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Make Your Nursing Resume Unforgettable

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 5:48 am

Nursing is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States, but just because more career opportunities exist for nurses doesn't mean that you get to skip all the fun of job hunting. You still need to locate the perfect position, fill out the application, and of course have a sparkling resume. There's nothing sadder than a stellar employee being passed over for a job because of a sub-par resume, so here's a few things to keep in mind when making that initial introduction.

Put The Important Info At The Top – If there's a vital piece of information you need a recruiter to see, put it at the top of your resume. If it's buried at the bottom, there's a chance the reader may not make it that far. So any certifications, credentials, or other job-specific qualifications should be given the choice resume real estate at the top of the page.

If You Choose To Include An Objective Statement, Make It Count – Self-proclaimed resume experts go back and forth on the "objective statement" portion of the resume. Some say it's out of fashion, others say it can still serve a purpose in certain situations. But what they can agree on is that if you choose to include an objective statement, use it to put your best foot forward. Include specific information that sets you apart as a candidate-don't just drop in a paragraph of vague buzzwords.

Get Specific With Professional Experience – If you have any professional experience in the nursing field, make sure to include it... and the specifics. Get into exact numbers, such as how many patients you covered per shift, the exact responsibilities you carried, and any improvements you left behind. And if you're a newer nurse, share related experience such as volunteer work or clinical rotations to give the recruiter an idea of what you're capable of.

"I am attracted to new nurse resumes that have service industry experience," says Keith Kaiser, nurse manager at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who frequently hires new nurses. "This means the applicant has patience, can deal with people and is used to shift work."

Affiliations, Qualifications, and Education – You've shared who you are, now let them know exactly what you can (legally) do. Share all the details of any nursing licenses-including type, licensing state, expiration, and license number. And if you're bilingual, be sure and mention that as well.

Proofread – This seems like a common sense point to include, but you would be surprised how many resumes and cover letters arrive on recruiters' desks with glaring errors in spelling and grammar. Think about if from their perspective-if you aren't detail-oriented enough to spell check your resume, are you detail-oriented enough to keep a patient alive? Give your resume and cover letter a second (or a third) look, then ask a friend or family member to take a look as well. This may seem like a lot of redundant work, but if it ends with you landing that new job, it will have been well worth it.

And of course, as a Unitek College student, you have access to our Career Development Coordinators, a group of people trained to help you find and apply for that next big step in your nursing career. Be sure and take full advantage of them-they're here to help!

If you'd like more information on beginning a career in nursing, Unitek College can help! Contact us here for more information on our nursing and medical assistant programs.

New Blood Test Can Both Detect And Locate Cancer

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 5:47 am

Sometimes I see their faces, as I gaze into the stars.
I feel the echo of their pain. I see the outline of their scars.
So many people I have seen, lose at the same game.
They fight the war most valiantly, but death soon calls their name.

These lines are part of a poem by nurse Connie Followwill; her attempt at putting the emotional battle of working with cancer patients into words. For nurses who work in oncology, bone marrow, or other cancer-related departments, going to work each day can be emotionally draining, as the battle against the disease leaves many casualties behind.

But a new breakthrough in cancer detection could be the next step towards winning those battles-one that could not only detect cancer in its early stages, but help doctors pinpoint exactly where in the body to look.

This month, bioengineers in California released their findings on a new blood test that both detects cancer and reveals the cancer's location. Once honed, the blood test won't just impact early detection successes, but it could potentially eliminate invasive procedures such as biopsies.

"We made this discovery by accident," says bioengineer Kun Zhang, senior author of the study. "Initially, we were taking the conventional approach and just looking for cancer cell signals and trying to find out where they were coming from. But we were also seeing signals from other cells and realized that if we integrate both sets of signals together, we could actually determine the presence or absence of a tumor, and where the tumor is growing."

The process by which the test works is fascinating from a medical perspective. As cancer cells kill off normal cells in the beginning stages of growth, the dead cells release their DNA into the bloodstream. That DNA can then be "captured" by the blood test and point directly back to where the original cell died.

The technology is still several stages away from the clinical phase, and researches are busy creating vast libraries of tissue and cancer markers with which to compare the blood tests, but the early results are promising and could soon open the door to more effective cancer detection and treatment at hospital and clinical levels. This is not only great news for those who are (or who will be) fighting cancer, but also for the nurses treating them.

As nurse Followwill writes:

Each one has a story, that's told only to a few select.
To the ones who have time to listen and who know compassion's effect.
Being that "one" isn't easy. On your heart it takes a toll.
Their stories tug at your emotions. They touch the edges of your soul.

Hopefully, we'll soon reach a place where these stories are much fewer and farther between. And this month's breakthrough is a huge step in that direction.

If you'd like information on beginning a nursing career, or if you're just curious about your options, Unitek College can help! Contact us here for more information.

Can Your Nursing Skills Pass This Virtual Challenge?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 5:03 am

This week the headlines have been dominated by video games, as Nintendo introduces the long-awaited and mysterious Nintendo Switch-which is great for taking heroes like Mario and Link on adventures. But if you want an adventure that puts you in scrubs and prepares you for the day-to-day challenges of life in the hospital halls, drop the Nintendo controller and check out Your Future In Nursing.

Your Future In Nursing is a nursing simulator created by Johnson & Johnson, and as the game explains in its introductory video, its purpose is to help nurses make the jump from life in the classroom to life in the clinic. The software (which can be played online or downloaded to your PC) "was developed with insight from a diverse team of nurses", according to, and helps identify some of the common challenges that nurses face when first adjusting to life outside of nursing school.

"The game is great because everywhere you turn you are encountering a different situation with doctors, nurses and patients," says Katie Hungarter, a recent nursing grad who used the game to help with her transition. "That is the real life of a nurse-you don't know what you'll run into on any given day."

To get a better idea of how Your Future In Nursing works, we downloaded a copy to take a look for ourselves.

For starters, don't expect to see high-end graphics or amazing special effects. You play the game by navigating a "nurse avatar" from a third-person perspective (as if the camera is floating behind them instead of looking through their "eyes") and each scenario you encounter is solved by correctly choosing a multiple choice answer.

They begin simple enough: within moments of starting, your character is confronted by a doctor for being 30 minutes late, and you must decide whether to make excuses or own up to your mistake. But the stakes quickly start to go up from there. In the scenario we tested, a patient needed a long list of procedures done, but our character was only comfortable with four out of five. The game helped us explore how we would address our limitations in this moment, what resources we would tap, and gave us the opportunity to think through the situation in a calm environment rather than in the heat of the moment.

As we exited that scenario, another "nurse" approached us and asked if we'd like to take a lunch break, suggesting we hand off our patients to another nurse temporarily. Thinking this was an obvious trap, we answered no, we'd prefer to keep working. But surprisingly, the game used this moment to remind us of the importance of mental and physical breaks during a long shift.

Throughout the game, a virtual Nurse Manager is available at any time to offer tips, and as you complete each scenario, you'll be given a breakdown by one of several actual nurse managers who appear throughout the program.

Throughout the game, a virtual Nurse Manager is available at any time to offer tips, and as you complete each scenario, you'll be given a breakdown by one of several actual nurse managers who appear throughout the program.

You can play the game by following this link. Good luck!

If you'd like to learn more about beginning a career in nursing, Unitek College has multiple programs and campuses to help you reach your goal. You can contact us here for more information.

Alabama Nurse Changes Woman’s Life… Twice

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 5:11 am

It was a moment that could have ended in tragedy but instead ended with a woman's life changed for the better, all thanks to one Alabama nurse.

Twenty years ago, Erika Samuels (then an associate at her local Best Buy) was in a serious crash after a drunk driver slammed into her car. The night could have very easily been her last were it not for the help and determination of a young nurse, Philip Streit.

"I almost lost my life that night," recalls Samuels. "And to have someone who cared about me when my parents weren't there, he gave me more than nursing care. He actually gave me life.... I just remember all this glass, in my face, in my eyes, in my hair, and I was in so much pain. And Philip was there for me the whole time and never left my side. Even when my parents came, he was holding my hand."

Saving her wasn't the only way Streit changes Samuels' life. After the accident and initial hospital stay, it took Samuels three years of physical therapy to get completely back on her feet. But despite the pain and hard recovery, that potentially tragic night had given Samuels a new purpose in life. So grateful was she for the actions of her nurse after her accident, she decided to become a nurse herself and continue the cycle of caring.

"What he did for me actually changed my life," Erika says. "That's why I have a passion for nursing, because of people like him."

Their story could have ended here, with Streit unaware of just how much his help had impacted Samuels, were it not for a chance encounter just a few weeks ago. Twenty years after her accident, Samuels (now a nursing student, graduating this May) was featured in a video presentation during a hospital ribbon cutting in Mobile, Alabama. And it just so happened that Philip Streit (now a nurse administrator) was in the crowd that day.

The moment he saw her name on screen, Philip knew that he was seeing “his Erika” from two decades past. After the ribbon cutting, he quickly tracked her down and asked whether she had ever been in a car accident. The result was a tear-filled, joyful reunion between the two nurses, one that was captured on camera and shared online more than 33,000 times. The story was even noticed by NBC News and covered by Lester Holt himself.

You can see the full NBC story here.

So here's to Philip and Erika, two people who turned tragedy into something amazing, and whose lives have been dedicated to good ever since.

If you'd like more information on become a nurse or medical assistant, Unitek College can help! Contact us here to take your first step towards your medical career.

Black History Month: Three Nurses Who Made A Difference

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 5:24 am

As February winds to a close, so does Black History Month, the time when we turn the spotlight on the many historical contributions made by African Americans. And like every other industry in the country, the nursing profession today also was shaped by the contribution of black doctors, nurses, and midwives. Today, we focus on three of those stories.

Mary Eliza Mahoney – We look at Mary Eliza first because, well… she was the first! Nurse Mahoney was the first African American to achieve the title of professional nurse. From her early years as a teenager, Mary Eliza knew she was destined for the medical field, and it didn't matter to her that no other black woman had graduated nursing school or become a professional nurse. She knew what she wanted, and she was going to get it. In 1879, Mary Eliza was finally admitted to nursing school in New England, and of the three students enrolled, she was the only one who graduated the difficult program. Her achievement set the standard for nursing schools, and from that year forward, black students were accepted for professional training in the medical field. Nurse Mahoney also went on to help organize the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses in 1908, and she remained an active member of the NACGN until her death in 1926. She was later inducted posthumously into the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame.

Mabel Keaton Staupers – Nurse Staupers was another great pioneer for racial equality in the nursing world. Following in the footsteps of Mary Eliza Mahoney, Mabel also graduated nursing school and became a standard bearer in the battle against discrimination. During her early years as a nurse, Mabel focused primarily on Harlem, New York-specifically on treating black Americans with tuberculosis. Alongside other black physicians, Nurse Staupers helped establish the Booker T Washington Sanitarium, the first tuberculosis hospital in Harlem. She later moved into the executive nursing ranks, studying and improving access to healthcare in the city. She also used her position to push for the integration of black nurses into the U.S. military following the attacks on Pearl Harbor—a task in which she succeeded. Her full story can be explored in her autobiography, No Time For Prejudice: A Story of the Integration of Negroes in Nursing in the United States.

Hazel Johnson-Brown – Just as Mary Eliza paved the way for Mabel, so Mabel paved the way for Hazel Johnson-Brown. Because of Nurse Staupers' work to allow African American nurses into the military, Hazel was able to join the military as a nurse following her graduation in 1953. Her natural leadership abilities flourished in the military, and she quickly rose through the ranks to become the first African American woman general in 1979. As the Chief of the Army Nurse Corp, Hazel commanded 7,000 male and female nurses, eight Army medical centers, 56 community hospitals, and 143 clinics all across the globe. Though now retired, Hazel continues to serve on a variety of university and health administration boards.

These are just three of the many, many amazing stories of nurses who broke through barriers to change American healthcare forever. And each positive change they achieved paved the way for bigger and bigger changes. "Positive progress towards excellence, that's what we want," said Hazel Johnson-Brown. "If you stand still and settle for the status quo, that's exactly what you will have."

If you'd like information on beginning your own career in nursing, Unitek College is here to help. Contact us today for information on our many programs and opportunities.

6 Tips To Help You Ace Nursing School

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 5:57 am

We share stories almost every week of nurses who are making an impact in their fields—such as 97-year old Kay Hodges or NICU nurse Katie Windsor—in hopes of inspiring the next generation of amazing nurses. But between inspiration and impact lies one very important challenge: passing nursing school. There’s a lot of information to process, a lot of tests to pass, and a lot of pressure to consider… after all, what you learn today will play a huge part in saving lives tomorrow. But thousands of nurses make it through their training each year, and we have no doubt that you can be one of them. Here’s a few tips we’ve found to help make that dream a reality.

  • Organize, Organize, Organize – “You don’t have to be perfect to be organized” writes efficiency expert Monika Kristofferson, and she’s absolutely right. Anyone can be organized if they put their mind to it, and establishing order in your notes, routines, calendars, and workspace goes a long way towards establishing order in your head.
  • Get Help From Others – Nursing school is amazing in that you’re surrounded by dozens of other people learning the same things you are. If you’re struggling with something, chances are one of them can help put the concept into terms you can better understand. Put together a study group, but remember—not all students learn in the same way. Pick your group carefully, or you could lose valuable time.
  • Take Breaks – All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It also can lower Jack’s test scores. Try and take one scheduled break every hour to keep your focus and energy at peak levels.
  • Don’t Just Memorize; Understand – Succeeding at nursing school isn’t just memorizing the right multiple choice answer on an exam, it’s fully understandingwhy that choice was the right answer. Practice by explaining concepts in your own words instead of just regurgitating definitions. You’ll find things “click” a lot faster.
  • Set Goals – Set a series of goals and milestones for yourself, but keep them realistic. Don’t plan on a four hour marathon study session when a two hour session is your limit. And shoot for gradual progress, not instant perfection, otherwise you set yourself up for disappointment. If you’re a B- student, your next goal should be a B, not an A+. Then, set your goal a little higher the next time.
  • Reward Your Hard Work – We all work better when we have something to work towards. Allow yourself those down times—a night out with friends, a trip to the movies, a Netflix binge session, etc.—just make sure that you earn the break. Set a study goal, and then after you nail it, enjoy your time off guilt-free.

And finally, if you’re at Unitek College, be sure and use the many resources available at your campus, including our faculty. If you’re struggling in an area of your studies, there are plenty of experienced people, study aids, labs, and other tools just waiting for you to use. We want you to succeed just as badly as you want to succeed, so take advantage!

If you’d like to find out more about Unitek College’s nursing programs, contact us here. You can also take a virtual tour of our campuses at this link.