and even different vocabulary, depending on their specialty.

Avidity Medical Design provides training that addresses problematic issues surrounding employee management. Blended learning courses, for example, place healthcare practitioners on equal footing in terms of how they relate to one another in the workplace. Courses are tailored to specific healthcare specialties. Medical coding students receive comprehensive training in ICD-10 and clinical documentation improvement. Medical transcription students receive the same level of training, but the focus shifts to teaching them how to accurately transcribe operative reports, emergency room records, and other types of clinical documentation. Contact us today to learn how we can train your employees to optimize their job performance and improve their relationships in the workplace.

Ten Steps to Minimizing Employee Turnover

Employee turnover rates can be devastating for some employers. Each lost employee leads to missed opportunities and decreased productivity within the organization, while increasing the burden on current employees. When these factors are combined with the requirements of recruiting, the overall costs can be as much as three times the original salary. The best way to minimize these costs and create a better working environment is to understand how you can minimize employee turnover.

minimize employee turnoverThere are 10 key steps in retaining employees, many of which are especially important for those in healthcare settings. The mental and physical demands of healthcare require employers to be proactive in creating an environment that allows employees to thrive. When these needs are met, turnover rates decrease, productivity and morale increase, and the workplace atmosphere becomes one of improved teamwork.

Step One – Understand the Causes of Turnover

Numerous studies have shown that most managers believe that salary is the main reason that employees choose to leave. However, polls of employee exit interview responses have shown that there are more significant causes, including:

  • Unfulfilled expectations in the workplace
  • Lack of cohesion between the employee and required job functions
  • Lack of feedback and coaching to improve employee productivity and performance
  • Lack of recognition for superior performance
  • No room for advancement or growth
  • Imbalance between work and life due to overwork
  • Decreased confidence and/or trust in members of management

These employee-provided causes show employers not only why employees leave, but also how management can fix these issues to retain current talent. Employers who address these issues increase employee retention and improve employee performance.

Step Two – Promote Values for Positive Organizational Culture

Organizational culture is a key area of employee retention. Employers who create and follow a value-based culture based on respect, honesty, teamwork, attitude, and excellence of services not only retain current employees, they also attract recruits who value working in a positive environment.

Step Three – Improve Training Practices

Training should become an integral part of both new-hire practices and ongoing development. Employees who receive ongoing training and support feel more valued, better able to achieve their goals, and gain an improved understanding of key job requirements.

Step Four – Institute Mentoring Programs

Mentoring programs provide new recruits with a solid means of developing necessary skills, while also encouraging feedback relationships to assist with achieving personal and career goals. The pairing of experienced employees with new recruits is vital, especially in healthcare settings. The sensitive nature of the job can overwhelm new employees, and the availability of a mentor allows new recruits to openly address their feelings and issues, rather than abandoning the position.

Step Five – Improve Lines of Communication

Employees need to feel that they are valued, and that their input is taken seriously. Institute communication programs that encourage and promote employee feedback and suggestions, and ensure follow through from upper management.

Step Six – Show Appreciation

While salary increases and benefits are important, employees need to know their work is appreciated. Adding scheduled Employee Appreciation activities and rewards builds employer/employee relationships, and promotes a better working environment.

Step Seven – Provide Periodic Coaching

Ongoing coaching improves understanding of organizational goals, and guides employees on how they can meet them properly. Coaching should be used for both under-performance issues and as a way of showing employees whether they are meeting organizational goals.

Step Eight – Learning Opportunities

Providing opportunities for employee growth is essential for minimizing employee turnover. These opportunities also help employees reach important milestones for career advancement. Employers who provide training courses and workshops also retain employees at a much higher rate due to each employee’s perception that management is committed to helping them grow and achieve long-term success within the company.

Step Nine – Motivational Rewards

Employees who receive recognition for their contributions are motivated to increase personal performance. Employees need to know that their efforts are appreciated, and this enhances retention exponentially.

Step Ten – Promote Career/Life Balance

Scheduling practices should focus on providing the best balance between work and family. Flex time, compressed weekly schedules, and telecommuting options ensure employees can meet the demands of their employer and their families. When this balance is addressed, it leads to higher productivity, fewer call-offs, and better retention.

Businesses that focus on instituting these steps will lower turnover rates, and improve the organization as a whole. If you are interested in creating training opportunities to retain good employees and minimize turnover,  contact Avidity Medical Design today.