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What is a CNA,Certified Nursing Assistant?

In nursing, there are many different titles given to those working in healthcare. Since the last post was about Certified Medical Assistants, here Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) will be discussed.  Certified Nursing Assistants complete high school training. Some high schools may even offer a CNA completion program. CNA training is typically comprised of lecture and clinical hours. For example, a local community college offers a CNA program of 75 lecture hours and 100 hours clinical training. Some employers, like nursing homes, also offer CNA training programs. The Red Cross offers a CNA training program, as well. If completed in a full-time fashion, the program may take 6 weeks to complete. During CNA training, topics covered include patients' rights, roles of the health care team, legal issues related to the CNA, medical terminology, infection control, body mechanics, communication skills, documentation care, basic patient care, and patient room upkeep. According to the Burea

What is a Medical Assistant?

A patient enters a doctor's office, and sees someone wearing scrubs sitting at the front desk with a stethoscope around their neck. On their name tag it says Person Persons, CMA. The CMA stands for Certified Medical Assistant. Certified Medical Assistants complete post high school training through either a one year certificate program or a 2-year program leading to an associates degree. In order to take the CMA exam, an individual must have attended a program accredited by CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs) or a program accredited by ABHES (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools). Coursework may include human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, keyboarding and computer applications, record keeping and accounting, coding, clinical and diagnostic procedures, pharmacology, medication administration, first aid, office practices, patient relations, and medical law and ethics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual w

Why Nurses Shouldn't Eat Their Own...or Anyone Else's

As a former faculty member, I often heard students who were nurses comment about the "nurses eat their own" philosophy.  They found it to be disheartening and upsetting, and some stated this treatment caused them to depart from floor nursing.  As a non-nurse, I wondered about this phenomena. How and why do nurses eat their own? At the very foundation of this behavior is the idea that new nurses must be somehow "schooled" or "trained" by those with experience.  Nurses don't simply restrict this behavior to nurses, but also extend their "training" to those outside of the nursing profession who work in health care.  The training may include the usual routines of nursing, charting, patient care, passing medications, and the ins and outs of the health care system.  Beyond that, new nurses may be given instruction on the not so obvious aspects of health care.  They may intentionally be given difficult shifts, patients who require more care or be

Public Health and Hospitals Go Hand in Hand

Throughout my career, I have been questioned about how public health and hospitals are related. The answer is, public health and hospitals are very closely related.  Although it may not seem apparent to the average onlooker, many facets of a hospital contain public health components and address public health issues. First, many hospitals are the cornerstone of the community.  The hospital provides the basis for health care and health information in many towns and cities throughout America.  An entire group of hospitals exist called public hospitals and most are members of America's Essential Hospitals (formerly the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems). These hospitals meet the needs of the under-served and under-insured throughout the country. In addition to public hospitals, community hospitals provide many public health services that otherwise may not be present. Several smaller communities cannot support a public health department.  As a result

Understanding EMR

Photo courtesy of There is a lot of discussion in healthcare right now regarding, EMR.  EMR stands for Electronic Medical Record.  EMR may also be referred to as EHR (Electronic Health Record).  It is essentially the same thing.  The EMR is comprised of any form of electronic medical record, and it has been around for a long time.  Examples of electronic medical records include lab reports, clinic visits, billing data, radiology reports, nursing notes, admission summaries and much more. The electronic medical record is essentially an electronic version of what was formerly placed in paper charts. However, many healthcare organizations still maintain paper charts in conjunction with the electronic records.   The records are stored in individual health organization system networks. Each time a patient visits a long term care facility, a hospital, or a clinic, the data is stored for review by nurses, doctors, and other staff. Because of HIPAA, only certain individuals

Healthcare Is A Business

At the beginning of my health care management classes, I would remind my students of a simple fact. Health care is a business. In fact, I would say this, "Health care is a Business.  It's a Business.  It's a Business. It's a Business."  I believe a lot of times people want to forget that health care is a business. For some people, it's this idealistic, pie in the sky entity that takes care of people and is always compassionate and caring and has to reach some level of near godliness. Here is the truth. Health care is an exchange of goods and services (aka a business).  It is not simply taking care of patients and hoping for them to get better. Health care makes up close to 18% of the Gross Domestic Product in the United States. Gross Domestic Product is the sum of all the goods and services consumed within our country during the year. Therefore, nearly $1 out of every $5 is spent on health care goods and services. Photo courtesy of The good

Volunteers Serve Important Need

The Volunteer Services department is an important part of many health care organizations. From the minute patients and visitors walk in the door, they may see someone from volunteer services. Most of these individuals are donating their time and talents to meet the hospital’s needs. Volunteering provides a win-win relationship for the hospital, the individual, and the community. Volunteers can be found throughout a hospital beginning at the information desk. The person guiding patients to their rooms, answering, and serving as the first point of contact to patients generally are not employees. They are volunteers. Hospitals may not be able to afford a transporter, so the volunteer takes patients to their rooms in wheelchairs or provides wayfinding assistance. Once in the room, a patient may encounter volunteers when they receive mail, flowers, or other amenities.  Picture courtesy of When waiting for an appointment, the person at the desk may or may not be