Be Your Own Health Care Professional

I grew up in an age when rural Saskatchewan doctors made house calls. They also did hospital rounds and ran a clinic. They usually knew their patients well because they delivered many of them. Lab work and x-rays were done in one location – at the local hospital. Specialists were almost unheard of and that meant that the local doctor needed to deal with pretty well everything.

Things have changed so much! Now clinics have huge waiting lists of people who do not have a family physician. Those who are ill and do not have a family physician often end up seeing a walk-in doctor who merely deals with the presenting surface issue without all the medical history. Some end up waiting for hours at a time in a triage system at the local Emergency ward.

Because of specialization, the doctor who, in the past, would have been the “expert” now plays a role similar to the quarterback on a football team. S/he does an intake meeting and then sends out appropriate referrals to other professionals who diagnose and treat.

Well, no matter who you see or what your situation is, you are the one who actually understands your body and mind the best. Because of this, it is important that you do some things to ensure that you obtain and maintain a healthy condition:

1. Keep good records – Start a book or electronic site where you record information. Before you go to see a physician or health professional, write down all the concerning symptoms as well as your questions. Make sure that your book has a list of the medications that you are taking. Your pharmacist will provide a copy for you. During or immediately after your appointment you can write down new information that your physician has provided you. Keeping track of all your appointments and health concerns in this book will help you to keep accurate information without having to try to remember things. A secure clip on the front of your book will allow you to safety hold new prescription requisitions or other handouts received during appointments.

2. Watch for change – Are you losing or gaining weight? Do you sleep less or more than usual? Has your mood been different? When did you first start experiencing new pain or notice unfamiliar bumps and bruises? On a scale of one to ten, (with one being the worst and ten being the best situation), how do you rate the seriousness of your problem? Make written notes about these things in your boo.

3. Do your research – Not everything on the internet is accurate and experience that your friends might tell you about may not apply to you. At the same time, however, there are ways that you can learn about your diagnosis or if there are treatment options available for you to try. The library, computer and acquaintances are all good sources for learning about health, illness and treatment.

4. Be wise – Ensuring that you eat a nutritious diet and get enough rest are the foundation of good health care practice. Limit your alcohol and caffeine consumption as well as your stress. Exercise, find positive ways to contribute to society and laugh!

5. Be a good advocate for you – If your physician promised to do something and you aren’t sure if it was done, call his/her office to find out. Remember, physicians are extremely busy. It is up to you to follow up if you haven’t heard by the date given. I see many clients who wait for information thinking that “someone” will call them and “someone” never calls. Be pro-active. Also, be willing to ask if there is a cancellation list that you can be on if your next appointment is far down the road. If you have trouble understanding or remembering details, ask a friend or family member to attend your appointment with you and make notes. You are in the “business” of health care.

Your physician has only a few short minutes to meet with you. During that time s/he needs to gather information, determine a diagnosis and then recommend treatment. On the other hand, you have twenty-four hours a day on every single day of the year to take care of yourself, record information and make good health care choices.

In today’s busy world it is more of a responsibility than ever for you to take responsibility to be well and stay well!

RN Nurses Make Up the Largest Group of Health Care Professionals

The largest group of health care professionals…and growing

RN Nurses belong to the largest group of health care professionals in the US today. In 2008 there existed 2.6 million nursing jobs in the US. 60 % of this number was employed in hospitals while various smaller health care and health education facilities accounted for the rest. The nursing profession is divided into many specializations, each classified according to the branch of medicine to which they belong and the type of service that is required of the nurse.

Types of Nursing Care

You may for instance have RN nurses trained especially to care for the elderly. Within this capacity, a nurse may give primary health care, nursing care, drug administration care and specialty care.

Primary health care refers to the advice and services given for initial check-ups and health problems. While this form of health care is usually associated with doctors, RN nurses may also dispose of these functions within their scope of competence.

Nursing care refers to overseeing the implementation of the physician’s directives. In this capacity, RN nurses may provide psychiatric care for mentally disturbed people. This category also includes caring for women in their pre-natal stage and after they give birth.

RN nurses may also take care of administering drugs to patients in accordance with the prescription of the attending physician.

Specialty care denotes the services rendered by nurses within their field of specialization. As such we have nurses who provide geriatric care for old people, cardiac care for people affected with heart ailments, and so on.

What are the prospects for RN nurses?

Because of the many areas of medical concern that nurses serve and the above-mentioned types of nursing services, the number of possible jobs for a nurse will be the number of fields of Medical Science multiplied by the number of service types. Obviously, the opportunities are ideally inexhaustible, considering that world population is growing in numbers, if not in terms of birth rate.

Facts about US population

Today, the batch of people in the US between age of 46 to 65 belong to that special group called “boom babies” who were born between 1947 and 1964, immediately after World War II. This period is characterized by a high birth rate percentage, peaking at 2 % in 1950 and fluctuating down to 1.4 in 1964. Since then the birth rate has dropped to below 1 %.

The “boom babies” represent a dramatic rise in the population. It is anticipated that as the people belonging to this batch age, the need for geriatric nursing care will constantly rise. If we were to consider the youngest individuals in the group (aged 45), we would expect the need for geriatric nursing care to up for the next 35 or 40 years. And considering that elderly patients may have other problems besides their old age to contend with, we should anticipate the over-all need for nurses to rise within that period.

What about the Recession?

The nursing profession has not remained unaffected by the economic crisis in the sense that a great number of lay-offs have been witnessed since 2007. But as a result, the number of RN nurses who are employed in hospitals is far below the population of patients that have to be attended to. Because of this current shortage, hospitals are hiring once more.

Besides openings in health care institutions, RN nurses should not have difficulty finding jobs with the private sector. There are millions of people needing health care of one kind or another who would prefer to stay at home. An RN with initiative should never find himself/herself without practice.

How iPad Will Benefit Medical Billers and Health Care Professionals

The bottom line of any health care profession is the paperwork produced and the amount of record keeping involved. It is almost as if there is a virtual breeding ground for forms, printouts and charts, which seem to multiply almost at will. Health care professionals who have trained in the medical insurance billing and coding discipline require cautious prescription to make sure medical information is rotated properly. Without this commitment, the health care industry would stop dead in its tracks.

What may be termed as ‘information clutter,’ comes from an inherent redundancy to reproduce information on a daily basis. And the reproduction of paperwork is something no health care practitioner can avoid. It is the express duty of the health care staff to make sure each patient has an up-to-date paper file on hand for attending physicians. The turning and churning of information has created a virtual Mount Everest of medical documentation.

The good news is there is a solution on the horizon that answers the question of how to eliminate the time committed to paperwork. With the advent of Apple’s new iPad, records modernization gains a powerful new tool. Not only is the iPad an answer to laborious paperwork, it is also a solution that eliminates the need to carry around cumbersome medical texts. The iPad can store a virtual library of medical knowledge, which can be quickly assessable at a moment’s notice.

Just imagine the benefits gained by a doctor’s ability to access full color imagery, charts, x-rays, test results and charts on the spot. And patients have always complained about the lengthy process of signing in, filling out registration forms and taking surveys. While forms are always necessary to fill out, the iPad allows the process to be completed and consolidated from one source.

The iPad can also make a doctor infinitely more effective and address the very real concerns of patients who can receive real-time audiovisual presentations — helping to reduce medical vernacular into every day laymen’s terms.

Select hospitals are already using the iPad for medical documentation and retrieval. Overall, physicians and medical billers are overwhelmingly enthusiastic about its potential applications. Apple’s iPhone is already a huge hit with many doctors and nurses who are privy to the thousands of applications designed specifically for the health care industry. In the coming years, the iPad expects to booster its offerings beyond those already available for the iPhone.

It may only be a matter of time before the Apple iPad becomes a mainstay in the offices and work place environment of doctors and health care practitioners.