EQ/EI: The “Other” Skillset

The proper education, training, and experience are critical factors in qualifying for many employment opportunities within the healthcare sector. But just as crucial is an entirely different set of skills labeled and categorized as “emotional quotient” (EQ) or “emotional intelligence” (EI).

Elaine Houston, positive psychology researcher and writer describes it as, Emotional intelligence (EI) forms the juncture at which cognition and emotion meet, it facilitates our capacity for resilience, motivation, empathy, reasoning, stress management, communication, and our ability to read and navigate a plethora of social situations and conflicts. EI matters, and if cultivated, allows one to realize a more fulfilled and happy life.”

A well-developed emotional quotient results in a myriad of positive life applications, relating to both personal and work scenarios. EQ inspires more exceptional performance, lessens the prevalence of burnout, and promotes a better work-life balance to name but a few of the perks.

Consider the realities of working in a healthcare facility:

  • The prevalence of stressful situations.
  • The tendency for emotions to run high.
  • The weight of long shifts and serious responsibilities.

Factor in the need for efficient teamwork and the importance of effective communication, and the value of the EQ skillset becomes crystal clear.

“But what if I’m not blessed with emotional intelligence? What then?”

The good news is that emotional intelligence is not something you must be born with. These sought-after skills can be learned and developed.

“Although some people have a natural gift for EI, anyone can improve his or her ability to understand and wrangle emotions,” says Falon Fatemi. “The first step is to want to empathize with others and understand his or her own feelings better.”

Fatemi offers these strategies for gaining a better grasp of emotions and their impact.

Slow down

Instead of making rash decisions and letting impulse reactions call the shots, force yourself to step back and breathe. Consider why it is you’re angry, overwhelmed, distressed, etc. Recognize what triggers such emotions, and over time, strive to redirect your reactions into thoughtful responses.

Listen like you mean it

Fatemi advises, “When people talk to you, give them your full attention. Notice their body movement and tension. Are they excited to talk to you? Are their palms sweating? Do they want sympathy, or are they just blowing off some steam?” Such attentiveness will help you notice both overall and individual patterns, which will enable you to tailor your communication attempts to specific occasions and scenarios.

Be open-minded

“If you can think through the various possibilities for why you or someone else are acting a certain way, you’re much more likely to identify a solution that is rational, fair, and elegant,” suggests Fatemi. Again, a slower, more thoughtful approach will yield valuable insights.

Because understanding the unique needs of medical facilities is the primary goal of Medical Temporaries, Inc., we have honed the process of matching quality candidates with positions that fit their skills and employment needs. Let Medical Temporaries assist in making your career dreams come true. Contact our team today.

4 Strategies for Success as a Home Health Nurse

With 75 percent of Americans over age 65 and coping with the chronic health conditions related to aging, the growing need for home health care can only increase. In fact, according to CNBC, the job outlook for home health care nurses is expected to grow by 26 percent from 2016 to 2026,  much faster than most professions. 

According to Bayada Home Health Care, “Trends in insurance reimbursement and the growth of the US population all point to the home setting as the new epicenter of health care delivery. It means that today and into the foreseeable future, there will be more opportunity for nurses to work, advance their skills, and pursue leadership careers in the field of home nursing than ever before.” 

In addition to plentiful opportunities and job security, home health care nursing offers many other perks.

  • Flexible schedules
  • Opportunities for one-on-one care that allows relationships to develop
  • Fewer distractions for both caregiver and patient in the home setting
  • Scenarios better suited to educating patients about their health

For many nurses, the sum of these perks provides the rewarding experience they sought when entering the profession. But to be successful in this branch of nursing requires attention to several areas, which those practicing in a doctor’s office or hospital setting need not be concerned with.

Dependable transportation

Keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape by adhering to a routine maintenance schedule and addressing issues as quickly as possible will be a must. Something as simple as establishing a habit around filling the fuel tank will guard against emergency stops for fuel that could interfere with your scheduled home visits.

 The essentials, please . . .

With an understanding that the list will include entirely different items for the on-the-go nurse. Such things as a flashlight for any number of situations, dog treats for making up with clients’ pets, disinfectant wipes handy for a myriad of scenarios, and better toss in a can of bug spray for late-in-the-day summer calls. A spare pair of scrubs and a change of shoes will almost certainly be needed at some point.

A mindset toward preparedness and exceptional organization

The bag that totes your patient care and administrative supplies will become your best friend. At least it will if it keeps everything you need at the tip of your fingers. Think durable, with many easily accessible compartments, and don’t forget comfortable to carry.

Admin supplies that are readily available at the nurses’ station must find a place in this bag. Pens, highlighter, post-its, and paper clips are just the beginning of the list. Remember the pamphlets and educational brochures, forms, forms, and more forms. You get the idea.

Be prepared to arrange, adjust, and shift until you arrive at the perfect set-up.

Next-level professionalism

While boundaries in a health care facility are clearly defined, the home setting requires nurses to be on high alert for scenarios that can’t be described in the handbook. The goal should always be to adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct while delivering the best care in a friendly manner.

For more than 20 years, Medical Temporaries, Inc., has been building bridges to help healthcare workers reach their career goals and assist premier medical facilities with recruiting and hiring. We have the relationships and resources to make these best-fit connections in a timely manner. Give us a call today to see what Medical Temporaries can do for your career.

 

5 Strategies for Lovin’ on Your Employees

“When a manager recognizes an employee’s behavior, personally and sincerely, both feel proud, gratified, and happy. There’s a human connection that transcends the immediate culture to create a shared bond. The power of this bond is stronger than you might think; indeed, it’s the power that holds together great organizational cultures.”

 – Erik Mosley and Derek Irvine, co-authors of The Power of Thanks: How Social Recognition Empowers Employees and Creates a Best Place to Work

While Valentine’s Day is most known for a focus on couples, there’s no reason the “love” holiday can’t inspire the management team to shower some love on their staff.

Smart leaders and managers know that it’s always the right time to show employees appreciation, but knowing about and acting upon a valuable principle are often two very different situations. The best of intentions gets pushed aside the urgent.  But really, what’s more important than boosting the morale of your workforce with well-deserved praise and recognition?

The Human Factor Inc. reminds us that, “Recognition doesn’t have to be big, time-consuming, or expensive. In fact, the most meaningful recognition often comes simply from saying ‘thank you’ for a job well done. But there are times when the situation calls for more than just a simple verbal acknowledgment.”

So, stop letting the day-to-day routine of customer service, meetings, and deadlines interfere with the critical need to demonstrate appreciation to your staff. Why not make a conscious effort this month to go all-out in showing appreciation to your hard-working team? Let these ideas get the appreciation ball rolling.

   1. Take the extra time to listen

To concerns, ideas, complaints, pie-in-the-sky dreams. Whatever’s on their minds, take time to hear it. Of course, an open-door policy just makes sense, all year long, but why not make February heart-to-heart month. Or March. The when isn’t as important as how and why. Encouraging employees to get to the heart of whatever concerns them will have positive effects.

   2. Share a meal

 Plan a breakfast or lunchtime gathering. If the company can spring for all or a portion of the food and beverages, awesome. If that’s not possible, then make it a potluck and extend the time frame. Create a light, fun mood. Make a speech, expressing that without the group of dedicated workers, the business wouldn’t exist. Because you understand that, right? Offer door prizes—even little things will add to the occasion. Introduce idea #3.

   3. Spread the love around

Strongly encourage everyone to consider with whom they can share a note, an email message, or an in-person word of appreciation. Nudge them with examples to get them thinking. Help them remember that time when someone stepped up, reached out, stayed late, went the extra mile—the list is endless. Leadership can and should set the pace with notes, messages, and in-person conversations expressing appreciation. Supply blank cards and pens to encourage here-and-now participation.

   4. Make appreciation the norm

Establish a “recognition box” where both management and staff can drop in a note of appreciation to a co-worker. Institute a monthly or quarterly “High Five” award to be given to an individual or team in honor of their recent efforts/attitude/success. Methods of recognition are only limited by your imagination. So, ponder what scenarios best fit your company’s culture and get cracking.

   5. Celebrate Valentine’s as long as the candy lasts

Hit the clearance aisle on February 15, or soon after, and snatch up the price-slashed little boxes of chocolate, the “Conversation Hearts,” the big boxes of chocolate, the Valentine napkins, and plates, etc. And don’t pass up packages of the wee Valentine’s Day cards elementary-aged lasses and lassies give to their classmates. Share the stash over the next couple of weeks in the break room. Or better yet, place a sweet treat on each desk/at each workstation. Leave the package of kiddie Valentine’s on the break room table with instruction to “Share words of appreciation with a co-worker!”

Let this Valentine’s-Day-inspired appreciation campaign be the kick-off for a year of loving on your greatest company asset: the men and women who fill the positions in your workforce.

Medical Temporaries, Inc., appreciates the opportunity to partner with the premier health care facilities in the greater Virginia Beach area, to meet their staffing needs. We strive to make every candidate/employer connection the best fit possible because, ultimately, your success is our success. Contact our team of staffing specialists today.

A Valentine’s Day Salute to Better Health

Love is on many minds as the dreariness of February dons the red and pink hues of Valentine’s Day. Although expressing love and affection between family members and friends garners a slice of Valentine’s Day attention, the holiday is most known in this country for a focus on romantic love, with millions of Valentine’s Day cards and gifts exchanged between sweethearts.

Some argue the February 14th holiday is but a scheme for the card, candy, and flower vendors to dupe folks out of their hard-earned cash. And while the commercialization of Valentine’s Day has, undeniably, increased, that’s no reason to forego celebrating the loving relationships in our lives. One significant motivation for celebrating all things love related is the myriad of health benefits experienced by those who find themselves surrounded by love.

When it comes to friendships, Kirtly Parker Jones, MD, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Utah Healthcare, notes, “People involved in loving, philia-based relationships have [fewer] doctor visits, shorter hospital visits, have less pain, and have more positive emotions.” 

The romantic-couple kind of love is powerful as well“We are social creatures, and we do best when we have strong social support systems,” explains Baran Kilical, MD, a cardiologist at Anne Arundel Medical Center. “Being in love can affect everything from your stress levels to your heart health.”

Specific health benefits related to loving relationships include—

  • Longevity

Social ties and longevity have been positively linked in numerous studies. “People, particularly men, are healthier when they’re married, and they live longer,” says Jones.

Factors such as reduced stress—a benefit in and of itself—as well as a willingness to give up bad, health-harming habits to support the relationship, result in better health. And notes Dr. Helen Riess, author, and director of the Empathy and Relational Science Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, “Couples encourage each other to go to the doctor when they don’t want to.”

  • Improved heart and lung health

The old ticker gets a big boost from loving relationships. Married folks experience half the risk of death from heart disease over their unmarried or divorced counterparts, along with a lowered risk of death following a heart attack. Strong, loving relationships tend to lower blood pressure and heart rate, likely due to a decreased stress response.

The same goes for the lungs. Being married can help ward off complications and death from pneumonia, shorten hospital stays, reduce the likelihood of ventilator support, and the need for admission to an intensive care unit.

  • Less anxiety, less loneliness

“The feeling of loneliness stimulates anxiety, which is mediated by different neurotransmitters, like norepinephrine,” states Riess. “Also, cortisol and adrenaline levels rise when people feel insecure and threatened.” But close, loving relationships lessen both loneliness and anxiety.

So, this February, make a point to appreciate and nurture the loving relationships in your life. Your physical, mental, and emotional health will thank you.

Medical Temporaries, Inc., is proud to partner with the premier health care facilities whose priority is to provide state-of-the-art health care services to the greater Virginia Beach community. Our goal is and has always been to recruit and staff qualified, reliable, and professional health care workers for our client facilities. Contact our team today.

 

 

 

Safety Tips for a Hazard-Free Winter

It’s that time of year again when our focus shifts to wintery weather.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac editor, Janice Stillman, “For some parts of the country, frigid and frosty conditions will last well into spring, bringing little relief to the winter-weary. It could feel like the never-ending winter, particularly in the Midwest and east to the Ohio Valley and Appalachians, where wintery weather will last well into March, and even through the first days of spring.”

Despite the beauty of a fresh blanket of powdery white flakes, winter comes with a hefty share of hazards. Being mindful of the dangers and intentional with safeguards will make this winter a safer season for you and your family.

Beware of falls

Did you know that falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in adults 45 and older? Consider these fall-prevention tips from Hinsdale Chiropractic Health Care.

1. Choose the right footwear. Shoes/boots with excellent traction and a proper fit. Consider snow boots or hiking boots for the best protection. 

2. Leave early. Allow plenty of time for comings and goings as falls are more likely to happen when one is rushing about.

3. Walk like a penguin. Take short steps and walk as flat-footed as possible on icy or slippery ground.

4. Keep your hands free. Avoid carrying heavy loads or stowing hands in your pockets as “hands-free” will offer better balance.

5. Keep walkways free of snow and ice. Shovel, scrape, and apply ice melt frequently.

6. Utilize exterior lights. A lighted pathway is always safer. 

7. Keep your cell phone with you. Even on quick trips to the mailbox or the car, a phone will allow a call for help should a fall occur. 

 Beware of shoveling and snow-blowing injuries

Shoveling snow or using a snowblower are among winter’s most grueling activities. High levels of activity in cold temperatures put many people at risk of heart attack, especially those that have inactive lifestyles,” warns the National Safety Council.

Dress in layers being mindful of the need for adequate protection of the head, face, and hands.

Share snow removal responsibilities among family members. Take frequent breaks and head inside at the very first sign of over-exertion, pain, or lightheadedness.

Beware of the dangers of outside play

Of course, the kids want to play in the snow! But in their enthusiasm, little ones may be a bit careless about the hats, hoods, gloves, and boots that will protect them from winter’s cold. Waterproof coats and pants or snowsuits will be their best defense against the cold, wet snow we expect them to roll about in as they play. 

The threat of frostbite and hypothermia are very real dangers regardless of the outside activity or the age of the participants.

“Frostbite can happen within minutes,” warns the National Weather Service. “If people suspect frostbite, they should head to a heated location and begin warming up using warm water or body heat, seeking medical attention for severe frostbite.”

“Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 95 degrees,” advises the National Safety Council. “Hypothermia is most associated with exposure to extreme cold, but it can also occur at higher temperatures if a person becomes chilled from being soaked with rain or submerged in water.”

Medical Temporaries, Inc., encourages safe enjoyment of the great outdoors this winter. Remember to contact our team of staffing specialists for assistance with both sides of the employment equation. 

Bringing Awareness to the Need for Blood Donations

“Someone’s blood saved my life and made my mom smile – was that you?” – A five-year-old kid

January is National Blood Donor Month. Unfortunately, wintery weather and the expected instances of flu and colds create obstacles that often hamper donors’ ability to give and challenge the annual drive’s efforts to collect life-saving donations.

“Tens of thousands of blood donors are needed each day across the U.S. to transform the lives of patients requiring blood transfusions,” says Mitzy Edgecomb, vice president of marketing and communications at Vitalant. “Summer and winter are notoriously difficult times for collecting enough blood donations, but the need does not stop and can even rise due to increased travel, activity, adverse weather events, and cold and flu season, among other factors.”

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood, creating a demand that is too often greater than the supply. A primary reason for the shortage is, frankly, that giving blood is not top-of-mind.

A 2019 survey conducted on behalf of the Red Cross indicated a troubling disconnect between the public’s perception of blood donations and the reality of the needs.

  • When it comes to donations, people primarily thought of clothes (69%), money (63%), and food (53%) as ways to help others in the past year. Yet only 3% of people in the U.S. give blood.
  • A third (33%) of the public has never considered that blood may not be available when a loved one needs it.
  • While blood transfusion is one of the most common hospital procedures in the U.S., “Never really thought about it” was cited as the primary reason, (26%) that people do not give blood among those who haven’t given recently.

Facebook Joins Forces with Blood Donation Organizations

In mid-2019, the social media giant launched its Blood Donations feature in the U.S. Since 2017, the company had been working with blood donation centers worldwide to leverage its monumental platform not only to reach potential donors but also to connect with them in times of need. Facebook now partners with various organizations across the U.S., including America’s Blood Centers, the American Red Cross, Inova, New York Blood Center, Rock River Valley Blood Center, Stanford Blood Center, Versiti and Vitalant.

“People will see and respond to these blood donation requests and opportunities on the Blood Donations destination on Facebook. They can also use tools on this page to inspire their friends to donate, too,” reports Sarah Perez.

Millennials to the Rescue

Abbott sees millennials as the key to combating the shortage of blood donations. The Abbott-YouGov May 2019 survey noted that of the millennials surveyed, 12% say they are regularly donating blood. Known for their passion and activism toward causes they believe in, this vast segment of the population could have a notable impact on the nation’s blood supply.

“Millennials are known for wanting to impact global issues positively, and we are hoping to see that passion applied to donating blood,” says Alexander Carterson, M.D., Ph.D., global medical director, Transfusion Medicine, Abbott.

What would motivate millennials to donate? Survey results reveal inspiring factors, including —

  • 23% would donate if they knew someone who needed blood
  • 20% would donate if there were special needs specifically for their blood type
  • 18% said they’d be inspired if they could see the impact on someone’s life

“Historically, 45% of blood donations in the U.S. are from people 50 and older,” notes the global healthcare leader.  “A large portion of these regular donors are baby boomers who are starting to reach an age when they develop health problems that make them ineligible to give blood. With millennials expected to overtake baby boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation in 2019, it’s more critical than ever that this new generation of blood donors step up to take boomers’ place.

Combating the Myths about Donating Blood

The Blood Center dispels these common myths that can deter potential donors.

  • “I might get a disease from donating blood.”

Because all equipment is brand new, state-of-the-art, disposable, and used only one time, the procedure is entirely safe.

  • “They don’t really need my type.”

All types, including common ones like O-positive and A-positive, are needed by patients all the time. The need is on-going, constant, and too often reaches critical levels.

  • “I’m too young or too old.”

With a minimum age of 16 and no upper age limit whatsoever, a person’s health, not age, is the primary concern.

  • “Other people must be giving enough blood.”

Less than 5% of the eligible population donates blood.

“Donating blood is the one selfless act that most people can do to transform three lives from just one donation,” said Dave Green, CEO and President of Vitalant, formerly Blood Systems. “We’re asking everyone, especially the younger generations, to step up and donate so they can save lives, and maybe transform their own in the process.”

Because Medical Temporaries, Inc., cares about your community as much as you do, we rate all applicants on their professionalism and overall presentation. Our goal is to provide our premier healthcare facility clients with qualified, reliable, and professional health care workers. Get 2020 off to a great start by contacting our team of staffing specialists today.

 

Career Goals Check-Up for 2020

You know the poking nudge you get each January to reflect on your professional life? The prodding you often try to tamp down or ignore altogether? Well, considering that this January not only launches a new year, but a new decade, now is the time to give serious thought to your career.

Are you happy with your current employment scenario? Do you long for something fresh and new? Have you put off additional training, certifications, or coursework? Are you moving forward or are you stuck in a rut? Bottom line—are you where you want to be? If the answer is no, the key is to ask, “What am I going to do about it?”

Career whiz and head of content for Humu, Liz Fosslien, sees goals as incredible motivators. “An effective goal will push you to get things done — but keep yourself honest. Research also shows that the more decisions we get to make for ourselves, the better we feel and the harder we work. When you commit to making something happen, you boost the chances that it will actually become a reality.”

So, what would you like to see on the career front? What needs to take place to get you there? When it comes to setting professional goals, Laura Petrolino suggests answering these four questions:

  • What do I want to learn?
  • What do I want to create?
  • Who do I want to affect?
  • Where do I need to improve?

These questions delve into the heart of what you desire to accomplish through your professional life—a scenario that many folks spend little time pondering, as they’re too busy simply making a living. The years slip away and before one is aware, the chance to do something different has come and gone. If the prospect of a new decade has your mind either racing with the possibilities or panicked at the prospect that time is running out, take a deep breath, grab pen and paper, and retreat to a quiet place to think.

As your thoughts come together, jot down goals in three different time frames:

  • Immediate short-term: 1 – 6 weeks
  • Short-term: 2 – 6 months
  • Semi-long-term: 6 – 12 months

Scrutinize the various goals. Then, prioritize, delete, rearrange until you have a manageable, realistic set of objectives. Remember, it’s one thing to challenge yourself, but it’s an entirely different matter to drive yourself to the brink of exhaustion or insanity by embarking on an impossible journey.

Founder and CEO of The Lonely Entrepreneur, Michael Dermer, suggests, “The process of narrowing it down will require debate and discussion. Maybe with colleagues. Maybe with friends. Maybe with your significant other. The debate is important as it will really force you to make a choice about what you will focus on.”

Too often we hamper our own progress by not celebrating the small accomplishments that contribute to completing a major goal.  So, establish milestones along the way that will give you cause to revel in your success on the journey.

Let Medical Temporaries, Inc., be your partner in achieving your prioritized career goals in 2020. With more than 20 years of experience building bridges between talented healthcare workers and premier medical facilities, we have the relationships and resources available to make connections in a timely manner. Give us a ring today!

 

 

 

What’s Ahead for Healthcare Occupations in 2020?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow by 14 percent from 2018 to 2028, adding approximately 1.9 million new jobs. Healthcare occupations are expected to add more jobs than any other occupational group. Driving this growth is a higher demand for healthcare services, attributed mainly to an aging population.

Career Profiles states, It goes without saying that healthcare has and always will be a major industry. But with an ever-aging group of baby boomers – looking to extend and enhance the quality of life – the timing has never been better to launch a career or business in this industry. Career opportunities in healthcare are broad and offer a variety of specialties to choose from. Through 2020 demand is predicted to be strongest for dentists, nurses, physician specialists, optometrists, physical therapists, and audiologists.” 

Of the 15 occupations predicted to be the fastest-growing from 2016-2026, eight are related to healthcare, including—

  • Home health aide
  • Personal care aide
  • Physician assistant
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Physical therapy assistant
  • Physical therapy aides
  • Medical assistants
  • Occupational therapy assistants

Aligning your job search with the times

These days, the role of social media in the recruitment process is a given. Both sides of the staffing equation are on board with this avenue for connecting employers and employees, as these stats reveal.

  • 79% of job seekers use social media during their job search
  • 72 % of job seekers use a mobile phone to find and apply for jobs
  • 80% of employers say social recruiting helps them find passive candidates

These numbers beg the question, of every job seeker: Are you utilizing every opportunity social media affords, including the convenience of mobile functions, in your pursuit of a healthcare position?

Predictions for the year ahead

Due to the ongoing skills gap, the growing trend of extending flexibility regarding candidate criteria is expected to continue. No one denies the need for skills; however, on-the-job training can quickly bring an enthusiastic, eager-to-learn candidate proficient in other “soft skills” up to speed for several entry-level positions.

Mindscope concurs. “Many companies have begun to more frequently recruit for soft, interpersonal skills that can be applied to a professional setting rather than the hard, technical skills one might learn in their post-secondary education. Skills like attention to detail, teamwork skills, and communication skills are now more valuable than ever!”

The take-away for candidates? Brush up on soft skills. On resumes and in interviews, focus on aptitudes relating to soft skills at least as much as on technical skills.

Join forces with Medical Temporaries, Inc. By joining our Talent Network today to receive alerts with new job opportunities that match your interests and stay up-to-date on current openings as they become available! Whether you choose to apply or merely leave your information, we look forward to staying connected with you.

 

Keeping the Happy and Healthy in Christmas

“The true Christmas spirit is putting others’ happiness before our own, and finding you’ve never known such happiness.”              Toni Sorenson

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . ”

While that’s the goal and the intention, it’s often not the reality. Some folks admit, and lament, that the holiday season wins as the most stressful time of year. And what a shame that is. So, here are some tips toward achieving a holiday season that truly is the “Most wonderful time of the year.”

Let’s address the areas that can so quickly put a damper on the merriness and joy we desire.

Christmas shopping

For many, Christmas shopping has become a dreadful chore. But even if shopping is your thing, the crowds and packed parking lots, all that store-hopping to get the best price and the race to secure the hottest items can wear out even the hardiest shopper.

Make shopping excursions more productive by creating a thorough list of gift items to purchase. Make the experience more enjoyable by asking a friend to accompany you. And don’t forget to save time for a fun lunch or a stop at the coffee shop to celebrate surviving the experience.

Remember that online shopping can save not only time but aggravation as well. Perusing websites while snuggled under a warm throw in the recliner does have definite appeal. Consider grouping gift purchases to save on shipping costs and warn the family not to open any of the array of packages stacked on the porch.

Avoid the worry over missing a name on your gift list or of unexpected guests dropping in by stowing a few general gifts, such as chocolates, in the back of the linen closet.  

All that cooking!

As one young man remarked, “I can’t wait on the “awesome breakfasts” and “amazing dinners,” and oh yeah, “that one Christmas punch” that marks family festivities each Christmas.” He was quite partial to decorated sugar cookies as well, yet blissfully unaware of the time and effort that went into the delectable cuisine he looked forward to each year.

Create a plan to lighten the work of those treats and trimmings that would be sorely missed from your holiday menus. Assign folks to bring a dish or two to the big family dinner. Invite family and friends to an afternoon/evening of baking to knock out the traditional cookie and candy favorites. Rally the family to be kitchen assistants when preparing for that holiday party—fetching items from the fridge or pantry, emptying the trash, loading the dishwasher, setting the table.

Make a list of all the grocery items you can purchase in advance, as well as a perishables list for each week. Check it twice or even thrice, to avoid those frustratingly time-consuming, last-minute dashes to the store.

Relationship woes

If you dread the thought of an afternoon, a day, or a week with visiting relatives who tend to get under your skin, you’re not alone. Being family doesn’t guarantee against clashing perspectives, opposing political views, or brash opinions. Unfortunately, friction between family members when all should be “merry and bright” is a common occurrence.

Rather than skip the festivities, initiate some ground rules that touchy, potentially offensive subjects are off-limits. Lead the way toward a time of family-friendly getting along by bringing a stash of board games and a stack of classic Christmas movies along with a sincere smile and spirit that can’t help but be contagious.  

Keeping the “healthy” in Christmas

“Christmas is notoriously a time to indulge, but don’t let this be the green light to overindulge!” notes the Realbuzz Team. “You can still enjoy all the festivities of the season and get through the Christmas period without too much impact on your health and waistline.”

These practical tips will help—

Eat a snack or small nutritious meal before attending a holiday party.

Be extra vigilant at regular mealtimes, so that a bit of indulging at holiday gatherings won’t make a huge impact.

Drink lots of water and limit festive holiday beverages to one serving.

VicHealth’s CEO, Jerrill Rechter’s, advice makes sense. “Everything in moderation is a really good outlook to have. Pile your plate with veggies to have with your Christmas ham, then go for a walk around the block to warn off a food coma.”

And finally, a suggestion that fits nicely into both the “happy” and “healthy” department.

“We’re only as healthy as our community, so it’s important to remember those less fortunate than us as well,” reminds Rechter. “Helping others not only contributes to a healthier society but also makes us feel good, so it’s a win-win.”  

Look throughout the community for opportunities to donate time, money, and clothing, or household items. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Invite those with no family to celebrate with you in your home. Involve your children in giving-of-themselves opportunities. Share Christmas joy by hosting a night of caroling with the elderly residents of a care facility. The possibilities are virtually limitless if one genuinely looks for occasions to embody the spirit of Christmas.

From our homes to yours, Medical Temporaries, Inc., sends the warmest of wishes for a joyous and healthy Christmas to each of our valued clients. It has been our pleasure to service the staffing needs of your company this past year, and we look forward to a continuing partnership with you in 2020.  

The WHY, WHEN, and HOW of Hand Washing

Each first full week of December, Henry the Hand promotes National Hand Washing Week. His mission? To bring awareness of how hand washing is the best way to prevent epidemics and pandemics. Henry reminds us that it’s the direct contamination of mucous membranes—our eyes, nose, or mouth—that allow infectious disease(s) to enter our body. Check out more tips from Henry at www.henrythehand.org

This holiday season, chock full of family gatherings, social engagements, and multiple trips to crowded shopping venues, is the perfect time to bring awareness to the why, when, and how of hand washing.

The WHY of hand washing

“The T Zone is the only portal of entry into the human body for ALL respiratory infections,” reminds Dr. Will Sawyer, Infection Prevention Specialist. The “T Zone” refers to the T-shaped portion of the face that includes the eyes, the nose, and the mouth.

Practicing the behaviors of the “4 Principles of Hand Awareness,” endorsed by the AMA and the AAFP, will significantly impact a person’s efforts to avoid the nasties, including influenza, adenovirus, RSV, common cold, conjunctivitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, Coxsackie virus, Streptococcus, Pneumococcus, TB and many other undesirable illnesses.

Those principals are—

  1. WASH your hands when they are dirty and BEFORE eating.
  2. DO NOT cough into your hands.
  3. DO NOT sneeze into your hands.
  4. Above all, DO NOT put your fingers into your eyes, nose, or mouth.

WHEN to wash

The CDC advises, “You can help yourself, and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs.”

  • Before, during, and after food preparation
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the bathroom
  • After changing diapers or assisting a child in the bathroom
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

The HOW of hand washing

There’s a right way to wash hands! Experts recommend lathering up with soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds, approximately the time it takes to sing the traditional “happy birthday to you . . .” song twice. Remember to scrub the back of the hands, between the fingers, and under the nails, then dry using a clean towel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls “hand washing ‘a do-it-yourself vaccine’ and suggests remembering these five easy steps: wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry.”

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