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Winter 2018 Student Newsletter

Welcome to the student newsletter for the School of Health Sciences!

In each issue, we are excited to bring you content from the different programs so that you can be kept up to date on the various happenings around Health Sciences. Each quarter we will have an in-depth spotlight on a specific program, and the rest of the programs will contribute brief pieces for the categories What's New? and Did You Know?. Be sure to check out some programs other than just your own--there are exciting and interesting things happening all over Health Sciences!

Climbing the ladder to the world of Medical Laboratory Science

Rebecca Smith, MLT Program Coordinator

It is a well-known fact that we are facing shortages of professionals across most medical professions.  There happens to be a critical shortage of Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLT) as well.   MLT’s are healthcare professionals who aid the physician in the diagnosis of patient disease by performing detailed laboratory testing of patient samples. They have expertise in the areas of Hematology, Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology, Urinalysis, Blood banking, Immunology, and Phlebotomy.  According to Rasmussen College’s Medical Laboratory Technician Program Coordinator, Laurie Bjerklie, “Many are aware of the employee shortage within nursing fields, few seem to realize there is a growing shortage of lab techs in our health-care system today.” (Bjerklie, 2018)” The bureau of labor statistics states that the overall employment of medical laboratory technologists and technicians is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. An increase in the aging population is expected to lead to a greater need to diagnose medical conditions, such as cancer or type 2 diabetes, through laboratory procedures (Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d.). 

There are students coming back to school to add the Medical Laboratory Technician degree to their resume.  Jenna Bain is a graduate of Rasmussen’s Medical Assisting program.  Jenna learned of the laboratory career while attending Rasmussen for her Medical Assisting degree.  Adding the MLT degree has allowed Jenna to do specialized testing in areas like Molecular Pathology.  Upon completion of the MLT degree, Jenna moved on to complete her Bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Science and is currently working on her Master’s degree in Microbiology.  This career laddering will allow Jenna to work in specialized areas of the laboratory and management.  If Jenna wants to continue her degree even further, there is now a PhD in Medical laboratory Science.

We are also finding students with Bachelor’s degrees are coming to Rasmussen to add the MLT degree to their resume. According to the American Society of Clinical Pathology, a student is eligible to take the Medical Laboratory Scientist board of registry exam if they have the MLT(ASCP) certification, a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college/university, including 16 semester hours (24 quarter hours) of biological science (with one semester in microbiology), 16 semester hours (24 quarter hours) of chemistry (with one semester in organic or biochemistry), and two years of full time acceptable clinical laboratory experience in blood banking, chemistry, hematology, microbiology, immunology, and urinalysis/body fluids in the U.S., Canada or an accredited laboratory within the last four years (  Patrick Bird, a recent Rasmussen MLT graduate came to Rasmussen with a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology.  Adding on the MLT degree allows Patrick to work on the medical side of microbiology.

Jenna and Patrick have both found the format of Rasmussen’s Medical Laboratory Technician program to be a good fit for them.  Rasmussen’s NAACLS accredited program offers a blended format with lectures online and labs on campus.  In most cases, labs are one day a week for a student which allows many students to hold a job while going to school.  The program is 21 months long and includes a clinical practicum in a medical laboratory before graduation.  Graduates of Rasmussen’s Medical Laboratory Technician program are eligible to take the Medical Laboratory Technician exam through the American Society of Clinical Pathology upon graduation. 


American Society of Clinical Pathology. (2018). Credential guide. Retrieved from

Bain, J. (2018, Feb 19). Personal interview

Bird, P. (2018, Feb 1). Personal interview

Bjerklie, L. (2018, Feb 1). Aging population helps spur demand for medical lab professionals. Retrieved Feb 19, 1018 from

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists. Occupational outlook handbook, 2016-2026. Retrieved from

Health Information 

“Our Future Is Bright.”- Health Information Professionals Week
Coming March 18-24, 2018

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) will honor and celebrate health information professionals during the 29th annual Health Information Professionals (HIP) Week March 18–24, 2018. This year’s theme is “Our Future Is Bright.”

“It’s a transformational time for healthcare, and health information is at the heart of this transformation,” said Lou Ann Wiedemann, MS, RHIA, CDIP, CHDA, FAHIMA, interim senior vice president, member services. “In the midst of all this change, positive opportunities are being created. Health information management professionals understand clinical and financial data as well as information governance and data management—all tools that can help reward value, lower cost, and make the healthcare experience better for patients. It is a great time to be in the HIM profession, and we believe our future is bright.”

During HIP Week, Rasmussen College will celebrate our Health Information professionals, students, graduates, and faculty through social media, including posting images, blogs, articles and content about the Health Information profession!  

Follow the social media hashtag #HIPWEEK18 to see how organizations celebrate across the US.


Health and Wellness / Human Services

The Government Shutdown adversely affects many federally funded programs in the fields of Health and Human Services.  Health and Human Services is specifically affected as follows,

“Half of its nearly 82,000 employees will be furloughed, including a vast majority of staff members at agencies that provide grants. Agencies with a substantial direct service component, like the Indian Health Service, would remain mostly open. Medicare would operate “largely without disruption,” according to the Health and Human Services contingency plan, and health care exchange activities would continue.”  (Parlapiano & Yourish, 2018).

For reference, when the Government shut down in 2013, health and human services was affected by:

  • Approval of medical devices and drugs was delayed.

  • Flu season surveillance and monitoring were cut back.

  • New patients were prevented from enrolling in clinical studies.

  • Head Start programs temporarily closed their centers.

  • Food safety inspections were delayed.

(Parlapiano & Yourish, 2018)


Parlapiano, A. & Yourish, K. (2018). What Will Happen if the Government Remains Shut Down?  New York Times. Retrieved from

Medical Administrative Assistant

No matter what profession you are in, it is important
to stay current with professional events, organizations, news, and blogs.  A good professional medical administrative blog and website is called, “All Things Admin” written by Julie Perrine.  Taken from her website, “Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is an administrative expert, trainer, motivational speaker, and author.  She is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, a company dedicated to developing and providing breakthrough products, training, mentoring, and resources for administrative professionals worldwide.”

I recommend reviewing the website “All Things Admin” and reading some of the great blog postings and professional information pertaining to the Medical Administrative profession. This is a great way to stay in tune to the profession and related events.  There are many other websites to review for this profession, but this one is a credible, free site that provides excelling insight to the profession:

Pharmacy Technician

The FDA has recently announced changes and updates surrounding compounding pharmacy due to the possible public health risks compound pharmacy can have.  These new policies are focused on what is referred to as “outsourcing facilities”.  According to the FDA’s website (2018), “The law defines an “outsourcing facility” as a facility at one geographic location or address that is engaged in the compounding of sterile drugs”.

These outsourcing facilities are very common and the policy changes provide more strict safety standards to these facilities ensuring further safety for public health.  These updates also address the issue of compound drugs copying existing medications, in which there has been a few major lawsuits associated with.

For more information, please refer to these FDA websites:

Outsourcing Facilities:

Compounding Policy Priorities Plan:

Surgical Technologist

The Surgical Technology program at the Romeoville/Joliet Campus had its first “Scrub Cap Ceremony” on February 1, 2018, following the graduation ceremony at the Rialto Theater in Joliet. The ceremony, similar in purpose to the Pinning ceremonies for Nurses and Medical Assistants at the campus,  was meant to mark the transition of the graduates into the Surgical Technology profession. Although, we considered a pinning ceremony we wanted the ceremony to be specific to the operating room. The scrub cap is only worn by surgical team members and the red line in the operating room represents the difference between unrestricted areas and restricted areas where only team members caring for patients may enter.

The graduate’s mortar boards were removed and replaced with the scrub caps, an Oath was recited and the new Surgical Technologists were invited to step over the symbolic “Red Line” showing their commitment to the surgical team and to the professional motto “Aeger Primo”-The patient first

Graduates in attendance were: Joseph Anderson, Ashley Delnegro, Leah McNeely, Carly Nowaczyk, Rita Willams and Angela Wyers

Health Information 

Professional Practice Experiences (PPEs) are an exciting and important
part of your education at Rasmussen College in the HIT Associate Degree and HIM Bachelor’s degree programs, and are required to graduate from the programs.  The prospect of going into an actual health information related site can feel a bit daunting, when you first begin to think about it. Questions may be racing through your mind as you begin to prepare for the PPE… where will I go, how will I fit the hours in my busy schedule, how will I need to dress,  will I know what to do???  These questions can feel even more stressful, if you are new to the Health Information field.  Perhaps your only experience with a health care facility, as an adult, is bringing your dog to the vet, having your teeth cleaned, or even driving your grandmother to her doctor appointment!  Experience show us that the PPE’s students have at sites are often considered, upon reflection, to be one the most meaningful activities of their program, as they bridge the gap from student to future HI employee.

The purpose of the PPE’s is to allow you to experience real-world HI learning opportunities, through observation, application of knowledge and theory learned throughout your program and networking with HI professionals in the industry. This will bring to life learned concepts and helps enhance your understanding of the role of HI professionals, by observing what they do on a daily basis. All PPE’s are different, depending on the site, and are designed with that flexibility to allow the student to gain the most beneficial experience based on the unique services and characteristics of their individual site.

Here are a few comments from students who have completed their site PPE:

“Learning databases and how to use them for privacy was pretty awesome. When you’re working hands-on in real life is it so much more interesting.”

“I think it will help me realize I can look in other facilities other than just a major hospital. I think this facility will be a good reference for me.”

“You get to experience first-hand what to expect in the real world.”

“I do believe this PPE is very helpful when seeking my first job because I have never had a professional experience in HIM. I also got a better sense of the importance of the concepts learned in school.”

Look forward to and become excited for this experience in your program!  It occurs in your last terms, for the HIT Associate Degree Program in HIM2943 Health Information Professional Practicum and in the HIM Bachelor’s degree program in HIM4276 HIM Professional Practice Experience and HIM4537 HIM Alternative Facility PPE.  Contact your HI Program Coordinator if you have any questions about your required PPE.

Health and Wellness / Human Services

You could be published in the Human Services publication, Human Services Today, which is a quarterly publication.  The newly revised publication is looking for Human Services Practitioners, educators and student submissions on current events in Human Services.  If you are interested in submitting an article for submission, Rikkisha Gilmore-Byrd (Department Chair at Rasmussen College) is the new Editor in Chief.  For ideas on past articles please reference prior publications at  You can send submissions for consideration to Rikkisha Gilmore-Byrd at  I look forward to seeing Rasmussen College well represented.

Medical Administrative Assistant

Sitting.  We do it all day long- in our commute to work, watching TV, sitting at our computer and/or mobile devices, at work and at home.  In fact, you are probably sitting right now while you read this article. 

Sitting for long periods of time can have detrimental health effects on individuals, especially postural related pain conditions.  More and more research is emerging on the complications and dangers of prolonged sitting.  Prolonged sitting has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other conditions.  As a Medical Administrative Assistant, you will have the high likelihood of sitting for long periods of time.

What can you do to protect yourself from the effects of prolong sitting especially in a job profession where it is common?  First off, beware of how long you are sitting and make sure you take breaks to stretch at least once an hour.  Also, if possible, use an exercise ball instead of a chair which can help to improve core strength, improve sitting posture, and help decrease the negative effects of sitting. 

To learn and read more about this topic, please check out these two informative and interesting articles on prolonged sitting.  The both provide insight on how to combat the effects of prolonged sitting.

Medical Laboratory Technician

Did you know that the Medical Laboratory Technician program at Rasmussen College is in the news? The demand for MLTs is increasing and we are striving to fill that need. In the article, it discusses the shortages as well as describes the importance of MLTs in healthcare and a career laddering process. The lab is one of the largest departments in the hospital and almost every patient has lab tests performed. We are an essential asset to the healthcare team and are looking to get the word out on our important profession. Check out the article here: Aging Population Helps Spur Demand and please share with anyone who may be interested in this field.


Radiologic Technology

Everyone is well aware that genetics plays a role in the risk of breast cancer. But did you know that breast density increases the risk of breast cancer? It is suspected that dense breast is indicative of increased hormone production. In addition, the denser the breasts, the more glandular cells will present that increases the opportunity for cancer development. 

From the mammographer’s perspective, dense breast causes an imaging challenge. Dense breasts have more glandular and fibrous tissue which is demonstrated as white on a mammogram. While a mass, malignant or benign, is also demonstrated as white. Trying to distinguish a mass in dense breast time is like finding a polar bear in a snowstorm.

It is advised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for imaging facilities and Radiologists to educate their patient about their breast density category. At this time there are only 30 states that have some level of legislation that requires patient notification/education. Some states just require patients to be notified; others require notification and education on what “dense breasts” means, and others provide patients with a notification, education, and recommendation for further screening modalities.

Screening mammograms and self-breast exams are still the gold standards for detecting breast cancer early. However, there are newer imaging modalities that are helping to see through the snowstorm. Digital breast tomosynthesis provides a “3D” view of the breast by taking image slices through each level of the breast similar to a CT scan. Molecular breast imaging is an imaging method which uses a radioactive tracer and special imaging detector to view the breast tissue. Magnetic resonance imaging has been used for many years as imaging method when a patient had a high risk of developing breast cancer.

For more information about 3D digital mammography read:

Johnson, M. M. (2017). Full-Field Digital Mammography and Digital Breast Tomosynthesis. Radiologic Technology, 88(3), 299M-319M. Retrieved from

For more information about state legislation visit:

DenseBreast-info. (2018). Legislation and Regulations - What is Required? Retrieved from DenseBreast-info:

Pharmacy Technician

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) has recently created an additional certification that Pharmacy Technicians can earn.  In addition to the PTCB offering the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (PTCE) certification, it now also offers the Certified Compounded Sterile Preparation Technician ™ (CSPT™) accreditation.  The (CSPT™) accreditation demonstrates the Pharmacy Technician’s knowledge and skill within the specialized area of compounding pharmacy.     

At this time, Rasmussen College does not reimbursement or provides students a voucher number for taking the (CSPT™) examination, as it does for the PTCE. 

Please visit the PTCB’s website to get more information and details:

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Newsletter Archives

Click the links below to jump to archived editions of the Student Newsletter!

Fall 2017 Student Newsletter

Welcome to the student newsletter for the School of Health Sciences!

In each issue, we are excited to bring you content from the different programs so that you can be kept up to date on the various happenings around Health Sciences. Each quarter we will have an in-depth spotlight on a specific program, and the rest of the programs will contribute brief pieces for the categories What's New? and Did You Know?. Be sure to check out some programs other than just your own--there are exciting and interesting things happening all over Health Sciences!

What Does It Take to Be a Surgical Technologist?

A surgical technologist assists surgeons, anesthesiologists, registered nurses, and other members of an operating room team.  He or she maintains the operating room, sterile field, sterilized equipment and prepares patients for their procedures.  A surgical technologist, who may also be called a scrub nurse, or scrub tech, sterilized equipment and passes surgeons instruments during intra-operative procedures. They anticipate the surgeon’s next step in the surgical procedure before the surgeon even makes the request.

He or she is also responsible for ordering supplies and maintaining files and records that relate to the procedures.

What Soft Skills Do You Need to Succeed in This Career?

In addition to the hard skills you will acquire through formal training, you will also need the following soft skills to succeed in this field:

  • Active Listening: This ability allows you to understand instructions from surgeons and other members of the operating room team.
  • Attention to Detail: You need the capacity to notice even the smallest details, and you must be attentive to your work, often for extended periods of time.
  • Coordination: You must be able to collaborate with other members of your team.
  • Problem Solving: You will need to be able to identify and solve problems.
  • Critical Thinking: You must be able to weigh your options and choose the best one when you are trying to solve a problem or make a decision.

The Truth about Being a Surgical Technologist

  • It is a physically demanding job. Expect to spend long hours on your feet. You will have to move patients and equipment.
  • Your work hours could include nights, weekends and holidays.
  • Shifts often last longer than eight hours.
  • Many people might find the operating room to be an unpleasant place. You could be one of them.

What Will Employers Expect From You?

Here are some requirements from actual job announcements found on

  • "Ability to work effectively in a fast paced environment"
  • "Display professional, responsible and accountable attitude and behavior"
  • "Ability to accurately maintain written records"
  • "Able to multi-task and work well in a team environment"
  • "Must be organized and work efficiently under pressure"
  • "Ability to perform work that requires frequent standing, bending, reaching, squatting, kneeling, moving, lifting of patients and/or equipment up to 50 pounds

The Rasmussen College Surgical Technology degree program is designed as a two year applied associates of science. Specific details on additional entrance requirements can be found on the Rasmussen website or through contacting your Advisor or Admissions.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 (visited January 11, 2016).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online (visited January 11, 2016).

Health Information 

AHIMA RHIT  and RHIA Beta Exam Date Delayed Until January 2, 2017
The hurricanes which hit the United States in the Fall had an impact on AHIMA’s planned launch date for the revised RHIT and RHIA that were originally scheduled for 10/2/17.  The new launch date for the RHIA and RHIT exams as beta exams will be January 2, 2018 the RHIT and RHIA exams. A beta exam is a new version of a certification exam consisting of new questions which have not yet undergone psychometric analysis for validity and reliability. On beta exams, immediate scoring is not available to the testers after the exam and will generally take 12 to 24 weeks for testers to receive the results.  The revisions to the RHIT exam is the result of a recent AHIMA job analysis to ensure the exam is current and reflects current practice. The new content outline is posted at  The RHIA exam content outline will not change.

The 2018 ICD-CM and ICD-PCS Changes are here! 
Ready, Set, Code!  ICD-10-CM contains over 350 new codes, almost 150 deleted codes and more than 250 revised codes. Then there is ICD-10-PCS which contains over 3562 new codes; over 1800 revised codes and almost 650 deleted codes.  These changes will take ICD-10 PCS to over 76,000 codes.  There are also some new and revised PCS definitions and guidelines. 

Health and Wellness / Human Services

Many undocumented youth cross borders and enter the United States daily.  There was a recent court battle between a 17 year old, undocumented girl that had entered the US in Texas and when she was apprehended, it was determined that she was pregnant.  She had entered the Country without any parents because she had dreams of becoming a nurse and did not want to be a parent.  She sought out an abortion without the consent of her parents while being held in a shelter.  She was denied the abortion and took her case to court where she was awarded a State court order allowing her to have the abortion without her parents’ consent.  She was still denied the abortion by an appeal from the Presidential Administration.  In October, 2017, the decision was upheld when the federal appeals court sent the decision back to the State level.   A court order was approved to allow the girl to have an abortion “promptly and without delay.”  The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court to try to stop the Trump administration from interfering with unaccompanied minors’ access to abortion.  It is interesting to note that unaccompanied minors are handled differently from adults apprehended at the border. The minors are kept at shelters and detention centers operated by various contractors under the supervision of the resettlement agency.  Should the government be allowed to make health decisions for undocumented minors that do not have parents in the country?

Medical Administrative Assistant
It’s been a continued conversation- Healthcare insurance market uncertainty.  In early October of  2017, President Trump signed two executive orders affecting the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as ObamaCare.

There are a number of details for the both of them, but in general, one of the executive orders removed requirements for basic benefits, such as maternity care and it allowed for wider use of insurance plans called association health plans.  An association health plan is one that allows small business and individuals to come together to obtain health insurance.  The executive order also allowed for small businesses and individuals to seek insurance groups across state lines as well.  It is feared that younger individual will seek these basic plans, leaving other insurance pools, ultimately raising the cost of healthcare for older individuals, while others state this will increase competition and ultimately decrease healthcare costs.   

The second executive order stopped the payment of government subsidies to insurance providers (companies) for discounts they provide for copayments and deductibles to low income individuals and families which is a government requirement for insurance providers to do.  The Federal government is still requiring insurance companies to provide these discounts to low income individuals and families, but, again, with the halt of the federal government subsidies to the insurance companies for these discounts, they have to make up the money somewhere.  The fear and major concern is that insurance companies will raise copayments, deductibles, and premiums on other insurance programs to offset the loss of the government subsidies for the discounts they provide for copayments and deductibles to low income individuals and families.

There are people and groups who advocate for and against these executive orders, but no matter what side you take, these orders will impact insurance plans for patients and most likely even for yourself and family.  I recommend reading a bit more on these executive orders and see how they can impact your overall work as a medical administrative assistant. 

Medical Assisting

Telemedicine is becoming a new and valuable technological advance to see patients from their own home.  These type of visits are becoming more and more popular and Medical Assistants, RN’s, and Physicians all play a very vital role in the success of the visit. Below is the link to an interesting article regarding telemedicine. As you read through this, please pay attention to this new trend and how it is incorporated in quality patient care:

Pharmacy Technician

Amazon, the tech giant, largely known for their online commercial business website, has expressed interest in opening up virtual retail pharmacies which would have significant impacts on the pharmaceutical profession, specifically pharmacies.  It would take a number of years for this transition to occur at Amazon, but if it did, it could mean significant changes for pharmaceutical consumers- mainly by decreasing the overall cost of prescription drugs.  This could also mean increased opportunities for pharmacy technicians because pharmacy technicians would be filling these prescriptions.  If Amazon would pursue this transition, they would only focus on non-specialty medications that are offered.

To read more on this topic, please view this link:

Radiologic Technology

Crystal Bromeling, Rasmussen College Radiologic Technology program coordinator, talks about her passion, background and experience that led her to this career path. Radiologic Technology (Rad Tech) is a field where every day is different and the technology is always changing. “The degree is just the starting point. There are so many certifications and fields technologists can branch into, such as mammography, CT or cardiology,” Bromeling said. This has been featured in Rasmussen Blog. Be sure to check out the video and article:​

Surgical Technologist

Breaking news: Romeoville’s Surgical Technology program performed its first ever Laparoscopic Seedectomy on a Pumpkin. The pumpkin did not want to disclose its name due to HIPAA regulations but did allow pictures to be taken! The operation was a rousing success! However, the students expressed how difficult and challenging the operation was. “We thought it was going to be easy” said someone from across the room. “Now, you know it takes hand eye coordination, communication and extreme attention to detail” the instructor chimed in.

As the instructor, I felt the procedure would be a good way to get students engaged in learning about laparoscopic surgery and the instrumentation and supplies that go along with laparoscopic surgery. Besides working together to get into the pumpkin the students also had to remove foreign objects, cut away adhesions and were challenged with a game where they had to place peas on pegs. The first ever “Pea on a Peg champion is Stephanie Rodriguez with 2 peas placed in 1 minute and the fastest time of getting 1 pea on the peg of 18 seconds. This shows her focus and hand eye coordination are well developed.

We hope to continue finding new ways to engage our students and we are already planning our next procedure!


Health Information 

Healthcare Data Breaches - Hacking in 2017- What’s most Vulnerable?

According to the HIPAA Journal Q3 2017 Healthcare Data Breach Report 36 out of the 50 largest healthcare data breaches in Q3 were attributed to hacking/IT incidents‼

There were 99 breaches of more than 500 records Q3, reported to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR), bringing the total number of data breaches reported in 2017 up to 272 incidents. The 99 data breaches saw 1,767,717 individuals’ Personal Heath Information exposed or stolen. So far in 2017, the records of 4,601,097 Americans have been exposed or stolen as a result of healthcare data breaches. These incidents involve phishing attacks, malware and ransomware incidents, and the hacking of network servers and endpoints. Hacking incidents involve considerably more data than all of the other types of breaches combined. The largest single location of breached data was from email 27%,  followed by network Servers 25%

If vulnerabilities exist, it is only a matter of time before they will be discovered by hackers. It is therefore essential for HIPAA covered entities and their business associates conduct regular risk assessments to determine whether any vulnerabilities exist.

To review the complete report published by the HIPAA Journal Q3 2017 Healthcare Data Breach Report, please visit the site below.

Health and Wellness / Human Services

The holidays are a time of increased feelings of depression that may lead to suicidal ideations and attempts.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report suicide as the 2nd leading cause of death in 2015 for age groups, 10 – 14, 15 – 24, and 25 – 34 and it was the 4th leading cause of death in age groups 35 – 44 and 45 – 54.  With suicide as such a leading cause of death in so many age brackets, it is important for Helping Professionals to be diligent in spreading awareness regarding suicide prevention and being aware of warning signs for the clients we serve and those around us.  Professionals report that evidence shows that providing support services and talking about suicide are some of the most important actions we can take to help others.  It is also important to check on those that may be alone during the holidays to make sure they feel supported.  The National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be accessed at 1-800-273-8255, 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week.  Please know some of the warning signs:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings

Medical Administrative Assistant

Did you know that there are student tutors to assist your studies in your Medical Administrative Assistant courses?  Yes, there are!  I encourage you to make a tutor appointment to get help with assignments, studying tips, reviewing content, and guidance in your course. 

It’s free, easy, and extremely helpful! This link provides you with instructions on how and where to schedule a tutoring appointment:


Pharmacy Technician

The Learning Services team is looking for Pharmacy Technician student tutors! We only have one Pharm Tech tutor, so it is vital to find more tutors to support students in the program. Tutoring is a paid work study position that is fully online and has flexible hours, and there is intensive training provided. It would also be a great addition to any resume.

If you are interested or have questions about the eligibility to become a tutor, please email Anna Phan at

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Summer 2017 Student Newsletter

Welcome to the student newsletter for the School of Health Sciences!

In each issue, we are excited to bring you content from the different programs so that you can be kept up to date on the various happenings around Health Sciences. Each quarter we will have an in-depth spotlight on a specific program, and the rest of the programs will contribute brief pieces for the categories What's New? and Did You Know?. Be sure to check out some programs other than just your own--there are exciting and interesting things happening all over Health Sciences!

Health Information Management, Bachelor’s Degree Program at Rasmussen College

 A dynamic and ever-challenging field, Health Information Management professionals are leaders, responsible for the oversight of health information - today most commonly found in electronic format. This includes the retention, protection, and recovery of the information as well as the completeness and accuracy of the information, which supports direct patient care and research. An emerging discipline within the field is data analytics, which stems from the power and resources of the EHR (electronic health record). The program is accredited by CAHIIM (Commission for Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education), which allows a graduate of the program to sit for the national AHIMA Registered Health Information Administrator Exam, leading to the RHIA credential upon successfully passing the exam.

Professionals work in three primary areas of focus in today’s market; 1) management, 2) technology and 3) informatics, in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, physician practices, nursing homes, home health agencies, mental health facilities, public health agencies, insurance and technology companies. An HIM professional will work with a function, department or system; for example, directing the staff and tasks of an HIM department, coordinating HIPAA privacy or overseeing the electronic document management function in an electronic record.  An HIM bachelor’s prepared individual moves away from technical aspects of health information and into areas of greater responsibility and more complex challenges.

The Rasmussen College HIM Bachelor’s degree program is designed as a two year completer program, requiring a student to possess an associate’s degree in Health Information Technology/Management from a CAHIIM accredited program in order to enroll in the Bachelor’s degree. Specific details on additional entrance requirements can be found on the Rasmussen website or through contacting your Advisor or Admissions.

Denise Van Fleet, MS, RHIA, is the program coordinator for the HIM Bachelor’s program at Rasmussen College. Denise has professional work experience in coding and coding management, clerical/technical HIM management, quality improvement, HIPAA Privacy and in Cancer Registry. Most recently, Denise held the Director of Health Information Management position with a staff of 52 persons. When she completed her bachelor degree, she sought to work in all areas of HIM because no single area pulled at her heart, but each one held her interest. Denise was successful in her plan to work in nearly all areas of HIM, and she enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge in this CAHIIM-accredited program. Denise lives in the country where she and her husband raised two sons. She loves the beauty of nature, flowers and wildlife. Denise has 4 dogs and 2 cats and loves to spoil her pets with affection. Denise is enthusiastic to meet prospective students and share details of the program and profession; please reach out to Denise at


Health Information 

For Health Information professionals, the AHIMA Code of Ethics and the 11 ethical principles that are its foundation provide a guide to the ethical obligations of AHIMA members and credentialed non-members. It is important that you are able to interpret the code of ethic and understand how to apply it in your professional life. The responsibility to uphold the ethical principles of the health information profession begins at the very beginning--when you are an HI student!

AHIMA offers an ethics self-assessment to help its members and credentialed HIM professionals identify ethical strengths as well as opportunities for improvement.

Review the Code of Ethics and consider taking the AHIMA self- assessment, linked above on the AHIMA website.  Even if you currently do not fall into the category of an AHIMA member or credentialed non-member, which requires you as a condition of membership and certification to abide by the AHIMA’s Code of Ethics, as an HI student you want to begin to understand the ethical responsibilities in your future roles.

This self-assessment tool  is developed to help you identify your areas of strength in ethics and areas you might wish to strengthen and is intended for personal use only.

Human Services

Please consider registering to attend the National Organization for Human Services National Conference. Department Chair Rikkisha Gilmore-Byrd will be speaking at the conference on integrating cultural competence into any classroom.  There is a discounted student rate for registration.

Medical Administrative Assistant

So here we are again: talking about the healthcare bill.  The last newsletter discussed the initial Republicans' American Health Care Act (AHCA) that would replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA and also known as ObamaCare). This initial bill didn’t get enough support from the Republicans, so it was redrafted and renamed the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). BCRA drastically reduces Medicaid funding and ACA subsidies for people to get insurance coverage.  

As of August 1, Republicans tried to vote on a skinny repeal of the ACA and were unsuccessful. At the moment, the ACA will continue to be offered, but the current administration is making no plans to modify and change the ACA to make it more sufficient and reduce the premium costs that have occurred over the last few years. President Trump also has stated and threatened that he will stop large financial payments to healthcare insurance companies which will caused rates within ACA to drastically increase. 

Again, it is important to follow the actions of the current administration and what they do or don’t do to the ACA.  As an employee in the healthcare field, it’s vital to understand the changes and updates to federal healthcare laws and regulations because it is going to affect patients and their overall access to care and resources. For more information on the topic and other related healthcare topics, please see the coverage from NPR:

Pharmacy Technician

The Learning Services team is looking for Pharmacy Technician student tutors! Sadly, we do not have any Pharmacy Technician student tutors, so it is vital that we find tutors to assist the program. Tutoring is a paid work study position that is fully online and has flexible hours, and there is intensive training provided. It would also be a great addition to any resume.

If you are interested or have questions about the eligibility to become a tutor, please email Anna Phan at

Surgical Technologist

The Rockford campus is excited to announce the launch of their new Surgical Technologist program! Anyone interested in joining the exciting and fast-paced career of Surgical Technology should contact Kendall Little, the new Program Coordinator, at

The Romeville/Joliet campus is proud to announce their first graduates from the Surgical Technology program. The program has been running since October of 2015 and has had successful growth term after term. The first graduates from the program are Kate Braun, Mimi Samu and Shante Trotter. The students have successfully begun their job search and are looking forward to becoming professional members of surgical teams in our local community. 

The Romeoville/Joliet campus is excited to announce an open house for Surgical Technology in October. For details, please see the flyer below. 

Health Information 

​AHIMA Certification Exam News

AHMA RHIT and RHIA Exams: On October 2, 2017, AHIMA will be launching beta versions of the new RHIT and RHIA exams. The new RHIT exam is the result of a recent job analysis to ensure the exam is current and reflects current practice. The new content outline is posted at The RHIA exam content outline will not change.

What is a Beta Exam?  A beta exam is a new version of a certification exam consisting of new questions which have not yet undergone psychometric analysis for validity and reliability. On beta exams, immediate scoring is not available; scores will be available as soon as possible after the exam, generally within 12 weeks to 24 weeks. 

Medical Administrative Assistant

Did you know that there are student tutors to assist your studies in your Medical Administrative Assistant courses? Yes, there are! You can make an appointment with a tutor to get help with assignments, studying tips, reviewing content, and guidance in your course. 

It’s free, easy, and extremely helpful! This link provides you with instructions on how and where to schedule a tutoring appointment:

Pharmacy Technician

A recent research study released in the journal Clinical Toxicology looked at errors that happened outside health care facilities and resulted in serious medical outcomes. These errors could be caused from individuals taking the wrong medication or dosage at home or even getting the wrong medication/dosage from a pharmacy.

The study demonstrated that these errors are on the rise and that in the 13 years the study looked at, more than 67,000 of these errors occurred; a lot of them being preventable. The study also found that one third of these errors resulted in a hospital admission. The authors also believe this is a low number due to the fact they only looked at errors that were reported to poison control centers. 

Cardiovascular and analgesics were the two main drug classifications that caused these at home errors. In fact, cardiovascular drugs were associated with 1 in 5 errors that occurred.

Even though these medications errors are a small subset of the 1.3 estimated million people injured each year from medication error, they are highly preventable. Patient safety and ensuring the pharmacy is dispensing the correct medication and dosage along with proper patient education and awareness is key to overcome these medication errors. 

Columbus, C.  (2017, July 12). Took The Wrong Medicine By Mistake? Study Finds Such Errors Are On The Rise.  Retrieved from:

Surgical Technology

The use of technology in medicine has become standard and has helped to improve how health care workers and doctors provide care for patients. The surgical department has benefited from technology as well. One way that we see technology applied in the operating room is with the use of robots to help surgeons perform surgical procedures. Robot-assisted surgery has been around since the mid 1980’s, and it might not be quite what you envision. The surgeon is still performing surgery, but he or she is now able to take advantage of sophisticated preoperative diagnostic imaging that is combined with computer software to then utilize robotic manipulators to perform more precise surgery. The use of surgical robots followed the advancements in minimally invasive surgery using laparoscopes (which were manipulated by hand originally, and still are in non-robotic cases). The advantages of robotic surgery are enhanced views and more precise and steady handing of instruments and tissues. While a human surgeon’s hand might get tired, a robot hand never will. The surgeon controls the robot using very sensitive joystick-like hand pieces and is only a few feet away from the surgical patient. In the future there may be opportunities for a specialist to perform surgery remotely while a local surgeon stands by with the patient. This could help patients who may not be able to get the expertise of the specialist due to distance.

As technology improved, more opportunities for robotic surgery were realized beyond laparoscopy. One of the more recent innovations has been the increased use of surgical robots in orthopedic surgery – total joint replacement to be specific. Joint replacements are rather common surgeries done to alleviate joint pain in patients with degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis). The ends of the arthritic joint are cut or shaved off and a metal and plastic prosthesis is implanted to replace the lost cartilage and bone. Joint replacements typically alleviate the pain and allow patients to regain mobility. However, surgeons often delay joint replacement surgery as long as possible because the prosthesis wear out over a number of years and then need to be redone which is a more complicated process. Advances in technology allows for the surgeon to use a robot to make more precise cuts to the bone and perfectly place the implants, leading to a reduced rate of failure for the prosthesis and hopefully, a repair that lasts the lifetime of the patient.

Robotic surgery does have its advantages and disadvantages. It may not be the best option for all procedures or patients and does require a lengthy learning curve for surgeons to get highly proficient. There may be increased cost with robotic surgery as well. When planning surgery, it is important for surgeons to determine whether the benefits of performing a surgery with the robot outweigh the risks and expense for each particular patient. See the following links for more information:

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Spring 2017 Student Newsletter

Welcome to the student newsletter for the School of Health Sciences!

In each issue, we are excited to bring you content from the different programs so that you can be kept up to date on the various happenings around Health Sciences. Each quarter we will have an in-depth spotlight on a specific program, and the rest of the programs will contribute brief pieces for the categories What's New? and Did You Know?. Be sure to check out some programs other than just your own--there are exciting and interesting things happening all over Health Sciences!

Medical Assisting Diploma Program- Rasmussen College

If you have compassion, a mind for medicine, and the heart to help others, then the Medical Assisting career is just for you. The job growth in this field is projected to grow 23% by 2023 according to data collected by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS, 2016). The Medical Assisting Diploma program offers a diverse curriculum and skill set to prepare individuals for an entry level Medical Assisting position within a healthcare facility.  With their wide range of skills, an MA is a valued member of a healthcare team. Having the ability to perform such duties as providing patient care, assisting with procedures, phlebotomy, injections, chart documentation, assisting physicians with various patient orders, and completing both back office and front office administrative skills, allows this career to offer a variety of tasks that are sure to keep an individual professionally satisfied. In addition, the reward of knowing that you make a difference in your patients’ lives is priceless. We are excited to answer any questions you may have.

Meet Denise!

Denise Pufall is the Department Chair for the Medical Assisting Diploma and Heath Science Associate-Medical Assisting Specialization program at Rasmussen College. Denise has worked in healthcare for 19 years. She comes with an educational background in Health and Human Services, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Administration, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Health and Human Services. Denise has a strong educational background and has worked in the clinical setting in various positions to include, a Medical Assistant and Operations Management. She also served as an Emergency Medical Technician for 13 years in her hometown. Personally, she is married to Rick, has 4 children, 3 grandchildren, and lives in central Wisconsin. Denise would love to get to know you and answer any questions you may have in regards to the Medical Assisting programs. You can email her at

Graduate Spotlight:
Elizabeth Steele, CMA (AAMA), Blaine, MN - Medical Assisting Diploma Graduate

Before coming to Rasmussen for the Medical Assisting program, Elizabeth “Liza” Steele was working as a nursing assistant/home health aide and enjoyed the hands-on patient care aspects of her job. After successful graduation and completion of her externship at the University of Minnesota, she is currently working as a CMA at the University of Minnesota’s MINCEP/Specialty Care Clinic. The MINCEP clinic is home to epilepsy and seizure care for MN and surrounding states, as well as to the Navigate program for first episode schizophrenia patients who meet specific criteria. This facility has a memory clinic for Dementia/Alzheimer’s patients, provides on-site care for both Neuropsychiatric and psychiatric patients, and performs EEGs and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) procedures. In her role, Liza is responsible for front desk duties, rooming, and lab work. She is amazed every day to be working alongside epileptologists and neurologists in a clinic that has been treating seizures since the 1960’s and to see how these providers and support staff help people with seizures/epilepsy live relatively normal lives. Liza plans to return to school to become a provider someday soon!  Working as a Medical Assistant has given her so many opportunities; but even after she has reached her final goal, Liza will never forget how hard MA’s work to keep the clinic running and keep the patients satisfied!

Medical Assistants are in-demand for their versatility, critical thinking abilities, high-level of professionalism, and expertise in both clinical and administrative duties. Job opportunities in this profession are continuing to grow, and so are the numbers of job titles that are held by Medical Assistants. Just a few examples of these are clinical assistant, pediatric assistant, occupational health technician, specimen collector, patient advocate, scribe/medical scribe, patient care associate, chiropractic assistant, GI technician, and many, many more! In addition to highly sought after CMA or RMA credential earned by medical assistants, MAs have an opportunity to stack their credentials in order to reflect their knowledge and skills sets in specific areas such as phlebotomy and EKG, for example. The sky is the limit for opportunities and advancement options within the healthcare setting for Medical Assistants. If you enjoy making a positive difference in people’s lives, then this is the perfect fit for you!

Health Sciences - Health Career Matchmaker

Healthcare Career Matchmaker points students in the right career direction within the Health Sciences field. It works through an interactive interface. On a sliding scale from 1 to 10 where 1 equals “not at all,” and 10 equals “very,” students can choose how the some traits reflect their personalities. This app provides 56 healthcare careers based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor. With quick assessment tool, you can reflect your own personality traits and find best Healthcare matches. Try it out!

Health Information

AHIMA Certification Exam News – AHIMA Coding Exams Updated for 2017. AHIMA has launched their updated Coding Exams (CCA, CCS and CCS-P) on May 1, 2017, now based on the 2017 Coding Guidelines.  There will be no Beta testing, so results will be available immediately after the exam!  AHIMA has updated the Allowable Codes Book link, effective May 1, 2017,  on the CCA page (last updated on 6/14/16) which contains the information on which ICD-CM, ICD-PCS and CPT code book editions are allowed in the testing center

ARE YOU A LEADER WHO Wants an Active Role in your Health Information Profession?
Apply for the AHIMA Student Advisory Committee - This is a great professional development opportunity for a student leader: Five student members will serve from July 2017 through June 2018, planning educational events and webinars (including Student Academy at Convention), advocating for the profession, writing for AHIMA publications, creating resources to assist HIM students on their professional journeys, and more. Applications are due May 31, 2017. PLEASE NOTE YOU MUST BE AN AHIMA STUDENT MEMBER TO APPLY.

Health & Wellness

Corporate Wellness has been a “hot topic” over the past few years.  There are many different types of wellness initiatives that are being introduced to employees to help them to feel relaxed and rejuvenated which helps one’s overall health.  The Global Wellness Summit identified 8 Wellness Trends for 2017 and Beyond.  The 8 identified include

1. Sauna Reinvented
From theatrical Sauna Aufguss events to jaw-dropping amphitheater saunas…sweating will get more spectacular and social in years ahead.

2. Wellness Architecture
Healthy-for-Humans Building…Finally

3. Silence
From silent spas - to wellness monasteries and “down-time abbeys” - to silent eating

4. Art & Creativity Take Center Stage
Yes, adult coloring books - but well beyond: from classical concerts to intensive painting classes at hotels, wellness retreats, spas and studios.

5. Wellness Remakes Beauty
Borders between beauty and wellness blur: the $999 billion beauty sector gets a shakeup thanks to seismic shifts in the way we aspire to and perceive true beauty.

6. The Future is Mental Wellness
Mental wellness will be the biggest future trend, period: from wellness destinations and spas bringing in neuroscientists and psychotherapists – to meditation becoming seriously mainstream, while evolving into new breeds – to part-mind, part-body workout brands – to apps that track your mental state.

7. Embracing the C-Word
Wellness industry stops turning away cancer sufferers and, instead, provides comfort, solace and positive recovery paths.

8. Beyond the Elite “Ghettos” of Wellness
In a world where rising inequality and a sense of “unfairness” is leading to a global, populist backlash – a wellness industry that’s become narrowly associated with wealthy elites (…the $300 yoga pants and treatments) must, and will, change.

If you are interested in reading more about this, check out

Human Services

It is interesting that Meals on Wheels has seen a surge in donations. President Trump proposed a cut in the budget that directly affected Meals on Wheels and the donations increased by up to 50 times the past amounts.   Volunteer registration also increased by 500%.  There are many volunteer opportunities in the areas of Human Services.  Volunteerism is a great way to try out many different areas of Human Services to assess what you enjoy doing most prior to making a concrete career decision in the field of Human Services. 

When you volunteer, you provide yourself with an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people. Your skills, knowledge, and experience can help to enrich the local community.  At times like these when social services are being cut and the need for these services is increasing it is essential for non-profits to count on volunteers to fill in the gaps and help those who need most.  

Volunteering has several positive benefits for all. Perhaps the first and biggest benefit people get from volunteering is the satisfaction of incorporating service into their lives and making a difference in their communities. The intangible benefits alone—such as pride, satisfaction, and accomplishment—are worthwhile reasons to serve.  Look for some volunteer opportunities in your community, today.

Medical Administrative Assistant

The first version and effort of President Trump’s and the Republicans American Health Care Act (AHCA) to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (also known as ObamaCare) in March was unsuccessful, but as April nears to a close, Republicans and President Trump are going to try again with an updated version of the their AHCA. 

There has been a lot of discussion and concern around pre-existing conditions and overall health care coverage with the updated version of the AHCA.  These variables may change dramatically with the updated version of the AHCA and have many people worried.

In the ACA, insurance companies cannot discriminate against individuals with current or former medical conditions- meaning an individual who has had cancer or currently has diabetes cannot be denied coverage or services because of those conditions. 

As you work your way through the Medical Administrative Assistant program, it will be vital to stay tuned to these possible changes for when you enter the workforce, whichever version of a healthcare bill is active will affect your role as a Medical Administrative Assistant.

Pharmacy Technician 

On April 29th, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) scheduled the 13th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day across the United States.  The DEA works with the states to set up this national event to provide an opportunity for individuals to dispose of unused, expired, and/or no longer used prescription drugs at local community events.  This process and event is overseen by the local law enforcement.

This is a fantastic opportunity for individuals to get rid of medications that are no longer in use, especially opioid based medications.  Minnesota’s attorney general Lori Swanson stated, “Nearly 80 percent of people who misuse opioids get them from friends and family members.”  Removing this opportunity by discarding unused medications, like opioid based prescription medication is a useful way to decrease this opportunity.  It also decreases the chances of younger children from finding unused medication too.

If you missed this national event, there are other opportunities to get rid of unwanted prescription medications.  Currently in Minnesota, there are more than 240 medication collection boxes located at various law enforcement facilities and pharmacies in the state.  Each state will vary with their process of getting rid of unwanted prescription medications, but one should NEVER flush or discard unwanted down the toilet.  Medications can lead to contamination of a local water supply. 

It is important for you to understand what your state’s process and procedure is for accepting unwanted prescription medications.  Do some research by performing an internet search for your state and “managing unwanted medications”.  As a pharmacy technician, you will encounter questions from individuals about this process, and it will be helpful to everyone for you to be able to appropriately educate individuals on what to and not to do.

Radiologic Technology

The Lake Elmo / Woodbury Radiologic Technology students attended their first Minnesota Association of Radiology Students (MARS) Spring Educational Conference. At this conference the listened to presentations about Forensic Radiology, Cadaver Imaging, and Contrast Media Reactions in Radiology. They also participating in voting for a new MARS president.

The former MARS president and the Minnesota Society of Radiologic Technology (MSRT) Educators’ Chair presented this year’s MARS service project of “Keep Calm and Save Your Pop Tabs”. This year they introduced a new initiative to get more interaction between the 15 programs of the state of Minnesota. They have created an achievement award to be award, a perpetual trophy, to the wining program to display at their campus until the next service project. The trophy will be awarded after the MARS Student Knowledge Bowl on September 21st.

The students at LEW are collecting their pop tabs and are asking for assistance from others to help them win the trophy. (See below the trophy they want to win.)

Surgical Technologist

The Surg Tech program held a workshop lovingly entitled, “Peel, Pop, Drop them like they’re hot!” for MA students on the Romeoville/Joliet campus on April 29th. The workshop covered concepts such as open gloving, gowning and gloving, creating a small sterile field opening peel pouches as well as an instrumentation overview. (The title comes from how we peel open peel pouches and pop/drop items onto a sterile field. A fun way to catch the student’s eye!)

We hope to hold another workshop in the Spring covering wound care to include staple and suture removal. The Surg Tech students worked directly with the MA students on these concepts with instructor supervision.

Health Information

That if you are a student in the MBCC and HIT programs that you can find information about Careers in your courses that relate specifically to the competencies you learn in those courses!  Look for lecture materials, discussions and assignments that provide you a valuable opportunity to explore careers.  Also check out the American Health Information Management Association’s website and click on Career Map to read about Careers from Entry Level to Mastery.   Click on the Career Role Self- Assessment to see if you are ready for a specific job?  Learn more about  a position and see what level of knowledge may be needed for that career.

Health & Wellness

Under the Trump Administration, large budget cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services are being proposed.  The Department of Health and Human Services is one of the largest and wide spread departments within the government.  It has been proposed that the Department will receive an 18% decrease in funding.  This is the lowest amount that has been allocated to this Department in the past 2 decades (Goldstein, 2017).  The Washington Post reports, “More than a third of the $15.1 billion in cuts would affect the National Institutes of Health, the government’s main engine of biomedical research, which has long enjoyed strong bipartisan support in Congress.” (Goldstein, 2017).

That does not include potential cuts to Medicare and Medicaid that provide funding to older and lower-income Americans.  Those programs have been omitted from the budget and numbers for those programs have not been released.  It is important to start assessing how these cuts may affect your careers in the field of health and human services and what you can personally do to positively affect how this may affect your clients.


Goldstein, A. (2017). Federal Health Department Would Face Nearly 18 Percent Cut.  Washington Post.  Retrieved from

Human Services

Did you know you can obtain a credential in the field of Human Services?  The Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE) created the Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner (HS-BCP) with the assistance of the National Organization for Human Services (NOHS) in consultation with the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE). The credentialing process was designed for human services practitioners seeking to advance their careers by acquiring independent verification of their practical knowledge and educational background.  Take a look at the application packet at  

Medical Administrative Assistant

Did you know Rasmussen College has a great blog piece on what do medical administrative assistants do, among other resources for this profession too?  You can check it out here:

Medical Assistant - Body Language

There are two forms of communication:  Verbal and Nonverbal communication.  A lot of effort and focus is put upon verbal communication, but many individuals are unware of nonverbal communication which can be even more powerful than verbal communication in a conversation.  Body language is the main type of nonverbal communication and takes the form of body posture, hand gestures, and facial expressions that can be either conscious or unconsciously performed.     

Some examples of body language are: Position and movement of arms, shoulders, hands, eyes, eyebrows, and head, poor posture in general.   

Body language accents and compliments verbal communication and can be up to 75% of the message being conveyed, but many individuals are unaware of their body language during conversations and interactions which can lead to a misinterpreted or confused message.  For example, let’s say a friend tells you about a recent promotion at work and when you congratulate your friend, your face and body language has the appearance of being sad and depressed.  Because of your body language, your friend may feel as if you are not excited for her promotion when you actually are. 

Body language works both ways- you must have to be able to recognize and understand your own body language and the body language of others you are interacting with.  Failure to do both will result in mixed and/or interrupted messages. 

Body language relates directly to the medical profession, especially the medical administrative assistant field.  When interacting with a patient, you can say the correct things but if your body language is inappropriate, the message can be lost or misinterpreted leaving the patient confused, frustrated, and even upset.

To avoid this complication, you should become aware of your own and other’s body language.  Doing a simple Google search will provide numerous articles, information, examples of body language etiquette to review and learn from.  Don’t forget the old adage- “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”.  Next time you are engaged in a conversation, think about what your body language is saying- is it helping or interfering with your message? 

Pharmacy Technician - Polypharmacy

Polypharmacy, the simultaneous use of multiple drugs taken by an individual to treat a condition or conditions, is becoming a common practice within the medical profession.  As we have a large group of our population aging (the baby boomers) mixed with an overall increase of life expectancy due to medical and technology advances, health care professionals are seeing more patients with chronic diseases and multiple health conditions that need to be addressed.

The use of prescription medications has directly saved countless lives and allowed individuals to survive and live longer after major health occurrences such as heart attacks or strokes.  For a lot of these situations, it is a result of patients taking multiple medications simultaneously.  While this is obviously great news, there is a troubling downside surfacing for patients taking multiple prescription medications. 

Adverse drug interactions, decreased quality of life due to possible drug induced impairments, increased health care and personal costs, and severe side effects that commonly lead to prescription cascading- using medications to treat side effects of another medication ultimately increasing the risk of drug interactions and further complications are all possible complications of polypharmacy.   

As more and more of our population ages and develops chronic diseases and conditions due to poor lifestyle choices pertaining to diet and exercise the use of prescription medications to treat these diseases/conditions will continue to rise.  Polypharmacy has its advantages for patient care, but it can be a slippery slope and create unwanted, negative effects and outcomes in patient care.  Best practices for polypharmacy must be developed and not only include the health care practitioners that see patients and the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians that interact with patients, but the patients as well.  Failure of this development will lead to increased patient care complications, a decrease in their quality of life, and an overall increase in healthcare cost.     

Radiologic Technology - Forensic Radiology

One of the most interesting and rapidly growing methods which utilize x-rays beyond diagnostic or treatment is for forensics
. This means they use radiographs to help identify remains, establish cause of death and to even sometimes aid in the conviction of criminals. Radiographs can help convict people who do extreme crimes such as murder, attempted murder, drug trafficking, and even artwork forgery.

This topic was presented at the MARS Spring Educational Conference by a radiologic technologist from Hennepin County Medical Center. The students found it interesting that the radiographers are required to x-ray image bags of leaves prior to a medical examiner’s or investigator’s visual evaluation of the content when it’s suspected to contain remains based on smell. They also found it interesting that a “body” or “remains” cannot be positively identified by only personal effects but rather confirmed by dental records, or radiographs to find items that are specific to an individual. Any implanted medical device has a serial number which is registered to the person who has it in their body. Frontal sinuses are just as unique as a fingerprint. Having the ability to find medical devices or the luck that someone has a medical history of sinus x-ray can solve cases quickly.

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Winter 2017 Student Newsletter

Welcome to the student newsletter for the School of Health Sciences!

In each issue, we are excited to bring you content from the different programs so that you can be kept up to date on the various happenings around Health Sciences. Each quarter we will have an in-depth spotlight on a specific program, and the rest of the programs will contribute brief pieces for the categories What's New? and Did You Know?. Be sure to check out some programs other than just your own--there are exciting and interesting things happening all over Health Sciences!

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015), healthcare occupations and industries are expected to have the fastest employment growth and to add the most jobs between 2014 and 2024--about 10 million jobs during that period.  The Medical Administrative Assistant profession will be no exception to this growth and increase need within the healthcare field. 

Medical Administrative Assistants can work in a wide variety of healthcare environments, from hospitals to clinics to private practices, and this profession has to continually adapt and change to technological advances, healthcare laws/regulations, and the ever-growing patient diversity that is occurring in the healthcare field. To be successful in this profession, it is important that you enter the workforce with superior customer service skills, diversity awareness, digital fluency, communication, and critical thinking skills in addition to the general healthcare knowledge that is required. 

The Medical Administrative Assistant program at Rasmussen prepares our graduates with these precise skills and knowledge so they can be successful in any healthcare environment they are employed within. This foundation of knowledge and skills also allows graduates to be confident and have the ability to grow and adapt to the changes within healthcare allowing further success in this profession.  

Meet the Program Chair: Jeremy Barthels

I have been with Rasmussen College nearly 10 years with most of that time spent as a faculty member. I transitioned from a practicing chiropractor into teaching due to neuromuscular issues stemming from long-term complications of a childhood cancer. I’m actually a two-time cancer survivor having both Hodgkin’s disease and thyroid cancer. My unique professional and personal experiences in healthcare, including living and practicing as a chiropractic in Ireland, have given me a well-rounded perspective and insight to healthcare as a practicing professional and patient.

My passion for teaching and working with students has been evident since I started with Rasmussen College.  I have always tried to find new and innovate way to communicate and challenge my students.  My new role as department chair has given me new opportunities to improve student experience and outcomes and love to hear from students--so please, if you have any issues or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact me:

Personally, my wife and I live in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, and we love to travel, go camping, bike around and walk our two dogs. I enjoy reading books on health and wellness, meditating daily, and tending to my flock of chickens.  


Health Information 

From AHIMA Press Release January 25, 2017

Survey Analyzes Perceptions of Mobile Device Security by Future HIM Professionals: Finds Training is Key

“This study emphasizes the importance of security training for current and future HIM professionals,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “Increasing security awareness among healthcare professionals should be a priority as one pathway to increase the rate of adoption of mobile device security mechanisms.”

The Winter 2017 issue of Perspectives in Health Information Management, the online research journal of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), featured the exploratory study “Mobile Device Security: Perspectives of Future Healthcare Workers”  designed to analyze the perceptions of mobile device security from the vantage point of future healthcare professionals. The authors surveyed current campus and online health professions students; the participants are future HIM professionals and therefore potential mobile device users in this capacity. The goal of the study was “to explore healthcare professionals’ perceptions of susceptibility and severity of security threats on personal mobile devices, data on perceptions about susceptibility, severity, threat, safeguard effectiveness, safeguard costs, self- efficacy, motivation, behavior, and awareness.” The authors found that “more training on mobile device security could help increase the security awareness and behaviors of these future healthcare professionals.”

Health & Wellness and Human Services

There are many current vacancies with the Government Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services in many different Health and Human Services agencies.  Some of the agencies with current openings include:

  • Office of the Secretary
  • Commissioned Corps
  • Administration for Children and Families
  • Agency for Health Care Research and Quality
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Health Resources and Services Administration
  • Indian Health Services
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

There are several positions that only require a Bachelor’s degree, so take some time check them out and know what you can aspire to!

More information here:

Medical Administrative Assistant and Pharmacy Technician

As President Trump and his administration take office, there is a lot of uncertainty in what lies ahead for the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) and healthcare in general. President Trump has made a number of promises to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with little insight to what that is going to look like and when to date. Just as healthcare professions have been adapting to the Affordable Care Act, it appears new changes are coming and these changes have the possibility of affecting every healthcare profession, and fairly immediately. There even has been talk of changing Medicare/Medicaid access and coverage.    

One major concern is that the Affordable Care Act will be repealed without an immediate replacement, leaving millions of people uninsured. If this happened, it could impact the access to healthcare for individuals and families, producing a delayed effect in receiving appropriate health care. This is an important topic to stay current and up to date on for not only your profession, but your own personal health insurance coverage may also be affected. 

Medical Assisting

Some big changes have been happening in OSHA (the Occupational Health and Safety Administration) regarding their Hazard Communication Standard. The Hazard Communication Standard was revised in 2012, and requires that Safety Data Sheets (SDSes, formerly Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDSes) for each hazardous chemical to be communicated in each facility per OSHA standards. The information contained in the SDS is largely the same as the MSDS, except now the SDS is required to be presented in a consistent user-friendly, 16-section format.

The SDS includes information such as the properties of each chemical; the physical, health, and environmental health hazards; protective measures; and safety precautions for handling, storing, and transporting the chemical. The information contained in the SDS must be in English (although it may be in other languages as well).

A description of all 16 sections of the SDS is provided below:

  • Section 1: Identification
  • Section 2: Hazard(s) Identification
  • Section 3: Composition/Information on Ingredients
  • Section 4: First-Aid Measures
  • Section 5: Fire-Fighting Measures
  • Section 6: Accidental Release Measures
  • Section 7: Handling and Storage
  • Section 8: Exposure Controls/Personal Protection
  • Section 9: Physical and Chemical Properties
  • Section 10: Stability and Reactivity
  • Section 11: Toxicological Information
  • Section 12: Ecological Information (non-mandatory)
  • Section 13: Disposal Considerations (non-mandatory)
  • Section 14: Transport Information (non-mandatory)
  • Section 15: Regulatory Information (non-mandatory)
  • Section 16: Other Information 

For more information on the changes, please see the following pages:



Surgical Technology

The Surgical Technology students from the St. Cloud campus recently had the extraordinary opportunity to spend a day at the Visible Heart Lab, a collaboration between the University of Minnesota and Medtronic. The investigators, scientists, and students at the Visible Heart Lab perform translational systems physiology research with a focus on cardiac function. This includes preclinical research to test treatments to the heart and lungs to increase the length of time they can tolerate not functioning during open heart surgery or during transplantation. They also work extensively with medical device innovation and improvement such as pacemakers and defibrillators. In fact, this lab is the site of the invention of the first battery operated pacemaker and many other historical cardiac advancements.

Students were able to observe animal surgery and were allowed to “touch and feel” anatomy and get a genuine experience of what surgery looks, sounds, and smells like. In addition to the surgical lab, they were able to view the lab’s heart specimen library where they have many preserved specimens, plastinated heart models, and 3D printed models – both human and other animals. Many of these specimens are used to create the Atlas of Human Cardiac Anatomy, a free access website with videos, images, and animations that anyone can use to learn more about the heart.

Things got especially immersive when students were allowed to try out virtual reality software that the lab is working on that allowed them to explore human anatomy as if they were inside the human body. The software allows you to “walk around” inside a 3D body by using VR goggles and a hand held controller.

The STC Surgical Technology program has been going to the Visible Heart Lab for many years and it never fails to impress. The experience serves to make classroom lessons come to life and get students excited for what is ahead of them in their program and careers.

A peek at the Visible Heart Lab

The Visible heart lab website

Health Information 

What Is Information Governance and How Do Health Information Professionals Fit In?

We all know that information is a healthcare organization's most valuable asset. The Health Information Management's (HIM's) role has always been managing data and information. Our role is expanding, however, to include information governance (IG). IG sees us continuing to manage information for clinical and business decisions within a medical organization, while at the same time meeting the needs of compliance, therefore reducing risk to the facility.

HIM professionals are perfect for the role in IG. We have knowledge and understanding of technology, data analytics, privacy & security, legal, regulatory and how to manage information across an enterprise. Working in collaboration with the senior business executives and other IG stakeholders, HIM professionals can educate, inform, and lead IG initiatives that will ensure the organization’s information is trustworthy, reliable and secure throughout its entire lifecycle, from creation, use, maintenance and ultimately to its destruction or final disposition. A solid IG infrastructure will not only lead to more informed business decisions, but will also align itself with the strategic goals of the organization.

You can find out more about IG at

Health and Wellness

Stress management is essential to overall health. Reducing stress in your everyday life is vital to your overall health and many corporations are employing people that are tasked with focusing on stress reduction in the workplace. When employees let stress get the best of them, they are at risk developing a range of different illnesses. Since this affects overall productivity, employers have a vested interests in doing all that they can to help keep their employees healthy by reducing stress any way that is possible. This is a career focus that you may find in a corporation, organization, or business and if the position does not exist, it may be one that you may be able to propose upon completion of your degree in Health and Wellness.

Human Services

You can become a student member of National Organization of Human Services for only $35 for the year?

Students are the future of the Human Services field. NOHS membership provides students with access to networking with professionals, continuing education, discounted registration to conferences and grants and awards.

Membership benefits allow students to:

  • Expand your community beyond the campus — and become part of the human service community
  • Establish important links with current human service practitioners
  • Be prepared for the new Human Services - Board Certified Practitioner credential
  • Further their professional careers in Human Services through their Career Center
  • Register at a discounted rate for  National Annual Conference 
  • Receive a quarterly newsletter
  • Receive an annual peer-reviewed journal, published each fall
  • Eligibility to apply for member-only scholarships and grants

This is a great student benefit that costs practitioners $95 for the year. For more membership information, please visit

Medical Administrative Assistant

A medical administrative assistant (MAA) has a number of responsibilities within the medical organization they work within, but some of them are not highlighted as well as they should be.     

As an MAA, your customer service skills can be the determining factor to a patient’s overall office experience. Commonly, it is the MAA that will be the first and last person a patient interacts with during their appointment. Being cheerful, respectful, and engaging with a patient can really set the tone for the patient’s visit and overall office experience.     

Not only are customer service skills vital with the customers and patients you interact with, but also with coworkers.  Creating a fun, productive, and effective work environment will not only increase job satisfaction for you and your coworkers, but customers and patients will recognize and “feel” this friendly and encouraging environment too.

Customer service skills extend beyond being courteous and nice to someone--it also means to dress appropriately for work, demonstrate patience, and use a genuine and caring tone for individuals even though they may not be exhibiting the same to you. 

Pharmacy Technician

A common mistake pharmacy technician students make in studying for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) is that they wait until their last quarter of courses to study for it. Granted, this may be the most convenient time to study for the exam, but idealistically one should be reviewing and studying for it throughout their program. Here is a link to the PTCE blueprint identifying what content areas are on the PTCE:​

Print this off and review it in every single course you take--if you review the content each quarter, by the time you graduate, you will be well prepared and understand what you will be required to know. Don’t wait until the very end, this PTCE BluePrint should be with you every step as you progress through your program. 

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Fall 2016 Student newsletter

Welcome to the student newsletter for the School of Health Sciences!

In each issue, we are excited to bring you content from the different programs so that you can be kept up to date on the various happenings around Health Sciences. Each quarter we will have an in-depth spotlight on a specific program, and the rest of the programs will contribute brief pieces for the categories What's New? and Did You Know?. Be sure to check out some programs other than just your own--there are exciting and interesting things happening all over Health Sciences!

In the fall quarter, Rasmussen was proud to roll out a brand-new program: Radiologic Technology! Here are some updates from the Lake Elmo and Land O'Lakes campuses:

Lake Elmo: Update from Crystal Bromeling, Program Coordinator

I am pleased to introduce the first Radiologic Technology class at the Lake Elmo / Woodbury campus.

The campus team had no problems filling the first class. We enrolled 12 to start Rad Tech courses this quarter. There are already students enrolled to start general courses in the Winter quarter.

The first class of Rad Tech students have been eager to learn and are fully engaged in the learning process. We will be celebrating National Radiologic Technology Week (November 6 -12th) on Wednesday, November 9th with a visit from Dr. Peter Wold, a radiologist from St. Paul Radiology. It was requested by the entire group to have a radiologist visit and to explain his expectations for a Radiologic Technologist during imaging procedures. They are making plans to start a student group to tutor and mentor future Rad Tech students and are working together to help each other with technology. I am excited to see where this group with take the Rasmussen College Radiologic Technology program. 

In other news, I was nominated and voted to be the President-elect this year at the 2016 MSRT Fall Conference and Meeting. There are plans being made for the students to attend the Minnesota Society of Radiologic Technologist (MSRT) Fall Conference and Meeting in September 2017 where I will be sworn in as the MSRT President.


Land O'Lakes: Update from Nicole Stutz, Program Coordinator

I would like to introduce the first Radiologic Technology cohort for the Land O’ Lakes campus.  These 10 students will be together for eight quarters as the complete their didactic and clinical training required to graduate with their Associate degree in Radiologic Technology.  After graduation, they will be able to take the ARRT (American Registry of Radiologic Technologist) Exam which will allow them to work as Radiologic Technologists.  They are motivated and engaged in the classroom as they learn skills that will help them provide high quality patient care when they begin their clinical hours in the third quarter of the program.  National Rad Tech week is Nov. 6-12, and the Land O’ Lakes Radiology students will be celebrating Rad Tech week on campus November 8th.  (Fun fact: X-rays were discovered by Wilhelm Roentgen on November 8, 1895). The next cohort of ten students will begin in the Spring of 2017.

Health & Wellness

Mental Health is an important part of overall physical health.  The recent Presidential election caused stress in America, no matter which candidates you supported.  It is important to ensure you meet your mental health needs when you are dealing with elements of stress sin your life.  Just as physical health problems can lead to mental distress, mental health disorders can impair physical health (for example, by causing sleep disturbances or impairing immune function). When both mental and physical problems co-occur, doctors typically focus solely on the physical complaint and the cycle of illness continues. However, if the mental health problem gets addressed, many patients report improvements in their physical health.  There are many careers in health and wellness that are focused on addressing and assisting people with their mental health needs.  Some of these are mental health technician, mental health assistant, and mental health support specialist.  While these career options are not new, in times of crisis and high stress more people look to meet their mental health needs and more of these types of jobs are available.


The Health Information profession serves the Global Healthcare community!  The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), your professional organization, announced October 14, 2016 that it will establish the AHIMA World Congress (AWC) which will enable greater access to health information management resources and services to AHIMA members outside of the United States.  AHIMA currently has 103,000 health information professionals in the United States and around the world, including 66 countries, promoting and advocating for high quality research, best practices and effective standards in health information.

AHIMA Launches New Membership Model  

AHIMA has developed a new membership model for NEW Graduates- see for the specific details.  New to the Graduate category is the ability to remain a Graduate member for two years following graduation, instead of only one, which was the previous length of time!  This can be a savings of $56.00 per year over being an Active Member during those same two years for members with one credential. The New Grad membership is for AHIMA Student members only. After graduation AHIMA Student members may renew as a New Grad member at the reduced annual dues. This is limited to two years. New Grad members in good standing shall be entitled to all membership privileges including the right to vote.

Human Services

Working in the field of Human Services does not have to be limited to working directly with clients.  Human Services Administration can present options for managing human service organizations.  With an increase in human service organizations, there will be more opportunities for someone that is interested in both human services and management to mix both areas to create a perfect career.

Medical Administrative Assistant

The roles and responsibilities of a medical administrative assistant are very diverse for a few reasons.  One, this position can work in wide variety of medical and health environments--from a hospital setting to a private health clinic such as a private medical practice, to a chiropractic office, to a dental clinic. Because of this variety in the work environments, the roles and responsibilities of a medical administrative assistant can vary greatly. Depending on the environment you work within, a medical administrative assistant may be only interacting with patients while other environments may have a more direct role with the healthcare practitioners. These opportunities provide great flexibility and personal choice in where and what you do as a medical administrative assistant. Rasmussen College’s Medical Administrative Assistant program prepares students to be successful and effective employees in any of these environments.  

Pharmacy Technician 

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) has recently released an updated practice exam: Official PTCB® Practice Exam. It was designed and developed according to industry best practices and mimics the actual PTCB examination.  After completion, students can view the practice exam and review correct/incorrect answers--the questions even have explanations associated with them!

Find out more here:

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) has recently created a mobile app that helps you review and study your pharmacy technician calculations. The app features 90 mathematical questions that have appeared on previous PTCB examinations. It is a great way to self-assess your pharmacy technician calculations knowledge and study for the PTCB examination. 

Find out more information here:

Surgical Technologist 

NPR recently put out an article about a current development in the preservation of organs for transport and transplantation. This will make donated hearts and lungs viable for an extended period of time which will allow them to be available for recipients at a greater distance. The short window of time that these organs can be outside of the body is a major challenge in the field of transplant surgery. With the development of organ preservation devices, organs can be matched to recipients at a greater distance and more lives can be potentially saved. This is a great example of how technology is improving surgical care!

You can read the article here:

Health & Wellness/Human Services

In light of the new President about to take office, it is important to understand how The Department of Health and Human Services fits into our Government.  The Department of Health and Human Services was established in 1979.  The purpose for its formation was for “protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.”  (Department of Health and Human Services, 2016)

Sylvia Mathews Burwell is the current Secretary of Health and Human Services.  Her job is to advise the president on "health, welfare, and income security plans, policies, and programs of the Federal Government.

 The duties of the Secretary of Health and Human Services include:

  • Oversees a budget of over $900 billion and approximately 65,000 employees
  • Directs Department staff in carrying out the approved programs and activities of the Department and promotes general public understanding of the Department's goals, programs and objectives
  • Administers these functions through 12 operating agencies. These agencies include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).


Did you know you can connect with a Health Information Mentor? Your AHIMA membership can provide you an opportunity to connect with a health information mentor through AHIMA’s Mentor Match program. HIT Associates students apply for AHIMA membership during their HIM2000 Introduction to Health Information Management class- so if you are not yet an AHIMA member- you will be before you complete your program!   As a mentee, you have the ability to search through AHIMA’s database of experienced volunteer mentors who are available to answer your questions, provide insight, and offer guidance on advancing your career in HIM.  Once you have a mentor you can connect with your mentor in a variety of ways.  Log in at AHIMA to learn more about this opportunity!  

Medical Administrative Assistant

Have you ever made an online appointment? Online scheduling is becoming a mainstream platform in how consumers make appointments, from restaurant reservations to scheduling a time to get our haircut or even getting an oil change for your car. Online scheduling is practically everywhere, and the healthcare profession is no exception to this trend.  More and more healthcare offices and organizations are offering online patient scheduling. This trend is not going to subside anytime soon, so as a medial administrative assistant, it is important to become familiar with this technology.  Here are two great articles reviewing online scheduling within the healthcare environment:

Medical Assistant

Medical Assisting Positions Continue to Expand

Denise Pufall
Department Chair, Medical Assisting Program

Medical Assistants play an important role within a clinical setting.  Working as an intricate member of a healthcare team, they assist in providing effective and efficient patient care.  The roles and responsibility of a medical assistant within an outpatient clinical setting is extremely diverse.  The daily duties may include front and back office administrative work, direct patient care, order entry, assisting in non-evasive procedures, drawing labs, or performing EKG’s,   A Medical Assistant has a very diverse skill-set and can be utilized in various areas within an outpatient clinical setting. 

As awareness of their diverse skills grows, Medical Assistants are now being utilized within some hospital settings in the US.  Typically, a Medical Assistant would be placed in a specific unit where they would have gained specialized training to address the needs of the particular patients within.  Various hospitals are now using Medical Assistant’s in conjunction with nurses and physicians in providing daily care to patients.  Their role could include personal daily hygiene care, assisting patients with therapy exercises as ordered by their physician, transporting patients from one location to another to undergo tests, administering medications, injections, phlebotomy, etc., (Dennis, n.d.)

Medical Assistants are also becoming very valuable in performing clerical duties within the hospital setting.  They perform such tasks as greeting patients and gaining personal health history upon arrival, answering phones, entering patient data, collaborating patient tests and appointments, billing and coding, and many other general clerical skillsets that are needed to be complete to ensure proper patient care (Dennis, n.d.). 

The demand for Certified Medical Assistants in the health care field continue to grow.  Their diverse skillset is a valuable resource for both outpatient and inpatient facilities.  The job outlook for this field continues to grow.  In 2014 there were a reported 591,300 medical assisting positions held.  It is projected to grow 23% between 2014 and 2024 which is much faster than the average occupation.   As the baby-boom population continues to grow and their need for preventive health care, this places a heavy demand on physicians (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016).  The diverse skillsets of a medical assistant are extremely valuable and will be needed to assist physicians meet the growing patient care demands.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2016). Medical Assistants. Retrieved from

Dennis, R. (n.d.).  Medical Assistant jobs in hospitals.  Retrieved from

Medical Laboratory Technician

“Patient contracts MRSA infection and is put in isolation room 3 days after admission spreading the disease to many patients.”

Rebecca Smith, MBA MT(ASCP)SC
Medical Laboratory Technician Program Coordinator

This could be the title to an article in the newspaper a few short years ago.  Today’s Medical Laboratory Technician students are learning an entirely new way to diagnose Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) that is stopping the spread of the disease through hospitals.  Traditionally, a patients sample was gram stained on a slide and an agar plate was inoculated to determine if a patient has MRSA.  This process could take up to 2 days as bacteria takes a while to replicate in an incubator.  Colonies of bacteria (seen to the left) will grow which can be tested to see if they are resistant to the Methicillan antibiotic which can take another day.  MRSA is very difficult to treat and there are very few antibiotics that can be used to treat it.

Thanks to modern technology, we can now use the DNA from the MRSA to determine if a patient has an infection in 1 hour instead of 3 days. This has improved patient care for both the patient and other patients in the hospital.  Isolating a patient within hours of finding the infection rather than 2-3 days can vastly improve the spread of the infection.  This new technology is called “Real-Time PCR”.  PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).  PCR is a technique where DNA is stripped from the bacteria and amplified to make many copies in a very short period of time.  We are then able to separate the strand of DNA into 2 separate strands.

A primer that is specific to MRSA is added to our single strand DNA to rebuild the DNA into 2 copies.  These steps are repeated multiple times until we have many new strands of DNA.  Florescent labeled probes specific to MRSA will then be added to the multiple new copies of DNA.  If MRSA is present, the sample will fluoresce and be picked up by the sample detectors in the analyzer.  Here you will find a great video as to how one of these analyzers, called the FilmArray®  works.

The recent addition of rapid molecular testing to the clinical armamentarium has begun to shift the paradigm in the standard of care for clinical microbiology. For bloodstream infections in particular, rapid diagnostic methods have been shown to impact patient care by rapidly identifying pathogens within hours of a culture becoming positive—24 to 48 hours before conventional microbiological methods (Timbrook, Boger, Steed, & Hurst, 2015).  New technologies are coming into play are changing lives for the better.  The Medical Laboratory Technician students not only have to learn the basics of microbiology cultures but get to step into the exciting world of molecular diagnostics.  


Timbrook, T., Boger, M. S., Steed, L. L., & Hurst, J. M. (2015). Unanticipated multiplex PCR-based identification of polymicrobial blood culture resulting in earlier isolation, determination of susceptibilities, and optimization of clinical care. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 53(7), 2371-2373. 

Pharmacy Technician 

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) released its results from a 2016 public perception survey revealing, “that 85% of the public believes it is very important for pharmacy technicians to be certified.  Consumers feel so strongly about certification that 76% say that they would seek out a different pharmacy if they knew technicians working in their current pharmacy were not certified.”

Obviously, consumers want to feel safe and recognize the important role pharmacy technicians have within their individual healthcare. 

To read more on this topic and the other results from the survey, visit:

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Summer 2016 Student Newsletter

Welcome to our very first student newsletter for the School of Health Sciences!

In each issue, we are excited to bring you content from the different programs so that you can be kept up to date on the various happenings around Health Sciences. Each quarter we will have an in-depth spotlight on a specific program, and the rest of the programs will contribute brief pieces for the categories What's New? and Did You Know?. Be sure to check out some programs other than just your own--there are exciting and interesting things happening all over Health Sciences!

As you have probably heard, Human Services has moved from the School of Justice Studies to the School of Health Sciences.  It is important to note that the transition does not impact the entrance requirements, curriculum, tuition, or academic delivery of the Human Services programs.  Many have asked why the move is occurring.  Market research shows that the curriculum in the Human Services program is better aligned with the wellness focus of the School of Health Sciences.  In the School of Health Sciences, we are people centered and looking to do all that we can to support our patients/clients toward overall wellness.  Most people that enter the Human Services program more strongly identity with health.  Similarly, most Human Services graduates are more interested in traditional health and human services occupations than criminal justice or law enforcement occupations.  This change will better help to prepare graduates for careers in health and human services.  We are all excited about this change and happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Meet Rikkisha! 

  Rikkisha Gilmore-Byrd is the new Department Chair for the Health & Wellness and Human Services programs at Rasmussen College.  Rikkisha has worked in health and human services for over 20 years.  She comes with an educational background in both health and human services, holding a Bachelor's in Community Health, Master's in Human Services, and Master's in Public Health.  She is also finishing her Doctorate in Public Health.  Not only does Rikkisha have the educational experience, she has worked in many different arenas in health and human services and currently serves Brevard County as a Guardian Ad Litem and Professional Mediator.  Personally, she is married to a physician.  They have 3 children and live in sunny Florida.  She would love to get to know you and answer in questions you may have on the Health and Wellness or Human Services programs.  You can email her at

Student Spotlight:  AnnMarie DiMaio, New Port Richey Human Services student

What led me to Rasmussen College and the Human Services program is serendipity.  In March 2015, I was in a career agency looking for jobs online when an advertisement for Rasmussen College appeared.  I filled out the information required for an appointment, and about 2 minutes later, Lon Johnson (Program Manager) called me.  I set up the appointment, and I enrolled in the Human Services Accelerated program.  I truly feel that it was destiny because everything fell into place without a hitch.

I knew that something was guiding me into the human services field, and I get confirmation of this every day--the coursework just flows naturally for me.  I am a survivor of domestic violence and have overcome losing a lot of money in a risky business.  But I also have been introduced to just about every social service resource available, which helped me change my life circumstances.  Having this experience has caused me to learn to have empathy toward others in need.  This empathy is why I have decided to pursue child advocacy case management and why I am presently a Peer Tutor for Rasmussen as well as a volunteer in the Florida Guardian ad Litem program.  

Since starting the Accelerated Program, I made a deal with myself that I was going to put my nose to the grindstone and do the program in 18 months without distraction.  With this said, life gets in the way.  During the start of the winter quarter, I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer and had 3 major surgeries, followed by 5 weeks of radiation therapy.  During this time, I became relentless in continuing to work and study without interruption.  I remained focused on the big picture and refused to see nothing but success. As of today, I am entirely cancer free.  

The one thing that I would like to tell students is to NOT be afraid to FAIL.  I used to be terrified of failing.  But now I have learned that failing is NOT failure, but a learning experience.  Don’t give up--be persistent and don’t let challenges get you down.  I have come to realize that when the universe is blocking you in one direction, it is because it is trying to lead you to the life path that you are destined to be on.  

I leave students with this favorite quote by the late Wayne Dyer (American Philosopher and motivational speaker): “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” 

Human Services tutors can be accessed at

Health Information 

Think you know what’s in the Health Information section of this guide?  Check again!  Every month there are new items added to the Health Sciences Guide to support you as a students whether you are new to the HI programs or just about to graduate.  This month HITNNOTS LLC (HITNOTS), which is always free, added a brand new 50-question quiz specifically on Medicare..  This is in addition to 8 other content areas (such as HIPAA, Healthcare Statistics, Cancer Registry, Medical  Terminology, and an additional 8 Body System quizzes). Check your HIT Guides often for new information!

New ICD-10 Codes for 2017 published October 1, 2016.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will add about 1,900 diagnosis codes and 3,651 hospital inpatient procedure codes to the ICD-10 coding system for healthcare claims in 2017. The large number of new codes is due to a partial freeze on updates to the ICD-10-CM and ICD-10 PCS codes prior to implementation of ICD-10 on October 1, 2015.

Health & Wellness

Jerika Bolden is a 14-year-old who was diagnosed with Type 2 Spinal Muscular Atrophy and decided to end her life.  She has undergone at least 38 surgeries and only has use of her hands and a few muscles in her face.  She had her own prom on July 24, 2016, in which she was prom queen and made one important memory before she passes on.  This is a very controversial issue in public health.  

Human Services

Registration for the National Organization for Human Services National Conference is now open.  It will be held in Tampa, FL, October 19–October 22.  The theme is The New “Realities” in America: Preparing for the Challenges Ahead.  If you are not already a member, please consider joining the National Organization for Human Services.  The student membership rate is only $35, and it will connect you to many  professionals in the field of human services.

Medical Administrative Assistant

There is a new Department Chair for the Medical Administrative Assistant program, Dr. Jeremy Barthels.  He put together a great introduction video, contact information, and a number of student resource videos in the Medical Administrative Assistant LibGuide.  Check them out:

Pharmacy Technician 

There is a new Department Chair for the Pharmacy Technician program, Dr. Jeremy Barthels.  He put together a great introduction video, contact information, and a number of student resource videos in the Pharmacy Technician LibGuide.  Check them out:

Surgical Technician

There is a new development in the fight against MRSA, one of the antibiotic “superbugs” that we are seeing in many patients.  "New Weapon Against Superbugs Lives in Noses":

This article highlights a study that proves that basic practices done with consistency make an impact in infection prevention. "In Uganda, a Vivid Illustration of How the Basics Dramatically Reduce SSIs   World Health Organization program helps hospital cut its rate in half":

Health Information 

In the coding world, did you know...

Pokémon Go, the smartphone game that uses GPS to guide players to real-life locations to capture animated characters on their phone, has already resulted in a number of injuries as a result of distracted players.  Is ICD-10 ready to code them?  Read this article to find out!

USA – Partial Code Freeze v. Zika Virus.  After the roll-out of ICD-10 in 2015, there was a partial code freeze implemented in the USA, which will last until October 2016, when a scheduled coding expansion will be released.  This means that expansion of codes or the addition of new codes is being restricted at the current time; however, it does not mean that new diseases and new treatments are not being discovered and/or deployed. The Zika virus comes to mind.  Though previously only in the Caribbean and South and Central America, the Zika Virus has made its way to the United States, specifically in a neighborhood in Miami, FL, in June 2016.  Men and women can both get the Zika virus from a mosquito bite, but the major concern with the Zika virus is the risk to an unborn child.  Pregnant woman are cautioned but their male partners can also spread the virus through unprotected sex.  Although the partial code freeze could be lifted for technical or public health concerns, this has not occurred to date and per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the correct code for confirmed Zika virus infection is A92.8, Other specified mosquito-borne viral infections. The October 2016 ICD-10 code expansion will likely offer a specific code for the Zika virus as well as complications associated with it.

Did you know there's more to your AHIMA membership?

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers 3 types of scholarships at the national level for AHIMA members:  Merit, Veteran’s, and AHIMA Foundation Scholarships (for specialty criteria).  You can find information on these at or by going on the AHIMA Foundation website: .  Note that your local state component may also offer scholarships.

  • When you become a student member of American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), your membership includes not only the national organization of AHIMA, but membership in your local state association.  Click on your state in the map at this link  and connect to your state association webpage!

Health & Wellness

The National Wellness Institute offers a Certified Wellness Practitioner (CWP) credential for those that are interested in a career in Wellness.  For additional information, please take a look at

Qualified applicants include those who

  • have demonstrated excellence in their careers and in their academic preparation
  • have a bachelor's degree and 5 years of professional wellness experience
  • are professionally engaged in the field of wellness
  • are dedicated to enhancing the health and well-being of others 

Qualified candidates must submit official transcripts indicating they hold a bachelor's degree and have graduated from a CWAE Accredited Academic Program in the past 24 months with a GPA of 2.75 or higher.

Human Services

Did you know you can obtain a credential in the field of Human Services?  The Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE) created the Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner (HS-BCP) with the assistance of the National Organization for Human Services (NOHS) in consultation with the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE). The credentialing process was designed for human services practitioners seeking to advance their careers by acquiring independent verification of their practical knowledge and educational background.  Take a look at the application packet at  

Medical Administrative Assistant

Did you know Rasmussen College has a great blog piece on what do medical administrative assistants do, among other resources for this profession too?  You can check it out here:

Medical Assistant

Did you know there are free practice exams and study guides for the Certified Medical Assisting exam (CMA) that are accessible through Rasmussen College’s Library?  There are also resources available in this guide.  These can help you make sure you're prepared to pass the CMA with flying colors!  Find CMA session archives and study materials by visiting and find CMA practice exam information by clicking here. And don't forget about the CMA study book you receive in your Administrative Medical Assistant class.  Click here to access this great e-book resource.

Pharmacy Technician

Did you know there are free practice exams and study guides for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) that are accessible through Rasmussen College’s Library?  They can provide you with the added boost you need to pass the PTCE!  Learn how to access them here:


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