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In today’s society, more and more people are aware of health issues that they have and what needs to be done to control those issues. Although some conditions need a pharmaceutical solution, it’s not always necessary. And often, if the pharmaceutical route can be avoided, it’s best to avoid it. Few medications come without side effects. Additionally, becoming tolerant to a medication that might be necessary later is not ideal.

This has resulted in an increase in non-pharma treatments that can provide people with a helping hand. Many people, for example, have issues of concentration and focus. Although this is on the ADHD spectrum, they might rightly be uncomfortable with stimulants. So instead of going the pharmaceutical route, they might benefit from supplements such as iron or Omega-3.

Similarly, people with depression may find anti-depressants unpleasant. Many find that St John’s Wort or tryptophan work better for them. People with digestive issues may find that they benefit more from herbal teas and supplements than from harsh antacids. All of this has created a strong, competitive market in herbal supplements. Which is certainly a boon on one front, but is it all for the best?

Are Regulations Allowing Dishonesty?

In a majority of cases, pharmaceutical drugs will not come to market until they have been tested extensively. Although some exceptions have slipped through the net, existing regulations catch a lot more. Where the issue seems to be arising for some is in the dietary supplement and health food market. Because these aren’t medicines in the strictest sense, they aren’t regulated in the same way.

That approach is hard to argue with, from a regulatory point of view. Of course, pharma-grade medications need to be seen with a firmer gaze. Doctors will be prescribing them, and there is also a natural extra level of trust that is given to them. There is, then, a gap between what we call medicine and what we use for the good of our health. If this gap is exploited in the wrong way, it can be bad for us.

For the avoidance of doubt, the FDA treats supplements as being in the “food” category of its food and drug purview. This means that supplements pass as “safe” unless they are proven otherwise. However, the FDA will challenge companies that make false claims for their produces.

This is the case for health food and for supplements. The recent Hampton Creek news story is one example of where the FDA has requested that a company change its naming approach. This is a relatively benign example and illustrates how the FDA offers guidance to companies. However, companies that make inaccurate claims for their products will face sterner challenges.

What Does This Mean For Supplement Providers?

Companies who make supplements with purported health benefits do not, strictly speaking, need FDA approval to do so. However, there is an issue of credibility involved in the sale of health foods. Without FDA approval, it is more difficult to widely sell a product with claims for health benefits. Health food stores and companies with a wide reach are naturally going to favor products with this credibility.

In order to gain approval, a provider will need to demonstrate the claims they make are accurate. It may sound impressive to claim that a product gives improved muscle mass in just a week. But if this claim is not provable, the company will not get FDA clearance to say it on the label. Without that clearance, the product is automatically less attractive in the marketplace.

For any company looking to sell foods or supplements with a range of health benefits, then, the choice is clear. You can shoot for the moon with bold claims about what the product will do. This will not be cleared by the FDA and will render your product more of a novelty item. Or you can research the benefits of your product and see what it really can do, and benefit from the regulator’s approval.

How Is That Working Out?

In truth, with the limits that exist on the FDA’s power in the food and supplement market, there is only so much it can do. Without the power to ban companies from making claims, or to take products off the shelves, it has less sway than may be ideal. It doesn’t take much time online to find companies selling treatments with outlandish claims. These can range from boasts about reversing the ageing process to boosting sexual prowess.

The FDA is not in a place to prevent these products from being sold nor to restrict the claims being made. What it does have power to do is withhold regulatory approval. This is why such products end up being advertised online in ways which most potential customers will distrust. People will still end up purchasing them, but in much reduced numbers than if they were widely stocked in stores.

For some people, this will naturally be viewed as disappointing. The truth of the matter is that in a free market, regulators will be limited in their scope. Giving them the power to take products off shelves or to dictate what someone can print on a label is difficult. Many people would see it as a restraint of free trade. So is it better that at least the FDA can have some sort of power to dictate credibility?

In the long run, the supplements that we come to trust are the ones which have been widely used and found credible. While some products will continue to be sold on the grounds of unsupported claims, their reach in the market is at least limited.

And what does all this mean for the consumer? Put simply, the decision is yours when it comes to choosing a supplement based on the claims of its manufacturers. We can choose to see for ourselves whether a product does what it says on the bottle. But when there is an option that has already been tested, why risk wasting time and money on something that may be a simple con?

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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Everything You Need to Know About Nursing and Becoming a Nurse

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critical-care-nurse

Nursing is an excellent career because you can start off your working life as a nurse or transfer your career into nursing at any time. It is challenging, but there is enough role variation between the nursing types that you can find the right pace and the right role for you, almost guaranteed.

Not everyone can make it as a nurse, of course, but if you have a passion for helping people and an interest in healthcare or the sciences, then nursing can be the perfect route for you. Unlike with doctors, you can get started as a nurse very quickly and then study while you work.

This makes nursing far more accessible than becoming a physician or a doctor and nursing itself has come such a long way from its early days. For example, though physicians and doctors themselves have existed as a role in one way or another for the entirety of human history, nurses, as we know them today, really only began as a profession in the mid-1800s, and even then, nursing education was still almost a hundred years away.

The first university-led nursing degree started in 1909, but it wasn’t until 1923 that the Goldman Report was published, which espoused the benefit of having more nurses university trained.

This is what led to the Associate’s Degree in Nursing, which, though it still exists today, is being widely phased out for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Even though many reports noted the benefits of BSN-trained nurses, it wasn’t until 2010 that the industry began to shift.

Nurse practitioner and master’s programs also only began from the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies, yet they have become one of the most integral roles in society. There is a large physician shortage, and it is the Family-Nurse Practitioner that is filling that shortage.

MSN-prepared nurses are becoming increasingly visible and important in healthcare. With this importance comes very high wages and a great range of workplace options both within healthcare settings and in unique settings like movie sets or on research expeditions.

Nursing as a Career in 2021

Nursing is a big commitment; to become an APRN and open up the largest number of opportunities, you need to achieve a BSN and an MSN at minimum. You can, of course, go further and either earn a post-master’s certificate to specialize as a new type of APRN or further your career with a Doctorate degree.

There is an increasing push as well for greater levels of education. Currently, there is a goal of reaching 80% RNs holding a BSN degree instead of the associate degree in Nursing (ADN), and many states also have a ten-year law, where nursing with an ADN needs to have achieved the BSN within a certain timeframe.

Overall, this means that your career as a nurse is going to require a significant amount of study. However, you don’t need to take time off from work to do this, as many top degree options today are available online, with few exceptions. These exceptions include your clinical placement and occasionally a residency period designed to allow you to physically meet your peers and educators.

The good news is that nursing is on the up.

One of the most important factors to keep in mind is that nursing is currently facing a shortage, and retiring nursing poses a huge threat in the future. Current estimates assume that, around the world, there will be a shortage by 2030 of around 6 million nurses. A huge bulk of this shortage will be due to nurses retiring by the end of the decade.

Though this doesn’t bode well for society, it does mean that you are extremely likely to find work within the first few months of graduation and upon completing your licensing exam. It also means greater investment and opportunities for new nurses than ever before.

To help you understand the current nursing shortage, know that there are typically only 12 nurses per 1000 people on average in the United States. At best, for instance, in states like Wyoming, there are only 19.86 nurses on average per 1000 people.

Even the biggest and most well-off states like California are facing nursing shortages.

Shortages typically mean higher wages and greater investment and push for more nurses and higher nursing education. This is a great environment to be in when it comes to building your career as a nurse, as not only does it make it more favorable for your career, but it is also one of the best ways that you can work to make a significant difference for the quality of life for all Americans – or, alternatively citizens of the country where you are currently residing.

Nursing isn’t all about the shortages, either. Family Nurse Practitioners, for example, are one of the best job roles in the world. FNPs are in the top 4 best jobs in healthcare and in the top 5 best jobs overall. They work to offset the physician shortage (expected to reach as high between 55,00 to 139,000 by 2030), can often manage their own clinic, and generally enjoy both increased privileges and better work/life balance.

Understanding the state of the nursing career is the best place to get started, as having a realistic understanding of what you are getting into and what will be involved is the best way to power through and manage your expectations.

Becoming an APRN is not a race; it’s a marathon, and there are a lot of different routes to get there.

The Nursing Career Paths

You can jump right into nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or you can work your way up with certificates that allow you to work in healthcare environments and then start investing in further education.

Indirect Nursing Career Path

You don’t need to earn a BSN before starting your nursing career. However, this is the best option if you currently don’t have a job and need to start earning money, as the first step as a Certified Nursing Assistant only requires a few weeks of training, and then you can get started as a CNA.

Certified Nursing Assistant

Certified Nursing Assistants provide a lot of holistic and supportive care and work underneath Registered Nurses. CNAs are found in hospitals and in care homes. They change out bedpans, give sponge baths, and work to keep patients comfortable and dignified. Though it may seem like the work is grueling, the work you will be doing as a CNA will directly impact patients’ quality of life. 

The CNA program only takes a few weeks to complete, and once you pass the state exam, you will start applying to roles.

Licensed Nurse Practitioner

The Licensed Nurse Practitioner is one step down from Registered Nurses. Becoming an LNP takes around six months, after which you will also need to pass the state exam. Licensed Nurse Practitioners have many more advanced roles, but once again, the work is primarily holistic, working to keep patients comfortable, clean, and safe. You will work underneath RNs and also provide a lot of supportive work.

Technically you don’t need to become an LNP to become an RN. Instead, you can study for your BSN degree while working as a CNA, and after you graduate and pass the state exam, you can skip the LNP role entirely.


The reason why you would want to become an LNP is for the higher wages, and also the experience. This option is particularly useful if you don’t have the time or a financial barrier to earning your BSN.  

Registered Nurse

There are still two ways to become an RN. The first is with a BSN. This option is the best one, as the Associate’s Degree in Nursing is being phased out, and you cannot progress to an MSN with an ADN.

Of course, there are still instances where you may prefer to earn the ADN. For example, it only takes two years to earn the Associate’s degree instead of four. By earning your ADN first, you can then become an RN, earn a higher wage, and then continue with an accelerated BSN degree (available to ADN-holders).

 

Direct Nursing Career Path


If you currently already have a job or at least have the security to earn a degree without working alongside your education, then you can earn a BSN right from the bat. This degree will include clinical placements, and there are many designed for non-nurses. This means that there is a direct path to becoming an RN. Overall, it will be faster, as you skip several different levels of nursing while simultaneously preparing for your MSN and furthering your nursing career.

Advancing Your Nursing Career: The MSN

Though there are a few different routes, the actual process of becoming an RN is straightforward. Where choice comes back into play is with your MSN. There are multiple different types of MSN degrees, and each will help you specialize in a specific area of medicine.

The Types of APRN


There are four general types of APRN roles, but even within these types, there are numerous sub-types. A nurse practitioner, for example, can socialize with a variety of different patients. NPs can specialize in family practice, women’s health, mental health, pediatrics, and more. The same applies to Clinical Nurse Specialists, who often specialize in a specific area of medicine like oncology.

The four main types of APRN are:

  1. Nurse Practitioners
  2. Clinical Nurse Specialists
  3. Nurse Midwives
  4. Nurse Anesthetists

Choosing the Right Degree

It can be difficult to decide which degree, and therefore which career path, is right for you. Taking time after earning your BSN to explore the types of medicine and which patients you are most passionate about treating is the best way forward.

Do take the initiative. See if you can work in different departments you are interested in and invest in medical journals or nursing journals to help you explore your interests and help you find your passion.

It isn’t the end of the world if you “choose wrong”. In fact, there is no such thing because even if you don’t choose the perfect career path, you can always certify in a new direction, only this time coming with a more diverse background that can actually help improve your career prospects.

Certifying for New Positions

There are many choices on where you can take your nursing career, but the good news is that you aren’t entirely stuck with the degree you work towards. You may start off as a clinical nurse specialist or even an emergency nurse practitioner and decide that it isn’t what you want to continue doing for the rest of your life after some years.

The steps to switch careers in nursing isn’t easy, but it is doable thanks to post-master’s certificates. You can go from working as a CNS-RN and becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner with a top online post master’s FNP certificate, for example, and have a new certification in two years or less.

Post master’s FNP certificates are incredibly popular because of how much autonomy FNPs have. In many states, you can start and even manage a primary care clinic yourself, meaning that you will be the primary point of care for families in your community. With so few nurses per 1000 people in every state and a physician shortage, this is the best way to advance your career while helping more people and yet still enjoying a higher wage and remaining in control of your work/life balance.

Your Nursing Career

Nursing is one of the most important, most trusted, and at for APRNs, one of the highest paying careers you can get involved in. Yes, there is a lot of education and training involved, but most online degrees today are designed for working professionals. With an entire industry helping support you and a country worth of people who need you, nursing can be the perfect career choice for you.

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The Way We Have Exercised Has Changed

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2020 taught the world that if anything matters, it’s health. This revelation led to a huge boost in the number of people making their health and wellbeing a priority, which also led to a huge change in how many people chose to exercise. 

As a society, we underwent many societal changes in 2020 thanks to the ongoing pandemic, but it’s not just these changes that occurred, the way that the majority of people stay in shape has also changed. 

Lockdowns meant that more people than ever before were forced to workout at home, due to no access to gyms or other sports facilities. This caused a significant shift in the fitness landscape, with the way in which people choose to exercise transforming beyond recognition. 

In 2021, there have been even more shifts in terms of how people are choosing to workout and stay in shape – the culture of fitness has changed significantly. Experts in fitness are predicting even greater changes over the next few years in terms of how we exercise. 

What are the fitness trends of 2021 and how have they changes the landscape of fitness post-pandemic? 

Home fitness has become popular 

While gyms have reopened in some locations, there has been a continued trend of home fitness. Many people are actively choosing to continue working out from home, rather than returning to the gym – with more consumers than ever before choosing to invest in working out from home. 

Home gyms are a popular option:

Home gyms have become increasingly popular. More households than previously seen have built gyms in their homes. OnePoll revealed that 75% of people – out of 2000 people questioned – believe staying fit at home is easier and more convenient than working out outside of the home. 

For people who have found home workouts to be effective during the pandemic, a high number are still choosing to continue working out from home. Many people have chosen to build full gyms in their homes, whereas others have simply chosen to invest in key pieces of workout equipment, such as heavy duty resistance bands for home use, for instance. 

It is possible to get a great workout without the need for overly expensive workout equipment. According to experts, all it takes is a pair of dumbbells and some exercise bands, and you can make getting in shape more accessible and more affordable. 

Apps are a strong contender: 

For many people, home workout apps, such as the Fiit app, are a popular choice for making it easier to stay in shape while at home. These apps are designed to offer a wide range of workouts, from high intensity workouts to meditation-based yoga and pilates, there’s something for every fitness level and ability. That is one of the reasons why these apps have become so popular. 

Many people also opt to utilise free home workout tutorials offered on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. 

Holistic fitness has become increasingly popular 

With the pandemic came a strong emphasis on the importance of self-care and taking care of mental fitness, and from that came an interest in holistic fitness. 

A surge of interest in the health of the mind, as well as the body, has meant that when it comes to fitness, more people than ever before are approaching it as a whole body experience. This has meant that more people than ever before are focusing on restorative fitness activities, rather than focusing on the most intense and high-paced activities. 

Yoga has become popular: 

As a tool for bridging the gap between physical fitness and mental fitness, yoga has become increasingly popular. 

What’s fascinating about yoga is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all activity; there are various different types and levels of yoga. From restorative, gentle yoga or faster paced yoga for fitness, so there’s an option for every ability and fitness level. 

Fitness apps often have a lot of varying yoga tutorials to choose from. Many also offer combined activities such as barre, which is a combination of ballet and yoga designed to boost fitness and flexibility. 

Virtual fitness is more popular than ever 

What started as a result of the need for physical distancing during the pandemic, has become a popular trend. Virtual fitness consulting and classes started out as an answer to lockdowns, but has now become the preferred method for working out for many people, and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. 

The apps that offer virtual workouts are exceedingly popular, especially the apps that offer 24/7 access to recorded workouts. The convenience of being able to workout whenever is best for individuals is part of the reason that this concept has become so popular. 

Many people are also part of virtual workout groups, either on Facebook or groups run by personal trainers via Whatsapp. These kinds of groups create a sense of community and are useful for motivating and encouraging people to remain on track when it comes to their fitness schedules, which is partially why they’re so popular. 

Video game fitness is a new tool

The video gaming industry has jumped on the fitness trend by choosing to change the way many games are played. Many video games can now be played using the body as the controller, in a move to encourage gamers to become more physically active and boost their health and wellbeing. 

Movement can be used as the main controller for many video games, with an increasing number of people choosing to play games where their body is used as the controller, rather than using a traditional controller system. 

There is no doubt about it, the pandemic has significantly changed the world’s approach to staying active and working out. There have been a number of societal shifts as a result of needing to remain physically distant from others, and the fitness industry has undergone a huge one. The way people choose to workout has changed, with many people choosing to continue to exercise in a way that is linked to lockdown exercising. 

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Digitisation of medicine: better digital medical devices

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The digitalisation of the economy has not only been responsible for changing people’s consumption trends. In addition, this transformation process has extended to sectors of the economy such as medicine, driving the development of advanced medical devices.  

In the last two years, the digitisation of the medical sector has undergone a significant deepening as a result of new technologies and the advent of the pandemic. With the need to stay at home for as long as possible, valuable medical equipment such as the Digital Stethoscope has been developed.

Through remote auscultation, patients have the possibility of receiving medical care and monitoring their health from the comfort of home. Without a doubt, this type of digital medical equipment represents a major breakthrough in the digitisation of medicine.

What are digital medical devices?

Digital medical devices are equipment specially designed to monitor and evaluate the health status of patients remotely. In this way, medical staff can receive data, images, videos and audios about certain parts of the body that need to be analysed during a medical consultation.

Thanks to digital medical devices, specialists and their patients can create integral communication spaces, taking the concept of telemedicine to a new level. In recent years, outstanding remote care equipment such as the digital stethoscope, digital otoscope, as well as pocket electrocardiograms have been developed.

Digital stethoscope

The digital stethoscope is a very useful medical device, especially in a context of social distancing. It is a medical equipment that allows the auscultation of the patient to be carried out remotely and efficiently.

Medical staff can wirelessly connect the digital stethoscope to their mobile phone and receive the audio signal of the patient’s auscultation. Likewise, patients simply connect the stethoscope to a wifi signal that allows them to send the signals to their doctor remotely.

 The vast majority of models use mobile applications to receive, store and send the patient’s auscultation.

Digital otoscope

Another of the best medical devices to hit the market in recent times has been the digital otoscope. Through this home medicine doctor, patients are able to obtain high-resolution images that allow doctors to check the condition of the eardrum.

It is a remote, fully portable solution that is characterised by high image quality and ease of use. The best models come with specula of different sizes that can be adapted to the individual patient in a versatile way.

From the comfort of a mobile phone, doctors can view the images and videos taken by the digital stethoscope and make a diagnosis from anywhere in the world with Internet access.

The digitisation of medicine is an incredible process of transformation that makes advanced tools available to the public to facilitate remote medical care. From the comfort of your own home, it is possible to receive a medical consultation quickly, easily and safely.  

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