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More Nurses Who Are Making An Impact

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at 5:30 am

We share a lot of stories about nurses who have made an enormous impact on their patients’ lives, and with good reason; there’s never a shortage of stories to share. It takes a unique type of person to be a nurse, and more often than not, when faced with an opportunity to go the extra mile for the people under their care, most nurses don’t think twice.

Take, for example, the story of Katie Windsor-an NICU nurse in Hickory, North Carolina-who came up with a way to use Halloween to bring joy into the lives of anxious parents.

Windsor always liked doing things for her tiny patients and their families around this holidays, but this Halloween, she decided to go big. Armed with an idea and a crochet set, Windsor handmade superhero costumes for each of the babies under her care in the NICU, then surprised the infants’ parents with photos.

“I had been trying to find a costume but couldn’t find anything small enough,” Emily Sauceda (a mother of one of the infants) told PEOPLE magazine. “Being in the NICU is hard, it’s a difficult situation, but this made us feel like regular moms and dads… They are all so adorable. It’s just brought all the parents so much joy.”

(You can see the results of Katie’s hard work here.)

Not all of this week’s spotlight stories involve yarn, though. In the case of nurses Jenny Tran and Tonya Samuel, making an impact meant providing extraordinary care for a very well-known patient. Recently, ABC newscaster Robin Roberts had the opportunity to reunite with and thank the nurses who got her through her battle with cancer and bone marrow disease.

On the Harry Connick Jr. Show, during a show dedicated entirely to nurses, Robin recounted how her nurses had saved her life simply by being there for her in her darkest moments—unaware that both were backstage waiting to surprise her.

"Thank you, thank you for being our lifeline,” Robin said. “Thank you for being there, not only for us, but for our caregivers, our loved ones. We know…unsung heroes? Not today. We are singing your praises.”

(You can watch highlights from the surprise reunion here.)

Opportunities to make a major difference in the lives of patients will come one right after the other, and while not every amazing moment will be shared on television or in a magazine article, rest assured that in the eyes and the memories of those patients, the generosity of nurses will never be forgotten.

If you’d like more information on becoming a nurse, or advancing your career as a nursing professional, contact Unitek College here.

How Nurses Can Be Better Patients

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 5:20 am

When it comes to patient care, nurses are the superheroes of hospitals and clinics-they're some of the only people on earth who seem to be able to be in multiple places at once, in complete control of their surroundings regardless of how chaotic the situation may be. But injuries and illnesses hit everyone eventually, and when nurses are in the hospital beds instead of beside them, many have trouble transitioning from medical professional to medical patient.

But just because nurses can have a reputation for being "the worst patients" doesn't mean that they have to be, and simply paying attention to two potential conflict areas can go a long way towards making you an easier person to care for.

1. Allow Yourself To Give Up Control. As a nurse, you're used to being in charge of the hospital room, the IV, the routine, etc, so it's understandable that being in a hospital room without that control can be difficult to come to grips with. Remind yourself that it's okay to let someone else take the wheel for a while, and even though you're very familiar with what needs to be done inside your room, remember that your nurse may have her own ways of doing things.

"We are the caregivers and nurturers," writes RN Kristin Powell. "We like to be in control, and we are so used to having that role that it's virtually impossible to reverse it without becoming the wicked witch of the east. To be forced to rely on others to do what we feel, we do best is unbearable for us to endure."

Recognize that you will feel the urge to take control, and do your best to resist.

2. Remind Yourself To Listen. Nurses, in general, know a lot. Some of that comes from training-such as your classes at Unitek College-and a lot comes from experience, and nurses need to recall the information quickly throughout the day and in all manner of situations. But this is a two-edged sword, because when we're that knowledgeable on a subject, it makes it harder for people to feed us new information.

"Nurses... make their caretakers work hard to earn their trust -- harder than they really need to sometimes," writes nurse Shazia Memon. "One of my coworkers has no shame in interrogating her own doctors on their credibilities, and doesn't take them seriously unless she approves of their medical school, residency, and fellowship (fellowships are a given in her book)."

It won't always be easy, but do your best to trust your fellow nurses, your physicians, and your specialists. Remember, they want you back on your feet just as badly as you do.

You're a superhero every time you put on those scrubs, but keep in mind, even Superman needed to take a vacation once in a while. Take advantage of the opportunity to rest and recuperate, because those opportunities can be few and far between. Trust us, there will still be plenty to do when you get back.

If you'd like more information on becoming a nurse or advancing your career in nursing, contact us here.

Prepare For These Most Common Halloween Injuries

Friday, October 21, 2016 at 5:36 am

While holidays are a day to kick back and relax for most Americans, those in the medical profession know that those special days can be anything but. Picnics, parties, and celebrations often mean very busy times in a hospital or clinic's emergency room, and Halloween is no exception. So if you're wearing scrubs instead of a costume on October 31st, here are a few of the most common injuries you'll see.

Trips and falls are one of the biggest culprits, according to WKRN in Nashville, and it's easy to understand why. Not only do most trick-or-treating and parties take place at night when visibility is low (visibility that lowers even further when wearing a mask), but long or bulky costumes can easily snag or trip those wearing them. Trips and fall injuries already make up 21% of emergency room visits-resulting in everything from sprains and bruises to head injuries and stitches-so get ready, you'll probably see one or two before the evening shift ends.

Halloween drivers accounts for another major portion of Halloween emergency room visits. In fact, according to State Farm, Halloween is considered the "deadliest day of the year for child pedestrian accidents", with the deadliest accidents happening between 6pm and 7pm. And as the evening gets later and parties wrap up, the danger of drunk driving accidents increases as well, and these incidents can become tragic very quickly, as was the case with Jean Dyess, who was killed by a drunk driver while trick-or-treating with her kids. So remember, don't just prepare to see these kinds of emergencies-help prevent them by reminding your friends who aren't working to be sure and use a designated driver.

Cuts requiring stitches are another injury you'll probably see, caused by knife slips while carving those pumpkins for the front porch. Believe it or not, pumpkin carving injuries are the most common injuries of the Halloween season, accounting for 56% of cases in 2013. (Avoid these injuries yourself by using special pumpkin carving tools instead of kitchen knives for your jack-o-lanterns).

Some other cases that may come through those emergency room doors include:

  • Dog bites from pooches protecting their homes from costumed "intruders".
  • Dental injuries caused by hard candies or falls.
  • Diabetes-related emergencies.
  • Eye injuries from sharp costume props.
  • Eye injuries from costume, non-prescription contact lenses.
  • Burns from flammable costumes.
  • Allergic reactions (many candies contain peanuts, a common trigger).

These may not be the "poisoned candy from strangers" urban legend emergencies that we grew up with as kids, but the holiday can lead to some long lines and long hours at your hospital or clinic. Fortunately, these are exactly the types of situations that you train for during your classes at Unitek College, and with that training to rely on, we know those patients are in great hands.

Good luck!

If you'd like more information about taking your first steps toward a career in nursing, contact us here.

Nurses In The Path Of Hurricane Matthew

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 at 6:40 am

Whenever tragedy or catastrophe strikes, there's a quote from Fred Rogers (aka PBS's Mister Rogers) that always makes the rounds on social media.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."

And for us, whenever we think of "the helpers", we naturally think of nurses.

As Hurricane Matthew swept across the east coast this past week, nurses from all over felt the effects. Some, like the 50 Kansas City nurses trapped by the storm in Orlando, found themselves caught in the path of the storm. Yet in true "nurse fashion", instead of complaining, the nurses have made themselves available to the nearby hospitals dealing with the aftermath of the storm.

Other nurses, such as the nurses of UF Health Jacksonville, knew in advance that they would be in the storm's path, yet decided to stay and help. With any storm the size of Hurricane Matthew, the aftermath is difficult to predict, but the nurses are no strangers to hurricanes and have an idea of what to expect.

"Post-hurricane activity in the trauma unit usually comes from rooftop falls and other clean-up related injuries," trauma unit nurse Kelly McIntosh told the Florida Times-Union. "People will be anxious to go out and do something."

Even before the storm made landfall, however, cases began to roll in as injuries from hurricane preparations led to small accidents-such as one man falling off his roof, and a boy who was kicked by a horse while moving the animal to shelter.

And then there are nurses like Sarah Koerber of Lafayette, Louisiana, and Joan Hunt of Burlington, Iowa-two helpers who weren't in the path of the storm are doing their best to get back to the disaster areas and help. Each has spent a significant amount of time volunteering in Haiti, and now that the storm has left so much tragedy behind, both nurses are already working hard to get back and help.

We often see the best in people following a tragedy, as communities pull together to address the challenges and rebuild, and nurses are almost always right in the center of those efforts. Uniquely equipped by their day-to-day experiences with helping others, nurses are made for these times. So whenever we're "looking for the helpers", we're always looking for the nurses first.

If you'd like more information on beginning your career as a nurse, contact us here for more information on the many Unitek College nursing programs available.

The Robot (Nurses) Are Coming

Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Like it or not, robots and AI (artificial intelligence) are taking over more and more responsibilities that used to belong solely to humans. Everything from manufacturing jobs to fast food is fair game to automation-we're even working overtime to allow AI to drive our cars! And some recent advancements-such as this one out of Japan-show that no job, not even nursing, is completely untouchable. But don't worry-this could very well be good news for nurses everywhere.

With the current shortage of nurses projected to reach over one million by the year 2022, health care quality faces a huge challenge-a shortage means longer waits, less time per patient, and exhaustion for the doctors and nurses struggling to fill the need themselves. But some engineers from all across the globe believe that robots may be one possible solution to keeping health care running smoothly by taking over the more repetitive tasks nurses handle on a daily basis.

Take "Terapio", for instance-a Japanese-developed robot built to assist doctors during rounds. Terapio's technology allows it to track and follow a doctor automatically, all the while recording or displaying patients' medical data on demand. Terapio has even been programmed to communicate politely with patients. Other robots include models like "Pearl"-a Pittsburgh-developed robot designed to assist elderly patients. Pearl can be used either at a hospital or senior care facility, or the robot can be taken home to serve as an in-home medical companion. While not providing healthcare itself, Pearl acts as a personal medical assistant, reminding patients to take medication, of upcoming medical appointments, and hygiene-all while constantly learning to adapt to its patient's specific needs.

Robots such as "Riba" are on the larger side and are being programmed to actually lift and carry human patients, while robots such as "Giraff" don't replace humans entirely-it simply expands their reach via remote control.

The good news within all these robotic advancements lies in the robots' ability to take over the day-to-day, repetitive tasks that fill far too many hours for modern nurses. As these tasks are taken off the "to do" lists, nurses are given more and more time to spend with the patients themselves-providing greater amounts of personalized care and attention than was possible with previous workloads.

"When medical and nursing care workers are released from menial and back-breaking work by sharing their duties with a robot, they will be able to concentrate more on interacting with their patients and providing knowledgeable, kind, and compassionate care," writes the research team behind Terapio.

"It's important to note that robotic nurses don't decide courses of treatment or make diagnoses," writes Joelle Renstrom of The Daily Beast. "This is one industry where it seems the integration of robots will lead to collaboration, not replacement."

In other words, don't worry about being replaced by robots in scrubs just yet. Just keep working hard serving those patients, because help is on the way.

For more information on beginning a career in nursing, check out the courses offered by Unitek College by clicking here.

Taking Your Nursing Skills On The Road

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at 5:54 am

With many jobs, hopping from location to location, company to company within short periods of time can tend to give a negative impression to future employers, but not so in the world of travel nursing. Not to be confused with paid travel companions (people who accompany and assist elderly travelers), travel nurses are skilled healthcare providers who make their living filling temporary contracts at locations across the country and across the world.

According to American Traveler (one of several travel nurse agencies) travel nurses generally have a minimum of a year's experience in their field before they begin accepting contracts, and the jobs average around 12 to 13 weeks in length. And while specifics will vary from agency to agency, travel nurses typically enjoy a higher salary, full benefits, and plenty of flexibility in terms of work schedule and location preferences, mostly due to the high demand for qualified medical professionals.

Pay can also vary according to location. According to the website, the average hourly rate for a travel nurse by region is:

  • Northeast – $35-$38
  • Southeast and South – $26-$30
  • West Coast – $30-$35
  • Midwest and Central – $28-$31
  • Hawaii – $24-$30
  • Alaska – $35-$45

On top of the hourly rate, some agencies also offer bonuses for referrals, completion, loyalty, and more, so be sure and thoroughly investigate all options to make sure you're making the best financial decision.

The pay is only part of the appeal for nurses. Travel nursing allows nurses to explore all different areas of the country, and might just lead to finding a place to make permanent. Explore the country hospitals of rural areas, the constant action of a big city, or just work in a part of the country you've been meaning to visit.

Despite all the perks, the job isn't built for everyone. Some nurses prefer more consistency with their paychecks (instead of working contract to contract). The constant travel also makes it difficult for those with families, or those who may struggle to settle into new places, so make sure and consider all the pros and cons before you sign off on the idea.

Of course, anyone interested in travel nursing will still need to meet the minimum experience requirements, so don't plan on tackling the job right out of your Unitek College program. Use your time post-graduation wisely, accrue the necessary experience, and then if you're still interested in travel, give it a shot!

Also, if you're interested in pursuing travel nursing, be sure and start with a visit to the American Travel Health Nurses Association website and the National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations website. Both can help get you up to speed on requirements, educational opportunities, and other details that go a long way towards making your stint as a travel nurse into a success.

For more information on become a nurse or advancing your existing nursing degree, contact Unitek College here.