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Spring 2020 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 report on happenings in their field around a common theme. Finally, the Program Happenings section will report on exciting events going on in the programs at the campus level. Use the tabs at the top of the box to navigate, and be sure to check out some programs other than just your own--there are exciting and interesting things happening all over Health Sciences!



Rikkisha Gilmore-Byrd
Department Dean, School of Social Services

When students inquire about the Health and Wellness Bachelor Completer degree, they often ask, “What can I do with this degree? And “where can I work?”  Many people that choose this degree know they want to help people and work in healthcare, but may not feel that they would like to do something clinical.  One common factor that people that work in the field may have is that they want to make a difference in people’s lives.  With a Health & Wellness degree, you can focus on educating and inspiring in healthcare and work in many different settings.  Healthcare is not only limited to clinics and hospitals. 

You can view the Health & Wellness degree as a generalist type degree.  It may prepare you to educate others about health and how to gain and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  It also will prepare you to support clients as they are undergoing health procedures or chronic health conditions.  If you are interested in working in the community, you may find it interesting to work as a community health educator.  If you are interested in working in a corporate environment, you may be interested in working in Human Resources as a Workplace Wellness Coordinator.  The possibilities are endless.

Healthcare is a field that continues to grow and will always be necessary in our society.  Preventative healthcare is more cost-effective and beneficial overall.  The Health and Wellness degree prepares you to support others’ health and improve their lives.  The degree prepares student to learn skills related to public health strategies, advocacy, leadership in healthcare and non-profit, holistic healthcare, behavioral healthcare, supporting many different populations towards a healthy lifestyle, and many other supportive services in the healthcare arena. 

If you also have a specific interest and knowledge in fitness, you can pair that interest and knowledge with your degree and enter fitness training and education fields, where you will support your clients as they learn and grow in fields of physical fitness.  If you have a deeper interest in behavioral healthcare, you can enter case management fields that serve as a liaison for those that may have mental health concerns and benefit from support and guidance.  If you are interested in pharmaceuticals and research, you may want to explore careers in clinical trials, where you facilitate the execution of clinical trials.  If you have an interest in writing and want to pair your Health & Wellness degree, consider exploring technical writing of health training manuals or public health training materials to be presented to the public.  If nutrition is your passion, explore how you can pair your Health & Wellness degree with additional education to become a dietician or nutritionist. 

The benefit to our Health & Wellness degree providing you a generalist education is that it prepares you to pair your personal interests with the degree and enter into any career field of interest to you, personally.  You can also choose the environment that most interests you to work in and the populations that you believe you would like to support the most.  You have the opportunity to pair our personality with your degree and build and tailor a career that is best for you.  The possibilities are endless, so what will you choose to explore?

Health and Wellness
Lindsay Nesmoe
Interim Department Chair

COVID-19 has shaken up the routine of just about every American. In the interest of health and safety, stay-at-home orders have been enacted all over the United States. Social distancing is a proven, effective strategy for reducing infections during a pandemic, but does it have a negative effect on our health in other ways? As we stay at home more often, it can become challenging to stay physically active and eat healthy foods. While summer sports leagues are cancelled, many gyms remain closed, and groceries may be scarce, health professionals and wellness coaches are turning to alternative methods, such as telehealth, to help their patients and clients stay active and make healthy choices.

undefinedTelehealth, also called telemedicine, has been a slowly growing trend for many years, but COVID-19 is forcing more healthcare providers to transition to virtual care quickly. Telehealth allows for healthcare providers to check in with their patients/clients, while keeping socially distant. While many providers and consumers have been slow to adapt to the idea of virtual care, the healthcare field is becoming more and more dependent on telehealth, as many healthcare facilities are restricting their hours and limiting physical contact.

So, does it work? Yes! In fact, a 2018 study showed that telehealth was equally as effective as in-person care, when treating pain, improving physical activity, and improving quality of life (Adamse, 2018). Another recent study found that health coaching delivered through videoconferencing was actually more effective at inducing weight loss and improving metabolic markers than in-person consultation (Johnson, 2019). Setting goals and having regular check-ins are vital to the success of any wellness program, so maintaining that connection and accountability through telehealth is imperative when many of us are staying at home and staying physically isolated from others.

Another benefit of telehealth is that it also allows practitioners to support patients or clients who might not otherwise be able to seek care. Remote support allows providers to reach people who live in rural areas or lack access to reliable transportation. When geographical barriers and travel time are eliminated, health outcomes are improved (Pande, 2015).

As the healthcare industry transitions to supporting patients remotely, remote employment options are becoming more commonplace, too. If you’re considering a career in healthcare, telehealth might be worth exploring. Being able to work remotely may be a great way to stay safe and positively impact the health and wellness of others at the same time! 

Adamse C, Dekker-Van Weering MG, van Etten-Jamaludin FS, Stuiver MM. The effectiveness of exercise-based telemedicine on pain, physical activity and quality of life in the treatment of chronic pain: a systematic review. J Telemed Telecare 2018;24:511–26

Johnson, K. E., Alencar, M. K., Coakley, K. E., Swift, D. L., Cole, N. H., Mermier, C. M., Kravitz, L., Amorim, F. T., & Gibson, A. L. (2019). Telemedicine-Based Health Coaching Is Effective for Inducing Weight Loss and Improving Metabolic Markers. Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association, 25(2), 85–92.

Pande RL, Morris M, Peters A, et al. Leveraging remote behavioral health interventions to improve medical outcomes and reduce costs. Am J Manag Care 2015;21:e141-51


Medical Administrative Assistant
A Different Perspective on Diversity and Inclusion
Jeremy Barthels
Department Chair

The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted every aspect of undefinedour lives in 2020, including significant changes and adaptations to the healthcare environment.  As healthcare organizations adapt to the COVID-19 epidemic and work to limit patients’ exposure to the Coronavirus, telehealth appointments have become more frequent and useful.  A telehealth or telemedicine appointment is a virtual appointment that patients can have with their healthcare providers.  A patient needs to have a computer with a webcam, and when their session starts, they will be able to communicate and see their healthcare profession. 

Medical administrative assistants must be adaptable to new technologies and exhibit digital fluency skills as a healthcare organization's methods and processes to schedule and follow up with patients may change for telehealth appointments. As new technologies are created and implemented, the healthcare professional field will have to adapt to these new technologies. As a student and professional, you want to be able to be adaptable and flexible to new technologies to continue to be a valuable team member. 

What ways are you trying to improve your digital fluency skills? Are you making proactive efforts to make improvements? These are great questions to ask yourself. Please review the College's Digital Fluency guide to gain an understanding of what the concept of digital fluency is and how you can speak to it within in an interview. You can also assess your digital fluency level and get guidance on how to improve your overall digital fluency skills. Don't get trapped into thinking that if you are comfortable on your smartphone, that you are digital fluency skills are excellent- these skills go far beyond that. Test your digital fluency skills now, and look for ways to improve them! The College's Digital Fluency Guide page can be accessed here:


Medical Laboratory Technician

COVID-19 Reveals Laboratory Professionals
Tammy Renner
Department Chair

As I sit in my office today contemplating what to write for healthcare technology and how it relates to the profession of laboratory science, I have to reflect on the absolute, undeniable importance of the role the laboratory profession has had in the testing for COVID-19.

Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists have been those “hidden” healthcare professionals that few know exist. We are those “lab rats”, “science nerds” or “chemistry geeks” that hole up in the basement of the hospital or clinic and only surface to collect samples for testing. However, the role that the laboratory has played in the diagnosis, treatment and maintenance of disease has always been extremely important. Now with the pandemic of COVID-19, the importance of the medical laboratory profession has resurfaced through daily White House briefings with Dr. Debarah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fouci. The need for around-the-clock testing, reporting of positive cases, and rapid development of new testing methods has become a daily update in American homes.undefined

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a highly infectious respiratory illness that is extremely contagious to humans. The virus has genetic similarities to bat coronavirus; in particular the horseshoe bat. The primary transmission from human to human occurs through respiratory droplet (sneezing and coughing). The virus has been found to remain on surfaces for a few hours up to 3 days depending on the type of surface. The virus is inactivated by soap through disrupting its lipid bilayer.

In the United States, we have watched how quickly laboratory healthcare technology can change and adapt to the needs of our clinicians and patients during this pandemic. In February, some of the first testing for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) was performed and confirmed through a testing technique called RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction). Yes, the testing procedure is as complicated as it sounds, takes days to perform and uses sophisticated equipment to report results. By mid-April, the FDA approved three additional serology-based testing procedures. These procedures use rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) or enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methods of testing. All three serology testing procedures are performed in the laboratory but turn-around times were reduced to 1-5 hours for ELISA method and 10-30 minutes for RDT methods. The need for portability and testing outside of the four walls of the laboratory led to a molecular point-of-care testing method approved from the FDA for Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 using their ID NOW platform in late March. The testing methodology uses an isothermal nucleic acid amplification method. This test can take as few as 5 minutes for a positive result or 13 minutes for a negative result, is extremely portable, weighs 6.6 pounds and is the size of a toaster. The ID NOW platform instrumentation is already found in physician office labs, urgency centers and now can be taken to outbreak spots.

Several laboratory testing companies are feverously developing COVID-19 antibody tests as well. Our body’s natural immune response to a virus is to produce antibodies for subsequent reinfections. Clinicians need this next level of testing to determine not only diagnosis of asymptomatic infectious patients, but also for the use of plasmapheresis infusions to gravely ill patients that are not responding to other forms of treatment.   

Clinical and research laboratories have been at the forefront of COVID-19 testing development, in the front lines of the healthcare teams working around the clock to diagnose patients and collecting plasma through plasmapheresis to treat this disease. April 19-24, 2020 is National Laboratory Professionals Week, please thank your favorite laboratorian and always remember to wash your hands!


Pharmacy Technician

A Different Perspective on Diversity and Inclusion
Jeremy Barthels
Department Chair

Technology in healthcare has become a central focal point in all aspects of patient care, and pharmacy care is no exception.  From new technology in the pharmacy to technology geared for the patients, a pharmacy technician must make sure they are current with these new technology trends and demonstrate the appropriate digital fluency skills to excel in their position.  A more modern trend that pharmacies are taking advantage of with their patients is medication management mobile apps. 

Providing patients with the correct medication and dosage is the primary responsibility of the pharmacy for patient safety. Still, medication non-adherence or non-compliance is a tremendous problem for short- and long-term patient care and management.  Medication non-adherence or non-compliance is defined as a patient who doesn’t take their prescribed medication appropriately. Examples of medication non-adherence or non-compliance is a patient not taking their medication at its appropriate schedule, not following the instructions associated with the medication, not understanding theundefined contraindications associated with each medication, and not refilling a prescription.  Medication adherence and compliance becomes even more complicated when a patient is prescribed more than one medication at a time.   

There are serious consequences if a patient is medication non-adherence or non-compliance.  Please read this short journal article to get further insight into medication non-adherence or non-compliance.  (INSERT LINK TO LLS JOURNAL ARTICLE),shib&db=nup&AN=2011342448&site=eds-live&custid=s9076023

Medication Non-Adherence and Chronic Conditions

Stahl, R. (2018). Medication Non-Adherence and Chronic Conditions. Health Library: Evidence-Based Information.

Mobile medication management apps, such as Medisafe Pill Reminder, Round Health, Pill Reminder, assist with patients being medication adherent and compliant.  These medication management apps have unique features built-in them that allow patients to manage and track their medications and become more adherent and compliant with their medication.  Some of these app features include reminders of when to take a medication, how to take a medication (for example, with or without food), contraindications associated with a medication (for example, do ingest alcohol will taking a medication), and refill reminders.  As a pharmacy technician, it is vital that you understand the concept and dangers of medication non-adherence or non-compliance and how these mobile medication management apps can further help patient management and lead to better patient outcomes.


Radiologic Technology

Technology Advancement in the World of Radiologic Technology
Dawn McNeil
Program Coordinator, Radiologic Technology

The Radiologic Technology program at Rasmussen College now has four active campuses, and they are all excited for their students to succeed and become radiologic technologists, working in the world of health care.  Because of the recent events of the COVID-19 pandemic, this information relates to how our profession has reacted to the outbreak.

undefinedIf you have ever had any x-ray, you know how relatively easy it appears, especially if you are coming to the department as an outpatient with a minor injury or illness.  With this new virus, the patients who have been seen in the Radiology department are far from a minor illness.  The first thing just about every radiologic technology student learns how to perform is the chest x-ray, because as we are told, they are the “bread-and-butter” of imaging.  One article states that the chest x-ray is the most commonly performed exam in the United States, and over 150 million are performed each year (Information, 2018).  Which brings up the question, how has technology helped with the common chest x-ray?

In an article posted by O’Connor (2020), the first U.S. patient (in Snohomish County, WA) was diagnosed through a chest x-ray for the coronavirus, along with a lab-confirmed blood test, in January 2020.  As the virus continued to spread to other states, the chest x-ray emerged as a frontline tool for diagnosing the coronavirus before the lab test results are completed (O’Connor, 2020).  By this time, the chest x-ray was being used to triage patients in areas where there were large numbers of sick patients.

An additional modality in radiologic technology is computed tomography (CT), where multiple x-rays are taken in “slices” throughout a section of the patient’s anatomy.  CT quickly became the gold standard for determining signs of COVID-19 even before symptoms appeared in patients.  A version of a CT scoring system was also developed to help radiologists detect COVID-19 pneumonia in a timelier manner, resulting in better outcomes for the patient (O’Connor, 2020).  However, the process of a CT scan takes much longer than a quick 2 image chest x-ray, and the equipment must be disinfected between patients.  So, finding a way to better detect signs of the virus in a chest x-ray quickly became the work of several companies.

On April 6, 2020, two imaging companies based in the Netherlands, Thirona and Delft Imaging, released an AI software solution to assess chest x-rays for signs of COVID-19.  The software they developed is based on software previously used to determine the presence of tuberculosis on chest x-rays.  Once they were able to pinpoint the specific characteristics of COVID-19 on chest x-rays, the software was offered for free to radiologists around the world to help diagnose patients as quickly as possible (Walter, 2020).

As a radiologic technologist of over 30 years, I am still amazed at how far the world of x-ray has come.  Knowing that technology has brought us from primitive x-rays taking 30 minutes to an hour (early 1900s) to produce an image, to instantaneous digital imaging with artificial intelligence (2020) that can help diagnose the patients quicker, is a huge advancement in healthcare.  I am proud to be part of the Radiologic Technology team at Rasmussen College, bringing education to students every day.


Information for patients. (2018). Retrieved from

O’Connor, M. (2020, March 6). Chest x-ray used to analyze first US patient with coronavirus.  Retrieved from

O’Connor, M. (2020, March 23). X-ray emerges as frontline tool for coronavirus: 3 lessons from radiologists battling the pandemic. Retrieved from

O’Connor, M. (2020, March 31). New CT scoring criteria can shorten time to diagnosis, treatment of COVID-19. Retrieved from

Walter, M. (2020, April 6). AI imaging solution scans chest x-rays for signs of COVID-19. Retrieved from


Surgical Technology

What’s New in Surgical Technology:  UV-C Robots
Cassandra Block, CST, B
Surgical Technology Clinical Coordinator, St Cloud, Minnesotaundefined

With the Covid-19 Pandemic currently surrounding every aspect of our lives, I am sure most people have heard of the use of UV light disinfection in the healthcare setting.  UV disinfecting has been around for around a century already, it was most commonly used for disinfecting drinking water in its early stages.  It is not commonly used outside of fixed infrastructure due to its ability to be ineffective and dangerous if used improperly.  It can cause damage to skin and eyes as well as sunburn and cell mutations that lead to skin cancer in humans if they are exposed, so the general rule is that when in use; OR’s, hospital rooms, airplanes etc. need to be empty while the robot is in use.  UV-C lights have the ability to kill 99.99% of germs.

Ultraviolet light at wavelengths of 200 to 280 nanometers is also referred to as UV-C light will cause “DNA either to change shape or act like molecular scissors, it cuts genetic material and causes little nicks in it” according to Michael Beckett, a postdoctoral research fellow with Trinity College of Dublin.  Some complex organisms and some bacteria are able to repair those “nicks” on their own.   Viruses, however are not able to do this as they are simpler than bacteria on a molecular level. UV-C light sanitation penetrates the wall of the organism and destroys its nucleic acids which will either kill the organisms or render them unable to reproduce which will then make them harmless.

Many hospital, clinics and surgical centers have already been using UV-C light robots on a regular basis even before the pandemic in order to disinfect rooms better with less chance of human error of missing certain surfaces.  It takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to disinfect an average room.  The robots will spend 1 to 2 minutes in 5 or 6 different positions to disinfect the rooms as efficiently and effectively as possible.  These UV-C lights are more effective than manual disinfectants.  Most hospitals and clinics that have already implemented the use of these robots, initially made the investment to aid in the fight against HAI’s (Hospital Acquired Infections).

Robots are best used for jobs that are too dirty, dull or dangerous for humans.  The Covid-19 pandemic is a perfect scenario for utilizing this technology.  There are many different UV-C robots on the market for just this type of usage.  There is Violet, UVD, Xenex among others just to name a few.  We all need to learn a lesson from the coronavirus outbreak or even just the hospital acquired infections we have already been battling for years.  The necessity of technology and innovation in healthcare will only increase, and all we can do is continue to research, innovate and move forward.  World Health Organization said in March while referring to the Ebola outbreak, “Everyone is afraid of the consequence of error.  But, the greatest error is not to move.  The greatest error is to be paralyzed by the fear of failure.”

Health Information

The Health Information Spring Advisory Boards are underway for our Health Information Bachelor and Associate degree programs. This is an amazing opportunity for our HI Program Coordinators and Faculty to collaborate with volunteer Advisory Board members from industry.  Discussion includes input on courses and assessments and provides a real world perspective as to employer expectations for new graduates.  As you can imagine there was interesting discussion at this round of meetings on COVID-19 and the many areas it impacting in the Health Information field and how Health Information professionals are coping and evolving to meet this crises.  Our Advisory Board members, bring expertise from a variety of health information and healthcare areas, including as technology companies, Health Information Services at large and small organizations, coders, consultants and vendors.  We are so very grateful for our many wonderful Advisory Board members who give generously of the time and expertise to support our programs and our students!

Health Information 

Denise VanFleet , MHA, RHIA, Program Coordinator for the Health Information Bachelor Degree program, was invited to participate as a member on the AHIMA Consumer Engagement Thought Leadership Roundtable this past fall and into the spring resulting in the development of consumer engagement product to be released to AHIMA membership soon pending delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

My Experience as a Tutor

Charity Adams
CRLA Certified Peer Tutor, School of Health Sciencesundefined

My experience as a tutor, where do I start? My name is Charity Adams. I have been on the Health Sciences tutor team since March 2017. I am currently working on my Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration. I can honestly say that being a tutor has helped me be a more confident and better student.

Rasmussen truly sets you up for success as a tutor and a student. When you are a tutor, you learn all of the resources offered by Rasmussen and where to go for help. Luckily, with Rasmussen, you can visit the library online as well as tutoring sessions, which is available to all Rasmussen students with various schedules. I know the closest school to me is about 3 hours away, so having all of the resources online is very beneficial. I can reach out to my librarian for help with researching when I can’t find the information myself and meet with her online and get the same support that I would if I were at the actual campus. Tutors are available online as well and offer flexible scheduling in many subjects. If you can’t find a school tutor, the live tutoring is there for help. I have used both forms of tutoring for different classes. I look at as why not utilize the resources that I promote to students and become a better student myself. The resources don’t stop with the library and tutoring either. There are so many resources that any student can pretty much find resources for any class they need help in.

I am currently a team lead, but I help with onboarding and have held several webinars as well. Our team is actually pretty close, considering we all live in different states around the U.S. We have team meetings and weekly 1:1s, which helps us to work better as a team, and it’s all done virtually. We help each other through email and conversation and continue to grow individually and together. The webinars that we attend help us with being appropriately trained to help students achieve success. Who knew with tutoring online, you would have so much support and help? It’s amazing!

I didn’t know what to expect when I first started tutoring. I didn’t realize how many students I would meet and help, especially with working online. I have helped students who were ready to quit school and students who were brand new students eager to attend their first class. I have had students who come to see me for help one time and others who became repeat students. I love it when the student starts to understand what we are talking about and then explain it to me. It’s what I call the “ah-hah” moment. You get to see the confidence start to build within the tutoring sessions, and that is the greatest feeling ever because you know you helped to make a difference. We can be the “friend” that someone needs to talk to, the “mentor” the student needs to help create their path to success, the person who shows the student all of the resources that Rasmussen has to help with their success and the person who changes the student’s whole outlook on online education. Tutoring is essential because not all students learn the same way and just need a little extra help; we can give that little extra help that they may be afraid to ask for.

I am grateful that I found tutoring! Tutoring has made me a better student. I started to do better in my own classes and gained confidence in my assignments that I didn’t know I was missing. Tutoring has helped me pass my love of education on to other students. Best of all, tutoring has helped to show me how much Rasmussen cares for their students!

Newsletter Archives

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

Fall 2019 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 report on happenings in their field around a common theme. Finally, the Program Happenings section will report on exciting events going on in the programs at the campus level. Use the tabs at the top of the box to navigate, and be sure to check out some programs other than just your own--there are exciting and interesting things happening all over Health Sciences!

New for Fall 2019: we now have sections for Faculty News and a Tutor Corner! 


Diversity and Inclusion, Modern Healthcare and the Holidays

Christian M. Wright, EdD, DC, MA
Department Dean: Health Sciences & General Education

With the holiday season upon us, the time for gatherings of family, friends, co-workers, and alike will be plenty. The holidays are also a great time to acknowledge the diversity of the people we experience every day and all year long. In healthcare, the need for cultural humility replaces the idea of cultural competence as a way of self-reflection and learning from our personal and professional experiences. 

Healthcare is a necessity for all individuals. Whether it is direct or indirect patient care, each person working in a healthcare environment has a responsibility for the experience and outcomes of each patient. In modern healthcare, the consideration of diversity and inclusion impacts patient experiences but equally, how employees treat each other. Rasmussen College Health Sciences programs seek to foster cultural humility and the development and understanding of diversity and inclusion in students. Doing so promotes more positive and enriched experiences in healthcare for patients and healthcare teams.  

The business case for diversity and inclusion in healthcare is the potential for better patient experiences and outcomes as well as an increase in revenue for the organization. When healthcare practitioners and staff operate with the understanding of cultural humility, the care provided is more meaningful to the patient and their families. Also, the medical practices can be more accurate and efficient in reducing record errors, billing and reimbursement issues.

I challenge you this holiday to make time to reflect on the people you interact with and those experiences. Practice cultural humility and inclusion to create a more holistic world. Each of these experiences is an opportunity for personal and professional growth. Doing so creates an internal change within yourself that can externally influence the people, patients and experiences in your world.

Wishing you and your love ones a warm and safe holiday season and New Year.

Meet some students an alumni from the Pharmacy Technician program. 

Peer Tutor
Kaitlin Bruce

My name is Kaitlin Bruce; I am a returning student to Rasmussen College.  I was previously in the Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program. I completed my program on August 6th, 2019. I am so grateful for all the support and guidance Rasmussen had provided for me throughout that program, that was one of the contributing factors that motivated me to continue with more education with Rasmussen. Another motivator to me was my tutoring team; I was selected by my learning services coordinator back in March of 2019 to become a Peer Tutor for Rasmussen. After being chosen, I was provided great onboarding and support from my coordinator Anna Phan, and the rest of the Health Sciences Tutoring Team. So, after graduating in August, I decided to continue and complete the Associates in Health Sciences with a specialty in Pharmacy.

Being a tutor for Rasmussen College has taught me and helped me in a lot of ways. I have learned the importance of separating being a student for Rasmussen and being a tutor for Rasmussen. I’ve learned that it is important to manage my time so that I allow myself the proper time to complete my school work, work as a tutor and work my full-time job, and even enough time to be a mother to my three children. Being a tutor has also motivated me and pushed me to be the best I try my best in all my courses, I feel like by getting good grades and doing my best I can motivate others I tutor to do the same. I have come into this experience with the understanding that I don’t know everything and that it is okay to ask for help. Even though I am a tutor, I am also a student, so even sometimes, I need help and maybe even need someone to tutor me.

In my past sessions with tutoring, I have tutored in a variety of Pharmacy Technician Courses. I have worked with students for their Pharmacy Calculations course by helping them with learning how to calculate dosages and conversions. I have worked with students in their other course by guiding them to many of the Resources that Rasmussen provides to assist them with their Discussion board and written assignment. These resources include recommending to schedule an appointment with Emily Gilbert the Librarian for Health Sciences, using the many databases like All in One, Gale Research Library, and the many others. Some of my other sessions have been going through the textbook and rewording something in it to help them better understand what they need to do or what something is.

I enjoy being a tutor for Rasmussen. Rasmussen College is a wonderful college. I full-heartedly believe that I made the best decision I could make by choosing to enroll in Rasmussen and applying to become a tutor. I feel like by helping others I am helping myself to be the best person that I can be. I am grateful for all the wonderful and positive experiences that I have been given with being a tutor and look forward to all the experiences in my future with Rasmussen.

Click HERE to find more about Pharmacy Technician Tutoring Service!


Pharmacy Technician Graduate
Mallory Fundingsland

My name is Mallory Fundingsland and I graduated from Rasmussen in June of 2019. I decided to go to Rasmussen College after a lot of thought on where to go because I tried to go to college right after graduating high school, but it didn’t work out- I was simply not ready yet.

When I decided I was finally ready to go back to College, I had apprehension and nervousness. Rasmussen gave me the feeling that I would be able to succeed. I choose them not only because they gave me that feeling but also because I was able to obtain the degree I wanted through online courses. That was very important for me because I had just had my daughter and needed to have a flexible schedule for school. My experience with Rasmussen was that whenever I needed help with anything, there was always someone who had an answer for me. I was able to become comfortable with going to school again because of the support and recognition that the Rasmussen faculty provides for their students.  Through hard work and dedication, I graduated with a Health Sciences Associate of Science - Pharmacy Technician degree from Rasmussen College.

I have been working for Walgreens Pharmacy for over 2 years now, and just recently accepted a position for a long-term care pharmacy technician job with Geratom. A huge thank you to the Pharmacy Technician program and all of the amazing faculty at Rasmussen college for helping me succeed further in life!

Pharmacy Technician Graduate
Becky Cox

Hi, my name is Becky. I had decided to look into doing online schooling because as a second income worker for my family and having young children, I needed flexibility so I can still be available for my boys. I came to Rasmussen by luck. I chose medical because I have always had an interest in medical in some degree. When I saw pharmacy technician, I realize that I have a lot of family and friends that are pharmacy technicians and asked their opinions. So, I checked into the program and I took that leap. I was scared and nervous and wondered how this would impact my day-to-day life. But I had found that if you are determined you can set goals, and after the 1st week I realized what kind of dedication I had for school.

Yes, starting things new is a very scary step. But I had great teachers and great advisers that were able to answer all my questions and help put my mind at ease. As long as you are determined, there is nothing that you can't do. Rasmussen college are your cheerleaders; cheering you on along the way and making sure that you succeed.

Ironically, I got hired into the job that I have always wanted. I did the roles as a typical pharmacy Tech, I assistive the pharmacist with counting and bagging orders. I did inventory track and assisted with ordering of the drugs. I worked at independent pharmacy, and this is a little different than the retail world. Sadly, this pharmacy closed its doors the end of October but the experience I had was hands on and by far the best way for me to learn. I am fairly confident that because of the school in that I had, I will have no problems getting a job at are different type of pharmacy setting. I wish everybody the best, work hard and it will pay off!

Health Information

Health Information Management professionals contribute to the health of diverse populations!

Ruth Berger
Health Information Program Coordinator, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

You may have seen the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the news warning about a new public health problem or an unexpected epidemic. Did you know that Health Information Management (HIM) professionals play an important role in supporting these organizations that focus on better health for the entire world?

WHO works worldwide to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve vulnerable populations. WHO provides country-specific health information on its 194 member states. The work would not be possible without HIM professionals identifying and gathering the information needed. HIM professionals are often tasked with ensuring data integrity and database management. The WHO collects information from many sources and maintains a Global Health Observatory data repository. This data repository keeps health statistics for more than 1000 indicators, allowing researchers easy access to the World Health Organization’s analyses for monitoring global, regional, and country situations and trends. Using this information can support better health outcomes for diverse populations throughout the world. This is made possible with the skills of HIM professionals! 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is one of the major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services in the US government. The CDC’s disease surveillance methods changed the way public health was viewed and is responsible for improving health worldwide. Its original mission when founded in 1946 was to prevent the spread of malaria. The CDC’s mission continues to be to protect the US population from health threats. To accomplish that mission, CDC provides health information that protects our nation against expensive and dangerous health threats and responds when these threats arise. On a large scale, public health decisions are based on data that is collected by healthcare providers. HIM professionals are often responsible for mandated reporting from those providers of healthcare to local, state, and national databases. CDC wants to protect communities from communicable diseases, and it must rely on accurate reporting. This accuracy is critical to health planning and the determination of where resources will be allocated.  On a smaller scale, healthcare providers rely on accurate health information to ensure the populations they serve, receive the care they need. HIM professionals are skilled at developing standardized data definitions, structure, and collection methods to ensure the health information is reliable and useful to the healthcare professionals and agencies when it where it is needed.

If you are familiar with Health Information Management, you are probably wondering how coding fits into this picture of population health.  One example is mortality reporting. WHO has maintained the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) since 1893. This diagnosis classification system was created to record the causes of death.  Over time, the ICD has been updated, and the latest version is ICD-10. Countries worldwide use ICD-10 to record causes of death.  HIM Coders provide a valuable service translating a death certificate diagnosis to an ICD-10 code. Mortality statistics can be readily collected, compared, and analyzed using this coding classification system, which is made possible by the work of coders worldwide.

 Thank a Health Information Professional today for protecting the health of our world!

Youtube link to trailer for Contagion (2011). This film showcases the work of CDC’s disease surveillance teams.

Human Services

The importance of using “inclusive language” in “helping professions”
Rikkisha Gilmore-Byrd
Department Chair, Health and Human Services

“The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” —Mark Twain

In the fields of Health and Human Services, it essential to use inclusive language with clients. Inclusive language is a language that does not include terms, words, phrases, and tone that reflects prejudice, stereotypes, or a discriminatory view of a particular group of people or a person. It also does not have a connotation that excludes people from feeling as if they are accepted overall. Language has a huge impact on how people feel and becoming conscious of how language can impact others and can prevent them from feeling uncomfortable of excluded is essential in all aspects of interacting with others, but extremely important when working in the field of human services or other professions that are “helping professions.” 

Several principles may help guide a person or group on how to make sure they are using language that is focused on overall inclusion. 

  • Look at a person as an individual first and include their descriptions without allowing them to define the person. For example, instead of saying “a disabled person,” which defines the person, say a person with a disability. A disability is what someone has, not what someone is.

  • The words that are used matter! Some words, even in casual conversation, may make someone feel that if you judge others, you may judge something about their culture, which can make it difficult to build rapport. Some words can covey stereotypes, limitations, and unfair expectations.

  • Mindset influences language choices. Yes, language is a choice. You are in complete control of the words you choose to use. It is important to maintain an empathetic mindset. What you are thinking can be relayed in your language. Acknowledge where your biases are, and that will assist you in adjusting your language.

  • Make your language and the message that you are relaying as inclusive as possible. Try to ensure your language is gender-inclusive, and you are not using derogatory terms. This can often mean you take a few extra seconds to think before speaking.

  • Be very cautious of using generalizations and stereotypes when you speak about people. Take the time to educate yourself on what words, terms, and language is considered offensive.

  • MOST IMPORTANT – Continue on a lifetime journey of self-reflection and self-awareness. The more you know, the more inclusive you will be when speaking.

Spoken and written language can portray bias in all areas of culture, including race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, gender expression, political preferences, generation, socioeconomic status, ability/disability, class, religion, and everything else. One critical component of working with others is awareness of a person’s gender identity and pronouns that they prefer to be called. It is best to get into a practice of beginning introductions with a new client by letting them know what your name is and gender preferences so that they feel comfortable sharing that with you as well. For example, “My name is XYZ, and my preferred gender pronouns are she and her.” You may find that the gender pronoun of those that you work with may be different than you thought and those pronouns change and evolve with the times, but people deserve to be identified in the way in which they feel most comfortable, even if it changes during the time you are working with them. This can be very important to someone’s sense of self, and if they see you respecting their identity preferences, they are more likely to open up to you as their “helping professional.” We all deserve to feel comfortable.


Medical Assisting

Diversity and Inclusion in Medical Assisting
Denise Pufall, MPA, NCMA
Department Chair, Medical Assisting

One of the initiatives that Rasmussen College prides itself on, is Diversity and Inclusion.  The Medical Assisting Program supports this initiative in various ways.  At Rasmussen College, diversity is demonstrated in various avenues within education, political beliefs, family structures, organizational roles, language and communication skills, income, religion, appearance, work experience, age, gender identity or expression, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, mental/physical ability, race, and ethnicity.

In the residential lab setting of the Medical Assisting Program, students team up and work together to complete competencies and assignments. The program also provides various group activities that allow the students to practice their skills, and also get to know one another. Each week students are encouraged to rotate partners to enable both diversity and inclusion within the classroom. While working in groups, we emphasize how each of us offer different strengths and how this provides an intricate detail of teamwork. Students also complete various assignments and projects in which allows them fully understand the different diverse scenarios that occur while working in the medical field. 

To ensure we meet our student’s personal needs, the MA Program and labs provide assistive devices such as amplified stethoscopes, audio textbooks, interactive activities, and hands-on teaching help each student regardless of their learning style. Whether a student’s learning preference is kinesthetic, visual, auditory, or reading/writing, the program offers something for everyone.   

Community volunteering is another way our students work with a diverse population and become involved in their communities. We are partnered with local school districts to assist with hearing and vision exams, and we participate in Career Fairs offered by various school districts and the community. Our students volunteer by obtaining vital signs, participating in activities, and events with children and adults with special needs.

Diversity and Inclusion are at the heart of our beliefs as a program, and college. The utilization of transferrable skills such as critical thinking, diversity and teamwork, digital fluency, information literacy, communication, ethics, and professional responsibility allows the students to understand the importance of diversity and inclusion in various aspects.  Our graduates are prepared to be members of high functioning medical teams, possess a high level of professionalism, and contribute to and care for our diverse society.


Medical Administrative Assistant

Professionalism and Medical Administrative Assistants

Professionalism is a crucial component for Medical Administrative Assistants and should be demonstrating these skills when interacting with patients and other healthcare professionals. Brennan and Monson (2014) state, “Professionalism is an indispensable element in the compact between the medical profession and society that is based on trust and putting the needs of patients above all other considerations.” I appreciate this definition for highlighting the concept of trust and putting the needs of patients as a priority. As a healthcare employee, it is easy to lose empathy for patients’ mental and emotional states when attending their appointments- they can be scared, nervous, and just not feeling very well. These moments can lead to a loss of professionalism with patients and influence the patient’s overall experience.

Research has shown that healthcare workers demonstrating professionalism improves not only patient experience but also patient outcomes. Healthcare organizations, especially in the last few decades, have put a significant emphasis on professionalism with their healthcare workers.   The Medical Administrative Assistant program recognizes the importance of healthcare professionalism and has an entire class dedicated to it- HSA2851 Practice and Professionalism in Healthcare. It’s essential to understand the importance, value, and concepts associated with demonstrating professionalism in a medical administrative assistant role and that it goes far beyond than just being kind to people.   As you work your way through the curriculum, please keep reflecting on how you will demonstrate professionalism in your role as a Medical Administrative Assistant.

Brennan, M.D. & Monson, V.  (2014). Professionalism: Good for Patients and Health

Care Organizations. Mayo Clin Proc. 2014;89(5):644-652.  Retrieved from:

Radiologic Technology

A Different Perspective on Diversity and Inclusion
Keilani Martin
Program Coordinator, Radiologic Technology

In radiology, we look at what’s inside of our patients all day through taking x-rays.  We can see the size of a patient’s heart, their lungs, and even their brain through imaging procedures.  It’s amazing that when we look at images all we see is black and white. We don’t see race, religion, or cultural beliefs of the patient.  Think about it, if we were to look at 50 random hand x-rays we would not be able to confidently determine if that patient is a male, female, transsexual, or transgender for that matter.

Imagine hypothetically for a moment that we are all the same skin complexion, same height, and had the same beliefs.  What fun would that be? Our differences are what make us all unique and special.  No matter our sexual orientation, race, religion, size or gender, we all have something to offer this world and can make a difference in someone’s life as a health care professional. We live in an ever-changing world and society, identifying differently, having different cultural and religious beliefs and as healthcare professionals must be very understanding and accepting of different people to provide unbiased care.  Promoting diversity gives us the opportunity for growth by sharing ideas from different perspectives.

As Radiologic Technologists we consider diversity and inclusion to be a part of our daily professional life.  We take oaths and are bound by multiple codes of conduct prohibiting discrimination against patients.  We participate in continuing education courses to ensure we learn bias-free language with our patients and meet their healthcare needs no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc.

Furthermore, healthcare facilities have several policies that protect against workplace discrimination when it involves a colleague or supervisor. The tricky part comes in when the patient is the one responsible for being racist or bias towards a health care provider; often there is no recourse.

So what would you do if you encountered a patient that requested you do not perform an exam on them based on bias?  What if you are a transsexual technologist and a patient is uncomfortable with that and requests another tech to perform their exam? What if you are Muslim and a patient does not want you to perform their x-ray because you are wearing a hijab?  What would you do?  Often we are not taught how to deal with this type of scenario, this is my attempt to bring it to light.

In my personal work experience years ago, I was working in a busy Emergency Room in Chicago and at the time I was the only technologist working in the department. I had back to back exams and as I was moving through them at a steady pace, there was a chest x-ray ordered for a 3-year-old pediatric patient. When I went to retrieve the child for her exam the patients’ mother boldly stated that she did not want a technologist of my race touching her daughter and that she would like another technologist to perform her daughters’ exam.  I heatedly explained to her that I was the only technologist on duty in the ER so she didn’t have a choice. The conversation escalated and turned negative extremely fast. All of the professionalism I learned over the years went out of the window.  Eventually, my manager was called up and he performed the exam to diffuse the situation.

So does diversity and inclusion mean including a racist patient as well? If we are to respect other’s choices and decisions, then are we to consider a racist persons thoughts and choice of not wanting a particular race touching their child? That’s a tough question to consider.

Perhaps, instead of a negative reaction to her, I could have taken the high road and approached the situation in a more sympathetic manner putting my feelings aside.  I could have possibly been sympathetic to the stress she was experiencing due to her daughter being sick and let her know that I too had a small child her age and would treat her daughter with the same care I would my own child.  Would that have changed her mind about me and made her more comfortable? At that moment I couldn’t consider that option because I was not only offended but hurt by her words.

Nonetheless, many times as healthcare professionals we need to take into consideration that perhaps this woman had a traumatic experience with someone the same race as me or has little experience with people outside of her own race. Or it could be that she was just an outright racist. Regardless of why she felt this way, I took an oath and it was my job to provide care for the patient even if that meant finding another technologist to perform the exam to appease the mother. 

While diversity and inclusion in gender, race, and ethnicity are important, other levels of diversity and inclusion are important as well.  As professionals, many times will need to adapt and set our emotions aside in order to care for our patients. It is our duty to continuously promote diversity and inclusion in healthcare even in situations when a patient exhibits difficulty in having values that encompass a mutual respect for one’s cultural or racial differences. By doing so, one day we may have an impact on someone that will cause them to change and become a more diverse and inclusive individual. 

Surgical Technology

Diversity and Inclusion in Surgical Technology
Sallie Vance
Surgical Technology Program Coordinator, Moorhead, Minnesota

While gathering thoughts for this article, I came across some interesting perspectives.  I asked a variety of students what diversity meant to them?  When paired with inclusion, does it mean something different?  I heard from multiple students a variety of thoughts, including; fair treatment for all, erasing race, recognizing unique abilities, and acceptance.  These are all terms that sounded familiar, terms we have all heard over and over again. One student eluded that the word "diversity" has been overused and under practiced.  Many people talk about being diverse but showing it is something entirely different.  As humans, we tend to gravitate towards our safe zone, when in reality, "Safe Zone" ironically means something very different.  Learning about different cultures and seeing past limitations are crucial to being a diverse person and showing it. I can personally admit that this is a genuine struggle.  It is easy to brush off cultural, sexual, racial, and religious differences as a way of acceptance instead of learning how to appreciate them.

Inclusion has a simple definition really, “The action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure.” In the world of Surgical Technology, the structure is unique.  Our incredibly diverse students will stand shoulder to shoulder with some very educated and experienced medical staff.  Clinical externship can be a very intimidating place for an inexperienced student to be.  In my experience, diversity seems to be practiced pretty effectively in most institutions; in my opinion, inclusion seems to be a bit harder to achieve. Additionally, this can be especially challenging in the world of education, where personal and professional lives shouldn’t cross.   Our students are strongly encouraged to avoid private conversations with staff and forbidden to partake in social activities outside of the clinical site.  These limitations may create a challenge for an inclusive environment.  Quite honestly, we have all been there, catching up with a group of co-workers over coffee about a social event from the weekend or making plans for the next. It is one of the many things that contribute to an inclusive environment.  It is also one of the many things that may characterize the exact opposite.  

While being diverse and inclusive can be a challenge for all of us, I believe it can be exacerbated while acting as a preceptor.  Students are very vulnerable and soaking up all we do and say while learning to be just like us.  I feel as though students aren't always viewed as real people, but frequently "just students."  It is easy to overlook their amazing assets and skills and place them into a category all their own.  There are ways to be inclusive without crossing a line of professionalism.  Talking to them about their educational challenges, fears, and accomplishments will make them feel like one of the team.  Letting them know that although the structure can be daunting, the fantastic surgeons, nurses, and medical staff alike are people too, and every one of them was a student once as well.  Share stories of successes and failures you have experienced as a student and advocate others to do the same.  We all have them.  They make us human.  Hopefully, one student at a time, we can all help contribute to an inclusive environment.  Current students, let this message reverberate long after you graduate and are molding students of your own.

The following quote from Vernā Myers, a well-known inclusion strategist, and cultural innovator, really has a lot of meaning to me, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” I challenge all of the current and future preceptors reading this to do just that.  

Medical Assistant
Land O' Lakes and New Port Richey

Congratulations to Rasmussen College’s Land O’ Lakes and New Port Richey Medical Assistants!

A pinning ceremony held Thursday evening, January 17, 2019, marked the passage of Rasmussen College’s Land O’ Lakes and New Port Richey campuses medical assisting students into the professional world.  These students recently completed their studies and finished an externship as part of their health science education, allowing them to put into practice the skills they learned in their diploma program. A compelling speech was given by Dagmar Schobert, an Alumni member of Rasmussen College, concerning overcoming the struggles and accomplishments of continuing education as an adult learner.  The recent graduates received their medical assisting pins during the ceremony that was attended by faculty, staff, family members, and fellow students.  Many of the graduates are already working in their field of study.  Two students were individually recognized for their outstanding grade point averages and excellence in clinical duties — compliments to Lisa Coffiey and Fernanda Espejo.

The pinning ceremony is a special occasion marking the bridge from learner to professional. The Medical Assistant honorees included Dimples Conquest, Jennifer Derby, Cassandra Helmandollar, Tracy Johnson, Krystal Mendez, Melissa Morris, Leah Smith, Roshelle Strickland, Victoria Cudney-Peterson, Lisbet Gomez, Tyler Jimenez, Kaitlyn Lutz, Casandra Marshall, Megan Nunn, Ashley Rabelo, Nicole Slone, Donna Casem, Lisa Coffiey, Fernanda Espejo, Michelle Hector, Susan Somers, Crystalyn Totten and Dagmar Schobert.  These students will also attend upcoming graduation ceremonies.

Pharmacy Technician Program

PTCE Updates

Upon completion of Rasmussen College’s Pharmacy Technician program, students will achieve a certificate degree that provides the understanding of pharmacy practice theory and the ability to perform pharmacy tasks, including receiving, interpreting, entering, and filling prescriptions.  Students will learn how to use various software programs to manage and process medications while gaining knowledge of medical terminology, medical law and ethics, patient confidentiality, and customer service.

Pharmacy Technicians can work in a variety of environments, including retail pharmacies, specialty pharmacies, hospitals, and managed care environments. Depending on the environment, the role and responsibilities may vary slightly, but a prominent role of a pharmacy technician is to work directly with a patient’s prescription by preparing and filling it. The wrong dosage and medication can have vital consequences for patients, so a pharmacy technician’s ability to be detailed and accurate is vital, along with having strong mathematical skills. Pharmacy technicians also work and interact with patients, and insurance companies, so strong communication and customer service skills are necessary too. Maintaining and managing prescription medication inventory, especially controlled substances, is also a significant role of pharmacy technicians. Finally, interest and knowledge of prescription medications are required to be successful in this role.

Starting in 2020, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), who hosts the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) that Pharmacy Technician graduates take, will require all applicants taking the PTCE to have graduated from a PTCB-Recognized Education/Training Program. Rasmussen College is officially a PTCB-Recognized Education/Training Program, and graduates of our Pharmacy Technician program will be able to continue to sit for the PTCE. The PTCE is a national certification examination that some states require pharmacy technicians to pass to practice in that state. It is recommended to review your state Board of Pharmacy’s regulations and rules for Pharmacy Technicians.  

Health Information 
Health Information is not just an interesting and important job in the healthcare industry it is a professional career.  Persons in a professional career often have a Professional Code of Ethics that reflects specific values, outlines responsibilities and obligations and guides their professional actions. In the Health Information field these are set forth in the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Code of Ethics, which outlines thirteen principles, the following three specifically relate to the promotion, participation and advocacy of the health information profession. Rasmussen College’s Health Information Program Coordinators and faculty demonstrate these principles in a variety of ways - a few of which are highlighted in this edition.  Ask your instructor or Program Coordinator how they live these principles, you will find many different paths!

8. Represent the profession to the public in a positive manner.

9. Advance health information management knowledge and practice through continuing education, research, publications, and presentations.

10. Perform honorably health information management association responsibilities, either appointed or elected, and preserve the confidentiality of any privileged information made known in any official capacity.

Sandy Stevens-Berens, MS, RHIT, - HIT Program Coordinator, Green Bay

  • Wisconsin Health Information Management Association -Volunteer

- Speaker on Personal Development Topics

- Host Coding Roundtables

  • AHIMA Coding Roundtable Coordinators- Team Member
  • Hortonville High School Advisory Board Member
  • High Schools and Community-MBCC and HIT program presentations
  • Community Presentations-“Good to Great”

Denise Van Fleet, MS, RHIA- HIMBS Program Coordinator

  • Member Volunteer - AHIMA Consumer Engagement Thought Leadership Roundtable, Fall 2019.
  • Member Volunteer – Wisconsin Health Information Management Association(WHIMA)- Annual State Meeting Planning Committee

Charline Bumgardner, MLS, RHIT-HIT Program Coordinator, National Online

Florida Health Information Management Association (FHIMA)-

  • Member Volunteer-Annual State Meeting Planning Committee
  • Member Volunteer HIM Awareness Committee

Julie Hable-RHIA, MBA- Adjunct Instructor, Health Information programs

Contributor to article for AHIMA on l “Navigating Today’s HIM Job Market”


Medical Assisting 

Karen Ende, Program Coordinator, Romeoville Campus

As the Medical Assisting Program Coordinator at the Romeoville Campus, Karen Ende can be found proactively supporting student success.  In the classroom, she fosters an inviting learning environment, always encouraging student engagement.  By building off of the students’ life experiences, Karen bridges concepts to real-world applications.  With a distinct emphasis on skills techniques she is persistently taking the students’ capabilities to new levels.  She is known for her continuing outreach to students within her program and other instructors involved in their learning.  Karen makes herself available to the campus and her students daily.  Additionally, through her involvement within the community, Karen relentlessly promotes Rasmussen College’s reputation.  Moreover, Karen works with the Admissions team to provide a friendly welcome to students considering enrollment.  Her dedication to the college, program, and students is admirable.



Diversity and Inclusion in Online Peer Tutoring
Jan Spagnol
CRLA Certified Peer Tutor, School of Health Sciences

Providing learning assistance as a tutor begins with compassion. When an opportunity arises and allows me to meet with a fellow student, I remind myself to see and hear things from the student’s perspective. I always try to put myself in their shoes. We don’t ever know where someone is coming from, what they have possibly been through or experienced, or what they have on their plate right in front of them. Having compassion and an open mind matches perfectly with understanding diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency and together, they help provide a great learning assistance experience for students. Students come from all over the world and are beautifully created with diverse backgrounds, experiences, cultures, characteristics, emotions, beliefs, and needs. Understanding student diversity is so important; however, understanding it is not where it ends. Tutoring involves recognizing and respecting students’ differences as well. We must keep in mind cultural and language backgrounds, different ways of learning and interpreting, and any other struggle or past experience that the student is learning to overcome. In order to deliver the highest quality of learning assistance, the understanding and respect of these important details is a must. Today, many students struggle with initiating social interactions. Some may find it difficult to reach out to an instructor, ask for help, or learn in an environment that can easily be scrutinized or judged by their peers. By providing online tutoring opportunities, some students may find it easier to learn and most importantly ask for assistance. I was not always the student that felt comfortable to raise my hand or answer a question in class. I oftentimes tried to avoid eye contact with an instructor in hopes that they would not call on me. Online peer tutoring provided a platform that allowed me to face and overcome my fears, and now I strive to provide that platform for others. Peer tutoring follows a specific mission and that mission states that we learn to work in a diverse and digital society while encouraging and promoting lifelong learning skills. Peer tutoring stands for the underdog. We want to lift you up and bring you to a place where you can begin to believe in yourself. This world can sometimes be a tough place to exist, however, when a student meets with a peer tutor, that space is promised to always be safe, everyone is always invited, and everyone will always be included. Today, I want to encourage you to try out online peer tutoring. This invite goes out to anyone; to the student who is on top of their game to the student looking for some positive reinforcement. Online peer tutoring is an experience like no other. It is done on your time and in the comfort and security of your own space. I am excited for what the future may be for peer tutoring and I invite each and every one of you to jump on board for this journey and let’s see where it can take us.


Diversity and Inclusion
Jo Ann Wendt

CRLA Certified Peer Tutor, School of Health Sciences

Culture goes beyond ethnic and racial characteristics; it encompasses the gender, age, social status, religion, and education. The elements that a person recognizes to form their sense of self and their feeling of wellbeing and belonging help to form this identity. How we are raised, and our personal experiences help to develop our sense of identity and culture. These are also the characteristics that make up the individual elements that contribute to a person’s diversity. Where we grew up, and traditions passed down and learned all help to define our sense of culture and make us diverse. As tutors in the school of health sciences and later in our healthcare careers, we interact with many students and patients of different cultures and languages, having their characteristics that create uniquely diverse personalities. We have the obligation ethically to inspire and aid each student with a positive and inclusive attitude toward helping them at each session. In the future, or depending where we are in our lives, currently we must aid our patients in the same manner. Each tutor grows by embracing what they learn as a tutor and helping each person take the reins of their education walking away from a session more confident than when they come in.

In healthcare, diversity and inclusion are often thought of as human resources responsibility for monitoring and developing. In truth, it is the responsibility of every employee at every level to be aware of culture and diversity in healthcare and in the learning platforms we embrace to reach our career goals in healthcare. Inclusion is imperative to creating an atmosphere here that forms an accepting and welcoming culture keys to success in and outside of healthcare. The diversity of every individual contributes a unique talent, skill, and knowledge to an organization and forms a vibrant culture that makes every tutor want to work with students, receive services, and feel empowered, ultimately assisting in overall success.

Diversity may speak to the differences of individuals, and inclusion may speak to including everyone regardless of their characteristics, but an organization's success is due to these two concepts. As tutors, we are part of a society that is becoming more digitally fluent, and these two concepts cannot be ignored or left to one tutor or lead to developing the path. We tutor from around the globe; we learn together and develop resources, projects, and methods that embrace diversity in those we interact with and ultimately make each student feel included. We embrace culture inclusion and diversity as tutors of health sciences and professionals in the field of healthcare.


Spring 2019 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 report on happenings in their field around a common theme. Finally, the Program Happenings section will report on exciting events going on in the programs at the campus level. Be sure to check out some programs other than just your own--there are exciting and interesting things happening all over Health Sciences!

New in 2019, we also have a tab with information for veterans! We hope our students who have served in the military find it useful.

Do you understand me? Do you hear me? Do you feel me? 

Christian M. Wright, EdD, DC, MA
Department Dean: Health Sciences & General Education

"Empathy is simply listening, holding space, without judgment, emotionally connecting, and communication that incredibly healing message of 'you’re not alone.'" Brené Brown

Health care has always been patient-centered, and that is more evident in the current landscape of patient experience and satisfaction driving hospital revenue. Just like in business customer service practices, clinical outcomes, and patient experiences are measured to evaluate clinical and hospital performance. The clinical and administrative staffs (practitioner) have a critical role in that performance through their interactions with patients. One of the most important skills is communication complemented with empathy.   

Communication is a broad term that includes verbal and non-verbal interactions. Add empathy, and it is the feelings expressed or reflected in those interactions that can make or break the outcomes. Empathic understanding is a practitioner’s connectedness to a patient or the ability to understand and express a patient’s feelings and emotions accurately. Empathic understanding involves actively listening to the patients’ words and tone, observing body language and mannerisms, hearing or sensing emotions and understanding experiences while the practitioner manages their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Empathic understanding is a significant factor in influencing positive patient/therapeutic outcomes.

Empathy or empathic understanding is a less tangible skill and is not an innate skill or easily developed for many people, but is more common in those in health care and helping professions. Each of the Health Science programs has incorporated communication and empathic understanding as an essential aspect of student learning to ensure that students and graduates are ready to meet the needs of patients and employers. When completed appropriately, the patient senses that the practitioner shares a similar experience or feeling, which in turn can strengthen the patient experience and hospital or clinics outcomes.

Fostering empathy and empathic understanding can be achieved through self-reflection and connecting with oneself as a means to connect with others. Each experience provides an opportunity for each of us to learn about ourselves.

Introducing Rasmussen's Physical Therapist Assistant Program!

The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Associate’s Degree Program at Rasmussen College is an 18-month, hybrid program – meaning it incorporates a blend of online and on campus instruction.  The program is unique in that its laboratory course components are delivered in an immersive nature, 4-8 hours long over 3-5 days.  This method prepares students for the intense days of their soon to be workplace.  It also offers concentrated time to learn skills and drill those techniques many times with feedback from their instructors.

Why this approach?  The US Department of Commerce (2010) predicted that students will continue to demand increased access to technology and flexible, asynchronous (recorded lectures and online instructional activities) learning experiences.  Rasmussen College was an early adopter of online education and the blended approach fit well within its current structure.  Further, several studies cite that blended learning approaches to educational programs have higher average scores (Kenney & Newcombe, 2011), and increased course completion, student retention and satisfaction (Garrison & Kanuken, 2004).

Who Benefits? Students and faculty benefit from the Blended Learning approach as it provides flexibility as compared to the traditional model.  In the traditional model, student and faculty are required to come to campus several days per week in a set schedule.  In the Blended model, students can access instructional materials when it fits their schedule.  Live classrooms are provided once per week allowing faculty to guide students in the application of the weeks’ content.  These meetings are recorded for future playback or if a student should be unable to attend.  Faculty respond to students’ questions, comments and learning progress through the learning management system and email which allows flexibility for faculty.  PTA cohorts create a community online which is strengthened by in-person instruction provided during on campus laboratory sessions. 

But online is easier, right?  Online instruction is NOT easier.  Traditional models in PTA education expect that students spend 2 hours studying outside of class for every hour they spend in class.  Rasmussen College’s PTA Program expects the same time commitment but offers flexibility in when you choose to do the work.  Our online courses outline “activity” time which provides insight into the average time students are expected to spend completing the corresponding activity.

PTAs have many career paths, from patient care in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, long term care centers, and patient homes, to administrative roles in these same areas.  The entry level salary for a PTA varies from practice setting to state and geographic location with the average reported at $57,430 ( in May 2017.  Demand for PTAs in the healthcare setting is expected to grow at 3% per year from 2016-2026 – much faster than most other occupations.

PTAs work as part of a team and provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist.  There are many benefits of being a Physical Therapist Assistant (excerpted from “Benefits of a Physical Therapist Assistant Career”, 

  1. Make a difference. PTAs are an important part of the rehabilitation team dedicated to returning the patient to maximal function.  PTAs may also help prevent loss of function through implementing fitness and wellness programs under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist.

  2. Be a Movement Expert.  PTAs have an intensive education in human movement and physical function.

  3. Enjoy job security.  Demand for PTAs continues to increase, and will remain that way for some time due to the aging population.

  4. Love your job.  Helping people gain function can be rewarding and bring personal satisfaction.  PTAs make a good wage and can choose from a variety of settings and schedules to best suit their work-life balance.

  5. Expand your skills.  There are many opportunities beyond patient care to gain additional knowledge and skills in areas of medical billing and coding, clinical management, education, quality improvement, and risk management.

United States Department of Commerce (2010). Visions 2020.2: Student views on transforming education and training through advanced technologies. Washington, DC.

Occupational Outlook Handbook (n.d.) Physical Therapist Assistantants and Aides, retrieved from 4/26/2019

Benefits of a Physical Therapist Assistant Career, 12/17/2015 retrieved from April 14, 2019.

Kenney J & Newcombe E. (2011). Adopting a Blended Learning Approach: Challenges encountered and lessons learned in an action research study. Journal of Ansynchronous Learning Networks, 15(1), 45-57.

Garrison DR & Kanuka H (2004). Blended Learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 7, 95-105.

Meet Dr. Amy Garrigues, Executive Director Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Services.

Dr. Amy Garrigues joined Rasmussen College in 2016 to help launch and grow the PTA program.  Dr. Garrigues graduated from Simmons College in 2004 with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT).   She began working in outpatient orthopedics, earned Board-Certification as an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist in 2007, and completed a Fellowship in Orthopedic and Manual Physical Therapy in 2009.  IN addition to performing patient care, Dr. Garrigues served as a clinical instructor and Center Coordinator of Clinical Education (CCCE), and continues developing and presenting continuing education for rehabilitation professionals. 

Prior to working in higher education, Dr. Garrigues delivered continuing education on topics such as manual therapy, evaluation and treatment of patients following concussion, and therapeutic alliance both locally and nationally.



Student Spotlight: Leonel Tobar

Leonel (Leo) Tobar is a student in the in the first Land O’ Lakes campus PTA Program cohort.  Before beginning the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Rasmussen College, Leo worked as a Nursing Assistant.  It was there he saw how much one on one time Physical Therapists and PTAs had with their patients.  Leo has always been interested in how he can help someone improve their life without relying on medication. 

Leo was impressed by the admissions process at Rasmussen College and appreciated the interview process as a time to ask questions.  He continues to be grateful for the support and coordination the faculty provide with regard to clinical experiences.  He has some advice for prospective students, “do not underestimate the speed and intensity of the program, a strong mindset and good planning will make the difference . . . expect to push yourself academically to the highest standards.”  His advice for current students? “keep that fire burning . . .your fellow students are your family, be ready to be there for them and collaborate.” Leo plans to graduate in June 2019 and is proud to represent the physical therapy profession.

Spotlight a graduate: Jody Groebner

Jody Groebner graduated from the Brooklyn Park-Maple Grove PTA Program in December 2018.   Her final clinical was in an outpatient pediatric setting and she had the opportunity to stay on part time at the clinic while studying for the licensure exam.  Congratulations are in order --  Jody just learned that she passed the exam!

Jody has always had an interest in health and fitness which led her to consider a career as a PTA.  Prior to starting the program, she worked as a fitness instructor.  She hopes her fitness background combined with PTA education will provide a new way for her to help others achieve their goals and live healthier and more productive lives.

Jody was drawn to the format of the Rasmussen College Program – the online classes and weekend immersive laboratories best fit her schedule – she also appreciates the ability to complete the program in 18 months.  Jody felt the clinical experiences were amazing learning opportunities, she couldn’t believe how much she learned in a short time.  Her clinical Instructors were excellent.

Health and Wellness

Communication and Healthcare in Health and Wellness
Rikkisha Gilmore-Byrd
Department Chair, Health and Human Services

Health Communication is an integral part of promoting overall health and wellness. This includes verbal and written strategies to influence and empower individuals, populations and communities to make healthier choices through education and awareness. Health communication includes social marketing which is focused on creating, communicating, and delivering health and wellness information to target audiences focused on target audiences.

Effective health communication is also the cornerstone of the healthcare delivery system. Without appropriate and effective communication, patients/consumers cannot get the care that they need because health care professionals cannot read minds top determine the needs of the patient. There has been a push to improve overall wellness through more preventative healthcare. This preventative healthcare strategy requires healthcare campaigns to promote preventative healthcare to those affected.

To improve communication in health and wellness, many people have started using Health Coaches. The role of a health coach is to help hold a client accountable for their wellness and meet them where they are to improve their overall health and wellness. Health coaches use a variety of mediums to interact with clients and work with them to improve their wellness and educate them about health and wellness strategies. These include, but are not limited to apps, video conferencing, cell phone/tablets and any other strategic way to meet the client where they are to increase awareness and accountability.

Many organizations are also offering incentives for employees to participate in wellness programs. The goal is to prevent, arrest, and possibly reverse chronic illnesses in their employees. This focus on communicating the importance of health and wellness positively affects the organizations by raising awareness and keeping the employees healthier, which increases overall productivity.  By offering wellness services to employees as a corporate benefit, the employees also feel that the employer really cares about them and are invested in supporting the employee as a “whole person”, which builds employee morale.

The overall goal of health and wellness programs by practitioners is to improve health. Communication strategies can also be effective to improve policies, programs and develop incentives. Strategies to improve communication can bridge the gaps that are partly responsible for health disparities. As a Health and Wellness Professional, it is important to focus on developing enhanced communication strategies and techniques to reach as many different populations as possible.


Health Information

The Health Record as the Foundation for Healthcare Communication
Linda Kennedy, MBA, RHIA
Department Chair, Health Information


Communication in healthcare, similar to overall communication in today's world, has become complex and varied. Needs and options for effective and efficient communication in the healthcare world, have multiplied with technology development, expansion of healthcare networks and specialization, and a more mobile and aging population. Over a century ago, in a time of physician home visits, the doctor wrote notes to remember what was done, frequently after a one- way communication with the doctor telling the patient the course of treatment after an exam. Today this documentation of physician-patient interaction has exploded to meet the demands of interactions in current health care models which includes the patient as an informed an active member of the health care team. Communication of information, as a constant back and forth stream, has replaced that one-way doctor communication and is a necessity among specialized and large health care teams, between healthcare organizations across the country and the world, and for those who pay for the care provided

From the community doctor's scribbled notes of yesteryear to today's ongoing evolution in options and the need for extensive shared communications and interoperability, the health record of an individual patient continues to be a foundation which supports the delivery of quality health care. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), since 1928, has taken a leadership role in the effective management of health data by supporting health information professionals in their work to develop and maintain effective processes for the collection, dissemination, and storage of health records and information.

The current health record—which has evolved from this work, regardless of the form it takes, paper or electronic—is the communication tool that supports clinical decision making, coordination of services, evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of care, research, legal protection, education, and accreditation and regulatory processes. While the record itself is a communication tool, accessed by the entire health team, including the patient, there are many tools for communicating information from the record to authorized users to meet their needs. 

These communication tools range from the more traditional, in-person visits and meetings or phone calls, some a bit more modern, texting, patient portals, personal health records and some are just now gaining more widespread popularity as they develop and become more commonplace, such as secure messaging systems (SMS). SMS can offer much-needed protections for private and confidential health information while employing the use of the popular communication tools of texting and emailing. Simply described, a message notification is sent to the recipient, who goes to a secure site to access the information. That recipient can then use the same process to communicate information back to the sender, thus supporting the stream of communications.

Healthcare communication needs in our information-driven world will almost certainly continue to increase, and technology will need to continue to advance to address those expanding needs. The health record of the individual patient will also most likely continue to be the foundation of healthcare information which needs to be communicated to support both personal quality care and the advancement of medicine. Health Information professionals will continue to have a leadership responsibility to advance the development of the health record to become a comprehensive communication tool of a person's health journey from birth to death. 

American Health Information Management Association. (n.d.). AHIMA: Who We Are Our Story Retrieved from

Eddy, N. (2019) How patients really want to communicate with doctors. Health IT News.

Human Services

Communication and Healthcare in Human Services
Rikkisha Gilmore-Byrd
Department Chair, Health and Human Services

Technology is taking over the world!  Or it seems like that, anyway. Human Services professionals are embracing technology in how they meet the needs and communicate with their clients.  The Journal of Technology in Human Services identifies several strategies that are being used in Human Services to increase communication with their clients and meet their clients where they are.   As a Human Services Professional, it is important to maintain increasing professional development by reading articles in journals such as The Journal of Technology in Human Services.  Having awareness of possible strategies to assist your clients is essential to building rapport and streamlining processes for practitioners. 

The development of different types of apps for phones and tablets has influenced all fields, including Human Services.  One app to highlight in Human Services include, Nothing but Advice, which is an app that connects consumers that need immediate access to professionals to help guide them through life issues that arise.  It allows consumers to connect with qualified mental health professionals in real time via chat, phone, or video.  The Human Services Professionals provide professional guidance and support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There are many similar apps that allow consumers to communicate when they need help and all they have access to is a phone or tablet.

Similarly, most states have adopted systems that allow parents to access their child support cases via mobile friendly websites.  This app will allow both custodial and non-custodial parents to make changes to their case and chat with a case manager during office hours in real time.  This can be helpful to parents that may not be able to make it to a local office to access these services and make updates to their account.  Lines are often extremely long and wait times can be exorbitant.  Parents can also make child support payments at certain gas stations during non-traditional hours, making it easier to meet their obligations.

Some states have worked with their Departments of Social Services to make accessing public assistance while also working and/or looking for employment much easier.  Clients can upload photos of their pay stubs, work attendance records and other necessary document to their case file for their caseworkers to review.  They also provide kiosks in their offices for people that may not have smartphones or tablets so that they can upload these documents without having to wait for an appointment with a live person.

More than for the purpose of convenience, the business case of increasing the use of technology also supports the savings of money.  It is noted that, “An average-size state agency could save up to $14 million annually by relying on mobile apps instead of in-person interactions” (Newcombe, 2015). The increase and improvement of communication by using technology creates additional jobs for IT people, provides more access for clients, consumers and Human Services Professionals, and saves money, so it will be interesting to see what new communication-related technological strategies are developed.

Newcombe, T. (2015). New Apps May Make Giving and Getting Government Aid Easier. Governing the State and Localities. Retrieved from


Medical Assisting

Healthcare communication and the vital role a Medical Assistant plays in Customer Service

Denise Pufall, MPA, NCMA
Department Chair, Medical Assisting

In healthcare, communication is a vital role to ensure quality patient care.  Effective communication is not only important between the Physician and patient, but equally important between the members of a healthcare team that are treating patients.  Closing the miscommunication gap has become a priority in healthcare today by introducing various ways to open communication between providers, providers and patients, as well as between healthcare teams.  With Electronic Medical Records allowing physicians to see the care a patient has received has limited the amount of duplicate testing, unnecessary procedures, and duplicated office visits.  Physicians work together to effectively treat patient from one facility to another.  Not only has this provided better patient care and customer service to the patients, it has reduced medical errors due to better patient data, and error prevention alerts. 

Communication opportunities also exist through a program known as a Patient Portal.  This system allows patients to view information within their medical record 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  They can see upcoming appointments, lab results, recent office visit notes, billing information, medications, allergies, etc.  Many of the patient portals are now allowing patients to perform many things on their own such as schedule an upcoming appointment online, request medication refills from their provider, update their information, check balances and billing information, and securely message their physician.  Providing patients the opportunity to be more informed and play an active role in their healthcare has assisted physicians in providing excellent patient care and customer service. 

Medical Assistants play an intricate role in communication within a healthcare team.  They not only room the patient and provide patient care, they gather and document information for the physician, along with provide patient education as needed.  They assist their patients, and guide them in setting up their patient portal if they need help.  They are the one of the first members of the healthcare team to communicate with the patient therefore, building trust and excellent communication skills play a vital role in the patient’s overall experience.  Communication is a skill that an individual can always improve.  Being able to adapt to situations, and conversations while relating to the patient is an example of how diverse a Medical Assistant needs to be.  With all the competition in healthcare, a patient will always have other options to seek their care at another facility.  It is communication and customer service that truly differentiates one practice from another.

What is a patient portal? (n.d.).  Retrieved from


Medical Administrative Assistant / Pharmacy Technician

Improving the Communication Gaps in Healthcare

Department Chair, Medical Administrative Assistant and Pharmacy Technician 

As a director of nursing and leader in healthcare, I see communication gaps becoming more frequent rather than limited.  Healthcare longs for physicians, nurses, leaders, and front-line workers with strong communication skills.  Sadly, however, what we have seen over the past few years in healthcare is an unfortunate breakdown in communication leading to displeased patients, staff frustration, lower quality of care, and less trust in the system.  Some of the blame can be put on the electronic medical record, however, more accountability needs to be placed on leaders in healthcare. Great leaders have the ability to communicate their vision in such a way that motivates their team.  They are great communicators and don’t allow change to be heard via the grapevine.  We, as leaders in healthcare, can no longer foster or allow work cultures with communication breakdowns.  Imagine a work world where everyone shows up, ready for practice, and makes decisions based on what is best for their patients and co-workers.  It all starts with communication.  With the proper leadership, we can create a culture with stronger communication lines and where everyone supports and respectfully speaks to each other.  Leaders with strong communication skills and who identify and improve communication gaps will have better results, such as higher quality of care, improved patient outcomes, and staff satisfaction.  They will have a work environment of open communication with more effective feedback and a staff who trust them. 

Not only is effective communication a must for staff, but the patient experience as well depends on all the communication and interactions patients have with the healthcare system, providers, and facilities.  As healthcare shifts towards patient-centered care, it’s crucial that organizations understand the importance of creating stronger communication skills and interactions with their patients.  The fact is that no matter how educated, talented, or powerful any provider is, how he or she communicates ultimately defines the quality of the care being delivered.  The increasingly complex needs of patients along with higher costs have set the bar even higher for more effective communication.  Members of the healthcare team do not spend enough time communicating with each other about the patient’s needs, and nobody from the care team spends enough time communicating with the patient.  Success demands team-based approaches that are centered on close collaboration among all types of healthcare professionals and providers.  Achieving the goal of improving quality, lowering costs, and improving the patient experience can only be done with a significantly improved communication strategy. 

So how do we achieve better and more effective communication?  Improving communication in healthcare starts at the bedside.  Doctors and nurses must get back to introducing themselves when they walk in the patient’s room, even if they met with the patient the day before.  They must slowly and carefully explain what they are doing as they are doing it.  For example, if the provider intends to transfer the patient to a different room or level of care, explain why and how long it may take.  While this type of information may not seem important to providers, it is vital that patients are kept informed so they do not feel forgotten.  It is the responsibility of the leader to hold his or her staff accountable for this behavior and hardwire a culture of strong communication.  Another example of an effective communication technique and best practice is the teach-back method.  Many hospitals use this method during the discharge planning process to allow patients and family members to better understand the post-hospital instructions and recommendations in order to prevent a readmission. 

In conclusion, as healthcare today continues to change and we are unfortunately with less resources and more to do, we must communicate more effectively to survive.  We need to put an end to this gap and magnify our efforts of making caring communication and patient-centered care standard practice worldwide. 

Brad Cunningham RN, MSN, MHA, PCCN
Rasmussen Faculty

Medical Laboratory Technician

Shift Hand-Off in the Medical Lab

Good communication is consistently listed as an attribute in successful relationships, effective employees, and in top performing departments in any field. Employees are evaluated for their communication skills in yearly performance reviews. Clear and concise communication is a goal amongst healthcare workers too. In the medical lab, there is communication from the lab to providers and nurses, to patients, to reference facilities, and to outside vendors. We also have communication between lab departments such as Hematology notifying Blood Bank of a patient with low hemoglobin who will most likely need to get a blood transfusion. And finally, we have what is known as shift communication. Day shift will need to hand off their tasks to the evening shift and evening shift will need to do the same to the night shift.

When those employees enter in for their day, it is essential that we notify them of how each department is running – are there problems with certain analyzers, is there a crucial blood bank case that will be receiving blood components, is there a patient in ICU that has critically low Sodium levels needing to be checked every 4 hours, is there an active trauma in ER, is there an incoming sample from a nursing home that is expected, and so on. These are just a few examples of what may need to be provided to the new shift. By having clear communication from one shift to the next, the goal is to decrease confusion and inefficiency along with lessen possible mistakes that could occur. It is essential the new shift understands exactly where the previous shift is leaving off to ensure continuity of testing and good turn-around-times of results.

The lab is responsible for running and reporting of ordered tests on patients. These patients may include clinic (ambulatory), medical-surgical inpatients, ICU, OB, ER, and nursing homes. A hospital lab is responsible for all patients in these settings and must stay organized in their workload. The lab has to ensure accurate reporting in a timely manner. When one lab tech comes in to take over another lab tech’s work, all pertinent details should be shared so that these numerous patients continue to stay as our priority.


Radiologic Technology

It was an unusually busy afternoon.  The phone rang. I answered it; the emergency department (ED) had a patient needing some x-ray exams.  It was a male in his early twenties.  I probably said, “Is the patient coming over?” That was my routine question; I did not like going to get patients.  The patient was sitting waiting for a room when I got to the ED.  I recall telling the patient to follow me.  A nurse replied that he needs a wheelchair.  I looked at the patient, as if I had x-ray vision, and said something like, “Oh, he’s a big man, he can walk.”  COMMUNICATION FAILURE 1.  I am walking, and he is hobbling behind me holding the wall the entire way to radiology, and saying “It hurts!”  Easy to fix, I just slowed down.  COMMUNICATION FAILURE 2.

In the x-ray room, he tried to figure out a way to maneuver himself onto the table.  I had him rest backward on the table and told him I would assist him.  I grabbed his right foot behind the heel and raised his leg onto the table.   He yelled, and a coworker ran into the room and asked if I needed help.  I said “No.”  COMMUNICATION FAILURE 3.  The patient tried to take off his shoe, could not, I jumped in and started to pull it off for him.  COMMUNICATION FAILURE 4.  He made the statement, “Its broken isn’t it!”  I commented when I should not have; I said it was probably just a sprain.  COMMUNICATION FAILURE 5.  Although he was painstakingly squirming on that hard table and breathing through his mouth, my thoughts were getting the exam done.  COMMUNICATION FAILURE 6.  he continued to make noises as if he was in dire pain.  My co-worker processed the images.  I instructed him to come off the table, and I will take him back.  He grudgingly did it while uttering signs of pain and discomfort. COMMUNICATION FAILURE 7. 

Back in radiology, my co-worker asked how the patient was doing.  I said he was ok and only “faking it.”  I was shocked when I saw the images.  There were multiple fractures on his foot, ankle, and lower leg.  I remember feeling afraid; my inner core knew I had messed up.  Minutes later, the ER physician called to talk to me.  I remember him screaming that he wanted to know why I told the patient he only had a sprain.   

Academia would rather the experiences I share as an instructor to be inspiring enough for you to want to emulate me; they should be positive and motivating.   That would be true if my life were a fairytale, but it is not.  My experience involved communication, not the prodigious or mediocre type.  It is the type of communication that only serves to hurt the patient and your career.  If there were something good to say about this event, it would be that even bad communication is a teaching point and that I have taught you never to do what I did. 

Take away points are:

1. Listen, listen, and listen with all your senses.

2. Communication happens in the now, stay focused or you will miss what is told to you.

3. The minor detail can be as important as the major one; what is not said is as important as what is said.

Surgical Technology

Health Literacy Skills – Communication is the Key
Lori Groinus, BS, MA, CST
Associate Professor and Surgical Technology Program Coordinator, St.
Cloud Campus

Healthcare workers fully understand the importance of communication among each other. As a new Surgical Technologist, I quickly realized that accurate and timely communication with the rest of the team was vital as we prepared for surgery and during the procedure itself. In our training we learned the terminology and vernacular and eventually it became like a second language. But the language of healthcare is not easy for the average non-medical person to understand. So, what do we do to help our patients to fully understand their care?

Effective communication with patients requires that they have health literacy. Health literacy is defined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 as “the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions” (CDC, 2019). The CDC states that people who need information require the skills to: find information and services, communicate their needs and preferences, understand the meaning and usefulness of information, comprehend the consequences of their choices, and determine which information and services will best align with their needs and preferences. Additionally, anyone who provides health information or services needs to have health literacy skills of their own in order to assist the patient with their health literacy.

Health Literacy is not an issue of actual literacy. There may be situations where barriers such as cognitive level, language barriers or reading ability are present. But even people who can read may not have the understanding of medical terms, the anatomy and physiology of their bodies, or statistical reports. They may also be scared and confused by the current medical situation and/or complicated information. Nearly half of all adult Americans find it difficult to understand and act upon health information, and nearly a quarter find it impossible to understand complex medical language (Institute of Medicine, 2004). This puts patients at risk due to the simple lack of understanding. Without understanding it is difficult to act upon recommendations from providers.

The National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy from the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion includes the Health Literate Care Model: A Universal Precautions Approach. The core of this model is productive interactions between providers and patients, either face to face or by other media like patient portals. The goals of productive interactions are to ensure that both patient and provider understand medical terms, health problems/conditions, care plans, treatment options, outcome goals and the expected actions required to reach the outcome goals. But for these interactions to be productive, both the health care team and the patient need to be health literate. Strategies to improve communication and health literacy are part of the model but a key aspect is the universal precautions approach. When we use the term Universal Precautions in health care, we often think about prevention of infectious disease – assuming everyone is potentially infectious and taking appropriate precaution to avoid contracting or passing on the causative agent. In this model, they advocate “treating all patients as if they are at risk of not understanding health information”.

The aim of health care personnel and patients is quality care that respects the patients’ preferences. The only way to assure that there is understanding is to intentionally work toward health literacy. By educating patients and providers and enhancing communication through productive interactions with a Universal Precautions approach, health literacy grows. This begins with intentionally planning and preparing for the interactions we have to the best of our ability. The AHRQ Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit can be found here:

Center for Disease Control (2019, April 26). Health literacy action plan. Retrieved from

Center for Disease Control (2019, April 26). Health literacy basics. Retrieved from

Center for Disease Control (2019, April 26). Understanding health literacy. Retrieved from

Institute of Medicine. 2004. Health literacy: A prescription to end confusion. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2019, April 26). National action plan to improve health literacy. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (2019, April 26). AHRQ health literacy universal precautions toolkit. Retrieved from

Health and Human Services at Rasmussen College

As society continues to increase awareness and focus on developing healthy people, the program growth in both the Human Services and Health and Wellness programs soars.  More students are coming to Rasmussen with interests in careers in helping people.  When they choose The School of Health Sciences, they have many different program options to choose from.  Human Services programs tend to attract students that want to provide services and support people with their mental health and circumstances.  Health and wellness programs tend to attract students that are interested in public health and improving both the physical and mental health of their clients.  Both programs continue to be improved through quality improvement processes.  If you have ideas and strategies to improve the programs, please reach out to the Department Chair, Rikkisha Gilmore-Byrd.  I am open to all suggestions and ideas.


Medical Administrative Assistant

Clinical Simulations within the Medical Administrative Assistant Program

Having a well-rounded education in today’s modern technological world will open a multitude of doors for students.  These doors allow students to better serve the needs of the patient and the facility in which they will be working for.

Education begins in an anticipated setting such as a classroom (virtual or brick and mortar).  This is where the strong foundation is built and from there, with each learning experience a student has, layers (or walls if you will) are added.  In an environment where interactions with patients take place, students must have the ability (and access) to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-life scenarios so that important connections can be made between education and action.  In some programmatic courses, students have EHR simulation exercises as assignments.   These simulation exercises provide students the opportunity to apply their education, critical thinking, decision making and communication skills by working through scenarios that will test their ability to work as an individual and as part of a team. 

By preparing students with simulation exercises, we are better equipping them with the necessary skills desired to be an active and well-sought member of the workforce.  We are demonstrating to students the value of a well-rounded education by investing in their knowledge and skills.

Dawn Wuebker/Adjunct Instructor, School of Health Sciences


Medical Assistant
Land O' Lakes and New Port Richey

Congratulations to Rasmussen College’s Land O’ Lakes and New Port Richey Medical Assistants!

A pinning ceremony held Thursday evening, January 17, 2019, marked the passage of Rasmussen College’s Land O’ Lakes and New Port Richey campuses medical assisting students into the professional world.  These students recently completed their studies and finished an externship as part of their health science education, allowing them to put into practice the skills they learned in their diploma program. A compelling speech was given by Dagmar Schobert, an Alumni member of Rasmussen College, concerning overcoming the struggles and accomplishments of continuing education as an adult learner.  The recent graduates received their medical assisting pins during the ceremony that was attended by faculty, staff, family members, and fellow students.  Many of the graduates are already working in their field of study.  Two students were individually recognized for their outstanding grade point averages and excellence in clinical duties — compliments to Lisa Coffiey and Fernanda Espejo.

The pinning ceremony is a special occasion marking the bridge from learner to professional. The Medical Assistant honorees included Dimples Conquest, Jennifer Derby, Cassandra Helmandollar, Tracy Johnson, Krystal Mendez, Melissa Morris, Leah Smith, Roshelle Strickland, Victoria Cudney-Peterson, Lisbet Gomez, Tyler Jimenez, Kaitlyn Lutz, Casandra Marshall, Megan Nunn, Ashley Rabelo, Nicole Slone, Donna Casem, Lisa Coffiey, Fernanda Espejo, Michelle Hector, Susan Somers, Crystalyn Totten and Dagmar Schobert.  These students will also attend upcoming graduation ceremonies.


Pharmacy Technician Program
Preparation for the PTCE

An essential aspect of the Pharmacy Technician profession is the national certification, specifically the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).  The courses you take in the Pharmacy Technician program prepares you for being a successful pharmacy technician and to assist in your preparation for the PTCE. 

The Pharmacy Technician curriculum and library resources offer a number of practice exams and practice questions to assist your preparation for the PTCE.  The PTCE Guide provides information and details about the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the PTCE along with access to a number of PTCE practice exams.  It is never too early to start looking over this information:

Also, the PTN2050 Pharmacy Technician Capstone course offers a practice exam along with hundreds of other practice questions for the PTCE.  Whether you are starting in the Pharmacy Technician program or just finishing up, it is never too early or late to start reviewing and becoming familiar with the PTCB and PTCE. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the department chair of the Pharmacy Technician program, Dr. Jeremy Barthels at


Radiologic Technology
Second Cohort Graduates - Lake Elmo/Woodbury

The Lake Elmo/ Woodbury campus was excited to celebrate the second cohort of Radiologic Technology students completing the 24 month program Associates of Applied Science degree on March 15th. The second cohort began with
eight students in April of 2017 and with some addition and subtraction seven graduated (one not in the photo). The campus held a celebration for the students. The students invited their family and friends to celebrate this great accomplishment. It was a full house! The program officials gave a small gift mark this milestone within their career with a pin and a keychain. These students were instrumental in forming the Radiologic Technology program and were present for the initial accreditation site visit.

The Honor Flight Twin Cities

The Honor Flight Twin Cities was co-founded in 2008 by Jerry and Jana Kyser from Roseville, MN.  Jerry is a US Army Aviation Combat Disabled Vietnam Veteran who since 2001 has dedicated his time to serving veterans. He is the Chairman of the United Veterans Legislative Council, Co-Chairman of Military Action Group, Stillwater Prison Veterans Advocate.  He is a pilot with the Commemorative Air Force and Executive Director of the MN Vietnam Veterans Charity Car Donation Program.  Jerry was the recipient of the 2014 Veteran Voice Award.  In 2016, Jerry received National recognition by being awarded the Ellis Island Medals of Honor Award in New York.  Jana is the widow of a Vietnam Veteran who returned home emotionally damaged and died in a drowning accident a year later.  The former elementary school teacher is retired following a 30 year career with Steven Scott Apartment Management Co.  She began working as a caretaker and advanced to the position of Director of Property Management.

Honor Flight Twin Cities’ Mission is to transport Minnesota and Western Wisconsin Veterans to Washington DC to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends.  Since 2008 Honor Flight Twin Cities has completed 21 Charter flights with Sun Country Airline to Washington DC.  There have been 1,800 Veterans and 1,700 Guardians who have participated on this emotional, physical and spiritual one-day mission.  There are 250 Veterans on the waiting list. Jerry and Jana have 2 adult children and 5 grandchildren.

In the process of serving their American Heroes,  they have found deeper love for each other, stronger  faith as well as healing for their own deep wounds from the Vietnam war.

Where: Radisson in Roseville, 2540 Cleveland Avenue, Roseville, MN 55113

When: Friday, June 14th, 2019 11:00 to 1:30pm

Fee: $25.00

Fall 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 report on happenings in their field around a common theme. Finally, the Program Happenings section will report on exciting events going on in the programs at the campus level. Be sure to check out some programs other than just your own--there are exciting and interesting things happening all over Health Sciences!

Introducing Rasmussen's all-new Master of Healthcare Administration program!

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Healthcare careers are expected to grow 18% within the next decade. This will add approximately 2.4 million jobs, making it the top job-producing field of study (2018). Master’s in Healthcare Administration (MHA) graduates work in a variety of areas including hospital, outpatient system, insurance company, federal government, state government, community clinic, or dental practice. 

The MHA program at Rasmussen prepares graduates to learn about quality management, process improvement, quality patient care, leadership, and critical-thinking skills so that they can become successful healthcare leaders.  The degree will equip graduates with advanced healthcare knowledge and the ability to develop and manage effective healthcare groups.  The preparation and knowledge will benefit graduates as they take on roles as health care administrators, administrative directors, supervisors in hospital or healthcare facilities, or health services managers (2018).


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018). Healthcare Occupations. Retrieved from,  
Rasmussen College (n.d.). Develop your skills for leadership: Earn your Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA).


Meet Dr. Joyvina Evans, Core Faculty for the MHA Program

Dr. Joyvina Evans has worked in Higher Education for over ten years.  She has experience as a Higher Education Administrator, college professor, and subject matter expert for healthcare administration and public health. Prior to working in higher education on a full-time basis, she worked in Cardiovascular Research at University of Michigan, where she served as the Research Project Manager for a project studying patients with aortic diseases. She served as the manager and supervisor to approximately ten research assistants and volunteers. 

Dr. Evans earned a PhD and M.S. in Public Health, M.S. in Administration, and B.B.A. in Management. Additionally, she successfully completed the Women in Education Leadership professional development program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

She has presented for Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Asian University for Women, University of Georgia, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Chase Great Enterprises, Dreams Do Come True Women’s Empowerment, and the Unlocked Summit.

Health Information

The Exploited Patient in Healthcare Digital Economy
By: Denise L. VanFleet, MS, RHIA

The most obvious and clear example of healthcare information in its digitized format is the Electronic Health Record – the EHR. Consider this most well-known digital example in healthcare and merge the EHR with the concept of economy, which Webster’s Dictionary defines as ‘thrifty and efficient use of material resources’ and one pictures the notion of using digital health information in a productive and valuable way – with a purpose of benefitting both patient and healthcare provider.

What does a patient think of when they are asked “how can an electronic health record benefit you?” What value might the patient receive from the deployment of an EHR? The obvious responses would likely fall into the arena of

  • Improving my health

  • Saving me money

  • Gaining some time back – time spent waiting for exams, results, and appointments, for example.

The benefits of an EHR to the medical field orients to saving lives, reducing or eliminating medical errors, improving treatment outcomes and much more. The benefits to insurance companies is expediting billing and improving the timeliness of payments. Physicians and caregivers dream that an EHR will make the health record more available and more useful to them. But what about the patient? Let’s circle back to the patient– the person who needs the healthcare, the person who pays for the healthcare – either by insurance, co-pay or cash. This is the healthcare income that actually buys the EHR for the healthcare provider.

The insured patient worries less, perhaps, about the cost and even possibly doesn’t think about the cost and this leads to a lax attitude in regards to cost. An insured patient rarely asks “what is the cost of the test, the lab work, the office visit, etc.?”  The disregard for cost is revisited later. However, time – time is so very precious to every person- and the healthcare patient is no different. Consider the efficient use of a patient’s time, the competing demands on time, the schedules, the appointments, travel time, work time, free time, etc. The obligations of each day.

Consider the following actual patient scenario that occurred in Illinois in 2017. A patient, referred to here as “Ella” had pain in her back and went to her primary care provider (PCP) with that complaint. The PCP did an exam and determined that the perceived back pain was generated and connected to hip pain which she was able to demonstrate in a physical exam. A hip x-ray was ordered. The average cost of an x-ray is $250-$460. The x-ray was reviewed with the patient prior to the end of the encounter. There was evidence of severe debilitating arthritis in the hip, and the patient was instructed to consider hip replacement. The patient was to follow up with an orthopedic surgeon.

Six days later, Ella arrived for her appointment with the orthopedic surgeon which was at an ‘all in one’ specialty office, one that completes examinations, diagnostics, on-site (minor) surgery and even physical therapy. Ella was called back for her appointment and was taken to x-ray first. Ella inquired about the need for an x-ray and stated clearly that she had a hip x-ray only 6 days earlier with her PCP. The Orthopedic technician responded “We don’t have that x-ray; do you want to wait while we get it or do you want to get another x-ray that will be ready for viewing immediately?”

Herein lies the lack of digital economy for the patient – including both the cost of the x-ray and the time of the patient. Returning to both the cost and time consideration, one might ask:

  • “Is six days not long enough time to obtain a current hip x-ray from the PCP?”

  • “Is one x-ray at $460 not adequate to evaluate the surgical need?”

  • “Does the pre-surgical diagnostic cost have to be doubled- at $920 to meet the need of the patient?” and finally,

  • “Is the time spent by the patient at the PCP office not relevant here at the follow-up, referral appointment –is patient time not a consideration? Does it have no value to healthcare?”

Back to Ella – the technician’s response to her “We don’t have that x-ray; do you want to wait while we get it or do you want to get another x-ray that will be ready for viewing immediately?” intentionally compelled her to cooperate and agree with another x-ray. The Orthopedic facility was able to bill for an identical test, the x-ray of the hip, only six days after a completely adequate and complete x-ray was completed, billed and paid. The Orthopedic office thrives on the income of repeat tests. Ella’s time in the office was lengthened by the repeat x-ray. Her insurance carrier was billed twice for the identical test taken within 6 days of the first, and Ella paid her co-pay for the identical test as well.

Getting back to the Webster’s definition of economy – what is thrifty about the experience that Ella had with the repeat x-ray? How did this benefit the patient, Ella, where is her digital economy? For all of us – any person who is a patient or might be a patient – the scenario that Ella experienced impacts us as well. Insurance expenditures and insurance utilization drive insurance costs. Every time a patient is billed and a claim is paid, the financial data is used to determine and set premiums and insurance costs that are paid by each one of us. Ella’s consequence is but one of a million occurring this week alone.

Ella’s scenario exemplifies a disconnect in healthcare digital economy, and the disconnect could be corrected or at least reduced by the use of Health Information Exchange (HIE) – one facility (Ella’s PCP) sharing or providing the original x-ray with the facility that the PCP referred them to (Orthopedic Surgeon). Similarly, the orthopedic provider could have prepared for Ella’s appointment by requesting the x-ray from the PCP. The health information arena knows this as ‘interoperability’.  This is the continuing care provision contained in HIPAA that allows for disclosure of health information for treatment purposes-it is a foundation of meaningful use.

The value of digital economy in healthcare is missed, reduced, limited when the healthcare system, its parts and pieces, fails to traverse a single healthcare path that benefits the patient – the person at the center, the target. The patient - their time, money and convenience - is overlooked, undervalued and exploited. An opportunity to maximize healthcare digital economy is sorely missed.


Medical Administrative Assistant / Pharmacy Technician

The digital economy has been radically changing the way we interact and consume products.  Amazon has a dash button product which is a Wi-Fi connected button that can be placed anywhere in your home and upon pushing the button, it automatically reorders a specific product without you having to log into your Amazon account.  The Starbucks app allows you to order and pay for a drink ahead of your arrival so it is ready for pick up when you get there. 

The healthcare profession is no exception to the effects and influence of the digital economy.  The ultimate goal is to add efficiencies to patient care by increasing patient engagement, satisfaction, and treatment compliance.  Healthcare organizations and companies are always trying to find new ways to engage and communicate with their patients, especially when patients are seeking care that is not only affordable, but convenient and meets their (and their family’s) needs.    

In the pharmacy profession, larger pharmacies, such as Walgreens and CVS, have mobile apps that provide patients with medication information, allows patients to message a pharmacist, set up reminders to take medications, and even provide the ability for patients to refill prescriptions right from the app. 

In the Medical Administrative Assistant profession, many clinics and organizations have patient portals (and even mobile apps) which allow patients to view records, communicate with their healthcare team, schedule appointments, and some have the ability to do virtual appointments with a healthcare practitioner instead of going to a clinic to be seen. 

These digital services are changing the way patients choose and engage with their healthcare team allowing for more efficient communication and patient engagement in their treatment plan.  This trend will only continue to grow and expand as new technology and innovation will lead the transformation of how patients manage their health.  As more of these mobile apps and healthcare products are created, the digital engagement in how patients interact with their healthcare team will continue to change and individuals entering into the healthcare profession must be aware of these trends and adapt to it as well.  Not only does it influence the patient’s interaction with the healthcare team, it also impacts how healthcare practitioners communicate and interact with their patients. 

One great example is the new Apple Series 4 Watch- it has an ECG sensor that is capable of generating an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram which can be used to monitor and track your heart rhythm.  This health data can be shared with healthcare practitioners to assist with providing the patient the correct care and treatment.  Over the next 10-20 years, more devices like the Apple Watch will be created and become more advanced and mainstream causing a huge digital shift to healthcare.  This will not only create a new economy in healthcare products, but the healthcare field will have to adapt to these innovations to maintain a primary role in a patient’s healthcare needs.

Medical Laboratory Technician

Do you know your DNA profile? You may have heard infomercials on finding out about your heritage through DNA profiling. But do you know your true DNA sequencing profile?

DNA sequencing (human genes, genomes) and microbiome (a community of microorganisms that inhabit in or on the human body) are playing a role in your personal healthcare in a way that has never been done before. These have led to a genetic approach to medicine. The medical laboratory has been challenged not only in the testing and determining of your DNA sequencing and microbiome testing but also in how that sequencing and microbiome can help with diagnosis, maintenance and treatment of diseases. “Personalized” medicine has taken on a whole new genetic dimension. With the decreased cost associated with DNA sequencing and microbiome testing their use now plays an important role for the medical patient. Medical treatments are being tailored based on the patient’s individual genetic makeup. The anticipation of “real-time” microbiome analysis that will one day give clinicians the ability to instantly diagnose what our body needs and when is quickly approaching.

Pharmacogenomics has become significant in understanding why some patients respond differently to medicines than others. Pharmacogenomics has allowed clinicians to develop effective, safe medications and doses tailored specifically to the patient’s genetic makeup. Clinicians can now predict a patient’s response to a drug which allows for selection of specific medications over others. 2018 data has stated that over 100 drugs now discuss pharmacogenetics on their FDA labels.

Medical laboratories have played a significant role in monitoring a patient’s response to treatment of medications for years. Now with the addition of genetics, the medical laboratory role has significantly increased to a “personal” treatment.

Medical Assisting

Mankato Campus
Community Outreach has been at the heart of our Mankato Rasmussen Medical Assisting students. Community events have been a critical piece of teaching and applying the skills needed for the field. Students who have participated have shared with me the value and skills they gained from the experience from confidence, customer service, and personal presentation. These are all vital to the healthcare setting, and it gives the opportunity to learn essential soft skills before joining the workforce. Event participants enjoy seeing their future caretakers be engaged in their learning and practice skills. The photos below include; Go Red for Women (this event is through the American Heart Association ), Scrub Camp (camp for high school students who are interested in pursuing Health Care careers ), and National Health Center Week (an annual event to recognize Health Centers around the nation ). These are just a few, and we continue to grow. Rasmussen College Medical Assisting students are the stars as they show their skills and get involved.

Overland Park Campus
The Overland Park Campus has been busy with volunteer events for
our medical assisting students to participate in by doing vital signs, blood sugars, cholesterol tests, height, weight and, BMI.

Our first event was in partnership with The Health & Wellness Mobile at the VFW National Convention in July 2018 held at Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. (Attached pictures are the ones that are inside)

Our most recent event was partnering with Embracing life ministries at the Health & Wellness Fair in September 2018 held at a local park in Kansas City, Missouri to help the underprivileged and homeless communities. (Attached pictures are the ones outside) Students even had a little fun with the community, dancing to the D.J.

We have plans to volunteer again with both of these partners.


Tampa Brandon
How do we welcome our Term 2 starts at Tampa/ Brandon? We invite them in for lunch and then “wow” them with our great dancing skills. The morning and afternoon Lab Classes decided it was time for some friendly competition.  The idea of a Dance-Off was born and each class chose their song to dance to. It was so much fun that some of our Rasmussen Staff jumped right in. The judges just couldn’t decide a winner with all the great moves that day. It was decided that everyone was a winner!

Radiologic Technology

The Lake Elmo/ Woodbury campus was excited to celebrate the first Radiologic Technology students completing the 24 month program Associates of Applied Science degree. The first cohort began with 12 students in October of 2016 and six completed the program on track on September 15th, 2018. The campus held a celebration for the students. The students invited their family and friends to celebrate this great accomplishment. The program officials gave a small gift mark this milestone within their career. These students were instrumental in the launching of the initial Radiologic Technology program.


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:

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

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:

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.

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. 

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:

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: