Patient educationis the process of communicating information to a patient about his or her health, illness, treatment, and care. Patient education is provided to help patients better understand what is happening and, hopefully, to reduce the number of complications. Educated patients who exhibit a full understanding of the information provided will be less likely to suffer from complications or setbacks. In fact, patient information may even contribute to the patient’s full recovery in some instances.
Patient education can help to
- Improve patient health
- Reduce visits to the doctor
- Reduce healthcare costs by reducing hospitalizations
- Control disease, preventing it from advancing
- Motivate patients to take control of their health
It’s difficult to teach people something unless you first understand how they learn. Adults learn differently than children because their motivations are different. Adults are generally practical, goal driven, self-directed, and motivated.
They bring their life experiences with them and expect to be respected for that. On top of all of that, patients may also be dealing with difficult news about their health or may be in pain. When educating patients, these things need to be kept in mind so that the information is tailored and presented in the best possible way.
Before you can begin to provide patient education, you first need to understand how adults learn and receive information. There are three main categories of learners: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.
- Visuallearners understand better by looking at pictures or images. They retain better when educated using images, diagrams, or even written instructions. Visual people may look up a lot when talking.
- Auditorylearners prefer that you tell them the information or process instead of having them read about it. These patients generally remember verbal instructions well. Auditory people’s eyes may move from side to side when they talk.
- Kinestheticlearners like to be “hands-on.” They want to be doing something instead of just listening. Allow these learners to “play” with the model of the body while you talk about their issues or have them flip the pages on the instructions. These learners may also scribble or draw while you’re talking.
Understanding these learning styles and being able to recognize them in patients will help you tailor your teaching style so that each patient is able to understand the information you’re presenting to the best of his or her ability.
The most important thing to remember when working with children in the medical office is that they’re not miniature adults. This means that you’ll need to adjust your patient education technique when working with children. Although children exhibit the same visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learning styles as adults, it’s important to remember that you’re dealing with immature beings who might be scared about the environment and their illness. When educating children:
- Get down on their level.
- Use a softer, lower voice.
- Ask them questions.
- Use fun, interactive models, technology, videos, or pictures.
You may also be dealing with patients who have disabilities or special needs or who are very aged. In these cases, education should be tailored specifically to meet the needs of those individuals. Refer to the office policies and procedures to gain more information.
Nutritionmeans eating the foods needed for growth and to maintain health. In health care, nutrition can refer to the patient’s food requirements. Proper nutrition is vital for health and wellness. It’s important to be aware of any digestive issues and any foods that the patient can’t have. Proper nutrition is vital for patient health, and this is especially true for aging patients. Patients won’t heal if they don’t receive the proper nutrients.
The terms nutritionistand dietitianare often used interchangeably. Although they both work with food and diet, they’re different specialists. Nutritionists are interested in nutrition and the relationship diet has with health and disease. Nutritionists aren’t required to have formal accreditation. In contrasts, dietitians have at least a four-year degree and study the science of nutrition and how it affects lifestyle and health. They often have taken a series of exams so that they’re accredited as registered dietitians (RDs). Dietitians are the ones who usually work in hospitals.
Nutrientsare those substances that provide nourishment. For humans, nutrients can come in the form of food and provide the things our bodies need to thrive. The nutrients that provide energy for our body fall into three categories:
Our bodies also require nutrients to metabolize food. These include
Your textbook discusses the role of MyPyramid, the revision of the old food pyramid that was released in 2005. However, many found the new pyramid to be confusing and hard to follow. In June 2011, the USDA revealed a new program to replace MyPyramid called MyPlate. MyPlateis an image of a dinner plate divided into four portions: fruits, grains, proteins, and vegetables. A dairy component is represented by a glass off to the side. MyPlate shows that fruits and vegetables should make up more than half of our meals, with more vegetables than fruits.
On its website, the USDA offers 10 tips to a great plate:
- Balance calories. Find out how many calories you need for a day as a first step in managing your weight. Go to www.ChooseMyPlate.govto find your calorie level. Being physically active also helps you balance calories.
- Enjoy your food, but eat less. Take the time to fully enjoy your food as you eat it. Eating too fast or when your attention is elsewhere may lead to eating too many calories. Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues before, during, and after meals. Use them to recognize when to eat and when you’ve had enough.
- Avoid oversized portions. Use a smaller plate, bowl, and glass. Portion out foods before you eat. When eating out, choose a smaller-size option, share a dish, or take home part of your meal.
- Foods to eat more often. Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or 1% milk and dairy products. These foods have the nutrients you need for health—including potassium, calcium, vitamin D, and fiber. Make them the basis for meals and snacks.
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as dessert.
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk. They have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but fewer calories and less saturated fat.
- Make half your grains whole grains. To eat more whole grains, substitute a whole-grain product for a refined product—such as eating whole-wheat bread instead of white bread or brown rice instead of white rice.
- Foods to eat less often. Cut back on foods high in solid fats, added sugars, and salt. They include cakes, cookies, ice cream, candies, sweetened drinks, pizza, and fatty meats like ribs, sausages, bacon, and hot dogs. Use these foods as occasional treats, not everyday foods.
- Compare sodium in foods. Use the Nutrition Facts label to choose lower sodium versions of foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals. Select canned foods labeled “low sodium,” ”reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Cut calories by drinking water or unsweetened beverages. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major source of added sugar, and calories, in American diets.
Mental health is the state of a person’s psychological and emotional mental well-being. The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health gives the official definition of mental healthas, “the successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and the ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity.”
Mental disorders can be tricky in health care because they can be difficult to diagnose. For example, we can measure someone’s blood pressure, see that it’s consistently high, and then treat the patient with blood pressure medication. It’s much more difficult to measure a person’s mental status. In fact, the patient may even be unable to describe how he or she is feeling.
Psychologyis the study of the human mind and how it affects behavior. A psychologistis someone who specializes in the area of psychology. Most psychologists have either a master’s degree or a doctoral degree in either philosophy or psychology. Mental health professionals must complete a number of educational requirements and be licensed in order to call themselves “psychologists.” Psychologists are sometimes called therapistsor counselors.
These labels are accurate in some cases, but they may also be used by other professionals who are treating patients for behavioral issues, such as social workers who have become therapists. Psychologists generally can’t prescribe medications, although a few states do give psychologists prescribing privileges.
Psychiatryis the branch of medicine that studies and treats mental illness and emotional and behavioral issues. A psychiatristis a medical doctor who specializes in the field of psychiatry. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who can prescribe medication.
Psychological disorders, sometimes referred to as mental disorders, are behaviors and issues that are the result of mental issues (i.e., organic issues with the brain) or behavioral issues that are caused by how a person acts or behaves. In some cases, psychological disorders can be caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to toxins, poor nutrition, or stress.
Psychological disorders include
- Anxiety disorders
- Cognitive disorders
- Developmental disorders
- Dissociative disorders
- Eating disorders
- Impulse control disorders
- Mood disorders
- Personality disorders
- Psychotic disorders
- Somatoform and factitious disorders
Professionalismis the knowledge, skills, characteristics, and positive actions, such as morals and ethics, that we exhibit in our jobs. One of the things that’s different for professionalism in health care versus jobs in other industries is that we’re bound by ethical behavior and a desire to help others. No matter if a healthcare professional works in the business office processing bills or assisting the physician with the patient, there’s always that common goal of treating patients and helping them live the healthiest life possible.
- Are committed to patient care
- Abide by ethics and morals
- Uphold confidentiality
- Are trustworthy
- Take responsibilities for their actions
- Exhibit leadership
- Maintain required credentialing or licensing
- Feel a responsibility to the industry and patient care
The following types of conduct would be considered unprofessional:
- Breach of confidentiality
- Abuse of power
- Misuse of medical information other than in ways intended
- Disrespectful treatment of patients or other healthcare workers
- Conflicts of interest
Communication is a vital part of working in a physician’s office. There are different types of communication, including written, verbal, and even nonverbal communication.
Written communicationis anything that you write down—whether it be handwritten into a patient’s health record, typed into an email or a text message, or something shared on the office’s website or social media page. It’s difficult to determine tone in written communications, so be sure to avoid using slang terms, jokes, or passive-aggressive comments that could easily be misconstrued. When in doubt as to whether you should include something in a written communication, err on the side of caution and leave it out.
Writing or documenting information in a patient’s health record has its own set of standards and rules that you must follow to remain compliant with state and federal regulations. Be sure to review the office policies and procedures on documenting in a patient’s health record.
In the medical office, written communication should
- Be professional
- Consider the audience
- Use the right format for the type of communication
- Be reviewed and proofread before mailing or sending
- Avoid slang, jargon, or “text talk” abbreviations
- Use simple language and good grammar
- Stick to the facts without extraneous information added
Verbal communicationoccurs when people exchange spoken words. However, in verbal communication it isn’t just about the words someone is saying. It’s also about the words that are spoken and the speaker’s tone of voice and facial gestures and expressions.
Along with the words being spoken, listening is also an important part of verbal communication. Active listeningmeans
- Showing an interest in what’s being said
- Avoiding interrupting
- Asking good questions only after the other person has finished talking
- Leaning forward toward the speaker
- Avoiding distractions and fidgeting
Verbal modelingmeans speaking to people the way they speak to you. If they’re speaking quietly, then you should lower your voice also. Verbal modeling makes people relate to you more easily.
Nonverbal communicationis everything that happens outside of speaking when interacting with another person. Nonverbal communication includes
- Facial expressions
- Eye contact
- Hand gestures
- Closeness or proximity to the speaker
Colors communicate messages, too. In health care, it’s important to be aware of colors in the areas where patients spend time. For example, studies have shown that red can raise some people’s heart rates, whereas yellow can evoke happiness and prompt our bodies to release serotonin.
Social mediaincludes websites and applications that allow users to share information and communicate with each other online. Social media includes sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and others.
Social media enables people to share and receive up-to-the-minute information at any time throughout a day. Many medical offices are implementing social media as an additional way to market the business and to reach patients. However, utilizing social media in the healthcare setting creates issues that may not exist in other business settings. The medical field strongly regulates privacy and confidentiality, so this should always be taken into consideration when posting on social media from a healthcare environment.
Your professional imageplays an important role in how others perceive you. How you look and present yourself is the first thing that you communicate to people. If you’re unsure of your image, now is the time to work on it before you start interviewing or look to switch jobs.
Most healthcare environments will have a dress code, so you’ll want to ensure that you’re meeting that standard. Beyond that, present a professional image by
- Wearing clean clothes
- Keeping your hair tidy
- Not wearing too much cologne or perfume
- Avoiding over-the-top fashion and hair trends
Having a professional image isn’t all about how you look, it’s also about how you act. To present a professional image beyond your physical appearance:
- Be confident.
- Stand up straight.
- Make eye contact.
- Be respectful.
- Be prepared.
- Follow up when you say you will.
- Be on time.
- Refrain from gossiping.
- Support coworkers.
- Keep your work area neat and tidy.
Externship and Career Opportunities
The great thing about being a student in a healthcare field is that there’s always going to be a need for healthcare workers. No matter the state of the economy, people are still going to get sick and need treatment. Additionally, the U.S. baby boom population is aging, so more people are requiring physician services, which will require physicians, clinics, and other healthcare organizations to hire more qualified office help.
An externship, or practicum, is a way to obtain practical experience in the work environment as part of your educational process. It allows you to take what you’ve learned throughout your medical assistant training program and put it into hands-on training under the supervision of others.
The benefits of completing an externship include
- Hands-on training and exposure to real-life situations
- Better preparation for work after graduation
- Networking opportunities
- Ability to gain experience from professionals in areas that you’re not as strong in
- Chance to obtain experience across different offices or medical specialties
- Help to identify areas where you would be most interested in working
- Looks great on a resume to potential employers
During an externship, the student will most likely be assigned a manager, supervisor, or employee that he or she will “shadow” throughout each day. The student follows the designated employee and observes and participates in each area of work responsibility, including
- Administrative and clinical skills
- Physical appearance
- Interpersonal communication skills
Externship hours vary, but are generally around 160 hours of total time at the medical office site while still enrolled in a program or immediately after the school portion of the program has ended. Some students are even offered jobs at their externship site after they graduate.
During an externship, the medical assisting student is ultimately the responsibility of the physician. However, the physician may assign a preceptor, or someone to be in charge of the student while he or she is completing the externship.
Certificationis a voluntary step that a medical assistant can take after graduation. It’s a separate step that many medical assistants take to show their knowledge and commitment to the industry.
Colleges don’t offer certification for medical assistants. It’s a professional designation that’s granted by independent institutions. The American Association of Medical Assistants, or AAMA, is the main certification-granting institution for medical assistants.
Once a medical assistant has graduated from an accredited program and completed the other requirements, such as the externship, he or she is eligible to sit for the AAMA certification examination. Examinations are given throughout the year by AAMA. After passing the AAMA certification examination and being awarded the CMA certification, you can then use the certification with your name like this: Jane Doe, CMA (AAMA).
Becoming certified is an optional step in your career as a medical assistant. However, it’s strongly recommended that you consider the certification. Many offices will only hire those who have their certification or are in the process of getting their certification.
- Shows your commitment to the industry
- Provides more job opportunities
- Opens doors for networking events
- Allows you to remain current on industry standards and changes
- Improves your pay rate or salary
- Provides discounts on things like insurance
Preparing for the Job Search
Once you’ve completed your training and the externship, you should start preparing for your job search. It’s normal to be nervous during this process because it’s a time of change and adjustment in your life. You’re finally moving from being a student into the workforce.
To prepare for your transition from a student to a professional in the healthcare industry, you should do the following:
- Research jobs. Start online by researching jobs in your area. Learn what types of jobs are available or which organizations have recently hired. Don’t be afraid to ask your externship if they’re hiring or if they know anyone who is hiring.
- Prepare your resume and references. Preparing your resume can be tricky as a new graduate, especially if you’ve never worked in the industry before or have little to no job experience. In this case, focus on your resume as a marketing document that lists your career objectives, grade point average (if it’s good), and any volunteer experiences. Also, ask your externship and volunteer sites for reference letters.
- Network. Networking is a huge part of helping people get jobs, but something that’s often overlooked by new graduates. As you’re nearing completion of your training program, you should start joining networking groups. You can find them through a professional organization such as the AAMA or even on local meetup sites like http://www.Meetup.com.
- You don’t have to only attend healthcare-related networking
events. Business networking events and social events will be
beneficial for you, too. Just meeting and talking to new people
about what you’re looking for will help keep your name out there
for potential jobs.
An important part of networking is grabbing someone’s attention within the first 60 seconds of meeting them. This is called the “elevator pitch,” and it can help determine if people are going to remember you or not. Before you attend a networking event, write down and practice your elevator pitch—who you are, what you’re looking for, and why you’re there. Remember, at some networking events there will be hundreds of people. You need a way to stand out and get people to remember you, so be creative and interesting!
- Clean up your social media. Are there pictures, statements, or information on your Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram site, Pinterest page, or other social network that has information you would prefer a potential employer not to see? It’s time to clean up your social networking profiles! Take a fresh look at your social media accounts and see if there’s anything that might need to be removed.
- Get active on social media. One of the first things you should do if you haven’t already is to join LinkedIn. LinkedIn.com is a free professional networking site and one many people turn to find candidates to fill their positions. Consider it your online resume. Also, get on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media forums to let people know you’re looking for a job. Change your job and status to something like, “Looking for a job as a medical assistant in the Detroit metro area.”
- Have a plan for in case you don’t get hired right away. So you’ve done everything the right way and you’re still not getting any bites. Now what? Don’t despair! The worst thing you can do is sit around and brood about it. It’s during this time that you need to put even more time into networking. Create a schedule where you’re networking weekly and also reaching out to professionals. Additionally, find a place to volunteer in the healthcare industry. On your resume, this will translate as you being a go-getter who is ready to be in the industry!
Creating a Resume
Creating a resume is a daunting task for anyone, especially if you’re just graduating and don’t have a great deal of experience to put on it. So, how do you create a strong resume with your current background?
When creating a resume for today’s market, you need to include the following:
- A branding statementof 15 or fewer words that states your expertise
- An objective statementthat lists your experience as it relates to the job
- A headlinethat reveals why you would be valuable to the company
- A profile summary paragraphlisting skills and qualifications
- An educational or career summarylisting your education or skills
For new graduates, additional things to include on a resume that could be beneficial include technical experience, volunteer experiences, and professional association memberships.
When creating a resume, DO
- Tailor your resume for each job you submit it to
- Make it organized with a lot of “white space”
- Make sure the top one-third will entice your potential employer to read on
- Format your resume so it can also be read on mobile devices
- Proofread and then proofread again!
- Use action words and phrases (e.g., collaborated, defined, raised, managed)
When creating a resume, DON’T
- Provide your full address; you’ll have the opportunity to provide that information later
- List a career objective
- Highlight your education and relevant coursework
- Use weird fonts; stick to standards like Times New Roman
- Use colored paper or colored fonts
- Use weird, unprofessional email addresses like [email protected]
- Embellish or stretch the truth to fill up your resume
- Put references on your resume; there will be other opportunities to submit them
- Make it more than two pages
- Include information about high school
- Include personal social media accounts
The purpose of a cover letteris to introduce yourself to the potential employer and describe why you’re contacting them. Like your resume, you’ll create or tailor the cover letter for each job.
When creating your cover letter:
- Address it to a specific person.
- Tell him or her why you’re a good fit.
- Be sure to include your contact information.
One of the best ways to help you stand out from other cover letters is to match their qualifications up with your experience. Every job advertised will have a list of needs. Pick three to five of those from the listing and match your skills up with it. In the cover letter, this would look like:
|YOUR NEEDS||MY QUALIFICATIONS|
|Schedule patient appointments||Over 2 years of scheduling experience|
|Provide quality customer service||"Best Customer Service" award for 2014|
|Verify patient insurance||Volunteered at insurance company|
H02 Medical Office Management 2
Directions: Be sure to save an electronic copy of your answer before submitting it to Ashworth College for grading. Unless otherwise stated, answer in complete sentences, and be sure to use correct English, spelling and grammar. Sources must be cited in APA format. Your response should be at least two (2) double-spaced pages; refer to the "Assignment Format" page located on the Course Home page for specific format requirements.
In Lessons 5 through 8, you learned about the medical assistant’s role in radiology, electrocardiography, pulmonary function, physical therapy, rehabilitation, pharmacology, and medication administration, as well as patient education, nutrition, and mental health. You also learned about professionalism and career opportunities for medical assistants. For this written assignment, the concepts learned from Lessons 5–8 will be applied. Please review the learning objectives for Lessons 5–8 prior to beginning work on this assignment.
Complete Parts A, B, C, and D for this assignment.
Part A:Marge Riley, an overweight 50-year-old woman with a history of abdominal pain, has been scheduled for a lower GI series on Monday morning. She states she has board meetings every Monday morning at which breakfast is served and that she will come in for her x-rays after the meeting is over. Marge indicates that she does not understand why she needs these procedures.
Provide detailed answers for each of the following questions. Your response should be at least 150 words in length.
- What, if anything, would you tell the patient regarding her need for these procedures?
- How would you describe these procedures to the patient?
- What combination of teaching methods would you use to explain the procedures?
- You are still concerned, after explaining everything to Marge, that she will not follow the instructions. What do you do?
Part B:Jenny Watmore, a medical assistant working in Dr. Cory’s orthopedic practice, has been asked to assist Mr. Ivy from the wheelchair onto the examination table. Mr. Ivy, who is 70 years old, is weakened on the left side of his body from a cerebrovascular accident (CVA). He weighs 200 pounds and is reluctant to provide much help to Jenny when she has to transfer him from the wheelchair to the examination table.
Provide detailed answers for each of the following questions. Your response should be at least 150 words in length.
- How can Jenny get Mr. Ivy to help her assist him?
- Describe the body mechanics that Jenny should use to assist Mr. Ivy.
- What patient education does Mr. Ivy need?
- What documentation should Jenny provide on Mr. Ivy’s record?
Part C:Dr. Waring has a solo practice. When she is on vacation, she arranges for Dr. Dumphey to cover her patients. Dr. Dumphey’s medical assistant, Theresa, has just received a call from a patient of Dr. Waring. The patient is an elderly woman, with multiple medical problems, who is possibly having a reaction to a medication that Dr. Waring prescribed two days ago for bronchitis. Her symptoms include nausea, upset stomach, dizziness, headache, rash on her chest, and extreme exhaustion. Theresa senses that the patient may be exhibiting some disorientation to time and place, because it is difficult to elicit consistent responses from her regarding her medications. The patient reports to Theresa that the newest medication she has been taking is Biaxin. The other medications she takes include Prinivil, Cardizem CD, Premarin, Prilosec, Robaxin, Zocor, Ambien, Prozac, Fosamax, Seldane, and aspirin. The patient does not know the dosage of any of these medications but is willing to “open up her bag of medicine” and read each prescription label to Theresa.
Provide detailed answers for each of the following questions. Your response should at least 200 words in length.
- Does Theresa have an obligation, as Dr. Dumphey’s medical assistant, to handle this situation with this patient, or should Dr. Waring simply be notified?
- Is this an emergency situation or potential emergency situation and, if so, what should Theresa do immediately?
- Because the patient seems disoriented, should Theresa even trust what the patient is reporting?
- Should Theresa have the patient read the label of each of her medications?
- What should Stacy do to prepare for the interview with Sarah?
- Considering that the practice is limited to ophthalmology, would any special requirements be warranted in a medical assistant who was going to work in this area?
- Considering that the clinic’s patient population is mixed by age and race, would any special requirements in a medical assistant be warranted in this case?
- Is it proper procedure for Sarah to be applying for this position given that she has not yet completed her medical assisting program?
- Should Stacy, given the circumstances, invest a lot of time in interviewing Sarah? Why or why not?
- Should Sarah’s ten-year-old job experience be factored into Stacy’s decision to hire Sarah or not?
- If Stacy decides not to hire Sarah, does Stacy need to personally contact the reference and thank him anyway, given that he is a friend of Dr. Keeler?
Part D:Stacy Friedlander is the lead medical assistant in an ophthalmology practice of ten physicians. The eye clinic has patients, literally, from all over the world. Several of the physicians are leaders in their specific area of ophthalmology, such as Dr. Keeler, who specializes in retinal diseases.
Today, Stacy is going to interview a potential new employee, Sarah Banks. Sarah is currently finishing a CAAHEP-approved medical-assisting program at a local college and is searching for full-time employment. She has some on-the-job experience dating back to when she was an after-school receptionist for a general practitioner, but that was more than ten years ago.
The clinic tends to hire medical assistants who are certified, experienced, and very capable of dealing with patients from different age groups, races, and cultures. However, Sarah is being considered for the position because, first of all, her father is a personal friend of Dr. Keeler and, second, qualified medical assistants are difficult to find because of the high demand.
Provide detailed answers for each of the following questions. Your response should at least 150 words in length.
Please refer to the rubric on the next page for the grading criteria for this assignment.
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