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Medical Abbreviations Friday: Five More Medical Abbreviations

Today we’re bringing another edition of Advantage Career Institute’s medical abbreviations blog series. Whether students are training to be a Medical Assistant in NJ or taking medical billing and coding programs, ACI is committed to making sure all of our students are prepared for real life situations in the industry. In order to better prepare our students, here are 5 commonly used medical abbreviations.

EHR: EHR stands for an electronic health record. With an electronic health record, a patient’s health information can be easily accessible to different medical professionals across health networks. An EHR can contain detailed information about a patient’s well-being including their list of medications, billing information, medical history, immunizations, and much more. The usage of EHRs has been instrumental in making sure that patient information is consistently updated, accurate, and easy to maintain. Students of our medical billing and coding program will often have to work with EHRs, and will come to be comfortable managing them effectively.

HR (heart rate): Heart rate refers to how often your heart beats per minute, expressed as bpm (beats per minute). A patient’s heart rate is essential for understanding a patient’s health and is a vital measurement in many physician offices. As our Medical Assistant program students know, normal heart rates range from 60-100bpm and heart rates outside of this range are considered abnormalities in heart rate. Heart rates can be indicative of a number of different medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, hypothyroidism, and anemia.


EMT: An EMT is an emergency medical technician, who is educated and trained in order to address critical, time-sensitive medical situations. There are 4 different levels of EMTs who are all able to best address different emergency situations. EMTs can respond to a wide variety of situations, which makes them sought after by a number of different organizations including the police department, fire department, and more. The swift attention from EMTs has saved countless lives over the years, and continues to play an important role in the medical community.

IV: IV stands for intravenous therapy, which is the practice of introducing fluids directly into a patient’s veins. Often conducted by nurses, intravenous therapy is one of the most efficient ways of inserting important liquids into a patient. There are a number of uses for IVs, including chemotherapy, and blood transfusion.


Hgb: Hgb stands for hemoglobin, which is one of the carriers of oxygen in the blood stream. Hemoglobin is essential for transporting oxygen and other gases, and provides the body with the energy it needs for a wide variety of purposes. Hemoglobin makes up the majority of red blood cells, and abnormal levels of hemoglobin are indicative of patient health and can often be consulted for diagnosis. Low levels of hemoglobin have been associated with conditions such as kidney failure, sickle-cell disease, and nutritional deficiencies. High hemoglobin levels on the other hand can be connected to lung disease, dehydration, and polycythemia rubra vera.

Check in again next week for our next installment of some of the most common medical terms in the industry. Let us know how many of these abbreviations you already knew on our Facebook page!

Medical Abbreviations Friday: Five Common Medical Abbreviations

Here at Advantage Career Institute, we offer students courses and curriculum to prepare our students for successful careers in the medical and dental communities. Because medical courses and professions are rife with abbreviations that occur frequently in the industry, we thought we would supplement our courses for students aspiring to be medical assistants, phlebotomists, dental assistants with radiology, medical office specialists with electronic health records and medical billing and coding, and more with a series of blog posts focused on medical abbreviations and what they may mean for students.

EKG: EKG is an abbreviation that is all too familiar for many of our EKG Technician students as well as our students who are studying to become a Medical Assistant with Phlebotomy, EKG, and Patient Care Tech.  EKG stands for Electrocardiogram; but if the acronym speaks to cardiograms, why is it commonly referred to with a K? The “K” in EKG stems from the Greek word for heart, kardia, which leads to the common acronym for Electrocardiogram. This procedure is an interpretation of electrical activity through the heart, and the data is obtained by placing electrodes on different areas of the body surface to record the heart’s activity. It’s a noninvasive procedure, meaning that it is not surgical in nature, and among the most vital procedures for detecting cardiac abnormalities or even a heart attack.

A typical EKG procedure - Medical Abbreviations, Medical Billing and Coding, New Jersey Medical Assistant Training Schools

TPR & BP: TPR and BP are medical abbreviations that also extend to those studying to be Medical or Dental Assistants, and may be equally important for those studying to become a Medical Office Specialist with Electronic Health Records & Medical Billing and Coding, as it is likely to be an acronym on nearly every document for a patient. TPR stands for stands for Temperature, Pulse, and Respiration, and is among the most common items on a medical form for any patient. Even for those in good health coming in for a physical, these measurements can yield a fantastic snapshot of a patient’s overall health. BP, of course, stands for blood pressure, and will also generally be reported alongside the TPR for a patient. Together, these may be further abbreviated as the VS for a client, or the Vital Signs.

NWB: While this may be an abbreviation relegated to those working with physical therapists or doctors of rehabilitating patients, this can be an important acronym to become familiar with. NWB refers to “Non-Weight Bearing”, and for any Medical Assistants working with those recovering from injury or on crutches, this may be a crucial abbreviation to note considerations for the limb that is recovering from injury.

OR: For those who are working in the medical field, this also may be a common medical acronym that does not refer to a grammatical conjunction, but instead refers to the theatre for invasive procedures: OR stands for Operating Room, and may be included on those in need of intensive medical care and invasive procedures.

Phlebotomy Technician in new Jersey, Phlebotomy Training, Medical Assistant Training in NJ

BS: BS has a few different meanings in the medical profession, but not one of these is the same “BS” that we would see in colloquial dialog! BS is typically when more analysis is needed in vital signs, and can reference either Blood Sugar or Breath Sounds for respiratory patients. For Medical Assistants, make sure you understand the patient’s previous health history so you know the type of BS you will need to indicate. For those who have a history of diabetes or dietary concerns in their medical record, BS may commonly refer to blood sugar, though this is often abbreviated to BG, for Blood Glucose, to prevent confusion. However, for those who are dealing with patients who have respiratory disorders, COPD, or other lung issues, BS may refer to Breath Sounds.

Stay tuned! We will be rolling out more medical abbreviations each week to go over some of the common terms our students have to learn as they develop their career in the medical and dental fields. For more information, contact us today.

Billing and Coding by the Numbers: Three Reasons to Choose A Career in Medical Billing and Coding

Working in the medical profession can bring a satisfaction few other careers could ever think possible. Trusted with the duty of protecting the health of your community, every single member of a medical staff actively participates in nourishing the sick and promoting the overall health and well-being of their patients. It may go unnoticed to some, that beyond the doctors and nurses walking the halls, lay a network of professionals that are instrumental to every dose and diagnosis, including those in charge of medical billing and coding. While there are a number of reasons that medical billing and coding continues to be a resilient career field, we wanted to look at three reasons that medical billing and coding courses can help make your career.


According to Medical Billing and Coding Online, medical billing and coding is a profession that could grow up to 21% in the coming decade. With changes in healthcare on the national level leading to increased accessibility for affordable healthcare, the job market for certified medical coders will continue to grow. This is a job market that continues to increase, and an open door to a career pathway that offers stability and the potential for growth.


Twelve weeks is all it takes to achieve a certification in medical billing and coding at ACI. We offer a twelve-week program, plus a one-month internship, to help build the foundations for our students’ careers. By enrolling at ACI, you are taking an important step on a path to a successful career, and we reinvest in our students every step of the way. Our staff are committed educational professionals who offer the best support and instruction possible, making sure that our curriculum transforms your career.

90% & 91%

We prepare our students to enter the medical field as an entry-level Medical Office Specialist with Electronic Health Records, and prepare you to succeed in the job and grow your career in the medical field! Advantage Career Institute boasts a 90% graduation rate, with 91% of its students passing National Certification exams. We number among the best technical career schools in New Jersey, and aim to provide our students with all the tools that they need to be successful in building their new career.

Contact us for more info today!

New Jersey Dental Assistant with Radiology Graduates Share Their Stories

ACI has a long history of helping change lives by preparing students to achieve, and succeed in a new career path. With programs ranging from Medical Billing and Coding to Medical Assistant with Phlebotomy, we pride ourselves on preparing a professional workforce for the accelerated demands of a growing career field. One program that elicits exceptional reviews is our program for Dental Assistants at our New Jersey campus.

Our students work hard, and our alumni echo the network of support from staff and instructors alike. We’d like to share some recent feedback from alumni that illustrate ACI’s commitment to excellence that goes beyond test scores, and shines through in the preparation and satisfaction of our former students relishing in their new careers.

One former alumnus, Diana Morales, illustrates just how well ACI helps prepare students for a new career:

“I just finished my internship after completing my course for dental assisting in ACI. I received great reviews from my internship, and I couldn’t have done it without all the ACI staff. They provided me with all the tools I needed to succeed. From the academics to advice and tips from the staff. Ms. Alvarez is an amazing instructor. I’m very thankful about the knowledge I acquired and I couldn’t be happier about having made the decision to attend ACI.”

These sentiments are echoed by the medical office specialist students, like Jessica Castagano, who also took the time to share her experience with our amazing staff:

“As a recent graduate of ACI, I cannot say enough about how wonderful the school and its staff are. I passed all three of my certification exams with flying colors, thanks to my excellent teacher Miss Sally. I know that if it were not for Sally, that my experience would not have been what it was. She is an intelligent and kind teacher, and made learning easier and the material very interesting.” She passed all three national certification exams: Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA), Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS), and Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS).

At ACI, we don’t just prepare students with the tools they need to be successful; we also prepare them with the skills they need to interview and acquire the career of their dreams. “The Career Services portion of the curriculum was also very helpful in preparing a professional resume and cover letter and knowing how to work job websites,” said Castagano. “Overall, I was very pleased with my experience, and would recommend the school to anyone looking to start a new career in the medical field.”

For those interested in speaking more with our alumni about their experiences, or just looking for more information about how ACI can help you on your way to a new career, please contact us today.


ACI Receives Honors for Medical Assistant Programs with Phlebotomy in New Jersey

Advantage Career Institute is proud to announce that it recently received recognition for being a top school for those aspiring for a career in phlebotomy from leading resource, The votes are in, and after being subject to rigorous testing and observation over a three-month period, Advantage Career Institute ranked as one of the top schools for those in training to be medical assistants and studying to become phlebotomists.

The criteria sets programs in over 30 states against one another to determine the best programs for developing a career; the programs are subjected to a comprehensive voting and rating period, according to Steve Roberts, the site’s founder. With over 1,000 programs nationwide in a field only destined to expand as more medical services are needed, this represents a considerable achievement for ACI, and a note to the impressive statistics boasted by the Institute, its educators, and most importantly, its students.

Schools were rated on who had the best network of support for current students, alumni and those searching for careers, and a vested involvement in their immediate community, and our Medical Assistant Programs with Phlebotomy continue to perform at the very top tier.

“All these programs have shown an immense dedication to helping change the lives of students for the better through their education and mentorship,” said Roberts. To read the full results, see the press release here.

To learn more about how ACI can help you with your career, speak with one of our alumni today.


Herpes Simplex Type 1: Cold Sores & Fever Blisters

Ms M. Alvarez CDA, RDA, BS

What Are Cold Sores and Fever Blisters? 

Cold sores and fever blisters are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). This virus is passed from person to person by saliva (either directly, or by drinking from the same glass or cup) or by skin contact. Cold sores usually appear as clusters of tiny blisters on the lip. About 8 out of 10 people have the virus that causes cold sores. Most people are first infected before they are 10 years old.

After this first infection, the virus remains dormant (inactive) in the nerves of the face. In some people, the virus becomes active again from time to time. When this happens, cold sores appear. HSV-1 can get active again because of a cold or fever.

Stress also can lead to a cold sore outbreak. This includes mental and emotional stress, as well as dental treatment, illness, trauma to the lips or sun exposure. HSV-1 also can infect the eyes, the skin of the fingers and the genitals. Most genital herpes infections are caused by herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2), however.

HSV-1 can cause serious illness in people who have other health problems. The virus also can cause serious illness in people whose immune systems are weakened by either illness or medicines they are taking.


People infected with HSV-1 for the first time may have fever, headache, nausea and vomiting. They may have painful swelling and open sores in the mouth. Some people have a sore throat. These symptoms usually begin about a week after someone is exposed to HSV-1.

Cold sores appear when HSV-1 is reactivated later in life. They may occur after a period of illness or stress, poor nutrition or sunlight exposure. Sometimes there’s no known reason. Dental procedures that stretch the lip may occasionally trigger the virus.

The border of the lip is the most common place that these sores appear. They may occasionally occur inside the mouth, too. This is more likely in people who have weakened immune systems or other medical problems.

The first sign of a cold sore is a tingling, burning or itching. This is followed by swelling and redness. Within 24 to 48 hours, one or more tiny blisters (“fever blisters”) appear. These blisters pop and form painful sores (“cold sores”). The sores eventually are covered by crusts, which look like scabs. The crusts are shed and form again while the sore heals.


Your dentist or physician usually can diagnose cold sores by asking you about your medical history and examining you. If you have other medical conditions, your physician may do other tests to diagnose cold sores. These tests are usually not necessary in healthy people.

Expected Duration:

When you are first infected with HSV-1, symptoms can last for 7 to 14 days. Cold sores usually crust within 4 days and heal completely within 8 to 10 days.


To help to prevent a first herpes infection in children do not let them be kissed by anyone who has cold sores, fever blisters or signs of a first herpes infection. However, HSV-1 is very common. Most children will be infected by the time they reach adulthood. Several different vaccines are being developed against HSV (types 1 and 2), but these appear to protect only people who have never been infected.

There is evidence that using sunscreen on your lips will prevent cold sores caused by sun exposure. Antiviral medicines may prevent cold sores from forming. In certain situations, your dentist or physician may prescribe these medicines. If you expect to encounter a known trigger, a medicine taken in advance can decrease the chance of a cold sore.


Some medicines can help cold sores heal faster. They also relieve pain and discomfort. The medicines are acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir) and valacyclovir (Valtrex). These drugs cannot get rid of the virus. You need to take them each time you can feel a cold sore coming on. Once you have blisters on your lip, the medicines will not help much.

These drugs also can stop cold sores from popping up in the first place. Some people take them when they know they will be under stress.

Keep the area clean and apply lip balm. Try not to touch the area. Do not pick at the crusts over the sores. Avoid kissing anyone while you have blisters and sores. Cold sores can spread through kissing and by sharing things that touch the lips and the skin around them, such as spoons, forks, glasses and towels.

When to Call a Professional:

Cold sores are common. They usually are not dangerous. If you have a weakened immune system (because of a disease, or because of medicines you take), HSV-1 can cause a serious illness. Call your dentist or physician right away if:

  • Lip or mouth sores persist longer than one week
  • The sores make it hard for you to talk or swallow
  • You develop a fever
  • You have a second outbreak of blisters

For more information on common oral health issues, look no further then our team of dental assistants, who are armed with the education they need to help provide resources like this to your community.

What Makes a Great Dental Assistant?

It is not an exaggeration when we say that a dental office is only as strong as its dental assistants. For the vast majority of the time, patients will spend more time with dental assistants than they do with the dentists themselves. Although being a dental assistant is challenging work, it is also rewarding. In the 2013 New Jersey Dental Assisting Survey, 76% (3% higher than the national average) of surveyed dental assistants in New Jersey said that would recommend dental assisting as an occupation, and nearly half of the assistants surveyed said that they regularly receive pay raises at fair intervals.

At Advantage Career Institute, we make sure that our students do not leave any money on the table. As one of the top dental assisting schools in NJ, we cover everything you need to be a great dental assistant.

So what exactly separates an average dental assistant from an outstanding assistant?

Being Able to Multitask Efficiently

As a dental assistant, you are expected to carry out a wide variety of tasks in the office.

On one hand, you are expected to prepare the office and patient for the dentist. This includes sterilizing instruments, preparing the treatment rooms, taking x-rays, and giving the doctor feedback on the status of the patient’s teeth.

There is also the active role an assistant plays in helping the dentist. A dental assistant must be able to hand the dentist the exact tools they need, and generally act as another pair of hands for the dentist.

Lastly, the dental assistant must be comfortable with some clerical work. Dental assistants will be working with a patient’s documents, charts, medical history, and more. The best dental assistants are organized and detail-orientated, ensuring that there is nothing misplaced or erroneous with a patient’s documents.

A Positive Personality

Dental assistants will deal with a variety of patients who come from many different walks of life. Being able to express compassion and empathy for their patients is essential for becoming a stellar dental assistant. The main feeling patients experience at a dentist’s office is fear—the job as a dental assistant is to relax these patients and alleviate their anxiety.

Being optimistic, thoughtful, and cheerful is therefore vital to successfully fulfilling the role of a dental assistant.

Being Prepared Everyday

Being prepared is more than just being alert and informed about the day’s patients. It is about having the strong foundation and understanding of the responsibilities of a dental assistant, so that you are able to unconsciously respond to situations in the correct manner.

This is why having a strong education program for dental assistant is a must. At Advantage Career Institute, our dental assistant school in New Jersey will make sure each and every one of our students are prepared to go through the most trying of problems faced by dental assistants. We have seen how our graduated students have excelled in their roles as dental assistants, and fully believe in the importance of our dental assistant program.

Congratulations to Medical Assistant Program Graduates 2013

All of us at Advantage Career Institute would like to congratulate our most recent graduates of the Medical Assistant Day Program. Our graduates have worked incredibly hard throughout the program, and we wish them all the best on their internships and careers.

Out of all the schools for a medical assistant in NJ, we believe that part of what makes Advantage Career Institute so special is the community you gain from it. In our medical assistant programs, not only do you receive the necessary curriculum, but you also receive a new family formed by your fellow classmates. We firmly believe that a strong community is incredibly important to the success and learning of each student, and are proud of each and every one of our graduates.

For all of our incoming freshmen, we look forward to helping you from the first day to the very last day of the program.
We hope everyone is enjoying the first few weeks of classes, and good luck in the coming weeks.

Is Becoming A Medical Assistant Right For You?

Advantage Career Institute is happy to see another round of program sessions well under way, and we are excited to foster another group of medical and dental students.

There have been especially good prospects for students enrolled in the medical assistant program. Last month, the United States Department of Labor declared the need for medical assistants to remain in high demand all the way until 2018, making it one of the steadiest occupations in the face of rising unemployment in most other industries. The prospects for medical assistants continue to look bright even past 2018, as demand for medical assistants is expected to grow by 31% by 2030.

The medical assistant occupation is unique in the sense that it offers individuals a high annual salary with flexible work hours, while requiring little education in comparison to occupations of a similar scope and benefits. Furthermore, unlike many general education schools that are lax on recruiting and job placement for their students, medical assisting programs on average place a great deal of importance on finding job placement or internships for their students. Medical assistant programs in NJ are notorious for working extremely hard to secure positions for their students following graduation, and this holds true for Advantage Career Institute.

Besides being a great occupation in itself, medical assisting has been noted as one of the best starting positions to advance into higher positions in the medical field. Many of our past students became highly passionate about the medical field after becoming a medical assistant, and went on to seek further education in specialized areas they wish to pursue.
If you would like to see how a medical assistant position would be for you, we have a wide variety of programs to accommodate your schedule. We have a day program and night program, both with an optional 100-hours internship aspect. Our day programs last 12 weeks, with evening programs lasting a bit longer at 29 weeks for completion. Regardless of which program you end up selecting, you will receive real life hands-on experience that will prepare you for the real life demands of being a medical assistant.

If being a medical assistant is not right for you, you may consider our dental x-ray license program, or medical billing and coding program. Both of these programs offer the same real-life curriculum and activities found in our medical assistant program but applied to these related but separate positions. In addition, you will receive the same vigilance and dedication we place on securing that next career step for all of our students.

New Jersey Tech Schools vs. Traditional Colleges – Which One Is Right?

As one of the leading New Jersey tech schools, our advisers receive a lot of questions from incoming students about the advantages and disadvantages of attending a tech school compared to a regular university. Both are excellent choices, depending the learning style and goals of the individual.

Even though America is in need of skilled domestic workers, in many ways, the traditional American education system does not adequately train the students. For most graduating high school students, the only available steps are to attend college, or to seek work right away. Although most students choose to attend college, for many individuals it is a struggle to stay engaged and interested in traditional college curriculum that focuses solely on theoretical learning and book learning. Given the limited availability of alternative life paths, large numbers of learners are dropping out of college and attempting to find work without having acquired any employable abilities.

In the past, high school graduates commonly had three paths to take: go to college, find work, or attend a technical school. However, due to changing societal pressures and trends, tech schools in NJ and the U.S. declined in number and traditional colleges became the main channel for recent graduates.

However, in many other regions technical schools are still predominant paths for graduates. In all of the European Union, almost half of all teenagers are enrolled full time in career schools much like the career schools in NJ. Career schools allow those who thrive in environments outside of the classroom the chance to develop skills to become successful.

The learning that can be gained from traditional colleges can be extremely valuable from those who learn well in those environments. However, for learners who succeed when utilizing hands-on, real world practices may consider tech schools in New Jersey as a more compatible choice.

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