New Referral Program for Lab Travelers

When our clients and employees refer laboratory travelers to us, it's the best thank you we can ask for. To show our appreciation, we're offering two amazing gifts that won't last long!

Announcing a New Short Term Referral Program

Karen DiDonato ⋅ August 8, 2019

Frog using snails as earbuds

Don’t be like this guy! Upgrade your headphones to the latest Apple AirPods.

I know, they are pricey, but I’m happy to announce our new short-term referral program where you can get a pair for FREE! Need a new cell phone? We’ve got you covered with an absolutely free iPhone XS!

This is a temporary program, so be sure to get in on it soon!

Refer a laboratory traveler to receive a new pair of FREE Apple AirPods!

Apple AirPods

HealthCare Connections, Inc. (HCI) will send you FREE Apple AirPods as a thank you gift for referring a laboratory traveler.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Refer a new traveler to us
  2. We place them on a travel contract
  3. When they complete a minimum of six weeks (240 hours) of their 13-week assignment, we will mail you the Apple AirPods absolutely free!

Need an iPhone XS to go with your AirPods?

Apple iPhone XS

Here’s how it’ll work:

  1. Refer 3 new travelers to us
  2. We place all 3 on travel contracts
  3. When all 3 travelers complete their 13-week assignments (minimum of 500 hours), we will mail you the Apple iPhone XS absolutely free!

But how do you send in your referrals? It’s super easy!

To qualify, referrals must not have had contact with HCI within one (1) year. All referred travelers must begin before September 16, 2019. AirPods will be mailed directly upon the completion of, at minimum, six weeks after commencing contract position; iPhones will be mailed upon the completion of the entire 13-week assignment. No purchase or payment is necessary to win.

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Raise a Pint: International Beer Day 2019

In honor of International Beer Day on August 2, use this list of beer festivals throughout the country to visit for a day in August, or let us help you find a clinical or anatomic laboratory contract assignment nearby to attend after work.

Raise a Pint: International Beer Day 2019

Karen DiDonato ⋅ August 2, 2019

Beer Festivals August

A typical lazy summer day might including lounging by the pool, going to the beach, having barbecues, and sipping a few frothy brews. There’s nothing wrong with tipping back a few pints. In fact, according to Brewers Association of Australia, beer is actually good for you. They say it contains a high level of silicon which increases the calcium deposits and minerals for healthy bone tissue. They also report a Finnish study found that each bottle of beer you drink reduces the risk of developing kidney stones by 40%. They also say beer is full of several B vitamins (B1, B2, B6 and B12).

But… as with most everything, drink in moderation. Don’t follow the ways of the ancient Egyptians who built the pyramids while consuming about four liters a day. That’s a lot of beer!

The ancient Egyptians apparently were beer lovers. Lucky for all of us current-day beer lovers, August 2, 2019 is International Beer Day!

In celebration of this day, I’ve prepared a list of beer-related festivals throughout the country in the month of August. Depending on your love of hops, grain, and yeast, you may consider a weekend trip or finding a clinical or anatomic laboratory contract assignment near one of these events.

Beer Festivals in August in the United States:

National IPA Day with Three Floyds 
Where: Thiensville, Wisconsin
When: August 1

Whistle Belly Festival 2019
Where: Williamsburg, Virginia
When: August 3

Wyman Tavern Brew Fest
Where: Keene, New Hampshire
When: August 3

Spirit of Hudson Food & Brewfest
Where: Hudson, Massachusetts
When: August 10

Fresh Fest 2019
Where: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
When: August 10

Downtown Brew Fest 2019
Where: Wilmington, Delaware
When: August 10

7th Annual Cape Cod Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival
Where: East Falmouth, Massachusetts
When: August 10

LA Taco & Beer Festival ‘19
Where: Los Angeles, California
When: August 10

Kenai Peninsula Beer Festival
Where: Soldotna, Alaska
When: August 10

Great Taste of the Midwest
Where: Madison, Wisconsin
When: August 10

Burning Can
Where: Hendersonville, North Carolina
When: August 10

The Great Taste of the Midwest
Where: Madison, Wisconsin
When: August 10

Oklahoma Born & Brewed
Where: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
When: August 16

Bend Brewfest
Where: Bend, Oregon
When: August 15-17

11th Annual Summer Beer Dabbler
Where: St. Paul, Minnesota
When: August 17

Stone 23rd Anniversary Rare Beer Festival
Where: Escondido, California
When: August 17

Vermont NanoFest
Where: Tunbridge, Vermont
When: August 17

Stone 22nd Anniversary Celebration and Invitational Beer Festival
Where: San Marcos, California
When: August 18

Foolproof’s Brewing’s Augtoberfest 2019 
Where: Pawtucket, Rhode Island
When: August 18

Thousand Oaks BrewFest
Where: Thousand Oaks, California
When: August 22

Simi’s Endless Summer Beer Fest
Where: Simi Valley, California
When: August 24

BrewFest
Where: Lebanon, New Hampshire
When: August 24

Dauphin Street Beerfest
Where: Mobile, Alabama
When: August 24

Festival of Dankness
Where: San Diego, California
When: August 24

Choctaw Oktoberfest
Where: Choctaw, Oklahoma
When: August 30 – September 2

Skowhegan Craft Brew Festival
Where: Skowhegan, Maine
When: August 31

Hopefully this list will help you enjoy a cold one (or two…). Maybe you’ll find a new favorite commercially produced or craft brew or perhaps you’ll find you love a bitter IPA over a Hefeweizen. There are so many to choose from in the serious and profitable business of craft brewing. According to the Brewers Association  retail dollar sales of craft beer now accounts for more than 24% of the $114.2 billion U.S. beer market. Although ancient Babylonians took the seriousness of brewing to a whole new level. If a bad batch was made the brewer was drowned in it. Yikes.

Beer Festivals August

Let us know which festival you would enjoy attending and we’ll be happy to help you find a clinical or anatomic laboratory contract assignment nearby. Prefer a permanent position? We’ve got that too! Check out our open jobs here.

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Mental Health While Traveling

Staying emotionally healthy can be challenging while traveling and during a contract assignment. We compiled eight tips to help you stay mentally fit.

Mental Health While Traveling

Karen DiDonato ⋅ July 5, 2019

We all know we should be active year round. Staying fit has numerous physical and mental health benefits. But what about when traveling and working on an assignment in a new location without friends and family nearby?

 

Leaving your usual routine and entering new territory can trigger challenges and could cause symptoms of a mental health condition to flare. What steps can you take to stay mentally healthy while on assignment and during your travels?

The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) recommends these eight tips to stay mentally fit:

1. Be prepared and plan ahead

Stress and fear of the unknown can trigger mental health symptoms, so do your homework before you leave. Research your new location online. Keep a map (online or paper) marked with your hotel and work location as well as the places you may need to visit including the grocery store, gas stations, a pharmacy, the hospital, the library, etc. Make a list of the places you’d like to visit for fun. Be sure to have a copy of your traveler information sheet with your hotel and first day of work information, as well as information about your rental car (if applicable).

Mental Health on Assignment
2. Find time to relax

With hundreds of potential new experiences, you may feel overwhelmed. Allow yourself some downtime to rest and recuperate. If yoga is your thing, be sure to pack your mat and blocks. Tune into Netflix or watch your favorite shows. Pack a book (or an e-reader) or even your knitting or crocheting. Make the time to do whatever brings you peace.

Mental Health on Assignment
3. Keep your medication with you

Packing your medications in your carry on bag can avoid a potential problem if your luggage gets lost. Keeping your meds with you during a long day of traveling or sightseeing can help you to not forget to take your medication — especially if you are traveling to a different time zone. Set an alarm on your mobile phone or watch as a reminder.

Mental Health on Assignment
4. Bring your favorite tunes

Music can be particularly helpful in reducing anxiety while traveling. Pop in your earbuds or put on your headset to get lost in your favorite beats or pick something new that is soothing. How do you know which music to listen to? Try these on for size.

Mental Health on Assignment
5. Squeeze in a pre-travel workout

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America: “Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.” If you are feeling apprehensive about your trip, exercise can help get rid of nervous energy and make you feel more at ease. Once at your destination, incorporate exercise into your daily routine.

Mental Health on Assignment
6. Stay hydrated

Even mild dehydration can affect mood, energy levels, and the ability to think clearly, so remember to pack a reusable water bottle. Not a fan of plain water? Infuse it! Add gently squeezed citrus, cubed melon, crushed berries or herbs into your filled water bottle and let it steep for a couple hours. Give it a try with these recipes. Infused water is very refreshing.

Mental Health on Assignment
7. Eat healthy foods

Try to maintain healthy eating habits while away from home. Just because you don’t have your kitchen in arm’s reach, you should still make good choices. According to the Mental Health Foundation, “A balanced mood and feelings of well being can be protected by ensuring that our diet provides adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and water.” The impact that food has on mood and other aspects of mental illness is still being researched. Learn more about nutritional psychiatry here.

Mental Health on Assignment
8. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness, according to the American Psychological Association, is a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment. Yoga, tai chi, and qigong can cultivate mindfulness. Researchers theorize mindfulness reduces rumination, reduces stress, boosts memory, improves focus, and provides greater cognitive ability.

Mental Health on Assignment

Adopting these tips can help lower your stress and help you stay mentally healthy while traveling and during your contract assignments.

Click here to find your next travel assignment.

If you are in a suicidal crisis or emotional distress, confidential emotional support is available 24/7 by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or by chatting online at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.

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Music Festivals in California

Consider a contract assignment in California, a state that has something for everyone -- including a higher pay rate.

Music Festivals in California

Karen DiDonato • June 14, 2019

Have you considered taking a travel assignment in California?

 

Sure, it’s one of the most expensive states in the country in which to live, but think of it this way: the pay is also higher. And the more experience you have, the higher your pay rate and per diems could be. Plus, as a traveler, you don’t have to worry about paying housing (thank goodness because the mean home value in California is $509,400 and rent is about $900 above the national median).

 

The Golden State has something for everyone. From miles of free beaches to the highest peaks for hiking, climbing, and skiing. From Napa Valley vineyards to nearly 850 craft breweries. The climate alone makes California the perfect fit for outdoorsy types: high mountains, redwood forests, foggy temperate areas and desert climates.

 

The music scene is also outstanding. After all, San Francisco set the stage for the psychedelic 1960’s and they have some of the best music schools and conservatories in the country.

 

Perhaps you’d like to consider one of several music festivals when choosing your California contract assignment.

Times have changed and the basic urinalysis is getting even easier.

Here are several music festivals happening this summer in California:

July:

Once Upon a Time in the LBC
Queen Mary Events Park, Long Beach, CA

The two festival days are sold out this year, so grab your tickets early for 2020.

This year’s headliners include: Snoop Dogg, YG, The Game, DMX, Bone Thugs N-Harmony, Warren G, Keith Sweat, Too Short, Blueface, and many more.

July:

Northern Nights
Cook’s Valley Campground, Piercy, CA

This almost sold out, three-day festival is more than just music. It’s camping, food, art, fashion, and yoga.

Headliners include: Zhu, Big Wild, Desert Hearts, Berner, Fuego, Alix Perz, CharlesTheFirst, Con Brio, Crooked Colours, Noodles, Odie, PLS&TY, Sacha Robotti, Shades, The Funk Hunters, Xiuhtezcatl, and more.

August:

HARD Summer
The Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA

This national two-day festival features alternative and electronic acts and emerging talents.

Expect to see Kid Cudi, Kill the Noise, Claude Vonstroke, Justin Martin, A-Trak, Anna Lunoe, DJ Diesel (Shaquille O’Neal), Whethan, Kayzo, Ghastly, Major Lazer, Dillon Francis, Flosstradamus, Loco Dice, Excision B2B Nghtmre, Alison Wonderland, and many more.

August:

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA

This is a three-day eclectic mashup of music, comedy, art, food, and wine.

The line up includes Paul Simon, Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots, The Lumineers, Flume, blink-182, Kygo, Anderson.Paak & the Free Nationals, Leon Bridges, Kacey Musgraves, Lil Wayne, Counting Crows, and more.

August:

Real Street Festival
Honda Center Grounds, Anaheim, CA

Attend this two-day immersive hip-hop event presented by a local radio station to watch and listen to acts such as Future, 2 Chainz, Meek Mill, Cardi B, A$AP Rocky, Migos, Big Sean, Miguel, Rae Sremmurd, and many more.

September:

KAABOO Del Mar
Del Mar Racetrack & Fairgrounds, Del Mar (San Diego), CA

This event includes music, comedy, art, and gourmet cuisine.

The impressive line up includes Kings of Leon, Dave Matthews Band, Black Eyed Peas, OneRepublic, Sheryl Crow, Snoop Dog, REO Speedwagon, The Bangles, Mumford & Sons, Duran Duran, Bryan Adams, Wu-Tang Clan, The Revivalists, among others.

Like the Beach Boys said, California is calling.

 

Our needs change frequently, but at this moment we have jobs in California for clinical laboratory scientists, histotechnicians, histotechnologists, and pathologists’ assistants. While we’re at it, we also have many permanent opportunities for bench techs up to directors.

 

Check out our California jobs here (maybe while letting the Beach Boys lull you into a California dream state).

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Urinalysis via Smartphone

An at-home smartphone-enabled urinalysis test is the latest example of a trend toward home diagnostics driving a surging medical technology market.

Urinalysis via Smartphone

Karen DiDonato • May 14, 2019

The last time I was asked to provide a urine sample, the CNA at my doctor’s office handed me a sealed cup, some wipes, and pointed me in the direction of the bathroom. This particular bathroom had a small metal door, maybe 12 inches square, with a sign that said “specimen here”. After I exited the bathroom, someone on the other side slid open the metallic door, and took the sealed specimen. I thought how handy and less embarrassing it was to be able to leave the filled cup in the bathroom instead of having to walk it through the office and hand it to the nurse.

Times have changed and the basic urinalysis is getting even easier.

An Israeli digital health startup, Healthy.io, created an FDA-cleared at-home smartphone-enabled urinalysis test that lets patients conduct clinical grade urine tests in the privacy of their own home.

Dip.io uses a disposable strip that patients dip into a cup of self-collected urine. After waiting for the strip to develop, they take a picture of it against a card using the company’s app. The image is anonymized and the results are reviewed by a healthcare professional.

It is currently only available in Israel and the U.K. at a pharmacy chain called Boots. In the US, a clinical trial began in April 2018 in conjunction with the National Kidney Foundation and Giesinger, an innovative health service organization serving more than 1.5 million patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The trial evaluated if home testing strategies (Dip.io) would be useful in improving proteinuria screening adherence since screening rates among hypertensive patients are low.

Proteinuria screening is recommended for patients with hypertension to screen for kidney disease and identify those at elevated risk for cardiovascular disease.

They found a high percentage of the participants were happy with the process and preferred it to getting tested in a medical setting. Of the participants that received an at-home kit, 71 percent adhered to testing, 98 percent succeeded with their test, and 89 percent reported they prefer in-home testing over testing at the doctor’s office. The majority said they would recommend home urine testing to a friend or colleague.

Dip.io integrated Siemens Healthineers urinalysis reagents into the product. According to the Dip.io website, “The dipstick measures 10 parameters, indicating a range of infections, chronic illnesses and pregnancy-related complications.”

While the mobile at-home testing technology is certainly new, the home-based medical test market is not. The first at-home pregnancy test appeared in the late 1970s.

Digital urinalysis is the latest example of a trend toward home diagnostics in the growing medical technology market.

Dip.io Test Kit from Healthy.io
Image copyright: Science and Enterprise
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Specimen Delivery by Unmanned Drone

UPS recently announced a partnership with Matternet to transport medical samples via drone across a hospital system in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Specimen Delivery by Unmanned Drone

Karen DiDonato • April 24, 2019

Medical samples are now being transported by an unmanned drone across WakeMed‘s flagship hospital and campus. The 941-bed hospital system includes three full-service hospitals and other facilities in North Carolina’s Triangle area.

The program uses a quadcopter powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery made by Matternet, a leader in autonomous drone technology. The drone can carry up to about five pounds over distances of up to 12.5 miles.

A WakeMed medical professional loads the drone with medical samples, such as blood samples, and sends them along a predetermined flight path to a fixed landing pad at WakeMed’s main hospital and central pathology lab.

WakeMed previously relied on courier cars, which were subject to road delays.

UPS said in a statement, “The addition of drone transport provides an option for on-demand and same-day delivery, the ability to avoid roadway delays, increase medical delivery efficiency, lower costs and improve the patient experience with potentially life-saving benefits.

UPS announced the new specimen delivery service as a collaboration with Matternet with oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and North Carolina’s Department of Transportation.

The drone deliveries are part of a pilot program the FAA launched last August to test practical applications of drones and analyze how they could be used safely to speed deliveries and reduce costs.

“Together with UPS, we aim to shift the status quo for on-demand logistics for healthcare systems in the U.S. through drone delivery networks,” Matternet CEO Andreas Raptopoulos said in a statement. “Our technology allows hospital systems to transport medical items at an unprecedented level of speed and predictability, resulting in improved patient care and operational savings.”

This new specimen delivery service is part of a longer-term plan to incorporate drones into its delivery of supplies and samples to medical facilities. Data from those flights will help the companies work on similar drone logistics projects at other hospitals in the future.

Drone in healthcare
The Matternet M2.
Matternet M2
A view of the top of the Matternet M2.
A view of the side of the Matternet M2.
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Candida auris: Emerging fungus, serious global health threat

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is alerting U.S. healthcare facilities about a superbug on the rise nationwide that presents a serious global health threat.

Candida auris:
Emerging Fungus, Serious Global Health Threat

Karen DiDonato • April 12, 2019

What is it?

Candida auris (also known as C. auris) is a type of drug-resistant yeast causing severe illness in hospitalized patients in several countries including the United States. It can cause invasive infections, including bloodstream and wound infections.

What is its history?

C. auris was first detected in 2009 in Japan and has been reported in over 20 countries including the United States. Most C. auris cases in the U.S. have been detected in the New York City area, New Jersey, and the Chicago area. There have been 587 confirmed cases in the States (as of April 11, 2019).

The CDC is calling it a global health threat because multiple cases of C. auris have been reported from Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The earliest known strain of C. auris dates to 1996 in South Korea.

Why is it dangerous?

CDC is concerned about C. auris as a global health threat for the following three reasons:

  • It is often multi-drug resistant, which means it can’t be treated with multiple antifungal drugs typically used to treat Candida infections.
  • It is difficult to identify without specific laboratory technology, and misidentification could cause a patient to be treated incorrectly.
  • Because it has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings, quick identification is a must so healthcare facilities can take special precautions to stop its spread.

The fungus can cause various infections including bloodstream infection, wound infections, and ear infections (“auris” is the Latin word for ear).

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms are fever and chills that don’t improve after antibiotic treatment for a suspected bacterial infection. In some cases symptoms may not be noticeable because patients are often already sick with other medical conditions.

Who is at risk?

At the highest risk are patients who have been hospitalized for a long time; have a central venous catheter, or other lines or tubes entering their body; or have previously received antibiotics or antifungal medications.

How does C. auris spread?

C. auris is spread through contact with affected patients or contaminated environmental surfaces or equipment. To help prevent the spread of the infection, the CDC suggests following proper hand hygiene and infection control measures.

Are C. auris infections treatable?

Most C. auris infections are treatable with antifungal drugs called echinocandins; however, some C. auris infections have been resistant to all three main classes of antifungal medications.

More than one-third of patients with serious cases of the blood infection died.

Information for Laboratorians

C. auris can be misidentified unless specialized laboratory technology is used. Misidentification could lead to a patient getting the wrong treatment, which could expose more patients to the fungus. It is important to know how to identify this organism.

How to identify C. auris (taken from https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/candida-auris/recommendations.html)

“Diagnostic devices based on matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) can differentiate C. auris from other Candida species, but not all the reference databases included in MALDI-TOF devices allow for detection. Currently, accurate identification of C. auris can be performed using the Bruker Biotyper brand MALDI-TOF using the updated Bruker FDA-approved MALDI Biotyper CA System library (Version Claim 4) or their “research use only” libraries (Versions 2014 [5627] and more recent) and VITEK (MALDI-TOF) MS RUO (with Saramis Ver 4.14 database and Saccharomycetaceae update). VITEK 2 with software version 8.01 should also be able to accurately detect C. auris, though misidentifications of strains from certain clades have been reported and all Candida duobushaemulonii should be forwarded for further identification (see the identification algorithm Cdc-pdf[PDF – 9 pages]).

Supplemental MALDI-TOF databases that include additional C. auris strains from all four of the phylogenetic clades may enable users to overcome identification challenges by providing consistently higher MALDI identification scores. MicrobeNet is one example of a free online MALDI database of rare and unusual pathogens that is curated by CDC experts. MicrobeNet users will have access to CDC C. auris MALDI spectral libraries as well as Bruker’s most up-to-date database (all free with your MicrobeNet login).

Molecular methods based on sequencing the D1-D2 region of the 28s rDNA or the Internal Transcribed Region (ITS) of rDNA also can identify C. auris.”

If you or your coworkers identify C. auris, the CDC would like you to notify your state or local public health authorities and CDC at candidaauris@cdc.gov.

For more information about this global health threat, including information specific to laboratorians, visit the CDC’s website on C.auris by clicking here.

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Debunking Staffing Agency Myths

Because you are reading this blog, you are likely considering working with HCI. Like many people who are unfamiliar with our services or who have never used a staffing firm, you probably have questions. Let’s discuss some misconceptions about using an agency in order to debunk three staffing agency myths.

According to the September/October 2018 issue of the American Staffing Association’s Staffing Success magazine, the three most common misperceptions about working with staffing companies are:

  • Staffing and recruiting companies have selfish motives.
  • Staffing and recruiting companies are all the same.
  • Staffing and recruiting companies are primarily for people who cannot find a position on their own.

Let’s go through each one separately in the words of our recruiters and account executives.

Selfish motives?

Jeb Parichy, Recruiter:

“I take that misconception personally because any business has to be money motivated to be successful, but for me it’s more than that. In all of my 27 years of experience, I have done it the same way: I spend countless hours getting to know each candidate personally in order to find a job that fits who they are as people and professionals. I get personal with them by discussing their pets, children, hobbies, spouses, etc. I get to know them to better match their needs to the right job in the right location. Together we spend countless hours preparing. I love doing this because I get to help people support their families, get out of debt, or help them reach their career goals. I know I impact each person I help place. They often send me pictures and notes thanking me for changing their lives. I recently got someone a $50,000 increase from their previous job! One person sent me a picture of her on the Eiffel Tower on her 23rd wedding anniversary. (I have that one hanging on my office wall.) So for me, recruiting has nothing to do with being selfish. Heck, I am here by 5:15 a.m. and I give my cell number to each candidate I work with so they can call me 24/7 (including weekends).”

Kelly Bajusz, Account Executive:

“I work for hours on end matching the exact skill set the client is looking for with the candidate. I take it a step further by ensuring the candidate’s personality will fit in well with the client’s established staff. It’s very time consuming work, but in the end, the match is what drives me to continue. I spend the time getting to know my client’s needs until I find the perfect fit — like a key in a lock. The greatest reward, and what keeps me coming back, is hearing a laboratory manager, for example, thank me for staffing her lab for the best possible patient care. That’s what empowers me to continue. After all, it’s patient care that we’re affecting in the end.”

All the same?

Jason Malone, Recruiter:

“The biggest difference between us and other firms is that HCI is exclusive to the laboratory industry. We are the industry leader in clinical and anatomic pathology recruitment. That’s all we do. Nobody else has the established laboratory connections we have. We’ve partnered with more than 1,450 clients and serviced over 12,000 lab staffing projects. Our database includes over 100,000 laboratory professionals. We know the industry and the key players in it.”

Antwan Spivey, Recruiter:

“Because of our long history with most of our clients, we have a strong understanding of their needs. We spend the time searching, making phone calls, and setting up interviews for our clients.”

Can't find jobs on their own?

Michael DeQuarto, Senior Recruiter:

“We work directly with lab directors and managers. When we submit a resume it goes directly to them. If a job seeker goes online and applies to a position on their own, it often goes to the black hole that is Human Resources.”

Gene Marks, Consulting Recruiter:

“In my 30 years of experience, I have found that staffing agencies allow people to realize and/or surpass their dreams and ambitions by increasing their marketability as candidates. We help them get superior titles, more money with greater benefits, or better locations in which to work. Joining forces with an agency often results in something better and is often more than the candidate was initially looking for.”

Donato Valera-Teano, Senior Recruiter:

“Agencies are efficient time savers. On your own you can search for jobs and apply to each one individually often without knowing the pay, the culture, as well as many other factors. Working with me at this agency, I can submit you to multiple jobs at once and I’ll already know the salary structure and the other factors not publicized in advertisements. Because HCI only staffs clinical and anatomic pathology, I know the industry, hiring managers, and facilities. I’m able to speak with you and know if it’ll be a good fit, wasting very little time. Plus, I will get your resume in front of a hiring manager instead of in Human Resources’ inbox.”

You should use us!

In summary, I’ll close with what Recruiter Sadie Samuel says are her top four reasons to use HCI for your next job search:

“Free: It does not cost anything to use us.

Feedback: When applying on your own, candidates typically don’t hear any feedback for why they were not selected. I always get feedback and I will share that feedback with you so we can use it to your benefit.

Pay: I believe most people do not know how to negotiate pay. Some people are reluctant about asking for what they are worth. I know how much you are worth and I can get you the pay you are looking for.

Record Keeping: Some candidates don’t recall where they submitted their resumes. This is a negative because some facilities frown upon double submittals. I will ask you where you would like your resume to be sent, suggest other locations, and keep all the records for you.”

Now that you’ve heard from us, give us a call at (954) 346-4475 to discuss any other questions you may have about our services. We will be happy to get to know you so we can find your perfect career fit.

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Meet your Recruiter: Sadie Samuel

In this recurring Q & A series, you will learn about that person with whom you've been speaking, emailing, and texting -- your recruiter. They know a lot about you, but now it's your turn to learn about them. And you'll finally be able to see if the voice matches the person you imagined!

Name:

Sadie Samuel

How long have you worked as a recruiter?

I have been with HealthCare Connections for four years. I’ve been in the recruiter role since June of 2018 and prior to that I was a clinical solutions associate.

Why are you a recruiter?

I work as a recruiter for the clinical and anatomic pathology laboratory because I enjoy helping people and I’m working in my field. I graduated college with a Bachelors Degree in Healthcare Management and prior to that (since high school) I worked in health administration/human resources. It is so rewarding to help people find jobs in their career field. When they fill their goals by finding their dream jobs or going to areas they never thought of going, I am fulfilled.

What’s your favorite part of being a recruiter?

Hiring someone is definitely the best. I love to call the candidate to congratulate them. It is so rewarding to finalize the process after going through the paperwork, preparing for and sending the candidate to interviews, then negotiating the offers. Hearing the person’s smile over the phone is amazing.

What other jobs have you held?

Most of my jobs since high school were in health care, except when I was a college intern for Wells Fargo. I have worked as a hospital administrator, human resources representative, and a staffing coordinator in a nursing home/rehabilitation center.

What do you do when you are not working?

I was born in the US Virgin Islands and have lived in Florida since I was a child. The beach and my culture are very important to me. Celebrating the beach, in my free time I design women’s swimwear. I plan to eventually sell them in an online store called iLLest Kollections, but right now I design and send them to my manufacturer to create. The other thing I really enjoy doing is taking part in Miami Carnival, an annual festival celebrating Caribbean-American communities. I dress up in costumes, paint my face, dance, listen to traditional music, and eat delicious culturally-typical food.

What is your favorite vacation spot(s)?

I love to travel and plan to do more of it. The Caribbean Islands are my favorites because I enjoy beach activities including jet skiing, boating, and riding inflatable Banana Boats. In 2017 I visited Colorado and finally saw snow. It was so pretty, but too cold!

If you worked in the laboratory, where would you want to work and why?

I really respect people who work with human tissues, but that’s not for me. I could work with fluids, but I think I’d prefer to use my managerial skills instead.

How do you respond when a potential laboratory employee tells you they are unsure about using an agency for their job search?

There are so many reasons to use an agency, but HCI is specifically set apart from the rest because we are very unique. We have a market niche that other companies do not. We specialize solely in the clinical and anatomic laboratory, which separates us from others.

Here are my top four reasons to use HCI for your job search:

      • Free: It does not cost anything to use us.
      • Feedback: When applying on your own, candidates typically don’t hear any feedback for why they were not selected. I always get feedback and I will share that feedback with you so we can use it to your benefit.
      • Pay: I believe most people do not know how to negotiate pay. Some people are reluctant about asking for what they are worth. I know how much you are worth and I can get you the pay you are looking for.
      • Record Keeping: Some candidates don’t recall where they submitted their resumes. This is a negative because some facilities frown upon double submittals. I will ask you where you would like your resume to be sent, suggest other locations, and keep all the records for you.

Using an agency is like having someone there with you the whole time to help. I will get you from point A to point Z.

If you had to give just one tip for interviewing, what would it be?

Never talk poorly about your previous employer. No matter what you went through, just say you are looking for a better opportunity. An employer doesn’t want to hire someone who is very negative. Even if it was really bad, it just shouldn’t be said. Don’t be negative. Try to find at least one positive quality.

Sadie Samuel, Recruiter
Sadie Samuel, Recruiter
Sadie in Puerto Rico
Sadie is an adventure seeker. Here she is in Puerto Rico four wheeling with some friends.
Sadie loves the beach/ocean
Sadie surrounds herself with beaches, oceans, sun, and fun. Here she is fishing for the first time in Key West, FL. It took an enormous amount of patience, but in the end she got the perfect catch.
Brr. Skiing in Colorado
Skiing looks so much easier than it is. Brrrr. She's definitely more of a sun worshiper, but admitted that skiing was fun.
Miami Carnival
Miami Carnival is one of Sadie's favorite annual activities. Because she was born in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, she attends the event every year to represent her culture and heritage.
Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA
Sadie loves to travel. Here she is in LA's Chinatown where the movie "Rush Hour" was shot.
Sadie at a LA zoo
In Los Angeles, Sadie visited an abandoned zoo. She loved LA. The weather was beautiful and the scenery was gorgeous.
Miami Carnival
Sadie takes pride in her cultural customs and is happy to celebrate them every year at Miami Carnival.

When your assignment is complete, or to find a new one, check out our available contract jobs. Apply online or call your recruiter to discuss (and be sure to tell them what you imagined they looked like).

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Voice Technology in Health Care

Virtual assistants, like Amazon's Alexa, are being installed in patient rooms in a variety of patient health settings

A medical center in Los Angeles is piloting a program that allows patients to use Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa to communicate with nurses and staff members.

Cedars-Sinai provided more than 100 patient rooms with the Alexa-powered platform known as Aiva on Amazon Echos. Aiva, the world’s first patient-centered voice assistant platform for hospitals, permits patients to interact hands-free to control their environment and connect with staff.

Cedars-Sinai provided more than 100 patient rooms with the Alexa-powered platform known as Aiva on Amazon Echos. Aiva, the world’s first patient-centered voice assistant platform for hospitals, permits patients to interact hands-free to control their environment and connect with staff.

How does it work?

A press release from Cedars-Sinai explained how the technology works.

“The patient’s request is routed to the mobile phone of the appropriate caregiver, whether a nurse, clinical partner, manager or administrator. A pain medicine request would be routed to a registered nurse, for example, while a bathroom request would be routed to a clinical partner. If the request is not answered in a timely manner, the Aiva platform sends it up the chain of command.”

Why?

Amazon Echo Dot

Sumeet Bhatia, founder and CEO of Aiva, said, “Cedars-Sinai and Aiva are giving patients more entertainment options, more control over their environment and closer communication with their care team.”

Patient-Centered Artificial Intelligence

To control their environment, patients can easily control their TVs by saying, “Alexa, change the channel to ESPN.” An example of being in closer communication with their care team, a patient might say, “Alexa, tell my nurse I need to get up to use the restroom.”

Being alone in a hospital room can take a toll on a patient. The Echos also include standard Alexa features allowing patients to feel more connected to the outside world thereby helping the patient’s mental health.

The most common request is for the device to play music, followed by content like weather, sports and games.

The nearly three-year-old Los Angeles-based health care startup, funded primarily by venture capital, received separate funding from two rival tech giants in just one week: the Google Assistant Investment Program and Amazon’s Alexa Fund. Amazon and Google are investing in startups using these funds to build up their rival voice assistant ecosystems.

The companies didn’t disclose financial terms of the deals.

Aiva’s other investors include Act One Ventures, Mucker Capital, and Techstars.

Where else will it be used?

An Aiva representative said they are also targeting physician offices, skilled nursing facilities, senior communities, a well as elderly home users.

According to AARP, “Studies show that isolation and loneliness are as bad for health as obesity or smoking.”

Voice assistants can help alleviate social isolation and feelings of loneliness by connecting seniors with friends, family and neighbors using the hands-free phone and video calls. They will also remind seniors about appointments, outings, or other activities, encouraging them to be more social.

AI for Elderly Living Facilities

HIPAA issues

One of the major limitations to using voice technology in health care is that it is not yet compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects patients’ health information. While some skills can be built into voice technology, patient data cannot be used within it to permit a more personalized experience.

Rumors

Amazon, Google and Microsoft all have voice-activated smart speakers and they are chomping at the bit to get integrated into the health care realm. If the technology rumors are true, Amazon may soon announce a HIPAA compliant Echo.

Future

The future of medical care is likely full of virtual assistants in any number of health care settings from the doctor’s office to laboratories to the most complex surgical suites. It may not be long before voice-activated technology is in main stream health care.

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Fly Smart: 5 Tips to Travel Healthy

Whether you are a seasoned contractor with a resume full of experience in various cities or you fly only to get to your vacation destinations, these five tips are for you. Learn to travel healthy while on the plane to ensure you’ll be healthy at your destination.

Tips to Travel Healthy
1. Keep Moving

There is an actual medical condition that can be brought about during long flights. Also known as “economy-class syndrome”, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition that can develop the longer you are immobile. Blood clots form in the deep veins of your legs and can cause swelling and pain. According to Mayo Clinic, DVT can be very serious. Blood clots in your veins can break loose, travel through your bloodstream and lodge in your lungs, blocking blood flow (known as a pulmonary embolism).

How can you prevent DVT? The Centers for Disease Control suggests the following tips when traveling:

Move on Plane
  • Get up and walk around every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Exercise your legs while you’re sitting by: Raising and lowering your heels while keeping your toes on the floor; raising and lowering your toes while keeping your heels on the floor; and tightening and releasing your leg muscles
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes.
  • Also suggested is to maintain a healthy weight, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, and asking your doctor about wearing maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle.
Stay Hydrated
2 Stay Hydrated

Flying is a dehydrating experience. Did you know that when flying at 30,000 feet, for example, the humidity level in the plane could be as low as 10 to 20 percent? That’s desert-level dry. Dehydration can weaken your immune system and even disrupt your sleep cycle. Dr. Oz, a TV personality and director of Integrative Medicine Center at Columbia, suggests drinking eight ounces of water or herbal tea for every hour flying. Sure, that’ll make you have to visit the bathroom a lot, but it will force you to move around the airplane potentially preventing DVT. Plus, the herbal tea can calm the body, which is always good when stuck in a confined space with many other people. Be sure to avoid alcohol, since that dehydrates the body on a cellular level.

3 Clean Your Hands

Airplanes are notoriously germ-laden places. With the lack of humidity drying out your nasal passages, you’d be surprised how often you touch your nose. The CDC says people touch their eyes, mouth, and nose approximately 25 times per hour without being aware of it. Mucous membranes are the perfect moist and warm environments to host a variety of potential illnesses. Keep your hands away from your face and use hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol after touching any surface on an aircraft, as well as before you eat or drink and after using the bathroom.

Clean your hands
Disinfect your area
4 Disinfect Your Immediate Area

According to research, disease-causing bacteria can linger for up to a week on surfaces like seat pockets, rubber armrests, as well as nonporous surfaces like the tray table. One study presented by the American Society for Microbiology in 2014 found that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) lasted on material from the seat-back pocket for 168 hours while E. coli O157:H7 survived 96 hours on the armrest. Yuck! To protect yourself, use antibacterial wipes to disinfect your seating area, which includes the tray table, remote controls, monitors, arm rests, window shades, or anything else you may touch.

5 Fly Well Rested

Be sure to get enough sleep prior to your flight to keep up your body’s natural immunity. Your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

Travel Well Rested

So be sure to pack some wipes, hand sanitizer, and grab a bottle or two of water after getting through security. Using these tips should help you stay healthy for your trip and the days following.

Are you ready to travel? Let us know where you want to go and we’ll match you to an open position in the clinical or anatomic pathology laboratory.

Contact us today.

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LabCorp Donates $1 Million to Local College

A global life sciences company donated a large gift of $1 million to a local community college with Medical Laboratory Technology, Histology, and other biotech programs.

Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) recently gifted $1 million to Alamance Community College (ACC), a community college in Graham, North Carolina.

The college, which has a student body of more than 5,000, offers traditional technical courses as well as biotechnology, culinary technology, medical laboratory technology, and other transfer courses.

A portion of the funds was used for new state-of-the-art equipment for the college’s Medical Laboratory Technology program.

The remaining funds will be used to purchase and maintain technology for the $9.1 million Biotechnology and Life Science Center of Excellence set to be completed by August 2021.

The 34,000-square-foot facility will house the Biotechnology, Medical Laboratory Technology, Histotechnology, and Agricultural-Biotechnology programs.

Over the years, LabCorp and ACC have collaborated to launch ACC’s Biotechnology, Medical Laboratory Technology, and Histotechnology programs.

The nearly 50-year-old company, whose corporate headquarters are in Burlington, NC, is an S&P 500 global life sciences company. They provide comprehensive clinical laboratory and end-to-end drug development services.

In total LabCorp employs nearly 60,000 employees worldwide, with more than 100 ACC graduates working in LabCorp’s Burlington, NC laboratories.

Just last month LabCorp was named to Fortune magazine’s 2019 List of World’s Most Admired Companies, making the annual list for the second consecutive year. LabCorp reported net revenues of more than $10 billion for 2017.

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New Generation Could Change the Workforce

With millennials now well into adulthood and most transitioning into leadership roles, a new, younger generation is entering -- and could potentially change -- the workforce: Generation Z.

Generation Z is defined by Pew Research Center as people born in or after 1997. The consulting firm BridgeWorks estimates that Generation Z accounts for 61 million people in the U.S., a number larger than Generation X and two-thirds the size of the baby boomers.

It is important that employers understand that Generation Z’s life experiences affect the companies they seek. To entice and retain them as employees, companies must shift their practices to what’s most important to them.

Initial studies of this group of emerging employees suggest that Generation Z’s are on track to becoming the most well-educated generation yet. Pew found the oldest Generation Z’s are enrolling in college at a significantly higher rate than Millennials were at a comparable age.

This is good news for positions such as those in anatomic and clinical pathology that require degrees in higher education. In fact, according to studies conducted by Indeed.com, Generation Z’s are focused on finding stable jobs, mostly in tech and healthcare, which they consider to be “future-proof” jobs and with stability.

Research recently published on Forbes.com, which includes recent industry insights, uncovers what Generation Z’s look for in a career.

Let’s take a look at four survey responses by Generation Z as a way to begin to understand how the workplace may need to change.

Safety

In a survey of 400 college students, 77 percent of participants said “feeling safe” was their top office environment quality. This may not be surprising since they grew up with multiple school shootings. The Columbine High School massacre occurred in 1999, when the eldest Gen Z’s were only just two years old. Since then, a shooting or killing spree has made headlines almost every year.

Potential Fix: Provide a safe and diverse environment where Generation Z’s can be themselves and express their views. Encourage a culture of open-mindedness and listening while eliminating closed-minded prejudices that can hurt others, outdated thinking and bias.

Social Media

Generation Z had access to smartphones from childhood and, in many cases, can’t remember life without one. In fact, Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007 when the eldest Generation Z’s were just 10. They were the first generation to grow up with social media, which made it easier and faster to give life to social movements.

Potential FixForbes.com recommended that companies may need to adjust their tactics. They suggest relaxing company standards around social media. Rather than reprimanding an employee for a political post on social media, try to understand their point of view. They suggest using corporate philanthropy days to work with projects and organizations the workers care about.

Money Consciousness

Having grown up during the Great Recession, many are money conscious. According to a report from the polling firm Barna Group, 65 percent of Generation Z’s said financial independence is what they would like to achieve before turning 30.

Potential Fix: Consider redefining the company’s bonus structure, overtime policy, or add a sign-on or referral bonus.

Balance

The biggest measures of success of those polled by Forbes.com were being happy and having good work-life balance. Members of Gen Z also said the most important trait a good boss can possess is respect for work hours.

Potential Fix: They suggested adding on-site services, such as pet grooming or fitness classes, so workers can complete personal tasks and have fun while at work.

As the years move on and more Generation Z’s are hired, changes must be made to your corporate culture. Better understanding your employees will help decide in which direction your facility must go to retain them.

If your clinical or anatomic laboratory is in need of permanent or temporary staff, contact HCI today. We’ve got who you need.

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Hot Jobs for Both Types of Winter People

It seems there are two kinds of people during the winter: the "hibernators" and the "embracers".

The “hibernators” typically stay inside warm and cozy and only venture outside to get to and from the car. They count the days until spring. Just the thought of December to March can leave them in a disappointing shiver.

The “embracers” are the ones who get outside and take advantage of the coldest months of the year. They like the cool air and winter sports. Depending on where they are, they enjoy watching the snow fall and taking part in cold-weather activities like making snowmen, sledding, or snowshoeing.

The "Hibernator"
The "Embracer"

Lucky for both kinds of winter people, we’ve got a lot of hot clinical and anatomic pathology jobs on both spectrums! Here are five of our hottest jobs.

Two Hot Jobs in Cold New England

We have two of our hottest northern New England jobs not too far from each other. Here the snowpack is deepening and winter sports like ice skating, ice fishing, skiing, and snowshoeing are awaiting your arrival.

The first facility is in New Hampshire in a vibrant, academic and professional community offering an unmatched quality of life in a beautiful, heavily rural setting. About half of Grafton County’s total area is in the White Mountain National Forest featuring hardwood forests and majestic alpine peaks. Many of the 4,000-foot mountains of New Hampshire are within the county. The Appalachian Trail passes through parts of at least ten towns in the county.

The second facility, an acute care, critical access hospital in Vermont, is not too far from the New Hampshire border. This northeast portion of the Green Mountain State has many opportunities to offer in the winter. Often referred to as “God’s Country” because the area is full of pristine untouched landscape, the Northeast Kingdom is an outdoorsman’s paradise.

Two Hot Jobs in Sunny & Warmer California

If snow isn’t your idea of winter fun, let’s move now to California where we have numerous hot jobs in a much warmer climate.

The first facility is a small, independent hospital with just under 250 beds about an hour north of San Francisco. Marin County will provide a winter break with a comfortable year-round climate. Here the winter temperatures rarely dip below 50 degrees. Walk in the mountains, enjoy the Pacific Coast (including fresh-caught in-season Dungeness crab), and plenty of sunshine.

The second hot job is located in Alameda County where you can enjoy typical winter temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s. This Bay Area not-for-profit laboratory is part of a large health system. The Bay Area is one of the wealthiest regions in the United States. It has moist mild winters.

One Hot Job in Frigid Idaho

(Is it obvious by ending on a cold note that I’m a winter “embracer”?)

Land a contract job in this small critical access hospital in a rural community on the eastern border of Idaho. You’ll be rewarded with unbeatable scenic views, endless adventure opportunities, and authentic western hospitality. Winter months can produce over 65 inches of snow, making this location THE place for top-rated downhill and Nordic skiing.

Ready for your next adventure?

Take a look here for our open jobs. Whether you are a winter “embracer” or “hibernator”, we’ve got what you need.

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Meet your Recruiter: Donato Valera-Teano

In this recurring Q & A series, you will learn about that person with whom you've been speaking, emailing, and texting -- your recruiter. They know a lot about you, but now it's your turn to learn about them. And you'll finally be able to see if the voice matches the person you imagined!

Name: Donato Valera-Teano

How long have you worked as a Clinical Solutions Talent Manager/Lead Travel Recruiter?

I have worked in the staffing industry for 13 years. I am a recruiter now, but in the past I worked as an account executive and manager.

Why are you a Clinical Solutions Talent Manager/Lead Travel Recruiter?

I work as a lead travel recruiter because I enjoy finding positions for people in the clinical and anatomic laboratory as well as filling the needs of laboratories nationwide.

What’s your favorite part of being a Clinical Solutions Talent Manager/Lead Travel Recruiter?

I have worked on both sides of employee staffing: temporary/travel and permanent. My real passion is on the temporary side because I like the challenge of finding someone to fill an immediate short-term position. I like the quick turnaround of temporary positions versus permanent positions which typically take much longer.

What other jobs have you held?

My first job was as a waiter. I was also a mortgage loan officer. Along with my current role as a senior travel recruiter, I am also a martial arts instructor and have been for eight years.

What do you do when you are not working?

When I’m not working I’m training in mixed martial arts, surfing, skateboarding, or break dancing.

What is your favorite vacation spot(s)?

I have two favorites: El Salvador for surfing and Thailand for Muay Thai, a traditional form of close-combat kickboxing that uses the entire body.

If you worked in the laboratory, where would you want to work and why?

I think I’d work in the anatomic pathology side because I would be working hands-on with actual specimens not just fluids.

How do you respond when a potential laboratory employee tells you they are unsure about using an agency for their job search?

Agencies are efficient time savers. On your own you can search for jobs and apply to each one individually often without knowing the pay, the culture, as well as many other factors. Working with me at this agency, I can submit you to multiple jobs at once and I’ll already know the salary structure and the other factors not publicized in advertisements. Because HCI only staffs clinical and anatomic pathology, I know the industry, hiring managers, and facilities. I’m able to speak with you and know if it’ll be a good fit, wasting very little time. Plus, I will get your resume in front of a hiring manager instead of in Human Resources’ inbox.

What is the craziest thing a potential laboratory employee has told you?

We flew a potential employee to an interview, but instead of renting a car he walked — 20 miles — and even slept under an overpass. He said when he came back from the cross-country interview, his girlfriend had cheated on him and drove away in his trailer. He was left with nothing.

If you had to give just one tip for interviewing, what would it be?

Ask questions! Asking questions throughout the interview opens the door to opportunity. You will relate more with your interviewer, sell your skills set and personality, and better determine if the job will be a good match for you.

When your assignment is complete, or to find a new one, check out our available contract jobs. Apply online or call your recruiter to discuss (and be sure to tell them what you imagined they looked like).

Donato Valera-Teano, senior travel recruiter for anatomic and clinical pathology
Surfing is Donato's favorite
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6 packing tips for your next laboratory assignment

You've signed the contract, submitted your paperwork and compliance documentation, and your first day of work is coming right up. It’s time to start thinking about what to pack to make yourself comfortable for your 13-week (or longer) assignment.

Packing for a long assignment can be daunting. Heck, even a two-week trip can cause the feeling of dread when you stare at your empty suitcase.

AAA.com recommends starting a few weeks prior to the trip by making a checklist of everything you should pack. As part of your checklist, consider bringing along some items to keep you grounded and give you a sense of home in your faraway location.

Here are six items that are often frequently forgotten or not considered at all:

And remember, we’re here to help. If something is amiss with your accommodations, give us a ring; we’re here for you.

Not sure where you want to go for your next assignment? Take a look at our open jobs by clicking here.

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The Inventor: Out for Blood In Silicon Valley

One of the films to premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival chronicles Elizabeth Holmes, the criminally-charged founder of the now-defunct biotech startup Theranos, Inc. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley highlights the world’s youngest self-made billionaire and the psychology of fraud.

The 119-minute film is summarized by Sundance.org:

Elizabeth Holmes arrived in Silicon Valley with a revolutionary medical invention. She called it “the Edison”: a small, hyper-sophisticated black box that performed 200 tests in minutes, all from a single drop of blood. Needles, laboratories, and the select few companies that controlled them would become instantly obsolete. Like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Thomas Edison himself, Holmes intended to tear down and revolutionize an entire industry.

The hitch? All of it was a lie. The system was a hoax. And what began as one of 2014’s hottest tech companies—valued at nine billion dollars—dissolved into a fraudulent, bankrupt scheme that exposed Silicon Valley’s underbelly.

A still from "The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley" by Alex Gibney, an official selection of the Documentary Premieres program at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Drew Kelly
Former headquarters of failed biotech startup, Theranos, Inc.
The former headquarters of Theranos, Inc. in Palo Alto, CA

At 19 years old, after dropping out of the School of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University, Holmes used her tuition money to start Theranos in 2003. Her lofty goal seemingly to change the entire lab industry. The Silicon Valley start-up promised to revolutionize laboratory testing.

At its height, Theranos, headquartered in Palo Alto, California, had more than 800 employees and laboratories in Newark, California and Scottsdale, Arizona. The biotech company garnered nearly one billion dollars in venture capital funding from several high-profile investors and was at one point valued more than ten billion dollars.

In 2014 Forbes named Holmes one of the richest women in America. Two years later Forbes revised its estimate of Holmes’ net worth from $4.5 billion to $0.

What happened? It all came crashing down after being exposed as fraudulent, deceptive, and deceitful.

An investigation by John Carreyrou, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist with the Wall Street Journal, exposed Theranos by raising serious concerns about whether the company’s biotechnology actually worked. His front-page exposé was published in 2015.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in March of 2018 charged Theranos, Inc., Holmes, and the company’s president Ramesh Balwani “with raising more than $700 million from investors through an elaborate, years-long fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company’s technology, business, and financial performance”.

The SEC went on to say:

“The complaints allege that Theranos, Holmes, and Balwani made numerous false and misleading statements in investor presentations, product demonstrations, and media articles by which they deceived investors into believing that its key product – a portable blood analyzer – could conduct comprehensive blood tests from finger drops of blood, revolutionizing the blood testing industry. In truth, according to the SEC’s complaint, Theranos’ proprietary analyzer could complete only a small number of tests, and the company conducted the vast majority of patient tests on modified and industry-standard commercial analyzers manufactured by others.”

failed biotech startup founder
Elizabeth Holmes, the criminally-charged founder of the now-defunct biotech startup Theranos, Inc.

In June of 2018, following an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco that lasted more than two years, a federal grand jury indicted Holmes and former Theranos COO and president Balwani on nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

If convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution for each count of wire fraud and conspiracy, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Sundance Film Festival runs from January 24 to February 3, 2019. The Inventor will debut on January 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the MARC Theatre in Park City, Utah; January 25 at 8:30 a.m. at Library Center Theatre in Park City, Utah; and January 27 at 6 p.m. at Broadway Centre Cinema 6 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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8 Fonts for the Best Resumes

You spend hours creating your resume. You make sure the dates are correct; the spelling and grammar are spot on; and you’ve checked that all your verbs are parallel in structure. But did you use the most legible font? Does it demonstrate your professionalism while maintaining character?

There are hundreds of thousands of fonts. Some are installed on your computer, others are available for purchase. Some fonts look great for children’s books or comic books, some for printed newspapers, while others are best suited for electronic documents such as whitepapers or eBooks.

But which ones are the best for your professional resume?

First, a lesson about serifs.

In the example to the right, you’ll notice circled embellishments. Those embellishments make a font a serif typeface. They are not just decorative; they have been credited (and disputed) for increasing readability as well as reading speed because they help the eye travel across a line. But what it really boils down to is preference AND legibility, particularly when you embellish it with italics, bolding, or varying sizes.

Because size does matter, keep the text on your resume between a 10.5 and 12 point font. Anything less than 10.5 will be too difficult for the reader to decipher. Anything larger than 12 makes it look like your resume doesn’t have much to it and you’re trying to fill space.

Consider these serif and sans-serif typefaces that produce the best results for resumes:

Sans Serif Typefaces

Serif Typefaces

While there is no one perfect font, just be consistent throughout your resume. And please, don’t write a resume in comic sans. Ever.

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5 Questions to Ask your Interviewer

Have you ever been at the end of a job interview when this happens:

Interviewer: “Do you have any questions for me?”

You: “Umm…”

<<crickets chirping outside a silent room>>

 

Sound familiar?

As part of your interview preparation, you should have several questions for your interviewer. This will not only demonstrate your interest in the position, but it’ll allow you to learn if the employer is a good fit for you. After all, the interview process goes both ways. They want to make sure you are a good fit, but you need to ensure the job duties, expectations, and culture will be a good fit for you.

Be sure to ask open-ended questions that cannot simply be answered with a “yes” or a “no”. These type of questions might spark a new conversation or give you the opportunity to respond to anything you haven’t yet addressed.

Instead of your blood pressure rising and your face flushing, be prepared. Consider these five questions for your next interview.

1. What are the biggest challenges the laboratory/department is currently facing?

The interviewer may have painted a lovely picture of the potential job, but what about the reality? The word “challenge” is key here because it isn’t negative or positive, but an opportunity for improvement — one in which you may want to be involved. The answers to this question could launch a conversation about how you will help tackle these issues. You could also discuss specific examples of how you helped overcome similar challenges in another role.

2. What do you enjoy most about working here?

This is a chance for you to connect personally with the interviewer. Their responses may give you some insight about job satisfaction or culture. If they have a tough time responding, this should be a red flag.

3. What can you tell me about the team I'll be working with?

This is purposely worded as if you will be getting the job. Positivity is key in showing your motivation and desire. Be sure to listen closely to the response; this could be your only chance to learn about your coworkers prior to your first day.

4. How is success measured?

The answer to this positively worded question is to show you are goal-oriented and are not afraid to be held accountable.

5. Would you please tell me about the person who previously held this position?

This question is to gauge why the position is open. Did they leave due to conflict, retirement, or promotion? The answers could clue you into job security, lack of teamwork, company expectations, or even chances for advancement.

Because an interview is a two-way street, don’t be afraid to ask follow up questions. Sure, you need to sell yourself as a motivated, accountable, and dependable employee, but you need to also buy into the company your considering. You should not accept a job that doesn’t feel like a good match and you won’t know that until you learn as much as possible about the company.

If you have specific interview-related questions, give your recruiter a call. They have great relationships with hiring managers and can direct you more specifically into an excellent interview experience.

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Pumpkin spice and our laboratory staffing website

The dropping temperatures and falling leaves indicate winter is not far away. The cooler nights mean more blankets on our beds and warmer pajamas. Our windows will be closed and the heat will be turned on. We’re drinking more hot beverages -- yours may even be the infamous pumpkin spice flavor (we won’t judge).

Along with the changes outside our windows, we’ve been working on some transformations that we’re excited to tell you about!

lab jobs

HCI is pleased to announce our upgraded and updated laboratory staffing website, www.labcareer.com. It has a brand new look with much easier functionality, brighter colors, better images — it’s us all dressed up!

From our website you can submit a resume, connect with a recruiter, search for open clinical and anatomic lab jobs, request help staffing your laboratory, and read our latest blogs. You can even subscribe to our blogs to make sure you don’t miss anything else we’re up to!

HealthCare Connections, Inc.

And have you seen our new logo? The microscope was chosen because we staff laboratories. That’s our only focus. Surrounding the microscope is a bright slightly open circle depicting our belief that our clients, employees, and staff members are family. The circle is not fully closed because we are always open to growth, opportunity, and change.

Actually, just like the changes in seasonality, we’ve got more changes up our sleeves that are only going to make us better able to help YOU so stay tuned.

We’ve been helping people and laboratories since 1997, yet we’re only getting started. Expect more from HCI, the industry leader in clinical and anatomic pathology recruitment for both perm and travel.

clinical and anatomic pathology jobs
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