Volunteer Work That You Can Do to Gain Experience in Healthcare Without a Diploma or GED

In the previous article, you learned about 10 careers in healthcare that you can pursue without a high school diploma or GED. Once you complete training for a healthcare career without a diploma or GED, you need to be able to sell yourself with some experience. This article provides specific steps that you can take to volunteer to gain experience in healthcare without a high school diploma or GED. Employers are more apt to hire people with experience, and volunteer work is a guaranteed way to get it. 

woman wearing grey volunteer shirt smiling while holding stethoscope and talking to person in yellow shirt

1. How to Volunteer as a Home Health Aide

Most home health or hospice organizations gladly accept volunteers in order to meet the needs of their patients. . 

2. How to Volunteer as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Check out local nursing homes and find out if they’ll accept volunteers. Often, they are more than happy to have more helping hands. This could be an opportunity to get hired in a paid CNA position later. 

3. How to Volunteer as a Phlebotomist

The American Red Cross is an excellent choice for those wanting volunteer work with phlebotomist training. Get involved in their blood drives and gain valuable experience you’ll use in your future career and on your resume. 

4. How to Volunteer as a Massage Therapist

Once you are trained, volunteering your massage therapy services is welcome at some community events, sports activities, and medical facilities. Not only will you get experience, but you can start building a reputation. 

5. How to Volunteer as a Medical Secretary

Because a medical secretary is often required to perform clerical or front desk tasks, volunteering at any type of community event shows an ability to organize. It also shows your interest in participating in community betterment. Talk with your local chamber of commerce or set up a team for a fundraiser such as Relay for Life. Your volunteer work acts like employment history when it comes to getting hired. 

6. How to Volunteer as a Dental Assistant

The volunteer opportunities for dental assisting are exciting. Dental assistants are always needed on international dental missions, and your dental care for people in developing countries will almost guarantee employment afterward. 

7. How to Volunteer as a Medical Coder

There is a lot of competition for medical coding jobs, and one way to up your chances of hire is to volunteer at the place where you want to work. Check out hospital websites for volunteer opportunities, and make your name recognizable so that your resume isn’t passed over. 

8. How to Volunteer as an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant

Volunteering for an ophthalmic mission may not be a possibility for the inexperienced ophthalmic medical assistant, but volunteering with the Lions Club certainly is an option. Volunteer for school vision screenings and show your interest in the world of vision. 

9. How to Volunteer as a Medical Transcriptionist

There aren’t really volunteer transcription activities because it is a solo profession, but any volunteer activities in the medical field will show that you have an understanding of how the field of medicine works, which will improve the quality of your transcription. Pay attention to local calls for volunteers. You will likely end up volunteering at fundraisers or healthcare facilities, but you’ll be gaining a working knowledge of the medical content that you will transcribe. 

10. How to Volunteer as an Occupational Therapy Aide

Occupational therapy is required for many people with disabilities, so it stands to reason that volunteering for a disability-related organization would be beneficial for employment prospects. Volunteer ideas include the Special Olympics and The Wounded Warrior Project, and they show your compassion for helping people live normal lives. 

Volunteering gives potential employers a way to overlook your lack of high school diploma or GED. It shows that you have a true interest in your field and that you’ll be an asset to their organization. 

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

10 Healthcare Careers You Can Pursue Without a High School Diploma or GED

If you haven’t finished getting your high school diploma or your GED (General Education Diploma), it is difficult to know where to turn for potential employment in healthcare careers. However, the healthcare field has multiple promising career options that don’t always require a diploma to get on-the-job or other training. Check your state’s requirements, and consider the following job opportunities to get your foot in the door of the healthcare field.  

woman using machine to take blood pressure of seated woman indoors

If you are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, but you don’t have a high school diploma or your GED, then consider becoming:

1. A Home Health Aide

  • Description: Home health aides work in people’s homes or care facilities and help them with daily tasks. 
  • TrainingTraining requirements vary depending on the facility and may require certification, which typically takes 75 hours of training. 
  • Job Outlook and Salary: The job outlook in this career is also very promising at 36%. In 2018, the median pay for this career was $24,060/year. 

2. A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

  • Description: A CNA gives basic medical services to patients in nursing homes and hospitals. This may involve helping to lift and move patients with mobility problems. Nursing assistants often help patients who have difficulty with everyday tasks such as bathing or eating. 
  • Training: Generally, a CNA program takes 4 to 12 weeks. 
  • Job Outlook and SalaryThe outlook for this career is looking strong with 9% growth expected over the next decade. In 2018, the median pay for this career was $28,530/year. 

3. A Phlebotomist 

  • Description: A phlebotomist is a person who draws blood for multiple reasons in the healthcare field. They work in a variety of settings, including blood banks or research facilities.   
  • Training: A non-degree certification takes 4 to 8 months.  
  • Job Outlook and Salary: The outlook for this career is expected to expand faster than many other job opportunities at 23% over the next decade. In 2018, the median pay for this career was $34,480/year. 

4. A Massage Therapist

  • Description: Massage therapists massage muscles and soft tissue in order to relieve soreness or provide relaxation. 
  • TrainingTraining for massage therapy varies from just over 300 hours to about 1,000 hours depending on the program. 
  • Job Outlook and SalaryThe outlook for this occupation is 22% over the next decade. The median pay for this career in 2018 was $41,420/year. 
Cropped image of It specialist working on code

5. A Medical Secretary

  • Description: Medical secretaries handle the functioning of medical facilities from a paperwork and communication standpoint. They may be responsible for handling phones, insurance information, and front desk duties. 
  • Training: There is not always required training, but medical secretary programs generally take 1 to 2 years of formal and on-the-job training. 
  • Job Outlook and Salary: The outlook is weak for secretaries in general with a decline of 7% expected in the next decade. The median pay for this career in 2018 was $38,880/year. 

6. A Dental Assistant

  • DescriptionDental assistants perform a number of tasks in the dental office, which may include taking x-rays, providing care, and clerical tasks. 
  • TrainingOn the job training is the only requirement in some states, but formal dental assisting programs take 1 to 2 years. 
  • Job Outlook and Salary: The job outlook in this career is not bad at 11% predicted over the next decade, and the median pay for dental assistants in 2018 was $38,660/year. 

7. A Medical Coder

  • DescriptionMedical coders learn how to use diagnostic and procedural codes to quantify patient diagnoses and services rendered for billing and other purposes. 
  • TrainingCoding programs typically last a few months to 2 years.
  • Job Outlook and SalaryThe job outlook in this career is 11% over the next decade, and the 2018 median pay for this category of employment was $40,350/year. 

8. An Ophthalmic Medical Assistant

  • DescriptionOphthalmic medical assistants take patient histories and administer ophthalmic testing during exams. They also assist the optometrist or ophthalmologist in a variety of clinical tasks. 
  • TrainingCertificates are available to further one’s career, but on-the-job training is typically sufficient for employment. 
  • Job Outlook and SalarySimilar to medical assistants, the job outlook for this field of work is good at 23%, and median pay in 2018 was $33,610/year. 

9. A Medical Transcriptionist

  • DescriptionMedical transcriptionists listen to recorded documentation of patient encounters and convert them to a readable format via keyboarding/typing skills. 
  • TrainingTraining varies but typically includes medical terminology and electronic health record training. 
  • Job Outlook and SalaryDue to technology and voice recognition, the outlook for this career is not great and is expected to decrease by 3% over the next decade. The median pay  for transcriptionists in 2018 was $34,770/year. 

10. An Occupational Therapy Aide

  • DescriptionOccupational therapy aides help people recover and improve normal living and working skills that have diminished as a result of accident or health condition. They do not typically get involved in hands-on care, but rather provide supportive services to occupational therapists and assistants. 
  • TrainingTraining varies based on state and position and may require only on-the-job training. 
  • Job Outlook and SalaryThe Bureau of Labor and Statistics groups Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides together, and they report the outlook of both positions look good, predicting a 31% increase over the next decade. The median pay for aides was $28,160 in 2018. 

There are other healthcare careers available that may not require a high school degree or GED equivalent. Many healthcare employers will state on their job requirements that you need a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Don’t let this discourage you. Look up your state’s requirements for the position for which you are applying, and let the employer know that you are the right person for the job. 

If you are interested in pursuing a healthcare education, check out “How to Learn in the Healthcare Classroom (and ANY Classroom) (in 10 EASY Steps!).” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.

How to Become a Registered Nurse (and Pass Your Board Exams Once You Do!)

The path to becoming a registered nurse is not an easy one, but it is worth the challenge because of the rewards of the job. Nurses are held in high esteem because they have compassion, altruism and high ethical standards. If you are considering a career in nursing, you probably already know this. How to become a nurse and pass your board exams is the next step. 

female registered nurse taking blood pressure with wrist cuff of senior woman

What is a Registered Nurse?

A Registered Nurse (RN) is a person who has a degree in nursing and has passed board exams required to obtain a nursing license. Registered nurses are healthcare professionals who work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities in varied positions. Nurses may be responsible for supportive tasks such as taking chief complaints and histories, or they may be more involved in patient care and even perform minor medical procedures. Some RNs are more involved in nurse management and administrative tasks.

As the physician shortage in the United States continues to grow, opportunities for nurses have expanded, and many nurses are elevating their education and job titles to mid-level healthcare providers such as Nurse Practitioners or Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). In some states, APRNs are allowed to practice solo and without the supervision of a physician. One of the great benefits in the nursing profession is the possibility to further one’s career past the initial RN licensure.  

What are the Education Requirements?

The minimum education requirement to become an RN is an associate’s degree in nursing, but many healthcare facilities require a bachelor’s degree. Nurses are expected to be lifelong learners in order to provide the best care. As a result of this expectation, the Institute of Medicine urges all nurses to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing, with a goal of 80 percent of all nurses having their bachelor’s degree by 2020. This goal may not be met, but it has pushed more nurses to enroll in baccalaureate programs. 

How do You Pass Your Board Exams?

After receiving a nursing degree, a nursing graduate must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) in order to become licensed. There are two types of NCLEX exams: the NCLEX-PN and the NCLEX-RN. You will take the NCLEX-PN if you plan to become a vocational nurse or a practical nurse. You will take the NCLEX-RN if you plan to become a registered nurse. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements. The NCLEX is the national nursing board exam, and you must take this exam in order to become a nurse. The answers to the NCLEX test questions are evidence-based and proven to the satisfaction of the medical field. These questions are not based on nuances or individual techniques that you may have learned during clinical experience. As a result, your chances of passing the boards are greatly increased by practice exams and review courses that give you questions designed to help prepare you for the exam

Here are some additional things that you can do to pass your board exams the first time you take them:

  1. Understand how the NCLEX is formatted.
  2. Figure out ways to manage your stress.
  3. Determine the best way to study and the way that is most comfortable for you to study.
  4. Develop a plan to study.
  5. Don’t factor in past experience as a way to answer the questions and pass the test.
  6. Develop good test-taking skills, such as deductive reasoning.
  7. Believe in yourself, and believe you will pass the test.

What are the Employment Projections?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing profession is expected to grow by 12% over the next decade. This is a very good outlook, and over 300,000 jobs are expected to be added. Most of the increase in demand for nursing is caused by the shift to placing emphasis on preventive care and on the growing population of elderly with chronic diseases. 

What are the Challenges of Becoming a Nurse?

Registered nurses face many challenges, including tough schedules and burnout, depending on the type of work done. Nurses also have to regularly deal with people who are scared, in pain, or upset. Tough days can be very tough, but the success stories make the dedicated nurse forge ahead. This is one of the many reasons nurses get so much respect as medical professionals. 

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

If you are interested in working from home in the field of healthcare, enroll in the course entitled, “How to Make Money in Healthcare Working from Home (Full Time!),” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.

What to Know if You Want to Become a Medical Assistant in 2020 (Part II)

If you are a compassionate person looking for a career where you have the opportunity to help others, becoming a medical assistant is a good career choice in 2020.

In case you missed Part I of the Medical Assistant series, let’s recap the definition of a medical assistant, as well as the education requirements, before we discuss the job outlook for this field in 2020.

man and woman in scrubs looking at tablet while standing in hallway

Let’s Recap: What is a Medical Assistant?

A medical assistant helps with administrative and clinical tasks in healthcare settings. They may assist in a medical office, hospital, or other healthcare business. The job duties of a medical assistant may include taking patients’ histories and vitals, assisting with examinations, and handling medical records. In some cases, medical assistants will administer medication, remove sutures, and change dressings. The responsibilities vary per facility and per state law.  

Let’s Recap: What are the Education Requirements?

Depending on your location, you can become a medical assistant through on-the-job training or by getting certified. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) administers a certification exam, and certified medical assistants must be recertified every 60 months. This can be done by continuing education or by exam. In 2018, sixty percent of candidates passed the AAMA exam.

Now let’s look at the employment projections for 2020, as well as some of the challenges you might face if you choose to become a medical assistant in 2020.

Employment Projections in 2020

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for medical assistants is excellent. In the next decade, the number of positions is predicted to increase by 23 percent. This is because of the growing elderly population and increased demand for preventive medical care. The average wage of medical assistants was $33,610 in 2018.

Challenges for Medical Assisting in 2020

The biggest challenge in the field of medical assisting is the difficult patient. This can cause the very passionate and caring medical assistant to suffer burnout and leave the profession. Burnout is common in many medical professions, including among physicians and nurses, and there’s no denying that this is a difficult part of any medical profession.

On the flip side, you get to help people when they are at their most vulnerable. The rewards of working in the medical profession are often as wonderful as the challenges are difficult. A good candidate for the career of medical assistant can handle the occasional grumpy patient in return for all the positive impact he or she has on other patients and members of the medical community.

Becoming a medical assistant requires a minimal education investment in return for a secure career that is increasing in demand. Many positions for medical assistants include full benefits such as healthcare, matching retirement plans, and paid vacation. It is a good way to enter the medical field with a stable position and room for advancement.

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

If you are interested in working from home in the field of healthcare, enroll in the course entitled, “How to Make Money in Healthcare Working from Home (Full Time!),” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.

woman getting shot at mobile flu clinic

How to Start a New Career as a Medical Assistant (Part I)

one man and three women wearing blue scrubs standing in a line with arms crossed and smiling

Medical assisting is a career that is in high demand. Physicians are busier than ever, and as a result, they require clear, concise, and accurate medical documentation for each patient, that allows them to maintain their productivity. In order to meet these demands, more physician practices and hospitals are hiring medical assistants. If you’ve ever been interested in becoming a medical assistant, there’s never been a better time to make the transition to a career in medical assisting. The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that while jobs are already plentiful in this field, they will grow by 23% by 2028, which is much greater growth than average. This projection is largely due to the increasing need for preventative medical care among baby boomers. 

What Do Medical Assistants Do? 

Medical assistants perform a wide variety of tasks to assist physicians, so that they can spend more time dealing with issues that concern patients. Medical assistants schedule patient appointments, and measure and record patient vital signs to help physicians during patient exams. Medical assistants may even give injections and medications under the direction of an overseeing physician. As a medical assistant, you can even work remotely, completing clinical paperwork and insurance forms to bill for physician services.

If you work within a particular specialty, such as orthopedics for example, you might perform more specialized tasks that pertain to bone conditions. Unlike a physician’s assistant, a medical assistant would not examine the patient or make treatment decisions about the patient.

How Do You Become a Medical Assistant? 

Many hospitals and medical clinics will hire medical assistants with simply a high school diploma and provide them with on-the-job training. There are also diploma-based certificates and degree options available that can usually be completed within anywhere from 8-18 months. This track is becoming slightly more popular as medical assisting jobs become more competitive, and any additional training will give you a competitive edge. The shift from paper to electronic records also increases the demand for skilled medical assistants. If you’d like to learn more about the content of the electronic medical record from the standpoint of the documentation that the patient sees when they request a copy of their medical record, consider enrolling in the course entitled, “How to Read Your Own Medical Record (Learn What is in YOUR Medical Files!)” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.

If you’re interested in starting your own business, working from home, as a medical assistant, you will need to know how to market yourself in order to gain new clients. Check out this article entitled, “5 Ways to Market Yourself as a Virtual Medical Assistant,” on the Avidity Medical Design Blog.

If you are not interested in medical assisting, but you are interested in working from home in other fields in healthcare, such as medical coding, medical transcription, medical writing, healthcare teaching, nursing (yes, nursing!) or medical claims processing, enroll in the course entitled, “How to Make Money in Healthcare Working from Home (Full Time!)” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy.

For more informative healthcare articles, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog

The Surprising Link Between Poor Oral Health and Heart Problems

woman brushing teeth in mirror

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

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

Poor Oral Health May Lead to Bacterial Infection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Isolation

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

female nurse smiling

Insomnia

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

Weight Gain

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

Depression

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

Stress

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

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

How to Use Meetup Groups for Social Networking in Healthcare

group of healthcare professionals meeting

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

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

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

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

The Story of Meetup.com

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

Connect With Others in the Healthcare Industry

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

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

Find Out What’s Happening Near You

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

woman doing meditation at park during sunrise

Stay Physically Fit and Become Accountable for Your Own Health

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

How to Get Started with Meetups

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

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.

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.

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