What do Vital Signs Consist of?

Categories: Allied Health, Career Choices, General, Healthcare, Healthy Living, Medical Assisting, Nursing

Blog8-heartbeatAnytime you go to the doctor, typically the first things that the Medical Assistant begins to measure are your Vital Signs. Do you know what Vital Signs are and what the normal range for an average adult should be?

Vital signs typically consist of four primary readings:

  • Temperature- the baseline for the body’s core temperature at which it functions under normal conditions. The body and its systems are constantly burning energy and temperature is tightly controlled. This process is called Thermoregulation. The average adult temperature is approximately 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The purpose for checking body temperature is to check for an increased temperature; which is an indication that the body is fighting and infection.
  • Pulse/Heart Rate- the expansion/contraction of an artery and is typically measured on the body at the wrist or ankle. The measure is counted in beats per minute and the average for an adult is 50-80 beats per minute.
  • Blood Pressure- consists of two readings, a high systolic reading (which occurs when the heart contracts) and a lower diastolic reading (which occurs when the heart is at rest). A normal reading for an adult would be 120 systolic over 80 diastolic.
  • Respiratory Rate- the process of breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide. The average respiratory rate for an adult is 16-20 breaths per minute.

In addition to the basic four primary vital sign readings, physicians typically require Medical Assistants to also include readings for height and weight as a measure for general health and BMI (Body Mass Index).

  • Height-is measured in inches with your shoes removed. Height is monitored for infants/toddlers/adolescents to ensure they are on the correct growth curve. For adults, height is monitored as an indication for bone loss during the beginning stages of osteoporosis.
  • Weight-is measured in pounds and determines total body weight. This number can be used in conjunction with your height to determine your BMI (Body Mass Index), which can determine on a general scale, if one is underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. Keep in mind that the BMI does not calculate muscle weight vs. fat weight.

Have you ever wanted to learn how to take vital signs or wondered what it would be like to have a career as a Medical Assistant or Nurse? Arizona College offers a Medical Assisting degree and diploma program, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Make a change in your future, and Contact Arizona College today to learn more about our degree and diploma programs offered at our Glendale and Mesa campuses.

What is Chairside Assisting?

Categories: Allied Health, Dental Assisting, General, Glendale Campus, Mesa Campus, Uncategorized

Blog7-ChairsideDental Assistants play a very important role in the dental office. The Dental Assistant often works along side the Dentist during patient examinations and procedures to assist her or him in the process. If you have had a dental examination or procedures performed by a Dentist, in most cases, a Dental Assistant was working “chairside” to assist the Dentist.

Chairside Assisting refers to any operation that a Dental Assistant performs to assist the Dentist during a dental examination or procedure. Chairside Assisting can also be called, “Four-Handed Dentistry,” which refers to the Dentist’s two hands and the Dental Assistant’s two hands (totals to four hands), or “Six-Handed Dentistry”, which incorporates the Dentist, plus two Dental Assistants (totals to six hands). The Dental Assistant, who works chairside with the Dentist, assists in the processes to ensure that procedures and examinations are completed efficiently.

Examples of Chairside Assisting duties performed by a Dental Assistant include:

  • Preparing trays for procedures
  • Handing equipment, materials and instruments to the Dentist
  • Applying the suction tool in order to keep the patients mouth dry and clear
  • Tending to the patient during dental procedures, while keeping the patient calm and comfortable

The Dental Assistant performs many duties to help the dental office run smoothly, including clinical back office and administrative front office. In addition to Chairside Assisting, a Dental Assistant’s additional responsibilities include:

  • Sterilizing dental tools and equipment
  • Performing X-rays, suture removal, and constructing temporary crowns and bridges
  • Providing patients with postoperative instructions and general oral health information
  • Preparing fillings and compounds for restorations
  • Creating, forming, and polishing crowns, temporaries, and dentures
  • Charting dental histories and any new conditions/symptoms
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Billing and processing insurance information for patients
  • Processing payments

If you enjoy working with people and the healthcare field interests you, a career as a Dental Assistant could be for you. You may be wondering, how to become a Dental Assistant? Arizona College offers an exciting Dental Assisting program with hands-on training in our modern laboratories and sessions that start every 5 weeks. Arizona College has two conveniently located campuses in Glendale and Mesa. Contact Arizona College today to learn more about your future as a Dental Assistant.

It’s Back to School and National Immunization Awareness Month

Categories: Allied Health, Back to School, BSN, General, Glendale Campus, Health Information, Healthcare, Healthy Living, Important, Medical Safety, Mesa Campus, Nursing, Uncategorized

Blog5-ImmunizationWith summer break coming to an end, most children will be back to school beginning in August. This is a perfect time to reiterate the importance of vaccinations with August being National Immunization Awareness Month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has dedicated the month of August to educate the public and stress the importance of maintaining an immunization schedule proposed by the CDC. Activities focus on encouraging all people to protect their health by being immunized against infectious diseases.

With the invention and constant evolution of vaccinations, many of the diseases that were common in century’s prior, such as small pox and polio, have been virtually eliminated from the U.S. population. However, with constant population increase and the invention of air travel, it is important to reduce exposure to other existing diseases that might not be prominent in the U.S., as well as other common diseases that still remain active in our country by receiving the appropriate immunizations on schedule. The month of August includes weekly immunization observances by the Nation Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC).

  • A Healthy Start-August 3rd-9th, 2014 is A Healthy Start Week. Protect the pregnant mother by ensuring all her immunizations are up to date.   For babies (birth to 2 years old) vaccines also give protection from 14 serious diseases such as the flu, measles and whooping cough that can be life threatening for newborns and young babies/toddlers. Keeping your child on the proper immunization schedule during these first 2 years is imperative. Speak to your OB/GYN or Pediatrician if you have any questions.
  • Back to School-August 10th-16th is Back to School Week. Preparing for Back to School should consist of more tasks than purchasing clothing and supplies…it should also include ensuring your child is up to date with their immunization schedule for their age. Schools are highly susceptible to infection disease outbreaks due to poor hand washing and highly populated classrooms. Most schools will inform parents if their child needs an updated proof of immunization.
  • Off to the Future-August 17th-23rd is Off to the Future Week. Immunizations are not only for young children, but are also important to maintain throughout the adult life to stay healthy. Immunity from childhood vaccinations wears off over time. Students who are going off to college to college may need to update their vaccinations to ensure they are not susceptible to diseases that are often spread in college dorms and densely populated lecture halls.
  • Not Just for Kids-August 24th is Not Just for Kids Week. Even adults need to maintain their vaccine schedule and receive updated vaccinations when available. Ensuring proper immunization is increasingly important for those over 60 years old and who have medical conditions such as COPD, asthma and heart disease.

Vaccination is extremely important for healthcare workers as they are often exposed to various contagious illnesses as they are treating their patients. Other service-oriented professions who work with the general public should also be cautious of obtaining updated immunizations. If you have any questions regarding vaccinations, contact your healthcare professional today. You may want to inquire regarding scheduling a yearly well-man or well-women examination which includes a physical examination, as well as updates to needed immunizations and general blood work.

Do you have an interest in an allied health career? The healthcare industry includes a wide variety of professions, including medical assisting and nursing. Arizona College offers many allied health degree and diploma programs, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program that can help you reach your goals. Make a change in your future, and Contact Arizona College today to learn more about our allied health degree and diploma programs offered at our Glendale and Mesa campuses.

Arizona College Donates Blood for American Red Cross

Categories: Allied Health, Career Services, General, Glendale Campus, Healthcare, Healthy Living, Medical Safety, Mesa Campus, Phlebotomy, Uncategorized

Blog4-Donate bloodHave you ever donated blood? Donating blood is a simple thing to do and it makes a significant impact in the lives of others. If you have ever needed surgery, there is a large chance that you have answered the question, “If required, would you be willing to accept a blood transfusion?” Donated blood and blood products processed from donated blood saves lives every day. Donated blood is used for many purposes; including patients who require a blood transfusion during or after surgery, chemotherapy patients during treatment, and for patients living with various medical conditions such as sickle cell disease. Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, and 41,000 pints of donated blood are used on a daily basis.

Recently, both of our Arizona College campuses partnered with the American Red Cross, and held successful blood drives at each campus location. The Mesa Campus drive was held on June 24th, and the Glendale campus drive was held on July 1st, 2014.   Students, staff, and faculty came together and donated blood to help make a difference in the lives of others. The blood drives were held in actual medical mobile units supplied by the American Red Cross which resembled medical clinics assembled on a modern, clinical bus.

The goals for both campuses were met, with the Glendale campus exceeding their goal by 3% and collecting enough blood to save 99 lives! Our students, staff and faculty truly changed the lives of others who will receive this blood; thank you for your participation!

The journey from “arm to arm” is quite rigorous and involves many steps to ensure the blood is safe for use. Do you know what the process entails from when the blood is donated to when it can actually be used? Here are the interesting steps in the process:

  1. Donation-Each donor is screened for medical purposes. A health questionnaire and mini physical is performed. 1 pint of blood and several small test tubes are collected from each donor. Each collection is labeled with an identification tag to track to the donor and is stored in a cooled refrigerator.
  2. Processing-The donated blood is scanned into the database. It is spun in a centrifuge to separate the blood components such as platelets, red blood cells and plasma. The components are leuko-reduced (white blood cells are removed) and bacterially tested. Test tubes are sent to the lab for testing.
  3. Testing-The test tubes are received at one of five Red Cross National Testing Laboratories. A dozen tests are performed on each unit of blood to test for blood type and infectious disease.   Test results are generated within 24 hours; if infectious disease is present, the collection is discarded and the donor is notified.
  4. Storage-When test results are received; all appropriate units are labeled and stored. Red blood cells are maintained at a temperature of 6 degrees C for up to 42 days. Platelets are stored at room temperature in agitators for up to 5 days. Plasma is frozen and stored in a freezer for up to 1 year.
  5. Distribution-Blood is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to be shipped to hospitals for patients in need.

If you participated in our recent blood drive, or have ever donated blood in the past, thank you for your efforts to help others in need of this precious resource. Keep an eye out on our Arizona College Facebook page regarding future blood drives that Arizona College will be hosting in collaboration with the American Red Cross.

Are you interested in a career in the medical field? Have you thought of the possibilities of becoming a Medical Assistant or a Registered Nurse? Make a change in your future, and Contact Arizona College today to learn more about our allied health degree and diploma programs offered at our Glendale and Mesa campuses.

Important Qualities to have as a Medical Assistant

Categories: Allied Health, General, Glendale Campus, Healthcare, Important, Medical Assisting, Mesa Campus, Uncategorized

senior woman and caring young nurseHave you been thinking about a career as a Medical Assistant? Do you know what qualities are important to have to be a successful Medical Assistant? What is a Medical Assistant responsible for during a typical workday? If you have ever been to a doctor’s office, chances are, a Medical Assistant has prepped you for your visit with the physician.

A Medical Assistant is a vital part of the healthcare team and performs many tasks on a daily basis. The Medical Assistant is often the “wing man” for the physician, and performs clinical duties by prepping the patient for the physician’s examination by taking vital signs, recording symptoms and changes in medical information. Depending on the physician’s diagnosis of the patient, the Medical Assistant may give injections; perform procedures such as blood draws, urine dips, and mouth swabs, to name a few. The Medical Assistant also performs administrative duties such as answering the phone, acting as the liaison between the physician and other healthcare providers, calling in prescriptions to the pharmacy, checking patients in/out of appointments and scheduling follow up visits.

Being that the Medical Assistant is the direct link between the patient and the physician, it is extremely beneficial that they demonstrate certain qualities, in order to be successful. Along with the clinical and administrative skills listed above, Medical Assistants should demonstrate professional “soft skills” required to communicate effectively and efficiently as a representative of the physician’s office. Examples of professional “soft skills” include:

  • Good communication skills (both oral and written)
  • Organization of workspace
  • Ability to multitask
  • Ability to maintain calm and composed under pressure or stressful situations
  • Ability to maintain a high level of professionalism by keeping patient’s medical information confidential
  • Assist patients in feeling welcome and comfortable

By working with patient’s on a daily basis to improve their health, a career as a Medical Assistant can be very rewarding. If you if think you have the qualities that would make Medical Assisting the career for you and want to make a difference in someone’s life, Contact Arizona College today to learn more about a career as a Medical Assistant.