Author Archives Michael Broek

At Home Wound Care

April 8, 2020
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Wound care for minor cuts, burns, or abrasions can be done at home with only a few supplies. Ensure that there are no other injuries (ie broken bones) before attending to the wound. For any minor wound, your first steps to care should look like this:

Step 1: Wash or disinfect your hands before handling any wound, especially another person’s. This helps prevent infections.

Step 2: Assess the wound. Is this something you should leave to a medical professional? If it is less than half an inch long, or deep, go to a doctor. If any of the following are true, seek medical attention:

  • Bleeding comes in spurts or you cannot stop the bleeding with applying gentle pressure. 
  • The wound has jagged edges, is deep or gaping, or is across a joint
  • You have a bite from an animal or human
  • Your wound is very dirty or was imposed by a dirty object 
  • You develop redness and swelling and/or a fever—and/or you experience numbness and loss of mobility in the wounded body part.
  • The wound is on your face 
  • You are not up to date on your tetanus vaccines 

Step 3: If you have determined that it does not require medical attention, proceed by cleaning it. (After you have stopped the bleeding). To do this, you should first rinse the wound in clean water, removing any dirt or debris. If you need to, use alcohol sterilized tweezers to remove any pebbles or dirt that is lodged within the wound. Using sterilized gauze, or a washcloth use mild soap and water to gently clean around the wound, taking care not to get soap inside. There is no need to use hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol, which can harm healthy cells needed for healing. For a burn, hold it under cool water for 10-15 minutes, or hold a cold cloth on it.

Step 4: Apply a thin layer an antibiotic cream or ointment to promote healing and prevent infection.

Step 5: Dress the wound. Not all wounds will need to be covered, but any wound that is large, or in a place where it could get dirty or rub against your clothes (hands, feet, knees). Some may only require a bandaid, while larger wounds may require a cohesive bandage. A bandaid can be applied directly to the wound. For a cohesive bandage, you will need to place a gauze sponge on the wound (with ointment) and gently wrap the cohesive around to keep the gauze in place and to keep it clean. All dressings should be changed every 24 hours or when it gets wet or dirty. 

Once you have cared for the wound, watch out for any of the following symptoms as it could mean your wound is infected: 

  • Increased pain, redness or swelling
  • Skin around the wound feels warm
  • Unpleasant odor when cleaning the wound
  • Increased drainage or pus
  • Fever or chills

If you experience any of these symptoms following a wound, seek medical attention immediately. 

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Coronavirus 2020: Risks, Precautions, & Facts

February 27, 2020
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Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the CDC’s director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said the virus, called COVID-19 (Coronavirus), is “rapidly evolving and spreading” and that “successful containment at U.S. borders is becoming problematic.” She warned U.S citizens and local communities to prepare for “disruption to everyday life” in the case of a pandemic. As of Feb. 26, there are only 14 cases in the U.S. and 12 were travel-related. With that being said, individual risk is dependent on exposure, and is considered low for those who have not traveled to China recently.

What is Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a virus strain, identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals, including camels, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread, such as was seen with Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2014 and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and is now being seen with COVID-19.

How is it spread? (All information is directly from the CDC)

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in Hubei province and other parts of China. In the United States, spread from person-to-person has occurred only among a few close contacts and has not spread any further to date.

What are the Symptoms?

For confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms can include (CDC):

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Precautions to Take:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Stay home if you are ill (except to visit a health care professional) and avoid close contact with others.
  • Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel.
  • Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and clean their hands often by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%–95% alcohol. 

Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask.

  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Face Masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a healthcare facility).

There is a lot of misinformation out there, make sure to get updates and information about the Coronavirus from reliable sources like the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and Department of Health, which is where all information in this article was pulled from. You can get an updated report of the situation in the US here. It is important that we band together as people, with the common interest of public and global health, rather than fear-mongering and spreading false information. While yes, a new, fast moving virus can be scary, at this time you are far more likely to get the common flu. Take the precautions above to avoid all illnesses in this season, know your facts, and stay healthy.

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Empathy at the Core

October 9, 2018
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in Blog

What is empathy?

Empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” It is recognizing someone’s fears, frustrations, and feelings and feeling with them. In other words, it is putting yourself in another’s shoes. Empathy is often confused with sympathy, but the distinction is important. Sympathy is when you have an emotional response to a person’s suffering, but you do not try to understand and feel their pain. With sympathy, you may feel sad for that person, but there is still a kind of detachment that is not present with empathy. Empathy is more of a skill rather than simply an emotional response, one that can be learned and improved upon over time. Those in healthcare can use empathetic understanding to provide the most effective, individualized care for each patient.  

What does empathy look like in healthcare, and how can you ensure it is at the core of your practice?

Empathy in healthcare is identifying how a person really feels, seeing the situation through their eyes, and making an informed decision about the best treatment plan. Taking into account the uniqueness of each patient, and their individual needs and concerns ensures that you are able to provide them with the best possible solution. Understand the patients fears and frustrations in order to understand how best to help them. Keep in mind that how a person is really feeling is displayed just as much in a person’s nonverbal communication, body language, and demeanor as in what they say. Pay attention to more than just what they say to tune into how they are truly feeling. Empathy in healthcare requires attentive listening and being open to criticism and feedback. Have patients take an outpatient survey, and take how you made your patient feel seriously. It is true that people come to the doctor for a solution to the problem, but they also want to feel heard, listened to, and respected. The key, simply put, is to give the patient your whole attention.

Does an empathetic approach really improve patient outcome?

Studies confirm, yes! You can check out a few of them here. The numerous studies that explore how empathy affects healthcare attest to just how many people are recognizing its importance and relativity. How you make your patients feel does matter. Being treated by someone who has really taken the time to understand your situation improves your satisfaction with your care, and in turn can improve your attitude and motivation to commit to your health. Higher patient compliance and satisfaction is not the only upside of an empathetic approach to healthcare. The business side of this approach is just as rewarding. According to a survey conducted by Software Advice, 72% of patients used online reviews as a first step to seeking providers. 91% of patients reported to be “moderately likely” to choose one similarly qualified doctor over another based on positive reviews. Higher patient satisfaction leads to more positive reviews, which has a high potential for more patients. Additionally, research has shown that an increase in empathy shown by healthcare providers leads to a tangible increase in trust. Trust between patient and physician is a critical component of successful treatment. The tendency to detach can come easily for many in a field where you see suffering, and discomfort every day. Showing and feeling empathy day in and day out is not easy, but when the stress of poor health is met with empathy and understanding, the outcome is guaranteed to be better for both the patient and the healthcare provider.

Using Empathy Well

A final aspect of empathy to understand is that it does not look the same in every situation. It is important to recognize that since a large part of empathy is understanding how a person feels, there is no “one size fits all” response. For example, if someone feels vulnerability or shame, they will most likely not respond well to gentle compassion that can be mistaken for pity. In this situation, it may be more conducive to approach the situation with strength, positivity, and a sense of action. While people always need to be understood and listened to, not everyone needs that tenderness that is often associated with empathy. This is what makes empathy such a skill, the need to be so in tune with another person’s inner feelings. It is even more so about what they do not say, as what they say. True empathy utilizes emotional and nonverbal cues to achieve the most accurate understanding of a person’s feelings. While it takes practice, focus, and engagement, empathy is such a worthwhile trait to develop and make a part of every day practice.


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How you can use Colors to Improve Patient Experience

June 28, 2018
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in Blog

How can the colors used in the waiting room influence patient attitude?

It’s no secret that going to the doctor is not at the top of most people’s list of fun activities. Whether a patient is sick or healthy, it can cause anxiety and is often considered an inconvenience. What if the colors used in the waiting room could ease stress and anxieties, and promote feelings of wellbeing and peace? Can colors do all that? Color is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and even influence physiological reactions. The psychological power of color should not be overlooked. Colors can improve healing, calm nerves, and lift spirits. Additionally, choosing colors that go well together and create an aesthetically pleasing space is equally important. Colors are somewhat subjective, due to cultural differences, personal preference for some colors over others, and environment. People have learned associations with color as well as innate ones. However, innate reactions to color are much more universal and physiological. Each color has certain associations and ways it affects a person’s mood and emotions.

Blue symbolizes peace, tranquility, the sky, and the ocean. It is a calming color, but it can also be seen as cold. Warmer blues are relaxing without being too frigid and cold.

Red is a stimulant, and often is associated with irritability or anger and raises heart rate and gets adrenaline pumping. It would generally not be considered a wise choice for an environment that is supposed to be calming or comforting.

Yellow is the most difficult color for the eye to take in. It is considered a happy, sunshine-y color, but can be overwhelming, or associated with sickness. Studies have shown that people are more likely to lose their temper in overpowering yellow environments.

Orange is an energetic color that evokes excitement and innovation.

Purple is associated with luxury and sophistication. However, it is rarely found in nature so it is able to have an artificial feeling.

Green symbolizes earth and is an abundant color in nature. It is the easiest color to take in and can be used to warm up a room, or also to provide a fresh, grounding look.

Warm colors are more comforting, cozy, and uplifting. Another thing to consider is that rooms painted with warmer colors give the perception that the room is warmer. With waiting rooms often being on the colder side, warmer colors may even be able to increase comfortability with the temperature. Balance is key when designing a waiting room that is comforting and makes being at the doctor a little more bearable. Too much of one color can veer away from the mood you are trying to create and can become overbearing. With all the innovative ways to try and improve patient experience, the use of color is a simple way to help create the best visits for your patients.



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Physician Burnout: What, How, and What to do About it

May 17, 2018
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Self Care for those in healthcare

Have you ever heard the saying you have to take care of yourself before you can care for others? This phrase rings true for everyone, maybe even more so for physicians and those in healthcare. The stress, pressure, and high exposure to trauma that physicians face can be taxing in a way that most people cannot understand. With the intense hours and long days, little time is left for physicians to process and deal with feelings, let alone to rest, relax, and spend time with loved ones. For doctors, stakes are high and there is little room for error. Physicians cannot afford the luxury of simply showing up to work and mindlessly cruising through the day. They need to be present, engaged, and tuned in. The suicide rate for physicians is higher than any other profession. Many who are struggling with mental health issues, which contribute to the high suicide rate, avoid getting help because of the fear of judgement and stigma. As said by Dr. Adam Hill, “Many physicians fear that showing vulnerability will lead to professional repercussions, judgment, or reduced opportunities. My experience has been that the benefits of living authentically far outweigh the risks.”

What is burnout?

The difference between stress and burnout, is that stress is something you can recover from shift to shift. Burnout, on the other hand, is a deeper and more ongoing issue, where you are not able to just recover between shifts.There are 3 key characteristics that define burnout: physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. It is a continuance of emotional exhaustion that affects not only most aspects of one’s work, but also mental health and home life. The stress and burnout health care professionals experience can also lead to compassion fatigue and depersonalization. This means you become callous towards patients and can neglect to see their value as human beings.

How can you recognize when you are burning out?

When your energy accounts drop into negative balance, most physicians react by going into “survival mode” at work. You put your head down and try to grind through the work on autopilot, just trying to make it through the day. Being in this “survival mode” is a clear mark that you are well into burnout. At this point, it is important that you find ways to pull yourself out of this rut and to find things that bring you joy. Luckily, there are ways to care for yourself amidst a busy work schedule that can reduce the risk or burnout, or help you recover. While this list is not exhaustive, and burnout recovery is often a process, this list highlights some of the most important and doable strategies for self care.

Self care strategies:

  • Surround yourself with people who know you, love you, and care about you. Create a network of people who can keep you accountable and check in on you.
  • Keep your work-life balance in check: Your work shouldn’t be taking over every aspect of your life. There should be time for activities you enjoy and to spend time with family and friends.
  • Seek additional help and training that allows you to better cope with the emotional nature of your work
  • Work to improve communication and management skills
  • Recognize when you need to take a step back, and do so

Self care serves as a way to minimize and manage  burnout, compassion fatigue, and overall feelings of being overwhelmed and overworked. When a physician or healthcare professional cares for him or herself, it is not only beneficial to the individual, but to the workplace, and the patients. This is a reminder for all healthcare providers: take time for you. Yes, your patients need you, but they need the best version of you. That version requires upkeep, rest, and self care.

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4 Tips to ease medical tape removal

April 19, 2018
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in Blog

The most painful part of your recovery shouldn’t be removing your medical tape. The stickiness and persistent adhesiveness is what makes it so effective when it comes to protecting an injury, but it’s also what makes it kind of a pain in the butt to remove once it’s done its job.

Before trying any of these tricks it is important to understand your injury and what is and isn’t an option for you. If you have an unhealed wound, use extra caution when removing the tape so as to not cause any more pain or damage.

4 Tips for removing medical tape as painlessly as possible:

  1. Put baby oil around the edges, and let it soak in. The tape will be easier to peel off without and won’t stick to the skin nearly as much.
  2. Rubbing alcohol is another great way to reduce pain when removing medical tape. Unless you have an open wound, then stay away from this one as it will likely burn if it gets into the wound.
  3. Take a warm wet washcloth and place it over the tape for 10-15 minutes, and slowly peel the tape back. If it is still to sticky, rewarm to cloth and try again.
  4. Take a long bath, effectively soaking the taped area. It should be a bit soggy and less adhesive, making it easier to peel off.

May your wounds heal well, and your bandages come off painlessly!


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7 Unique ways to use Cohesive Bandage

March 7, 2018
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in Blog

Use it as a sweatband

When you’re tearing up the court or the course, you may find that your sweaty palms have a hard time gripping the racket/club. Don’t let that affect your game, wrap the handle in cohesive bandage for a sweat resistant grip. Along with the functionality comes the possibility of spicing up your game with fun colors and patterns.

For pet injuries

The bandage won’t stick to skin or fur, but will stay secure for as long as needed. There’s so much room for creativity and innovation, make your pet the coolest at the park with fun colors and cool designs. Ideal for dogs, cats, and horses.

Dog calmer

Believe it or not, cohesive bandage can be used to create a calming harness for your dog. Does your dog get nervous around fireworks, or new people? This wrapping style hits key pressure points that relieve anxiety and calm the nerves. It’s super simple and your pet will likely be thankful for the comforting stress reliever.


As long as you aren’t prone to embarrassment, cohesive bandage work great as a sweatband. They won’t stick to your hair and they’re sweat resistant. As an added bonus, if you’re playing against someone they may be distracted by how stupid you look, giving you the upper hand.

Tattoo care

Cohesive bandage can be used to protect new tattoos. Since it won’t stick to the skin, it won’t irritate or damage the new tattoo, but it will stay secure and keep dirt and sunlight off.

Keep shin-guards up

Have you ever been trying to enjoy your child’s soccer game but the poor kid keeps fiddling with their shin guards? They just won’t stay up! Come to the rescue with cohesive bandage. Wrap the shin-guard against the calf a few times with the bandage. It is helpful to do a few wraps on the top and a few on the bottom for best results. As a seasoned soccer player myself, I can say that this trick came in handy for many, many games.

Artwork for kids

CoEase can be used to create cool designs and pictures. It’s a unique and cost effective way to spark your child’s creativity in a way that isn’t messy or hard to clean up. A little canvas can easily be made, and shapes and objects can be cut out and stuck right to the canvas itself. With the variety of unique colors that Tempo offers, the possibilities are endless!

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What can stethoscopes learn from orchestras?

January 29, 2018
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in Blog

Brass vs aluminum

The stethoscope is carefully designed to amplify the sounds of the inner body, usually the lungs or the heart in order to detect any irregularities. Due to the functions of the stethoscope, it is clear that optimal clarity is of the utmost importance. The majority of stethoscope chest-pieces are made of either aluminum, stainless steel, or chrome plated brass, but today, we’re here to talk about brass specifically.

What makes brass so special?

Well, think about it, what are the majority of orchestra instruments made of? Brass. There has to be a reason for this, but why? Brass is the product of mixing together zinc and copper, which produces the most genuine sound, rich tones, and generates an acoustically superior sound to other materials. Brass picks up low frequencies, since brass instruments sound comes from differing vibrations of the player’s lips. Centuries of using brass sections for instruments has proven to deliver the most reliable and vibrant sounds of any other medium. Orchestras are revered for their brilliant, vivid music played by their brass instruments. So, the question really shouldn’t be “why brass?” But “why not brass?”

Experience the superior acoustic quality of brass for yourself:

 Dual Head Stethoscopes 

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