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“Nurse Instinct” Creates Real-Life Heroes

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 6:13 am

If you're currently a student in one of Unitek College's nursing programs, a lot of what you're learning may feel like class work at the moment. Assignments, homework, studying-all working together towards the goal of a good grade and a successfully completed licensing exam. But what you might not realize is how much that class work is forever changing your instincts, because once you're a nurse, you're always a nurse, even when the shift is over.

Take, for example, the story of Abigail Bamber, a 26-year old nurse in Bristol, U.K., who recently saved the life of a stabbing victim while on her way home from shopping. Abigail was currently off-duty and riding in a friend's car, taking some much needed time off in celebration of her 26th birthday, when she spotted a man "stumbling across the road".

While many would have just continued driving, or assumed someone else would handle the problem, Abigail instead had her friend pull over-just as the 41-year old man collapsed. Despite his being "soaked in blood", Abigail instinctively began CPR, successfully helping the man resume breathing and, in the process, saving his life.

(The entire incident was caught on a cell phone video, which you can watch here, but be warned-the content is graphic.)

When asked about the incident later, Abigail said "When things like that happen, you immediately go into nurse mode. I can't speak for everyone, but I think you are a nurse, or you are not. I like to think it just comes a bit naturally in a way. I didn't look at it as I was being a hero. I just saw a man needed my help. If he was on my ward I would do the exact same thing for him."

One example not enough? Take a look at the instincts shown by Deborah Johnson, a nurse in New Orleans who was an eye witness to the 2003 Fat Tuesday shootings. Not only did Deborah witness the shooting (and provide an eyewitness account to police despite fears of retaliation), but her first instinct in the chaos wasn't to run, but to help the wounded.

Years after the incident, Deborah says she's learned to trust those nursing instincts, and encourages others by stressing that "if you have the understanding and ability to help, don't doubt yourself."

Or look at Laurie Fielding, an off-duty nurse who, on her way home, spotted firefighters battling flames as well as several frightened and injured occupants standing alone outside the building. Rather than find a route around the emergency scene, Laurie's instincts sent her directly to the stunned occupants, whom she treated until paramedics could arrive.

There are countless more stories such as these, and the number continues to grow as more and more nurses enter the medical field. And it's no surprise. It takes a special person to choose a career field that requires them to put others before themselves, and when you have that compassion and drive, it's impossible to turn off the "nurse's instinct" entirely.

Whether you're wearing your scrubs or your "civilian clothes", you never know where or when a situation will cause your own instincts to kick in. So study hard, future nurses. We can't wait to see what you can do out there.

For information on joining Unitek College's fast track nursing programs, or to speak to an advisor about curriculum, credit transfers, or tuition, contact us here.

Inspirational Thoughts on Inspirational People

Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 4:57 pm

Between your fast-track programs at Unitek College, your job (or jobs), and possibly a family at home, chances are you fill a lot of roles in a day. And that's excellent practice, because as a nurse, you'll fill even more. Any given day as a nurse, you could also be someone's counselor, cosmetologist, temporary parent, maintenance worker, or many, many other roles that fall under the title "nurse".

It's a hard job, but a rewarding one, and our hats are off to all brave enough to pull it off (and that includes you future Unitek College graduates, as well). As we move through Nurse Appreciation Week (May 6th through May 12th, 2016), we've come across some powerful, inspirational, and thought-provoking reflections on the life of a nurse.

Here are some of our favorites:

"When I think about all the patients and their loved ones that I have worked with over the years, I know most of them don't remember me nor I them. But I do know that I gave a little piece of myself to each of them and they to me, and those threads make up the beautiful tapestry in my mind that is my career in nursing." - Donna Cardillo, RN

"Virtually all of us, at one time or another in our lives, have known the care and the skill that you offer. In hours of need, in moments where people are most vulnerable, most worried, nurses are there, doing difficult and lifesaving work... America's nurses are the beating heart of our medical system." - President Barack Obama

"It would not be possible to praise the nurses too highly." - Author Stephen Ambrose, To America: Personal Reflections of a Historian

"Constant attention by a good nurse may be just as important as a major operation by a surgeon."- Dag Hammarskjöld, Swedish diplomat

"The trained nurse has become one of the great blessings of humanity, taking a place beside the physician and the priest, and not inferior to either in her mission...." – William Osler

"Panic plays no part in the training of a nurse." – Sister Elizabeth Kenny

"To do what nobody else will do, in a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through, is to be a nurse." – Rawsi Williams, RN

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something, and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do something that I can do." - Helen Keller

A huge thanks goes out to all of you who put on the scrubs every day, as well as those currently studying hard to begin a career in nursing. Whatever the hours, whatever the demands, we hope you know how much you are appreciated... this week and every week.

If you'd like to join the Unitek College fast-track nursing programs, we'd be happy to help answers any questions you might have. You can contact us here.

Protecting Yourself From Compassion Fatigue

Monday, May 2, 2016 at 11:51 am

If there's anything we know about nurses, it's that nurses care. Your entire career is defined by putting the needs of others first. Once you finish your courses at Unitek College and pass that license exam, you'll be providing healthcare for patients, sharing memories with patients, getting to know your patients, and becoming an integral and irreplaceable part of their overall hospital or clinical experience. And while every moment you spend caring for another human being is a wonderful contribution and sacrifice, there's still one other person you should be careful not to neglect-yourself.

You've probably read of nurses (and other occupations) dealing with "burnout", which can come from all the external factors, workload, and overall job stress where you're working. But there's another threat that nurses face, one that can come from caring too much- "Compassion Fatigue".

In a recent radio interview, Jeannie Wirth (MSN, RN, CSN, AOCN) an oncology clinical nurse specialist, explained compassion fatigue. "We will regularly see patients and families that are experiencing a lot of physical, psychosocial, or spiritual distress. We are intimately involved in the care of these patients, and we develop close relationships with patients and families... The irony of this is that the compassion and empathy that are at the very core of the ability to do the work that we do is also the compassion and empathy that are at the core of our ability to be wounded by that work."

In other words, if you truly care about your patients, you can't help but feel some form of empathy for whatever they're going through. That compassion fatigue can build as you interact with more and more sick or hurting people-and if left uncheck, can lead to physical fatigue, emotional fatigue, and even feelings of guilt. Even Saint Mother Theresa understood the threat of compassion fatigue, requiring that her nurses took sabbaticals every few years to take care of themselves.

As a nurse, your compassion and empathy are two of the most important traits you possess, and both should be guarded carefully. That means reminding yourself on a regular basis that you matter just as much as the people for whom you're caring. Stress.org suggests practicing "excellent self-care" by making sure to schedule activities you enjoy on a regular basis, or planning "mini-escapes" to relieve the intensity of your work. They also suggest finding the little things every day that bring you joy-make a list of the things that made you smile, that made you laugh, or for which you're grateful.

And don't forget about the incredible emotional value found in your fellow nurses-the only other people on the planet who truly understand what a day in your shoes feels like.

"We need to turn to each other," explains Jeannie Wirth. "We need to mentor and support each other. We need to be the most kind to each other that we can possibly be. If we are not kind to each other, how can we be kind and caring toward patients and families? Our support of each other is most important for nurses."

As you finish up your courses at Unitek College and prepare for your career as a nurse, remember to start creating good habits now. Remember to make time for yourself, to make your mental health a top priority, and remember that the bonds you're forming with other students now could be the bonds that help get you through that tough day later.

"My own daily mantra is that I must provide oil for my own lamp or soon I will find that I can't burn very brightly for the patients and families for whom I am caring for," adds Wirth. "That is my daily mantra."

For more information on the Unitek College fast-track nursing programs or for advice on how Unitek College can help make your dream of becoming a nurse a reality, click here.

Baby Girl Adopted By Her Nurse

Friday, April 22, 2016 at 5:59 am

As a nurse, you'll be given the chance to bond with hundreds, maybe thousands, of people. Some of the bonds made during your work hours can stick with you for years, or in some cases, the rest of your life. This is one of those times.

Nicole is a healthy three-year-old toddler currently living in New Mexico, but getting to "happy and healthy" was an uphill climb. According to a story by ABC News, Nicole was born with a rare birth defect called omphalocele, a condition in which certain organs are outside the body. Needless to say, she required a lot of care. That care included an extended stay in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and later, an even longer stay in the pediatric unit of the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. She'd stay in that unit for over a year.

Enter Amber Boyd, a nurse in the pediatric unit who volunteered to take over as the primary caregiver of Nicole's case.

"Nicole was pretty sick that whole first year and a couple of months of her life," Boyd told ABC News. "Right around her first birthday, she was making progress, [but] her needs were beyond anything anyone could've accommodated at home. Her biological parents, their rights were taken away and her twin sister had already gone home with another family. They just weren't medical professionals and she essentially needed ICU care at home. [The hospital] was looking into medical foster care."

It was then that the idea first struck Amber. As Nicole's existing caregiver, she could provide both foster care and medical care. After consulting with her husband, the couple applied for a foster care license, and in 2014-after almost 18 months in the hospital under Amber's care-Nicole finally came home.

It was, as Amber describes it, a "bond meant to happen", and one that happened thanks to one hardworking nurse with the training, commitment, and drive to rise to the challenge.

It goes without saying that, as a nurse, your work changes the lives of many, many people. And some of those people will wind up changing yours as well. It's one of the secret perks of the profession, a benefit that makes those long shifts more than worth it in the end.

If you'd like more information on training for a career in nursing, check out the many fast-track programs offered at Unitek College by clicking here.

Smile, It’s Good For You!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 6:53 am

With April 1st rapidly approaching, we thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and remind you that Friday is also April Fool's Day. Consider this a public service notification, and remember to think twice before sharing that too-good-to-be-true news story on glass-bottom planes, selfie drones, or Cheetoh's cologne (all actual April Fools pranks, by the way). In fact, take an extra grain of salt with everything you read on the internet on Friday... except for the posts you read on this page, of course.

In all honesty, though, the annual leg-pulling can get pretty hilarious, and it has the added benefit of forcing us to laugh at ourselves. In fact, some historians believe that the tradition of April Fool's goes all the way back to Constantine, an age when the role of fools (or jesters) was to wisely "use humor to put life in perspective". Humor's role in improving lives continues today in a career field very close to all of us at Unitek College... specifically those of us involved with the Unitek College nursing programs.

"Laughter is the best medicine" is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, and as it turns out, it's a lot more than just a fun saying. The medical benefits of laughter are undeniable; it's been found to combat depression, relieve pain, boost immunity, and lower stress. "The wiring is so strong that the brain responds even when we smile at ourselves in the mirror or simulate laughing with enthusiasm," writes Sebastien Gendry, author of the Laughter Wellness Method. That's right... even faking a laugh has positive effects.

Movies like Robin Williams' Patch Adams bring this concept to life within a medical context, and any patient who's spent time in a hospital can tell you that the doctors or nurses who made them smile were worth their weight in gold.

As you make your way through the Unitek College vocational nursing programs or the online RN-to-BSN program, you're absorbing all the important in's and out's of the profession. You're working with the latest equipment in the Unitek College labs, you're staying up-to-date on the rapidly changing world of medical techniques and terminology, you're turning yourself into a valuable medical asset, and that means a lot of hard data to retain.

But as you study, remember to keep in mind the lighter side of the career; the opportunities you have to bring a smile to someone who may be scared, in pain, suffering loss, or dealing with upsetting news. As William Osler said, "The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease."

Keep the laughter and smiles going year-round, not just April 1st, and your future patients won't be able to thank you enough.

(Oh, and that ad you'll see Friday about the new Uber boat rides? Also a joke.)

If you'd like more information on the Unitek College fast-track nursing programs, click here.

Fast Track to a Better w2

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Can you believe it’s almost April? In some ways, it feels like we just took down those Christmas lights, and already we’re prepping for April showers, egg hunts, baseball, and everyone’s favorite spring day… Tax Day (April 18th this year, in case you need to mark your calendars). With that IRS deadline rapidly approaching, we know there’s probably a W2 with your name on it laying around your room somewhere—a single piece of paper that for many of us sums up everything we earned over the past year.

For some people, examining that W2 comes with a wave of pride (“Wow, I made more than I thought I did!”) followed by a wave of guilt (“Wow, I must havespent more than I thought I did…”) But for others among us, looking at that annual income sheet is a moment of self-evaluation; one where we look at that final number and think “I can do better than this.”

Fortunately, we can help you do just that.

As a general rule, better education almost always leads to better jobs, and better jobs almost always involve better income. For instance, a Bureau of Labor Statistics study found that the leap from high school diploma to associate’s degree alone adds up to an average of over $6,000more per year. Education may take some investment up front, but the possibilities are more than worth it, and that’s where Unitek College comes in.

Our hand-picked faculty is standing by to help turn your existing life experience and work ethic into a bigger, more rewarding career path. Whether you’re checking out our fast-track certification programs in Information Technology, Medical Assisting, Pharmacy Tech,Dental Assisting, or Nursing, you’retaking your first steps towards new career opportunities by making yourself a more valuable employee.That can easily lead toqualifying for more job openings, opportunities for higher pay, and chances to advance in the field of your choice.

And hey, with the speed of our fast-track programs, you might even see some positive changes as early as your next W2. And if you’re a hard-worker, an eager learner, and dedicated to furthering your career… then you deserve a better W2.

Just be sure and still hang onto those old ones for a few years at least… the tax guys are picky like that.

If you’d like information on enrolling in one of Unitek College’s fast-track education programs, contact us here.