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

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

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

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

Step 1: Do your homework first.

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

Step 3: Come prepared with facts and figures.

Step 4: Find the right person to ask.

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

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Step 1: Do Your Homework

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

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

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

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

Step 3: Come Prepared with Facts and Figures

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

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

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

Highlight what you’ve done in terms of dollars and cents. If your contributions to the company, or the healthcare organization that you work for, resulted in increased revenue for the organization, mention this during your meeting.

Step 4: Find the Right Person to Ask

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

In conclusion, remember that it’s never easy to ask for a raise. But with a little planning, self-promotion, and flexibility you can negotiate with confidence and help ensure your success.

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

Interested in being a professional in healthcare? Visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.

How to Use Meetup Groups for Social Networking in Healthcare

group of healthcare professionals meeting

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

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

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

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

The Story of Meetup.com

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

Connect With Others in the Healthcare Industry

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

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

Find Out What’s Happening Near You

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

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Stay Physically Fit and Become Accountable for Your Own Health

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

How to Get Started with Meetups

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

The Benefits of YouTube in Healthcare eLearning

Create Your Meetup Profile

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

Form Your Own Healthcare Meetup Group

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

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

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

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

new healthcare job with doctors speaking in hallway

5 Ways to Be Successful on Your First Day on the Job as a Healthcare Professional

new healthcare job with doctors speaking in hallway

The first day on a job is stressful. You want to present yourself as responsible and enthusiastic. Here are five tips so you can make the best impression possible in your new healthcare position. 

Be On Time

Arriving late on your first day gives the wrong first impression. You want to start out on the right foot, and you want your immediate supervisor, as well as her manager, to know they made the right decision by hiring you, rather than another candidate with similar qualifications. So, give yourself some extra time when you start your commute. It is better to arrive too early than too late; if you arrive too early, you can always stop and grab a cup of coffee or pick up a breakfast sandwich if you need to kill some extra time. You will feel a lot calmer if you can start your day without feeling rushed. It is also a good idea to stay a little bit later if it looks like you are needed. There will be a lot to absorb and staying late shows you are a team player. 

Be Professional

People expect professional dress in the healthcare environment, especially if you work in management. So dress professionally. Also, it is important to interact with people in a professional manner. You want to look people in the eye, smile, give a firm handshake, and employ active listening. Refrain from joking around until you know people better. For more thorough recommendations, enroll in our course entitled, “How to Learn Professionalism in Healthcare (with REAL-WORLD Examples).”

Ask Questions

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You won’t learn everything the first day. There’s a lot to learn, in terms of the processes and procedures that you need to follow to do the job effectively, so go easy on yourself. Ask as many questions as you can think of, and keep a notepad nearby to write down the answers, so you don’t have to ask the same question twice after you receive the answer to your question the first time. You don’t want to pester your supervisor with questions but you do need to know what you are supposed to do. In addition, asking questions shows you are interested in learning the job. If you don’t have a notepad nearby, open your phone and add a note as a memo to yourself. When you compile a list of the questions that you asked, and the answers you received (and the person that gave you the answer in case there are any contradictions in the answers you receive), make a copy of your questions and answers and keep them all in a safe place.

Take A Break 

You will have an opportunity for a break at some point in the day. Although it may be tempting to skip the break (or skip lunch) in order to make yourself look committed, take the break and take lunch. Your first day on the job can be stressful and overwhelming, especially when you are working in the healthcare environment, and especially if your new job involves dealing directly with patients, nurses, physicians, and upper-level management. Use your break to regroup and relieve some stress during on your first day. Taking a short walk and some deep breaths are always a good idea. If co-workers ask you to go to lunch take advantage of the invitation. It is an opportunity to get to know people better and gain more information about the job you’ll be doing, other people that you will be working with, either directly or indirectly, the environment that you’ll be working in, and some things you can do get up to speed quickly with the job you’ll be doing.

Expect The Unexpected

You never know what your first workday might be like. Hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices are often busy environments where everything does not go as planned. So reach out to your supervisor if you need help, and be prepared to “go with the flow” when learning your new job, especially since your job might be slightly different than the job description posted online or in a newspaper ad.

The first day in a healthcare setting sets the stage for your work experience. Your attitude and preparedness go a long way toward achieving a favorable outcome. If you want to thrive in the world of healthcare, visit the Avidity Medical Design Blog to read more articles to help you succeed the first day on your new job in healthcare.

doctor examining woman in doctor's office

Everything You Need to Know About HIPAA

If you work in the field of healthcare, you’ve more than likely heard of HIPAA law. HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This law was put into place to protect the privacy and rights of patients and to safeguard patient medical information. Whether you work in the medical industry, or you just want to understand how your medical information is being protected and secured, you need to understand HIPAA law and how it affects the use of patient information and the transmission of electronic medical records.

What is HIPAA Law?

HIPAA was originally passed in the United States and signed into law on August 21, 1996. The main purpose of HIPAA is to protect and sevure patient medical data, as well as patient insurance information, and other personal information. There are three parts to HIPAA: The Privacy Rule, The Security Rule, and the Breach Notification rule. The Privacy Rule defines PHI, Protected Health Information, as “any information held by a covered entity which concerns health status, the provision of healthcare, or payment for healthcare that can be linked to an individual.” This rules was later updated on April 21, 2005, to address electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). The Security Rule covers how patient information is protected. The third part of HIPAA, the Breach Notification Rule, pertains to what constitutes a breach of security and the steps that need to be taken if a security breach occurs and a patient’s medical information is illegally accessed. If you work in healthcare in any capacity, whether as a doctor, nurse, transcriptionist, receptionist, or even at home as a medical coder, medical writer, or medical claims examiner, you must comply with HIPAA privacy, security, and breach notification guidelines. Mandatory compliance means that anyone who works in the healthcare industry and has access to patient data must take any precautions that are necessary to remain HIPAA compliant.

What Are The Objectives of HIPAA?

HIPAA was created with the following objectives:

  • to “improve the portability and accountability of health insurance coverage” for employees between jobs
  • to combat waste, fraud and abuse within the healthcare and health insurance industries
  • to promote the use of medical savings accounts through tax breaks
  • to provide insurance coverage for employees with pre-existing medical conditions
  • to simplify health insurance administration

The Privacy and Security Rules were put into place to ensure that:

  • a patient has the right to control access to their own health information
  • a patient is not required to disclose information about any healthcare they receive that is privately funded
  • all healthcare providers take the necessary steps to determine how patient information is disclosed, whether the disclosure is in the form of physical documentation or electronic transmission
  • the patient grants permission to use their personal information for marketing, fundraising, or research purposes

Since HIPAA has changed the way that doctors, nurses, and staff handle patient medical records, insurance information, and personal data, let’s take a look at what you need to know about complying with HIPAA law, especially if you are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare.

How Do I Comply with HIPAA in the Medical Office?

If you are working in the healthcare field, or you’re thinking about working in the healthcare field, it’s important to comply with HIPAA in the medical office, as well as in your home office if you are working remotely. Here’s how to remain HIPAA compliant:

  • Keep patient records out of public reach. Make sure paper records aren’t left in open areas with public access. If the patient’s records are on a computer, make sure the monitor is facing away from a public area, or invest in a privacy screen. If the computer is in a public area, remember to sign off from your computer if you step away from your desk.
  • Be careful not to reveal personal information about patients to other patients, or to anyone else who is not directly involved with the patient’s healthcare.
  • Do not sell or otherwise release patient information to third parties. This violates HIPAA law.
  • Obtain consent from the patient themselves before releasing information to any unknown party, if someone other than the patient asks for the patient’s medical records or personal information.
  • Protect the unique access ID and password that you use to sign on to your PC, especially if you have access to individual patient charts. This is important to ensure that any information being accessed is accessed only on a need-to-know basis.
  • Ensure that you are only releasing PHI or ePHI to individuals with the right to access it – either the patient him or herself, their medical provider, or anyone the patient has allowed to have access to their medical records. Failure to comply with the HIPAA Privacy, and Security, and Breach Notification Rules places the healthcare organization – whether it is a doctor’s office or an insurance company – at risk of enforcement action which can include fines, loss of license, or loss of ability to provide insurance to patients. If an individual employee contributed to any violations, it also will put him or her at risk of disciplinary action, job loss, or even government fines. 

In summary, the important thing to remember is that patients trust their healthcare providers and staff to protect their privacy and treat their medical records and personal information with the utmost respect and discretion. Whether you are pursuing a career in the healthcare industry or you are already working in the healthcare field, consider enrolling in the course entitled “How to Learn Professionalism in Healthcare (with REAL-WORLD Examples!)” offered by Avidity Medical Design Academy. You might also consider the course entitled, “How to Read Your Own Medical Record (Learn What is in YOUR Medical Files!) ” learn more about HIPAA law from the patient’s perspective, as well as from the perspective of working in the healthcare field. Visit the Avidity Medical Design Academy website to enroll in each of these courses, as well as other courses that might help you become successful in the field of healthcare.


How to Work From Home in the Healthcare Industry

woman working in home office on computer

More managers than ever are offering employees the option of working from home. Whether it’s staying out of rush-hour traffic, being closer to your loved ones, or improving your work-life balance, there’s never been a better time to telecommute.

In this post, we’ll look at the steps you can take to work from home in the healthcare industry.  

Target the Right Industry

Before you start your search, make sure you have the right training in the right field. Not every industry is telecommute-friendly. Some industries allow you to work remotely, but in lower-paying positions with less specialized skills or required knowledge.

The healthcare industry represents the best of both worlds. The field of healthcare offers a variety of positions that require more specialized skills, and a greater degree of knowledge, in return for relatively high compensation, benefits, and schedule flexibility. 

Optimize Your Home Office (and Internet)

The key to working from home is treating your telecommuting position with the same level of responsibility that you would if you were working in the office. This means signing on to work at your scheduled start time, and adhering to your required schedule from your home office. The key to effective telecommuting also means responding to emails and instant messaging in a timely manner, and adhering to quality and productivity guidelines for the work that you are doing. While working from home can support a variety of workspaces and setups, two components you’ll need to have are a computer and a reliable Internet connection. You can only benefit from the flexibility of working from home if you have the tools necessary to communicate and complete each task on schedule.

Identify Your Options

The most common starting points when looking for remote positions are employment sites and job boards, using keywords such as “telecommute,” “remote,” and “work from home” in addition to the specific job you are interested in applying for, or the field of healthcare that you would like to explore. Some job boards offer only telecommuting positions, but they may be flooded with a large number of applicants. 

If you’re interested in working from home in the healthcare industry, we can help. Invest in yourself and improving your work-life balance by enrolling in our course entitled, “How to Make Money Working From Home in Healthcare (Full Time!).” Enroll now and get the course for the limited time offer of 50% off.

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

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!