The Anti-Vaccine Movement – Should We Listen?

Unless you live under a rock, you've most likely heard of this debate that seems to be sweeping the nation in recent years – the debate about whether or not to vaccinate your children against once-common diseases like the chicken pox and measles. When vaccines were first invented they were hailed as a glorious way of avoiding many common ailments that can be very dangerous and even cost people their lives.

Apparently, the anti-vaccine movement first rose up in response to a study in the late 1990s that linked the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, with autism. Now it seems to be a fact that everyone's heard of, even if they don't know the study – don't vaccinate your children because they'll get autism. But is it accurate? Supposedly, follow-up found that this study was rife with inaccuracies and false data, but it spawned an age of more research and more studies revealing all the harms of vaccines. The anti-vaccine movement isn't just limited to the MMR vaccine anymore, and opponents of the disease prevention technique call out the consequences of everything from the flu to chicken pox to HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccines. So what are these people saying?

  1. Vaccines have toxins. The movement claims that vaccines carry toxins and carcinogens like thimerosal and aluminum, formaldehyde, and polysorbate 80, which are linked to a number of health consequences and can affect children's immune systems and neurological functioning.
  2. They don't go through enough testing. Some people say that some of the ingredients in these vaccines (such as the toxins) aren't studied enough for their consequences and that the safety and effectiveness for certain populations (such as pregnant women and nursing mothers) have not been established.
  3. They are unnecessary. In some cases and for some vaccines, opponents insist that it's ok for children to get sick with diseases like the chicken pox or measles and that they can just "wait it out" at home as if they had a less serious illness. After all, that's what people did before vaccines were invented. The benefit is that after the children get better, they'll have immunity to the disease and won't be able to get sick again.
  4. They don't work. Many in the anti-vaccine movement cite studies that say that rates of diseases like the flu, the measles, and the chicken pox are on the rise and it's because the vaccines aren't doing their job.

Most doctors do not belong to the anti-vaccine movement, and it's because they have seen rates of these diseases drop thanks to vaccines that they say are very well studied and thoroughly researched before they ever make it onto the market. They say that "waiting it out" doesn't always work and that children could easily die from these illnesses if they are not protected against them early on in life. They also point out that the reason rates of these diseases are on the rise is not because of their ineffectiveness but rather because of the vocalization of the anti-vaccine movement from "fear mongers" who have insisted that parents not vaccinate their children.

Whether you choose to vaccinate your children is up to you. But before you take your friends' word for it, or even your doctor's, do your own research. And look at your sources. Are you reading from reliable websites? What are these articles' sources? Try reading the actual studies that were published by the scientific community so you know that whatever decision you come up with is an intelligent one. You can get started by clicking on the links under "sources" below to get two very different, comprehensive opinions.

Sources:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertpearl/2014/03/20/a-doctors-take-on-the-anti-vaccine-movement/

About the Author:

Iris Stone has worked as a freelance writer since 2011. Her writing has included content on medicine, healthcare, and education, although her interests are wide and varied. Prior to breaking into the freelance biz, Iris worked in sales for a health company and prior to that as an assistant in a chiropractic office. She is currently attending George Mason University and is majoring in Political Science. Check out her Google+ profile.

 

 

Education Options for Healthcare Administrators

There are a lot of careers that fall under the umbrella term "healthcare administration." People working at the front desk of a doctor's office are just as much a part of this category as are high-ranking executives who run hospitals and serve on important committees. Because of the range of careers related to the major, there are a number of degree types that prepare students for a variety of positions in the industry.

Associate's Degree

One of the lower-level degrees a person can earn in the healthcare administration field is an associate's degree. These classes combine general education courses with vocational courses in subjects related to both healthcare and administration. Students have to take general education classes (sometimes called "gen. ed.'s" as part of the requirement for earning an associate's degree. This means that anyone, regardless of his major, has to learn about subjects like English, history, science, and math. In many cases these classes are helpful for people who want to be healthcare administrators. For example, taking a math class can help a person prepare for an office job where she will be in charge of accounting, finances, or payroll. Classes related to healthcare administration might include healthcare informatics, terminology, delivery systems, and administration and management. There are also often courses in regulations, policies, and laws. Earning such a degree prepares students for futures working as administrators in doctor's offices, long-term care facilities, or health clinics.

Bachelor's Degree

Bachelor's degrees are very similar to associate's degrees except that they generally take twice as long to complete. Students enroll in both general education and major-specific classes in order to get a well-rounded and comprehensive education. They learn about leadership, economics and finance, ethics, and human resources, as well as topics unique to the healthcare field. Sometimes schools allow students to have a "concentration" in which they narrow the focus of their degree beyond healthcare administration. Taking the step from associate's degree to bachelor's degree allows students to find work in management as opposed to just administration. People with four-year degrees can often find work managing nursing homes or long-term care facilities, working in public administration, or specializing in healthcare informatics. They can also work as office managers, hospital administrators, or practice administrators.

Master's Degree

Some people choose to earn a master's degree in healthcare management in order to find work at a higher level position and/or to make themselves more competitive in the job market. Many programs at this level train students to eventually work as CEOs, CFOs, and in other high-ranking executive positions. Courses in master's degree programs might include human resources, marketing, ethics, law, finance, information systems, strategic planning, and hospital organization. Some programs also require students to participate in a year-long residency or to get a year of supervised administration experience. During this time hopeful administrators can learn from current healthcare executives, meet with potential employers, and network with important people in the industry. People who graduate with master's degrees in healthcare administration can work as health services managers, human resources managers, financial managers, or chief executive officers. They often earn over $84,000 a year, and CEOs can make more than $165,000 annually.

Sources:

http://www.ccu.edu/ccu/healthcareadministration/associate/

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/healthcare-administration-management-bachelors-degree

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/healthcare-administration-management-masters-degree

http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-4

About the Author:

Iris Stone has worked as a freelance writer since 2011. Her writing has included content on medicine, healthcare, and education, although her interests are wide and varied. Prior to breaking into the freelance biz, Iris worked in sales for a health company and prior to that as an assistant in a chiropractic office. She is currently attending George Mason University and is majoring in Political Science. Check out her Google+ profile.

 

 

The Responsibilities of a Healthcare Manager

It's easy to see why the field of healthcare management is attracting so many people to the profession. After all, healthcare has become a booming industry, and everyone from hospital nurses to pharmaceutical researchers need people to manage them. People in the top tier of healthcare managers often wield considerable influence. The interests of those in healthcare impact both Wall Street bankers and government policy writers, so the people who the people who coordinate, oversee, and manage the healthcare system have both the privilege and responsibility of representing their organization's interests to some powerful people.

Necessarily, people in healthcare management are highly educated. It's the reason why more and more professionals are seeking master's degrees or even PhD's – because it takes some serious brain power to run a hospital, or nursing home, or insurance company, or pharmaceutical lab. Much of their days are spent in meetings, dealing with policy issues or making presentations about budgets or employment issues. Day-to-day decision making might include more minor policy issues or meeting with other department heads or high-level employees to make sure everything is running smoothly. At other points an administrator might take on larger projects, such as designing and funding a new hospital wing or orchestrating a buyout of another company. People who work at insurance companies might have to update their policies or curtail services frequently in response to fluctuating levels of government intervention.

The size of the job and the stress of an average day depends in part on the size of the institution. A small, outpatient rehab facility or physician's office won't take nearly as much managing. In such situations, the administrator is often the sole person in the profession, acting as a single office manager over a few administrative assistants. That being said, the fewer employees, the more left for the administrator to do, while high-level employees at larger organizations have the benefit of delegating tasks and assigning people to certain projects. In these cases, a CEO of a hospital, for example, will oversee big picture items and keep the board happy, while allowing subordinates who are also in the management level to take care of say, budgetary or human resources issues.

The type of organization also influences the areas over which the administrator has control. For instance, in a hospital, an employee might oversee an area like nursing or surgery, or might be in charge of a unit, such as those devoted to cardiovascular or neurological issues. In other situations, an administrator oversees a non-health, business-related area, like finance or public relations.

Many people agree that healthcare managers have their work cut out for them in years to come, as what is expected of them in any given day is expanding. As technology continues to permeate every conceivable aspect of society, hospitals and doctors' offices have not been immune. Records are now being kept electronically and people are paying their bills online directly from their healthcare provider's website. Insurance companies now have comprehensive websites allowing patients to search for doctors, create profiles, and even order prescriptions. Those in management now face the challenging responsibility of ushering in this new era effectively and ethically while navigating all the potential roadblocks.

This is also a day when more and more people are seeking preventative medicine. Once upon a time, a patient could avoid the doctor for years if there wasn't something egregiously wrong. But in the 21st century, people often have a rolodex of doctors, including primary care physicians whom they see regularly, health ailment or not. Healthcare managers will have to learn how to allocate resources, adjust to the shortage of doctors, and make use of facilities to shoulder this additional traffic.

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-adv/specialsales/exec_education/tomorrow.html

http://www.princetonreview.com/careers.aspx?cid=76

About the Author:

Iris Stone has worked as a freelance writer since 2011. Her writing has included content on medicine, healthcare, and education, although her interests are wide and varied. Prior to breaking into the freelance biz, Iris worked in sales for a health company and prior to that as an assistant in a chiropractic office. She is currently attending George Mason University and is majoring in Community Health. Check out her Google+ profile.

 

Trends for Healthcare Administration Graduates

More Internships

As the economy continues to struggle, employers are starting to turn to internships over full-time employment. This allows them to vet workers and assess their quality without committing to shelling out a salary. As much as graduates would love to earn a permanent spot in a paying position right after graduation, they're probably going to have to prove their worth one or two times over first. On the bright side, most of these internships are for a short period of time, so graduates don't have to worry about sticking with a non-paying internship for six months or a year. And as with any internship, there's always the possibility that it ends in a permanent hire.

The Need to Specialize

Healthcare administrators have begun venturing outside the typical atmosphere of hospitals and physician offices. Graduates are finding work doing grant writing, with research organizations, and as a part of advocacy teams. Working in one of these "specialized" fields often isn't enough of a specialty, though. For example, those who choose to pursue grant writing are often asked by employers if they are more knowledgeable in non-profit or government grants. Even physicians are becoming more and more specialized – and they need administrators who can accommodate the particular needs of their area of expertise. For instance, there has been a rise in the number of concierge doctors who cater to wealthy executives, and their office administrators will have to know how to manage this unique healthcare setting.

Networking

Graduates shouldn't assume that they can get by on the reputation of their school and their GPA alone. Competition for jobs is fierce, so young professionals should keep in contact with past educators and follow the careers of classmates. Networking in today's world is even easier – the convenience of social media makes staying in touch with virtually anyone effortless. It also pays to maintain active profiles on sites like LinkedIn and watch what is posted on less business-oriented sites like Facebook. The internet has the power of seriously helping, or hurting, someone's career.

Leadership Skills

It would seem as if getting a degree with the word "management" in the title is enough to qualify someone as having strong leadership skills. But just because a graduate has taken business courses doesn't mean they're a strong leader. Employers are hiring candidates who have taken leadership courses, assumed a lead position in an extracurricular activity (like student government), or been the lead on a team during an internship.

A Growing Field

The healthcare sector is not only the nation's biggest job generator, but one of the only sectors that is growing at all. But hospitals and doctors' offices aren't hiring across the board. In fact, many are cutting down on positions like nurses. So how is the field still growing? A number of new government initiatives, combined with the increasing role of information technology, has led to a general restructuring in healthcare institutions. Organizations need people to deal with the new technology, services, regulations, health recording methods, and government requirements, which means hiring more administrators. Graduates need to make sure they can provide what employers are seeking and take on these additional responsibilities. And with shortages in other healthcare positions, especially among physicians, surgeons, and registered nurses, administrators must especially face the responsibility of managing a smaller staff and competing for the best employees, especially amongst a growing population of patients.

Sources:

http://mhadegree.org/job-trends-for-masters-in-health-administration-grads/

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/health/story/2011-11-30/health-care-creates-jobs/51506244/1

http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/5-challenges-hospital-administrators-must-overcome-to-succeed-in-todays-rapidly-changing-industry.html

About the Author:

Iris Stone has worked as a freelance writer since 2011. Her writing has included content on medicine, healthcare, and education, although her interests are wide and varied. Prior to breaking into the freelance biz, Iris worked in sales for a health company and prior to that as an assistant in a chiropractic office. She is currently attending George Mason University and is majoring in Community Health. Check out her Google+ profile.

 

 

 

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