Be a Champion for Mental Health

Each October 10, World Mental Health Day strives to raise awareness of mental health issues and mobilize efforts in support of “healthier” mental health. Organized by the World Federation for Mental Health and supported by WHO, the International Association for Suicide Prevention, and United for Global Mental Health, this day provides a forum to discuss what needs to happen to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

The Numbers Please

For several reasons, it’s critical to measure and understand how common mental illness is. One of those reasons being to grasp the physical, social, and financial impact mental health issues have on the collective society. But even more, pressing than that is the need to show that no one is alone.

  • 19.1% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2018 (47.6 million people), representing 1 in 5 adults.
  • 4.6% of U.S. adults experienced serious mental illness in 2018 (11.4 million people), representing 1 in 25 adults.
  • 16.5% of U.S. youth aged 6-17 experienced a mental health disorder in 2016 (7.7 million people)
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34

These eye-opening numbers can be powerful tools for raising public awareness, advocating for better care, and eradicating the stigma associated with mental health conditions.

The most common conditions by annual prevalence among U.S. adults:

  • Anxiety Disorders: 1%(estimated 48 million people)
  • Major Depressive Episode: 2%(17.7 million people)
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: 6%(an estimated 9 million people)

“Probably 20% of people in the country have some form of mental health issue at some point in their lives, with less than 5% having severe problems with mental health issues,” states Moe Gelbart, a psychologist and founder of the Thelma McMillen Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment. “Mental health problems are on a continuum from very little to very severe.”

While stats point to some 20% experiencing a mental health issue, Gelbart explains, “That impact is multiplied by three or four when you’re thinking about the impact on society. For example, if dad is depressed, he might not be going to work. His wife is feeling the effects of that. And so on.”

That’s even more reason to encourage open discussions about these issues, to educate folks on the various conditions, and show them how and where to access help.

Know the Signs

Employers should be attentive to changes in behavior that could signal an employee is suffering from depression or anxiety. Possible signs may include—

  • taking longer to complete routine tasks
  • difficulty communicating with coworkers
  • an increase in comments about not feeling well
  • calling in sick more often frequently
  • withdrawing from co-workers
  • increased frustration, nervousness, or irritability

Creating a supportive environment

Employers can set the tone for a supportive environment by providing easy access to educational materials and organizational resources. From posters and literature in the break room and inserts included with payroll to features from national organizations like the American Psychiatric Association, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Mental Health America, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness in the company newsletter. Don’t forget to scope out local and regional support groups and post their information as well.

 Other employer-led stigma-busting steps to promote mental health  

The CDC recommends these additional steps:

  • Offer free or subsidized clinical screenings for depression from a qualified mental health professional, followed by directed feedback and clinical referral when appropriate.
  • Offer health insurance with no or low out-of-pocket costs for depression medications and mental health counseling.
  • Provide free or subsidized lifestyle coaching, counseling, or self-management programs.
  • Host seminars or workshops that address depression and stress management techniques, like mindfulness, breathing exercises, and meditation, to help employees reduce anxiety and stress and improve focus and motivation.
  • Create and maintain dedicated, quiet spaces for relaxation activities.
  • Provide managers with training to help them recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and depression in team members and encourage them to seek help from qualified mental health professionals.
  • Give employees opportunities to participate in decisions about issues that affect job stress.

Let Medical Temporaries, Inc., build a bridge from your premier medical facility to the experienced medical and dental staff your facility needs. With more than 20 years of experience, we have the relationships and resources to make timely, right-fit connections, leaving you more time to create a healthy work culture that will support your staff. Give our team a ring today!

Professional Do’s and Don’ts for the Healthcare Workplace

Maintaining a high standard of professionalism has long been a key concern for healthcare facilities. Meeting, and where possible, exceeding the consumers’ expectations remain uppermost in the minds of forward-thinking organizations – and for good reason. To discount the importance of professionalism can impact a facility’s success as well as the future careers of the staff employed there.

Consider the positive impact these professional qualities will have on the patient experience, and how, in turn, they will benefit the healthcare worker’s career.

  • Make Patients A Priority

Maintaining eye contact. Smiling with sincerity. Demonstrating not-too-busy-for-you listening skills. Explaining tests, procedures, results, future appointments without rushing. Allowing the patient to ask questions. Answering those questions fully. Ending your time together with, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

Each of these behaviors conveys that the patient is important. Group these actions, and patients will believe that they are indeed a priority.

  • Be A Team Player

Whatever your position—medical assistant, nursing assistant, x-ray or lab technician, registered nurse, or physician—your tasks play an essential role in patient care. If one person slacks off, more work falls on the shoulders of the rest of the team, causing patient care to suffer. The best possible customer experience results from a coordinated effort, with each team member doing his/her best to meet the patients’ needs.

  • Practice Effective Communication Skills

Whether sharing information with colleagues or patients and their families, ineffective communication can cause significant issues. In a fast-paced setting, it may be tempting to rush through treatment orders or test results. But the critical nature of the information being communicated demands giving adequate time and attention to every scenario. Avoid the pitfalls of poor communication with a conscientious effort to make every exchange of information, whether written or verbal, as accurate and detailed as possible.

  • Don’t Be A Grump

From time to time, everyone has a bad day, gets a poor night’s sleep, or experiences a crummy-mood-for-no-good-reason. But professionalism requires that the negatives get packed away for the work shift. Co-workers and patients expect and deserve professional behavior.

  • Don’t Gossip

“But doesn’t everyone do it?” While it may seem that way, that’s no excuse to participate in such conduct. It’s particularly damaging when the hurtful talk and meaningless conversations take place within hearing range of patients. Rise above this troublesome workplace habit by making a point to walk away.

  • Don’t Deny Mistakes

Everyone flubs up, it happens. Don’t exacerbate the issue by denying the error or blaming someone else. Own your mistakes, do your best to correct them, and strive to learn from rather than repeat the error. Set an example of being responsible rather than a “blamer.”

At Medical Temporaries, Inc., we’re always in need of skilled healthcare workers who understand the importance of professionalism and hold themselves to a high standard. Our team would love to partner with you to make your career dreams a reality. Contact us today.

 

4 Reasons to Pursue a Career in Healthcare Management

With healthcare remaining one of the fastest-growing sectors in the nation, the field of healthcare management offers a career path with a lengthy list of perks.

A review of the stats confirms the wisdom in pursuing a career path in this burgeoning field.

  • An 18% growth in all healthcare occupations from 2016 to 2026, predicted to create 2.4 million new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • For medical and health services managers, the job growth predictions through 2026 come in at an even higher rate of 20%.

The responsibilities tasked to healthcare management personnel cover a wide array of functions from budgeting to scheduling, from strategizing and coordinating service between facilities, to overseeing the myriad of behind-the-scenes details that directly impact patient care.

“As the dynamic healthcare landscape continues to evolve through changes in government regulation and oversight, mergers and acquisitions of providers and healthcare systems, and the innovations of healthcare tech, the need for strong healthcare leadership with sharp business acumen and strategic managerial skills will continue to rise,” suggests Michigan State University.

Consider these top four reasons for pursuing a healthcare management career.

  1. The Timing Couldn’t Be Better

Now is the perfect time to catch the waves of change rapidly impacting this industry, as digitization and other technologies sweep the healthcare arena. The experience, skills, and knowledge afforded by opportunities in this dynamic field will pave the way for future advancement.

  1. You’ll Never Be Out of a Job

Job security for years to come can be expected from a career path in the world of healthcare management.

  1. Almost Endless Variety Awaits

Levels of management from the executive to the administrator to the manager exist across various departments of many organizations, depending on their size and specific needs. For just a glimpse of the possibilities and diversity, consider these management opportunities: dealing directly with patient services, overseeing office operations in private medical practice, facilitating the admissions process at a long-term care facility, or providing leadership for the financial services and billing department of a hospital.

  1. Provide a Desperately Needed Service

From ensuring an adequate number of clinical personnel to overseeing compliance with federal, state, and local laws, the management team is as vital as any position within the facility. Providing exceptional healthcare services to an aging population coupled with the lightning-fast speed of medical advances and technology will demand an influx of competent management professionals. We cannot overstate the essentialness of maintaining smooth operation of day-to-day services.

At Medical Temporaries, Inc., we build a bridge between your career goals and the leading medical and dental facilities in the greater Virginia Beach area and throughout the Midwest. We have the relationships and resources to get your foot in the door promptly. Join our Talent Network today.

6 Strategies Toward Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

“If we manage conflict constructively, we harness its energy for creativity and development.”                                                                                       – Kenneth Kaye

Conflict in the workplace is inevitable. Personalities will clash. Disagreements will erupt. Stress will escalate minor irritations into mountains of maddening frustration. Cue lashing out and arguments that impede teamwork, productivity, and, ultimately, may hamper customer relations.

The response of management to these inevitabilities will be vital to maintaining a high level of morale and deterring valuable employees from quitting or disrupting productivity and patient services.

As much as management teams try to convince themselves otherwise, they need their conflict resolution skills – because leadership positions and conflict management go hand in hand. That’s why a plan for handling those certain-to-pop-up clashes should be considered a routine component of maintaining a healthy work environment.

In the healthcare setting, the potential for conflict increases due to the emotional nature and intensity of the job. The fatigue and stress of long shifts coupled with coping with life-and-death scenarios, patients in pain, and distraught family members create the perfect storm for stretched-to-the-limit nerves to snap.

“While disputes between employees fall into the common and expected category, that doesn’t make them simple to defuse. Knowing when to step in is the key consideration,” says Joseph F. Byrnes, professor of management at Bentley College’s Graduate School. “Give the warring parties a chance to resolve it on their own. The time to take action is when things get out of hand, and the problems are affecting their work or disrupting other people’s work.”

Implementing these strategies for handling workplace conflict will make for a more enjoyable, more productive day-to-day work experience for all involved.

1. Ignoring conflict is not a strategy

While turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to grapevine murmurings or the subtle-to-not-so-subtle evidence of brewing conflict may be incredibly tempting, it is also incredibly unwise. The cross-your-fingers-head-in-the-sand-hope-for-the-best approach rarely works.

“Avoiding conflict ultimately results in chaos,” says Kristin Burnham. “Human beings are emotional creatures with trigger points and biases that have developed through various experiences. Allowing these filtering mechanisms to dominate when conflicts arise is a recipe for disaster.”

Keep in mind, that often by the time management is aware of a situation, it has been percolating for some time. Teamwork and morale can quickly take a nosedive, requiring an emergency dose of intervention. A more proactive approach can de-escalate a situation before it needs a fire hose.

  1. Provide guidance rather than solutions

As you contemplate the need to intervene, consider that your role should be one of guidance. That of a mediator rather than a fixer. Giver of advice? Of course. Conversation redirector? Most certainly. Guardian of remaining on task and topic? Yes.

  1. Let people tell their story

Step number one: determine whether to meet with the disputing persons together or separately initially. Then put on your listening ears.

Often folks need to be heard, to tell their story. Can “getting it all out” fan the flames of conflict?  Quite possibly, yes. But that’s okay. Don’t try to squash the resulting heat or passion, as the resolution cannot happen without slogging through the waters of conflict.

4. Listen with an open mind

“Listen with equal amounts of empathy and attention to what both sides of the conflict have to say. Ask each individual what their particular pain point is, what (rather than who) is causing it,” suggests Mike Walsh, Director of Product Marketing for Lever.

Recognize any preconceived biases and set them aside. Do not take sides. Banish from your thoughts any previous experiences that would try to interfere with the current situation.

  1. Take a break if needed

Even a ten-minute break to visit the restroom and get a coffee refill can allow passions to cool, minds to refresh, and tensions to ease. Rather than let the heat continue to rise, a brief break can steer the situation away from a shouting match or insults.

  1. Seek resolution

Once all involved have had the opportunity to share, ask each party to offer ideas for resolution. How can this situation be resolved? What will allow each party to move forward? Share your own thoughts on getting past the conflict. Again, do not take sides and resist “fixer” mode. Encourage a discussion that strives to conclude at a mutual resolution.

At Medical Temporaries, Inc., we pride ourselves on over 25 years of providing clinical and clerical healthcare workers to many leading medical facilities. We’re much more than a “temp agency.” Our various programs will meet your unique staffing needs for short-term or long-term candidates. Contact our team today to see how partnering with us can make all the difference.

Back-to-School Tips for the Family

Across the country, store shelves are depleted of school supplies as the clang of the school bell signals the start of another year of learning. The days of carefree fun in the sun will slowly transform into the structured pattern we tucked away for the summer

Help the entire family ease back into the school-year routine with these strategies aimed at paving the way for a healthy and productive year for everyone—mom and dad included.

Wrangle bedtimes back into shape

It can be tough to answer those early morning wake-up calls, so the sooner summer’s lack-of-a- bedtime-routine gets tamed, the better. Often parents allow themselves to slip into unhealthy sleep habits during the inviting summer months as well. Insist on a bedtime strategy that will set the stage for the quality and quantity of sleep each family member needs to function at his/her best. Pediatricians recommend 9 to 12 hours of sleep for 6 to 12-year-olds and 8 to 10 hours a night for teenagers. The National Sleep Foundation suggests adults strive for 7 to 9 hours of sleep.

“Good sleep hygiene means all devices should be turned off an hour before bedtime,” says Andrea Hoopes, MD, a Kaiser Permanente Washington pediatrician. “This gives their brains time to unplug from the stimulation and the light from phones and computers.” Again, mom and dad would do well to follow the same guidelines.

Drawing the curtains or adding darkening shades can keep the light from distracting young and old alike. Limiting caffeinated beverages later in the day will also aid in getting adequate sleep.

Consider backpack safety

These backpack tips apply again, to the parents, and well as their child

  1. Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back. Remind all backpack users to utilize both shoulder straps to avoid strained muscles from the all-too-common one-shouldered sling.
  2. Pack light, keeping the weight of the backpack at no more than 20% of the child’s body weight.
  3. If a parent’s or student’s load is unusually heavy, consider a rolling backpack.

Beware of an “overcommitted” schedule

Sure, afterschool activities like gymnastics and soccer offer many perks in the form of exercise and team-building skills. But it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

The same goes for moms and dads. The book club or bowling league or drama troupe may appeal as a relaxing/unwinding type of activity. However, be careful not to stack the family’s master schedule with too many activities, as the accompanying stress can easily void the benefits.

Medical Temporaries, Inc., offers a variety of employment options to suit the scheduling needs of parents and caregivers. Perhaps short-term, temporary, or PRN work best suits your current career goals. Give our team a call to see how a partnership with Medical Temporaries can “work” for you!

A Salute to Labor Day

The Labor Day holiday came to official recognition in 1894 thanks to the labor union movement who advocated for eight hours of work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. Labor Day’s original intent: to commemorate the social and economic achievements of the American worker, paying tribute to the vast contributions’ workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

For most folks in 2019, Labor Day celebrations commemorate the unofficial end to summer over a long weekend spent with family and friends, taking advantage of the dwindling opportunity for summer recreation. A break from work, fun in the sun, relaxing and enjoying life round out the agenda for many across this holiday weekend that stretches to include the first Monday of September. Lots of folks will choose to honor the American worker with a backyard BBQ and afternoon at the pool, lake, or ocean.

But let’s not forget the dedicated men and women for whom Labor Day is just another day on the job. The police force, emergency response teams, and firefighters who are committed three hundred sixty-five days a year to the safety and well-being of the communities they serve. The medical professionals who staff hospitals, long and short-term care facilities, and emergency clinics, 24/7 all year long, to provide healthcare services to the sick, the injured, and those who can no longer care for themselves.

At Medical Temporaries, Inc., we proudly salute the generations of men and women whose dedication to their job and their family have contributed to this United States of America. We are especially grateful for the millions who work within medical facilities and organizations across this country, dedicating their lives to meeting the healthcare needs of young and old. Thank you for your passion and commitment.

Across this long holiday weekend, we hope everyone finds time for that backyard BBQ or an end-of-summer picnic. Here’s a quick, healthy, delicious, and colorful recipe to include on the menu, using the fresh produce of the season.

 OVEN-ROASTED VEGETABLES

Preheat oven to 450°.

Ingredients –

  • 1 envelope Lipton® Recipe Secrets® Savory Herb with Garlic Soup Mix
  • OR 1 Tbsp. Mrs. Dash Garlic and herb and ½ tsp. salt
  • 6 cups assorted fresh vegetables (such as zucchini, yellow squash, red, green or yellow bell peppers, red potatoes, carrots, celery, onion – cut into similar sized chunks
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions –

  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until evenly coated.
  • Spread in a jelly roll pan (or divide between two 9X13 pans)
  • Roast, stirring once, 20- 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Waging War on the Measles

“Imagine the action of a vaccine not just in terms of how it affects a single body, but also in terms of how it affects the collective body of a community.”  — Eula Biss, On Immunity

This year’s August recognition of National Immunization Awareness Month comes amid the country’s worst measles outbreak in over 25 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The current outbreak, the worst since 1992, puts the country at risk of losing its “measles elimination” status. The highly contagious virus, which can cause blindness, deafness, brain damage, and death, was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000. Data from the CDC states that from January 1 to July 11, 2019, 1123 individual cases have been confirmed in 28 states, an increase of 14 from the previous week. Indeed, a drastic jump from the 120 reported in 2017 and the 372 reported in 2018.

How did this outbreak occur?

Because the measles virus is still prevalent in some parts of the world, travelers visiting the U.S. may bring the measles with them into this country. Also, residents of this country may contract the measles while traveling abroad and brings it back home. In a community where many people have not been vaccinated, the disease is likely to spread quickly, which the CDC reports is the case with the current outbreak.

Health officials have attributed the recent outbreak to low vaccination rates in certain tight-knit groups that are skeptical of vaccines, such as the Orthodox Jewish community in New York or Russian-speaking groups in Washington. Nationwide, the anti-vaxxer movement has grown more organized, aided by the dissemination of its claims on social media,” states Rachel Sandler.

Even though all fifty states, and the District of Columbia, make vaccinations a prerequisite for kindergarten enrollment, they also provide medical exemptions to these requirements, while some states also offer religious and philosophical exemptions.

“Most of the measles cases are concentrated in New York, where two outbreaks have been raging in Rockland County as well as in Brooklyn and Queens. Most of these cases have involved members of the Orthodox Jewish community,” notes Nathaniel Weixel.

As of June 10, Rockland County had 262 confirmed reported cases of the measles. New York City confirmed 566 cases, as of June 3, since the outbreak began last September.

What about Virginia? 

Health officials reported in early June that a child who traveled abroad contracted the measles and brought it back to Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia.

In mid-June, “out of an abundance of caution,” northern Virginia health officials warned of potential exposure to the measles virus at Fauquier Health’s emergency department on Monday, June 17 at 3:10 p.m. to Tuesday, June 18 at 12:35 a.m. Officials determined that anyone infected from this exposure, the development of symptoms could have occurred as late as July 9.

Waging War Against the Deadly Virus

The mission of every healthcare facility should be a commitment to fight diligently against the measles in their local community, with the first step being to educate every member of their staff extensively. Be advised that many adults are unfamiliar with the disease as they were fortunate not to live in an era when the measles was prevalent.

The Red Cross and Virginia Department of Health have issued these need-to-know facts—

  • The measles virus lives in the mucus of an infected person and can spread through coughing and sneezing.
  • The virus can live for up to two hours in a space where an infected person coughed or sneezed, contaminating the air and surfaces.
  • Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected.
  • Infected people can spread measles to others from four days before through four days after the rash appears. Immunocompromised patients may spread the virus for the duration of their illness.
  • Symptoms may begin from 7-21 days after exposure, with the average being ten days. The rash usually appears within 14 days of exposure.
  • Complications, including ear infections, pneumonia, croup, and diarrhea commonly occur in young children. Encephalitis can strike in a small percentage of cases. Death due to measles is very rare in the United States, occurring in 1-2 of every 1,000 cases.

Misinformation spread by anti-vaccine factions, who often target pregnant women and the parents of very young children, has worsened this year’s outbreaks. For decades health officials have urged parents to vaccinate their children, refuting the one tiny, deeply flawed study by Andrew Wakefield that linked the MMR vaccine to autism. In 20 years of research, that particular study has never been reproduced. And numerous papers, examining the medical records of hundreds of thousands of children, have found no association between the MMR vaccine and symptoms of autism.

“We cannot say this enough: Vaccines are a safe and highly effective public health tool that can prevent this disease and end the current outbreak. The measles vaccine is among the most-studied medical products we have and is given safely to millions of children and adults each year,” declares Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

An informed well-trained staff is your facility’s best offense in fighting this and other vaccine-related situations. Instruct everyone from the front desk attendant to the CEO to be on the lookout for confused, doubtful parents as well as anti-vaccine enthusiast and urge them to bring the situation to the attention of nurses and doctors who can intervene.

At Medical Temporaries, Inc., we prioritize excellence and professionalism in every candidate we recommend to our healthcare and dental facility clients. Upon request, we perform occupational health screenings, including PPD, MMR, and Varicella Titers. We will comply with any client’s work-related health requirements. Give our team a call today to see how partnering with Medical Temporaries, Inc., can streamline your hiring needs.

Choose a Career in Medical Assisting

Medical Assisting is one of today’s hottest career choices. These positions offer a pleasant working environment, excellent pay and benefits, and the chance to make a difference in people’s lives. A myriad of opportunities awaits medical assistants in physicians’ offices, hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and many other healthcare environments.

The employment outlook for this multi-faceted occupation continues to be outstanding as demand in this area is projected to grow 29 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average rate of growth for most other occupations.

A perk to this position is the variety of duties that keeps the job from becoming humdrum, as medical assistants cross-train to perform administrative and clinical duties, including—

  • Answering incoming calls
  • Welcoming patients
  • Updating and filing patient records
  • Completing insurance forms
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Organizing arrangements for hospital admissions and laboratory services
  • Taking medical histories
  • Explaining treatment procedures to patients
  • Preparing patients for examination
  • Assisting the physician during exams
  • Performing basic laboratory tests
  • Instructing patients about medication, special diets, treatment plans, follow-up visits

In addition, medical assistants are instrumental in helping patients feel at ease in the physician’s office, a role that allows them to act as a liaison, explaining the physician’s instructions as well as bringing patient concerns to the doctor’s attention.

Other key reasons to consider a career as a medical assistant—

  • High demand, good pay

The high-demand nature of the healthcare industry in general, and in specifically medical assisting positions means job security for this position. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for medical assistants in 2018 was $16.16 per hour or $33,610 per year. Several factors influence the pay scale, including experience, certification, and the area of the country. Check here for additional information on these factors at eMedicalAssistance.

  • Opportunities available everywhere

Looking to relocate? The chances are excellent that your medical assisting skills will readily find a home in virtually any region across the country.

  • A stepping-stone career . . . or not

Some individuals discover lifelong careers as medical assistants, loving the variety and opportunity to meet the needs of others that the position allows. Others, however, use the role as a stepping-stone into a career in a more advanced healthcare position, such as nursing, laboratory technician, or physician’s assistant on the medical side, or an office manager, transcription supervisor, or healthcare administrator on the administrative side.

You may earn the Certified Medical Assistant credential through the American Association of Medical Assistants. Once certified, recertification is required every 60 months. The Registered Medical Assistant credential is available through the American Medical Technologists. Once the credential is received, members must pay an annual fee and meet continuing education requirements every three years.

Whether you are in the market for temp to hire, temp/PRN work, or direct hire, Medical Temporaries, Inc., is your one-stop staffing agency for employment in the healthcare or dental field. Join the Medical Temporaries Talent Network today to stay up to date on our current openings as they become available.

Keep a Cool Head in the Summer Heat

Hot weather not only takes a toll on our bodies, but it can also hurt us emotionally and mentally as well. As the mercury rises, tempers tend to flare. A “hot under the collar” situation physically often morphs into the other kind of “hot under the collar” scenario.

“Everyone’s fuse is going to be a little bit shorter,” notes Nancy Molitor, an assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Hot and especially humid weather is known to be associated with increases in aggression and violence, as well as a lower general mood.”

First, here are four tips for keeping the body cool this summer.

Close the windows

While a breeze is always welcome, unless the air outside is significantly cooler than the inside temperature, opening the window only ushers in more heat and humidity. When it’s hot, keep windows closed, curtains and blinds drawn, and utilize a fan to circulate air.

Eat small meals

The energy it takes to digest a large meal pushes your metabolism into overdrive, a scenario that will warm rather than cool the body. So, plan to eat small meals and incorporate snacks throughout the day to fuel your body without creating a revved-up metabolism.

 Stay hydrated

Lindsey Dean suggests these creative hydration strategies—

  • Include water-saturated foods like celery, strawberries, watermelon, and pumpkins, as well as the super-hydrating cucumber and zucchini known for their refreshing, light taste and essential nutrients.
  • Consider unsweetened sparkling and flavored water for an alternative to plain H2
  • Freeze fruit to use as ice cubes for a bit of extra flavor.
  • Track your water consumption with a mobile app and launch a challenge among your co-workers to see who earns the title of “hydration champ.”

“Drinking water boosts energy, helps you keep cool, and is often really what your body needs when you’re feeling hungry,” reminds Dean. “Consider this your step number one for a sane and cool summer.”

Keep cool – emotionally

Take a proactive stance to keep “hot under the collar” behavior in check with these “cool head” strategies.

  • No skipping lunch OR break time: Instead, soak up every possible minute away from the demands of the job. Quiet your mind with music, a power nap, or quiet moments in a secluded corner.
  • Activate your “Mood Monitor”: Watch for heat-induced irritability and general testiness to rear its hot head in the day-to-day interactions with co-workers. Be alert to your mood swings as well as those of your close-proximity associates. Before an escalating situation heats up too much, take a step back, walk away, or encourage a teammate to do so.
  • Choose to let it go: Adopt the attitude that most everyone will be on the grouchy side, so choose to let comments, eye rolls, and under-the-breath mutterings roll off your back. Remind yourself that cooler days will come and with them more pleasant and cooperative connections with co-workers.

It’s easy to be cool about employment decisions when the staffing experts at Medical Temporaries, Inc., utilize their relationships and resources to get your foot in the door with leading medical facilities. Take the heat out of your employment search with one call to our office.

 

6 Strategies for Assisting Anxious Patients

“The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” –William Osler

Raise your hand if you enjoy doctor appointments. Dental visit? Hospital procedures? If you enjoy being sick, get that arm in the air. How about a lengthy hospital stay? Anyone??

Of course, we don’t enjoy such things. Visiting the doctor or undergoing medical or dental procedures can be extremely stressful, causing high levels of anxiety and fear. We’d rather be healthy and enjoying life at home. We’d rather be anywhere else, as long as it doesn’t involve being poked and prodded, or carry the potential to reveal bad news.

There are many ways healthcare organizations and their staff can assist patients in dealing with these very common, sometimes debilitating, anxiety, and fears.

Strategy #1 – Begin with the reception area.

When greeted warmly by smiling individuals who make eye contact, a fearful patient’s anxiety drops a notch. For a second, he/she is distracted from the stress that has his/her pulse-raising, palms sweating, and fingers trembling. In contrast, if the receptionist remains focused on charts, paperwork, or the computer screen while mumbling a greeting and thrusting a clipboard at the patient, the patient’s anxiety will increase.

Ensure the person who receives patients is a genuinely warm, friendly individual who understands the importance of making patients feel welcome comfortable. He or she can set the tone for the entire experience.

Strategy #2 – Create distractions

While you can’t mute the internal monologue that fuels a patient’s anxiety, you can drown it out with distractions.

NexHealth suggests, “investing in some beautiful coffee table books for your receptions space – think relaxing landscapes, photography, and other attention-grabbing images. Make sure you have good, engaging music playing, as well – no elevator music – or better yet, encourage your patients to listen to their playlist on headphones. It is another good way to let your patients feel in control.”

This is one time where distractions play a positive role.

Strategy #3 – Train staff to prepare for anxiety-ridden patients

Remind staff that unfamiliarity breeds anxiety. It’s too easy for healthcare workers for whom the medical environment is “old hat” to forget that few patients will be as comfortable in these settings as are the workers.

Train them to be mindful of nervous behavior—a quavering voice, sweating, excessive fidgeting, trembling or twitching. While some degree of nervous tension is to be expected, brushing off all signs of anxiety as “normal” can lead to a more critical situation.

Strategy #4 — Don’t tell patients to relax — show them how

Insisting that an anxious person calm down, does not help. It creates a dismissive atmosphere that is likely to escalate his/her state of anxiety.

“Some patients will be able to tell you what they need. If they cannot tell you, then help them with some relaxation techniques. Give specific directions like ‘breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth,’” suggests Crystal Gustafson, critical care registered nurse.

Other ways to help—

  • Dim the lights
  • Find a place for the patient to lie down
  • Offer water or a cup of tea or coffee
  • Offer to stay with the patient
  • Retrieve family members/friends to be with the patient

Inform other staff members who will have contact with this patient that he/she is struggling with anxiety.

“As a health care professional, I know when I display empathy towards patients, they are more likely to trust me and tell me more about themselves rather than if I am less engaged in a conversation. It is important to make every patient interaction, no matter how short, meaningful,” shares Anna Morrow.

Strategy #5 – Explain the what and the why

The unfamiliar environment and the uncertainty of what to expect both contribute significantly to anxiety. “The majority of patients with anxiety are not frequent fliers,” reminds Gustafson. “To help minimize anxiety, let your patient know everything that you are doing and why you are doing it.”

Take the time to explain the rationale behind the prescribed medications and the procedures ordered. Prepare patients on what to expect from today’s procedures as well as those scheduled for later. Encourage their questions. Give them contact information for problems that may arise later.

Strategy #6 – Get them to talk it out

Before an exam or procedure begins, ask, “How are you feeling right now?” Inviting the patient to open up about their anxiety can have a calming effect. Listen, acknowledge his/her fears, and probe for additional questions. Continue to inquire throughout the procedure, offering to make adjustments whenever possible to increase the patient’s comfort.

“Showing that you’re ‘on their side’ and demonstrating good chairside manner can work wonders for anxious patients,” notes NexHealth.

An awareness-trained staff can enhance the experience of a fearful patient by tuning into their anxiety and offering support. And that’s where Medical Temporaries, Inc., can help. For over 25 years, we have provided clinical and clerical healthcare workers to many of the area’s leading medical facilities. We understand the need for caring, compassionate employees in every position within your organization. Let us partner with you in attaining the most qualified staff to meet your patient’s needs.