Neuroplasticity: The Benefits of Keeping One’s Mind Engaged

by Clifford V. Tomb III, ABD, MltcA

As science and fiction are narrowly approaching the impossible in terms of what we once thought impossible, now being fact, the dilemma of how long we wish to live becomes the new dilemma. However, quality of life is still at the forefront with clinicians and experts arguing and contemplating on the best ways to keep not only one’s body, but one’s brain, active and healthy. We all know about the dastardly effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia as well as many other direct and indirect causal factors that can contribute to brain malfunctioning; however, there are more and more creative and innovative ways to help stimulate our minds, with many believing this not only offsets disease, but benefits our short, and long term, mental acuities.

Just as physical therapists and trainers advise on a cross-fit, or training regimen, with different exercises to better our bodies and propel, or ‘shock’ them, further, brain experts are saying the same thing about boring mental tasks, or daily routines. In other words, ‘get out of your rut,’ and ‘spice things up’! Meaning, we should not be conditioned on, or to, the same assignments or tasks, but instead take time out of our busy days to learn a new language, instrument, art, or any other new focus, which exercises our brain capacity and requires new cell formation.

With the continued emergence of brain-related exercises online and still available in traditional classroom settings, our brain has an innate ability to form new neural connectors, or connections. This is deemed Neuroplasticity, which as the name infers, stretches our brain’s power. Neuroplasticity can make our neurons, or nerve cells, compensate for injury and disease. By adjusting our daily routines, we can therefore strengthen our mental awareness, responses, and decision-making abilities. For example, remember being “bored” as a kid? Of course we all were, and why should this change as we age. We all have perceived stressors from duties and life responsibilities, but that is no excuse not to exercise our brains and continuously live bored.

Experts believe neuroplasticity is not so much a biological part, but a function or benefit of our immense brain capacities and that one must get out of the doldrums of daily conditioning and think positively. Dr. David Smith, co-author of Unchain Your Brain, believes that “rewiring (one’s brain) requires setting new goals and practicing the healthy pursuit of reward while the brain is creating new pathways”. Therefore, whereas new brain studies continue to emerge shattering our ancient precepts, so to do once relied upon metaphors, in that we actually can teach we ‘old dogs, new tricks’. Happy lifelong learning, everyone!



Clifford V. Tomb III, is currently a guest Lecturer at China’s South University of Science and Technology (SUSTC). He holds two Bachelor Degrees and a Masters in Long Term Health Care while studying the effects of brain-related conditions and disease. He is finishing his Doctoral Dissertation in Health Care Administration and has been a health advocate, consultant, and life sciences educator for over 5-plus years.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


Finding My Place: Part Two

by Carolyn McKinzie, LPN, RBKA


For part one of Carolyn’s story click here.

A few months after that, I took a secretarial job at an anti-coagulation clinic that was only a few hours a week. But it was something, and I just couldn’t stand doing nothing. I worked there for a couple of years but then left following knee surgery. My battered body wasn’t keeping up with my mind!

I took a few years off from working, but I had recovered quite well following the amputation and subsequent knee surgery. I had also started writing articles and being involved with the Amputee Coalition of America. Through their resources, I realized that all of the thoughts and feelings I’d been having since the amputation were completely normal. I communicated with other amputees and got great emotional peace and acceptance from that. Not only did that help me, but I was helping other new amputees, and that was great for my psyche. I was starting to feel better about myself than I ever had and the drinking seemed to resolve itself.

My family was still there for me and even though I don’t think they understood what I was going through, they still loved me and for that, I am still very grateful. My son would eventually live with me again until he was old enough to be on his own.

By 2008, I walked unassisted.
I did all of the activities I wanted to do, hiking and dancing included! I decided that if I could get through the day without any problems, there was no reason I couldn’t get back to nursing full-time. I took a hospital job. It was 10-hour shift, four days a week. I had told them at my interview about my amputation but assured them that I was walking fine and was sure I could do the work required for the position. I know I wasn’t required to disclose that, but I really felt that it was only fair. Although I loved the work, it didn’t take long to realize that I had bitten off way more than I could chew! It was 10 hours of run, run, run. I was blessed with a wonderful manager who approached me about possibly decreasing my work hours in an attempt to make it more manageable for me. She told me to apply for Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which would allow me to adjust my hours when I needed to accommodate my disability. I cut down to working just three 10-hour shifts on evenings when things weren’t as fast-paced because there were only 4 or 5 patients. That worked for awhile, but again, I had to leave when it just became too much.

I felt like I had failed.
And I had failed BIG. I was so disappointed that I just wasn’t able to do what I wanted to do. And I felt like I had let people down. I told them I could do the job, but ultimately I could not. It’s such an emotional struggle when your mind is completely capable of doing what you want to, what you love to do but your body won’t allow. This isn’t how it was supposed to be!

That was when I met Dr. Donna Carol Maheady.
She is the founder of Exceptional She is a pioneer in helping disabled nurses and nursing students assert their rights to accommodation for employment and education. I have worked with her on a couple of writing projects, most recently a CEU course for lower-limb amputees returning to work in healthcare and the steps they should take to ensure they find the work that is right for them.

I was starting to see that perhaps direct care was not where I belonged. Maybe writing was the way to go for me. I had always gotten positive reviews for various articles I had written over the years. I had also started speaking publicly to various groups, sharing my story and experience.

I was asked by Dr. Maheady to write a chapter about my personal experience with limb loss for her most recent book: “Tales from the Trenches: Truly Resilient Nurses Working with Disabilities.” I felt like I had finally found what I needed to be doing; I had finally found my place.

My advice to others is simple

Do a complete self-evaluation to know what your abilities and limitations are. Don’t be unrealistic! Not everybody is going to be able to climb a mountain post-amputation so don’t let society make you feel like your physical accomplishments, no matter what they might be, aren’t grand enough.

Only in recent years has the awareness of limb loss been heightened, primarily due to soldiers with one or more missing limbs returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Amputation does not exclude a person from working in healthcare.

Workers with an amputation may choose to return to work or work for the first time after they have recovered fully and regained mobility. Mobility may require assistive devices such as a cane, crutch, walker or wheelchair, or no assistive device.

Check back next week for the final installment of Carolyn’s story.

Carolyn McKinzie is a Speaker and Amputee Nurse Consultant.
To contact her:
Phone: 207-624-1076
Facebook: Amputee Nurse Consultant/Carolyn McKinzie, LPN, RBKA
To learn more about Nurses with Disabilities see:

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


Your Personal Brand

by Ruth Pankratz, MBA


Information about you is available and relevant to hiring managers. A simple Google search can reveal the image you show to the world.

If you use Google to search your name, what would you find? According to a recent report from Domain.Me, more than 50% of the population can’t answer that question.

Considering 77% of recruiters and hiring managers use Google to learn about candidates before calling them in for an interview, you may want to understand what a Google search on your name can uncover. The good news is that a personal brand can be adjusted to communicate what you want.

Start with what. What do you want your professional reputation to be? What do you like to do? If you’re not sure, start with what you dislike about your current job. Then consider they type of tasks and work you want more of in your next job. Show skills and talents you want to use in online profiles, such as LinkedIn, so future employers can understand how you could add value at their organization. 

Be realistic. Some professionals have a stellar online brand. Other professionals may benefit from strategic editing and personal brand damage control. Start with understanding basic career goals and balancing trade-offs and choices. Sometimes removing work experience from online profiles or editing online profile information can resolve concerns. If needed, get help to realign a personal brand.

Move forward. Your personal brand is either working for you or against you. Successful brands aren’t created in a vacuum. Strong brands clearly communicate what is unique about you based on your experience and qualifications and how that adds value to future employers.

Digital footprints and personal brands can impact interview opportunities. Know what your personal brand communicates and strategically market yourself.



Ruth Pankratz, MBA, is a dual certified resume writer and a certified interview and job search coach. Her resumes have won international awards and Ruth’s cover letters, resumes, and LinkedIn profiles have been included in a variety of publications. Contact Ruth at

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


Finding My Place: The struggle a nurse faces after a sudden disability

A three-part series guest post by Carolyn McKinzie, LPN, RBKA


I was working as a nurse at my local county jail when I crushed both legs in an auto accident in October 1998. I also sustained a skull fracture, facial fractures, multiple broken ribs and both lungs partially collapsed. I was lucky to be alive. I anticipated only being out of work for a few weeks, but the complexity of the fracture to my right tibia led me to resign from my job. I would undergo multiple surgeries over the next 2 and ½ years in attempts to repair the damage and hopefully, heal completely. I went on disability six months after my accident, but my hope remained to return eventually to nursing.

In February 2001, I slipped on some ice which broke some of the hardware in my leg and, ultimately, re-fractured that section of my leg. At that point, it was determined that the probability of 100% healing was unlikely. After lengthy discussions with my orthopedic surgeon and a general surgeon, I had to concur that a below-knee amputation was both warranted and necessary. I was devastated and knew my days in nursing were over at the age of 35.

It’s hard to know how to prepare yourself mentally when faced with amputation. I am a fairly smart person, but I felt dumb. All of my nursing knowledge seemed to have disappeared. I was now the patient facing a huge unknown. That day, I didn’t have the slightest clue about anything. I was full of questions. How could this happen to me? What had I ever done to deserve so much agony and pain? I felt helpless and alone. It had been such a long and difficult struggle since my accident 2 and ½ years prior. I felt so tired: my body, my mind, and my soul. My spirit was totally gone. I had nothing left, and I didn’t want to fight it anymore. I was absolutely exhausted from what this journey had been. I wanted to give up, to throw in the towel and say the hell with it all. I just couldn’t imagine ever smiling again, or laughing, or even wanting to for that matter. I knew my career was gone. All that I had put into my life’s work over the years was gone, and I would never be able to get that back. I wondered what my purpose in life really was.

Before all of this it had been my nursing -but now what?

That was gone forever, and I knew it. I felt that my purpose in life was to be doing something beneficial to others, and I believed that was the reason I had been spared from death in the accident. I was needed here; I had much more work to do, but now all of that had changed. I didn’t care anymore. I felt as though I had lost such a big part of myself, much more than just a leg. I felt like I had disappointed my family and friends. They had been there through all of it, from the original injury and for all of the surgeries that followed. They were always there to help me without ever being asked; they were my silent strength. I’m sure I never told any of them that, I just assumed they knew.

I used to hate it when someone would comment to me on how wonderfully I had dealt with everything. They didn’t have a clue. I was strong on the outside for everybody else, but on the inside I felt like I was slowly dying; this whole ordeal was sucking the life right out of me. Yes, I had come a long way since the accident, but I certainly hadn’t done it alone. I would never have made it this far by myself. I thought about my son; his 15th birthday was just around the corner. It reminded me of the day he turned 13, the big day a kid becomes a teenager, and we had to have his party in my hospital room. How shitty was that for a kid? I thought of all the times he had cooked, done laundry or any other little thing I needed him to do. On April 11, 2001, my family gathered in the surgical waiting room as I was wheeled off for my amputation. I told myself that if I didn’t wake up from the surgery, it might not be a bad thing. So many people were there to support me that day, but I had never felt more alone in my life.

The next day I insisted on weaning off the morphine.

I started on oral pain pills so that I could get home. Although the pain was the most excruciating I had ever experienced, I knew I had to move as much as I could so I didn’t lose any strength. I would surely need it in the weeks to come. After only two nights in the hospital, I was discharged home. My family all lived close by, and my son would be with me after school anyway. I was already familiar with using crutches, a walker and I had my own wheelchair. I was good to go! The physical recovery was easier and faster than I expected it to be. I never really lost my independence through that, and I was even able to vacuum while in my wheelchair. I knew I needed to be doing something productive and not just lying on the couch all day crying.

I was fortunate that I had some secretarial skills to fall back on, so three weeks following my amputation I went to work for a podiatrist that was new in town and needed help in the office. I worked just a couple of hours a day doing transcription with the intent of working my way into being his office nurse once I got my prosthesis and was able to resume walking. Within a few months, we determined that my mobility wasn’t advancing quickly enough to meet his needs, so we parted ways after eight months.

That was a huge emotional blow for me.

I just assumed things would have improved more quickly than they did. My mind was already struggling with my new body image. I still felt sad about the loss, and it was hard for me to look at my leg. I didn’t feel feminine or attractive, despite the fact that I knew I was better off this way. I started drinking a lot. I would go off with friends for the weekend and leave my son home alone. He had his license at that point, and he had his own car, but he still needed a mother. I couldn’t see through my own pain to be the mother I needed to be.

After a few months of that, I returned home at the end of a weekend to find that he and his things were gone. He had moved to his dad’s a few miles away. He took all of the pictures I had of him in frames throughout the house. Instead of getting my shit together and straightening out, I continued trying to run away from myself and drink away the pain. I was ashamed of myself for letting things get this bad, and I knew that my entire family was completely disgusted with me. But I didn’t know how to tell people I was having a hard time. I was a nurse and should be able to deal with this. What the hell was wrong with me?

In a phone conversation with my sister one day, she said, “it’s been almost a year; you should be over it by now!” Wow, she didn’t get it. This isn’t something you “get over”. I realized at that point that my entire family probably felt the same way. That made me withdraw even more and made the shame ten times worse than it already was.

Part two of Carolyn’s story is coming soon…

Carolyn McKinzie is a Speaker and Amputee Nurse Consultant.
To contact her:
Phone: 207-624-1076
Facebook: Amputee Nurse Consultant/Carolyn McKinzie, LPN, RBKA
To learn more about Nurses with Disabilities see:

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


3 Overused Résumé Terms

by Ruth Pankratz, MBA


Positive communication starts with great resume content. Yet many resumes use weak language and have confusing content. Stand out from the jobseeker crowd by adjusting overused resume terms and replacing them with active language.

  1. Ability to” implies that you can do something, not that you have done something.

Avoid: “Ability to deliver programs in marketing.”

Instead use: “Delivered regional marketing programs.”

  1. Successful” is a word that is unnecessary in a resume. If something was not successful would you really include it in your résumé? Without quantifiable details, using “successful” makes a statement generic.

Avoid: “Successfully delivered sales results by satisfying customers.”

Instead use: “Grew revenue 25% year-over-year by building new relationships, upselling, and securing sales results.”

  1. Responsible for” are words that do not need to be included in the résumé. Instead use active statements.

Avoid: “Responsible for accounts in PeopleSoft.”

Instead use: “Entered and maintained 500+ accounts in PeopleSoft.”

Other overused terms include “lots,” “things,” “etc.” With limited space on a page, it’s important to use words that add value to create engaging and powerful résumé content.



Ruth Pankratz, MBA, is a dual certified resume writer and a certified interview and job search coach. Her resumes have won international awards and Ruth’s cover letters, resumes, and LinkedIn profiles have been included in a variety of publications. Contact Ruth at

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


Oral Health Considerations During Chemotherapy

by Mark J. Szarejko, D.D.S., F.A.G.D.

Cancer. Few words or medical conditions can evoke such an emotional response among the patient and their family. A diagnosis of cancer affects the individual patient but afflicts the entire family. Chemotherapy is used in the treatment of many systemic cancers as an adjunct to surgery.

Chemotherapeutic medications target all rapidly dividing cells inclusive of those of the malignancy and of those of normal tissues. Among tissues with rapidly dividing cells are those of the oral mucosa and those within the bone marrow from which erythrocytes (red blood cells), leukocytes (white blood cells) and platelets originate. Chemotherapy can adversely affect the production of all of these cells with subsequent effects upon the oral health and systemic health that can range from a mild inconvenience to that of a fatal termination.

The cells of the oral mucosa normally have a rapid turnover as the outer layer of cells of the oral mucosa are replaced every few days from the cells which originate from the rapidly dividing cells of the basal cell layer. Chemotherapeutic medications can interrupt this normal sequence of cell division with a consequent lack of renewal of the outer layer of the oral mucosa that can lead to the condition known as mucositis, which afflicts many cancer patients that undergo this regimen. This condition can manifest in the oral mucosa as mild areas of inflammation to that of areas necrotic and hemorrhagic cores, which require the deferral of chemotherapy and hospitalization to provide pain relief, intravenous nutritional support and intravenous antibiotic therapy as needed.

Beyond the pain from mucositis is that these areas of denuded and ulcerated oral mucosa serve as a portal of entry for the systemic dissemination of oral microorganisms. An intact immune system usually prevails against blood borne microorganisms. However, chemotherapeutic agents can have an adverse effect upon the bone marrow and the production of the formed elements of human blood. This includes the leukocytes which are an essential component in the immune system. A diminished production of leukocytes coupled with a facilitated systemic entry of microorganisms can leave the chemotherapy patient vulnerable to local, regional or systemic infections (sepsis), which can be fatal.

Manifestations of decreased immune capacity in an around the oral cavity include activation of the Herpes Simplex Virus type-1 (HSV-1) which results in “cold sores” or “fever blisters.” These lesions are more virulent and have a protracted healing time during periods when the immune system functions at a diminished capacity. The oral fungal organism Candida albicans (C. albicans) is a normal inhabitant of the oral microbial community. An intact immune system and competitive inhibition from other microorganisms usually prevent the pathogenic expression of this fungal organism. The decreased productions of leukocytes during chemotherapy can permit the proliferation of C. albicans and lead to the condition known as oral candidiasis (thrush, oral yeast infection). This is a special concern as disseminated fungal infections have twice the fatality rate as disseminated bacterial infections during periods of chemotherapy-induced immunosuppression.

This discourse provides a brief overview of the direct and indirect effects which chemotherapy has upon oral health and systemic health. These effects will subside after chemotherapy ends and the normal laboratory values of the formed elements of human blood resume their normal levels and the regenerative capacity of the oral mucosa returns. The medical and dental communities must make a concerted effort to inform patients of these potential adverse effects and provide the appropriate proactive and definitive treatment that will minimize the adverse effects of chemotherapy.


Mark J. Szarejko, D.D.S., F.A.G.D. received his dental degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry in 1994. He has written or edited over 30 dental continuing education courses. He has been an examiner and consultant for the State of Florida Dental and Dental hygiene exams since 1994. He has served as an expert witness for the State of Florida and private companies in California and Florida. He has given varied presentations on dental topics to local, regional and national audiences.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


5 Perfect Degrees for Anyone Who Aspires to Work in Healthcare

by Dixie Somers

Picking your college major is an important step. It shapes the courses you’ll take and sets you on your career path. If you’re planning to work in healthcare, it’s likely you’ll have graduate-level training to complete as well, so your major will also have an impact on your future education. This doesn’t mean, however, that you’re stuck being a “pre-med” major. In fact, depending on your interests, there are lots of majors that can prepare you for the different avenues of healthcare professions. Consider taking a major aptitude test like Find Your Context, in addition to considering the options below.


This field of mathematics is integral to healthcare professions. Clinical professionals like doctors and nurses need an understanding of statistics to translate the complex advancements made in clinical trials and studies into their practice. It’s also possible to build a healthcare career based entirely around statistics as well; biostatisticians and epidemiologists are highly regarded professionals who rely daily on statistical analysis. When choosing courses, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have “biostatistics” options; the mathematical operations of statistics are the same no matter how they’re applied.


This is an obvious option if you’re planning a career in a healthcare field. Generally, the course requirements for these majors will also allow you to meet the prerequisites for medical schools and will provide you with plenty of opportunities for hands-on experience in lab work and research. If possible, choose classes that cover a wide range of life, from cellular biology and genetics to anatomy and physiology courses.


While medical professionals obviously need to know the science behind their work, it falls flat when communication breaks down. This major offers valuable lessons to clinical professionals, and also provides opportunities for those who wish to work in public health, advocacy, or community outreach programs. Some colleges and universities offer communications coursework specifically designed for healthcare-track students, and you should take advantage of these. Other classes may hold unexpected lessons, however, so explore different avenues and challenge yourself.


Majoring in music may make it challenging to meet the prerequisites of some professional school programs, but it also builds experience that other majors can’t match: diligence, attention to detail, teamwork, even fine motor control. There are even options for incorporating music into the practice of medicine, as with music therapy. Med school admissions officials like to see more than just science coursework on a student’s application, so if you’re a musician with plans for a healthcare career, don’t feel like you have to choose one or the other. At the very least, a minor in music can help supplement your medical degree.

Exercise Science/Athletic Training

If you’re not sure if healthcare is a good fit for you, starting out in this major might be a good idea. You’ll quickly have opportunities for hands-on experience and be able to test the waters of healthcare as an industry before you decide to commit. This major can serve as a launch pad for further studies, but athletic trainers can also be certified to practice without additional degrees, provided you pass the licensure exams.

While choosing your major isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, remember that you do still have some time to learn where your skills and interests lie. It’s more important to choose a major that keeps you interested and engaged, since not only will it be more enjoyable, but you’ll also build better relationships with the faculty members who will be valuable mentors throughout your college experience. If your major isn’t living up to your expectations, schedule a time to talk with your academic advisor, or with your school’s career planning office.


Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


Starting Up a Healthcare Clinic? How to Have a Successful Grand Opening

by Lizzie Weakley


Starting your own healthcare clinic is a great step but it comes with its challenges. Examples are writing a business plan, obtaining funding, applying for licenses, hiring employees and starting the actual practice among other business matters.

After taking care of these, you have another headache; organizing a successful grand opening. The following are tips to have a grand opening that creates buzz and publicity for your new healthcare practice.

Start Planning Early

Give yourself enough time to prepare the big event. Design, print and send invitation cards to as many people as possible. Invite prospective donors, lenders, and respected medical practitioners, executives from regulation authorities, local political leaders and private citizens. Develop a checklist of the desired invitees so that you do not forget any.

Make a checklist of the logistics such as meeting hall, seats, transport, catering, audio-visual equipment and related items. Delegate duties to your staff members and ensure everyone at your clinic is updated with preparations. Hold your grand opening several months after opening the doors of the healthcare clinic. This helps you and your employees to prepare logistics.

Send Compelling Press Releases

The media is always excited by the news of a new facility opening doors. In preparation for the grand opening, send press releases to all media outlets in your city. Indicate the date and time of the function clearly. Be ready to field questions from journalists before and on the actual day. You may need advice from a reputable public relations agency or officer.

Consider Aggregate Spending

Allow all participants at the grand opening to check aggregate spending of your clinic. Healthcare regulators will especially be interested in this information. You will gain reputation and respect fast if you proof transparency in the running of your healthcare practice from the onset.

Offer Free Screening or Testing

To give the local population a view of the services at your clinic, offer free testing or screening for basic health matters. Examples are weight, blood pressure, BMI, and other related tests. It is important to build confidence with your prospective clients. During the clinic’s grand opening, let everyone in attendance have a guided tour at the facility. This helps the local populace to familiarize themselves with equipment, facilities and treatment options at your clinic.

Allow local or regional organizations and individuals to display their logos during the grand opening. Examples are pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of prosthetic aids, drugs and medical equipment. This ensures increased participation.


Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She studied communications at The Ohio State University. Lizzie enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her husky, Snowball.


The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


What can you do with 160 Characters in healthcare?

by Janel Willingham, MSN, DNP-c, FNP-BC- APRN 

Today’s world technology has a relationship has been ingrained in our culture. Healthcare is not an exception to this relationship. In fact, consumers are in engaging in the daily use of apps and text messaging for various needs. Healthy People 2020 has made technology usage an objective. Healthcare providers have begun to look at their current practices and organizations and assess if there is a need for technology use (outside the use of EMR). I believe we have all(most) come to terms that EMR is a must to have a thriving practice and maintain quality of care.

I am talking about adopting text messaging into practice to change behaviors, increase attendance and to educate the community. If you are looking for a new way to increase quality, this may be the innovative idea you have been looking for. It is low cost and doesn’t take much time from the provider or patient to engage in this activity.

Research has proven that positive outcomes can occur with the use of such interventions. Health is moving towards quality, prevention and wellness. So, as a healthcare provider, what can you do to start a program such as text messaging to enhance your practice?

  • Decide what intervention you want to implement. – Do you want to increase attendance in your practice by sending appointment reminders? This is low cost and increases revenue. You can replace the cancelations in a timely manner. Do you want to educate your community on a certain health topic? For example, do you want to send out monthly education points about breast health? Do you want to be ambitious and start a behavior modification program where you send them messages to decrease or eliminate a behavior such as quitting smoking?
  • Do your research. – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a text message implementation toolkit, and there are other resources out there. Here is the link to CDC.
  • Plan for your intervention. – Involve staff, managers, directors and patients in the process. You do not want to go this alone. Make sure this will be a received and viable idea for your practice or organization. Start budget planning for your project. Map out how you will do the project and when it will start. This could involve hiring an consultant. Again, you will need the help of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention text message implementation toolkit. There are also several companies that specialize in software and implementation.
  • Start your text messaging program. – This is the exciting part. You have researched and developed your plan; now you have to implement your project. Once you begin sending out your text messaging, have a “what went right and what went wrong” meeting to assess the progress of your intervention. This will give you a chance to decide how to improve your intervention.



Janel Willingham, MSN, DNP-c, FNP-BC- APRN is a nurse practitioner who specializes in Prevention and Wellness and Innovative Technology in healthcare. She has a Basic Social Media in Healthcare certificate from the Mayo Clinic’s Social Media Network. She enjoys spending time with her husband and children, as well as doing crafts. She can be reached at

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


5 Common Résumé Mistakes

by Ruth Pankratz, MBA

Our résumé introduces us to hiring managers and other professionals. Ensure your career documents are communicating what you want by avoiding these common mistakes.

  1. Age Appropriate

It’s not a branding mistake to be too old or too young. However, our career documents can create false impressions by including inappropriate information. For example, experience from the 1980s—in an effort to try and show a strong work ethic—actually conveys other information. Or maybe the document includes a Snapchat user ID in an attempt to be perceived as trendy.

Some information can be better communicated during an interview and should be removed from the career document. There’s nothing wrong with including unique aspects in your résumé as long as it does not emphasize the wrong thing.

  1. Aim & Value

How do you add value to the organizations where you work? Clearly communicate contributions and the value provided. Otherwise the résumé can become a job obituary, listing job responsibilities instead of unique contributions.

Within the career document adjust vague and general statements by adding quantifiable details. Avoid stating “Increased revenue for the past 15 years.”

Instead communicate brand-enhancing statements such as “Secured $500K in sales contributing to $1.1 million revenue increase during 1st quarter in 2016”.

  1. Image

We all want to make a good first impression…but what do people really think when they read your résumé? How does your cover letter, CV or résumé, and LinkedIn profile support your career goals? Career documents and online profiles should provide a strong and memorable first impression reinforcing your career contributions and aspirations.

Want to be viewed as a leader? Validate that image by aligning your experience with leadership attributes and contributions.

  1. Legacy

Sometimes we get stuck in a time warp – highlighting outdated systems or getting too comfortable in a dying career field.

Avoid legacy issues by using content in your résumé to showcase new skills, training, and cutting-edge knowledge.

  1. Communication

Communication is an active part of creating a professional image. A résumé should be a marketing tool promoting the candidate as a qualified product.

Personal brand alignment can be enhanced in the résumé content. While our career focus may shift, it is important that our written communications correctly reflect our talents and goals.

Ruth Pankratz, MBA, is a dual certified resume writer and a certified interview and job search coach. Her resumes have won international awards and Ruth’s cover letters, resumes, and LinkedIn profiles have been included in a variety of publications. Contact Ruth at

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.