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Emergency Training Comes to Unitek College

Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 5:36 pm

“Knowledge is power,” asserts Rachel Harling-Smith, a member of the Fremont Community Emergency Response Team.

Rachel works for Royal Ambulance and volunteers with the Fremont CERT team.

Rachel splits her time between working for Royal Ambulance and volunteering with the Fremont CERT team.

Earlier this week, Rachel took the time to speak to Unitek College students about emergency safety skills on behalf of Fremont’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Rachel is a former Unitek College Medical Assisting student, as well as a Unitek Education EMT Boot Camp* graduate. Currently, Rachel splits her time between working for Royal Ambulance and volunteering with the City of Fremont’s CERT program. Despite her hectic schedule, Rachel finds her efforts meaningful, stating, “it’s worth it to know that people are prepared.”

The Fremont Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, is a group of volunteers dedicated to educating community members before a disaster strikes. They also volunteer to protect the community, often acting as first responders during an emergency.

During her visit, Rachel shared emergency safety tips with Unitek College’s Medical Assisting students. Above all, she emphasized the importance of situational awareness during an emergency. To stay safe, you should always pay attention to what is happening around you. Aim to understand how your actions and the actions of others will impact the situation. A lack of awareness during an emergency can result in grave consequences for you or those around you.

Rachel’s most important safety recommendation—regardless of a person’s level of medical training—is to “stop and think.” She asserts that taking a few seconds to slow down and think through your options can be extremely beneficial. Remember that the consequences of your actions can have a huge impact on your safety and the safety of others.

The CERT safety presentation touched on multiple topics, including disaster preparation ideas for your home, how to control your utilities, tips for fire safety, and how to respond to hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction. All of the topics covered in Rachel’s presentation are discussed in more detail during Fremont’s Personal Emergency Preparedness (PEP) class, designed to empower community members to protect themselves and their families during a disaster.

Unitek College would like to thank Rachel and the Fremont Community Emergency Response Team for taking the time to educate our students about emergency safety. Additionally, we would like to thank Rachel for her participation in Unitek Education’s annual Mas Cal Training events, which help to educate our nursing and EMT students, as well as the community of Fremont, about emergency response protocols.


Unitek CollegeUnitek College offers a variety of healthcare and technology training programs, including Medical Assisting, Pharmacy Technician, Vocational Nursing, Registered Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Information Technology. For more information about our programs and campus locations, please visit www.unitekcollege.edu.

For more information about attending the City of Fremont’s free Personal Emergency Preparedness (PEP) class, please visit www.fremont.gov/102/PEP.


*EMT Boot Camp Training is the portion of the EMT program which includes intensive on-campus education with daily lectures and hands-on skills.  

6 Sun Safety Tips

Friday, June 20, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Summer doesn’t officially start until tomorrow, but it’s certainly felt like summer for a while. Don’t start the season with a sunburn—it’s a painful, unnecessary reminder to be more sun-conscious. Make the most of your summer with my 6 tips for staying safe in the sun this season.

UV Ray Ray Strength Chart

1. Wear Sunscreen Every Day

My first tip is the most obvious, but also the most important. Especially during the summer, sunscreen is necessary to prevent sunburns and minimize your chances of developing skin cancer. To best protect yourself against UV rays, you should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. SPF is also important when choosing a sunscreen- it describes how long the sunscreen will effectively protect you from the sun. SPF multiplied by the amount of time you can usually spend in the sun before burning determines the amount of time you are protected from the sun.

If you usually burn after fifteen minutes in the sun but you generously apply SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen, you should be protected from UV rays for a maximum of 450 minutes.

SPF Effectiveness Chart

For best results, sunscreen should be applied BEFORE you go outdoors and reapplied often. The length of protection also depends on your outdoor activities—water will affect a sunscreen’s effectiveness. Refer to your sunscreen’s instructions for more information about how often to reapply.


2. Check the UV Index

Did you know that when the UV Index is very high (8+), your skin can burn after less than ten minutes of sun exposure?

The UV Index can be a very helpful tool for minimizing sun damage. The United States Environmental Protection Agency, along with the National Weather Service, provides a next day forecast of predicted UV ray strength. This information can help you decide how frequently you should be reapplying sunscreen—more often on days with a higher index number—or what sort of protective clothing measures you should take before venturing outside. You may also want to avoid spending long periods of time outside when the UV Index is especially high.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency offers a free UV Index smartphone and web app that displays a forecast of UV radiation levels. The EPA’s app is a great way to prepare yourself for summer while you’re on the go.

The US Environmental Protection Agency's SunWise UV Index Phone App

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s SunWise UV Index Phone App

You can download the free app by searching for “EPA’s SunWise UV Index” in your phone’s app store. You can also visit the US Environmental Protection Agency’s website to check the UV Index.


3. Stay in the Shade

The sun’s rays are stronger between 10am and 4pm than any other time of day. The strongest rays occur around noon, when the sun is the highest in the sky. Whenever possible, it’s safest to stay in the shade during peak hours. If you are going to be outside between 10am and 4pm, protect yourself with sunscreen and appropriate clothing.


4. Wear the Right Clothing and Accessories 

You remembered to apply sunscreen before going outside, but are you also wearing the right clothing and accessories? A large-brimmed hat can help to protect your scalp, face, and neck from sun damage. Like your skin, your eyes can also be damaged by UV rays. Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion statement—they block most UVA and UVB rays and help to protect your eyes from the sun.

The clothing you wear in the summer can also affect your level of sun protection. Loosely woven, light colored clothing provides less protection than clothing made with a darker, tightly-woven material. A tighter fabric weave will help keep UV rays from reaching your skin. Make sure to supplement regular sunscreen application with protective clothing to best shield your skin from harmful rays this summer.


5. Check for Skin Cancer Regularly 

With all of the sun exposure you’ll be getting this summer, it’s a great time to preform regular skin exams every few months. Look for any changes in size, color, texture, or shape of moles or dark spots. Also look for any new or abnormal moles or growths. Make sure to have any abnormalities checked, as early detection can make all the difference when treating cancer.


6. Lastly, Drink Plenty of Water!

In the summer, it’s essential to stay properly hydrated. Dehydration is uncomfortable and can lead to serious consequences, including headaches, decreased blood pressure, dizziness, fainting, and, in extreme cases, death. When you’re spending time in the sun, you need to drink enough water to replace what you’ve lost from sweating. Generally, you should drink between six and eight glasses of water every day. In the summer, depending on the temperature and your rate of physical activity, you may require more water to stay hydrated.


That’s it for my summer sun safety tips—what do you do in the summer to stay healthy while having fun in the sun? Leave your tips in the comments.







Obamacare: After the Hype, the Reality

Monday, June 16, 2014 at 5:03 pm

It’s still early, but vital signs are healthy

The Affordable Care Act is still in its infancy and had to survive a disastrous delivery, but so far many of the most dire predictions have not come to pass, Dan Diamond writes in an article on California Healthline on May 28.

While it is too soon to determine if Obamacare is making Americans healthier, Diamond notes that the healthcare industry seems to be doing just fine.

It was feared, for example, that a wave of chronically ill patients would swamp healthcare providers. The reality is that a trickle of new Medicaid beneficiaries are showing up in some states and that, overall, new patients in the first quarter of 2014 look a lot like new patients in 2013 — in some cases, this year’s patients are healthier.

Athenahealth’s Josh Gray told California Healthline that primary care providers in Medicaid expansion states are devoting a higher share of their practice to Medicaid patients, but “our metrics do not so far support the hypothesis that healthcare reform will unleash pent-up demand,” he said.

Safety-net hospitals warned that the law would cause a spike in uncompensated care costs, but some safety-net hospitals are actually seeing uncompensated care costs plunge, Diamond reports.

“We have seen a steady decline in our uninsured visits,” Roxane Townsend, CEO of University of Arkansas Medical Center, told Phil Galewitz of Kaiser Health News. “We did not anticipate this big a drop this quickly.”

Doctors have consistently complained about the headaches the ACA would engender — and even now, nearly 60% of practices responding to a survey by the Medical Group Management Association expect an unfavorable or very unfavorable impact from the law — yet physicians have also acknowledged that the rates paid out by ACA plans were generally equivalent to or surpassed the pay they got from Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement.


Humble Heroes: Project Honors Nurses

Monday, June 16, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Documentary, book pay tribute to nurses

When director and photographer Carolyn Jones had breast cancer, The New York Times reports, she was so touched by the care she received from her nurses that she decided to pay tribute to the profession. The result is The American Nurse Project, which “aims to elevate the voice of nurses in this country by capturing their personal stories through photography and film.”

Jones began the project in 2012, journeying across the country with her team to collect photographs and narratives that might, according to the project’s website, “inspire audiences to think about nurses in a way that they may never have before, with a newfound appreciation for this indispensable figure on the front lines of health and healthcare today.”

The documentary, which The New York Times called “elegantly clear-eyed,” premiered to sold-out crowds during National Nurses’ week in May and is now available to buy, download, or rent in digital format. (Any nurse who watches the film, in theaters or online, can get CE credits through Nurse.com.) The film follows five nurses from the book along with their patients: Tonia Faust with maximum-security prison inmates; Jason Short with home health patients in Appalachia; Brian McMillion with soldiers returning from war; Naomi Cross with mothers giving birth; and Sister Stephen with nursing home patients at the end of life.

View the trailer at http://americannurseproject.com/film-trailer/. But keep a box of tissues nearby: the Times warns that “tears are almost inevitable.”




Strong Medicine: Studies Back Meditation

Monday, June 16, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Broad benefits revealed in studies

The latest miracle drug has been around for thousands of years and, at its core, is all about nothing.

Meditation might strike some as New Age-style nonsense, but studies proving its benefits — physical, mental, and spiritual — continue to pile up.

An article on huffingtonpost.com last month listed 20 research-backed benefits of meditation that may cause caregivers to stop and say OMG (or just “om”). A study in the Journal of Neuroscience, for example, is one of many that showed a connection between meditation and pain reduction. “Researchers speculate that those who practice meditation develop the ability to exert greater control over unpleasant feelings, including pain, by turning them down as if using a ‘volume knob’ in the brain,” the article states.

Other benefits of meditation that studies have revealed include lowered blood pressure: more than half the patients in a study at Mass. General Hospital taught a relaxation technique experienced a drop in blood pressure — sometimes even resulting in reduced medication. Another study linked meditation to reduced rates of heart attack, stroke, and early death from heart disease in African-Americans.

The mental benefits of meditation are numerous as well. A UCLA study revealed that MRI scans of subjects who were long-time meditators showed that certain parts of their brains were larger, particularly those associated with emotional regulation. Additional studies point to such benefits as improved will power; increased focus and concentration; and improved cognitive function.


Unitek College’s First Information Technology Students Tackle a PC Tear Down

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 11:15 pm
PC Tear Down

Unitek College Information Technology Certificate Program students tackle a PC tear down during their first hands-on practical exam.

Unitek College welcomed the first group of students into its new Information Technology Certificate Program. The program aims to provide students with a strong technological foundation by preparing them to pass six certification exams. Instructor Carrie S. leads the program, imparting more than five years of IT instructional, managerial, and training experience to her students. With a mix of classroom training and hands-on labs, Unitek College’s Information Technology Certificate Program introduces and reinforces the common tools and technologies that IT professionals need to support computer users in today’s businesses.

As part of their training, Information Technology students must successfully complete multiple hands-on labs which help them learn to effectively troubleshoot hardware and software issues. During their first hands-on Lab Practical exam, IT students worked to dismantle and reassemble a PC while following all relevant protocols and safety precautions. As their instructor watched, students removed parts of their PC one by one. They began by unplugging all cords and removing the computer’s outer shell. Students were then required to remove all components, including the power supply, multiple fans, any CD/DVD drives, the card reader, the hard drive, any RAM, the motherboard, and more. By breaking a PC down into parts, students learn firsthand about the fragile connections required to maintain a functioning computer.

A Unitek College student removes computer components during his first hands-on exam.

A Unitek College student removes a PC’s power source during his first hands-on exam.

The real test is apparent when students start rebuilding their computers. Any incorrect or loose connections can affect their computer’s operation. During the exam, one of the student’s computers failed to turn on after it was rebuilt. Instructor Carrie S. saw the situation as a learning opportunity, not failure. The student had the chance to troubleshoot problems with the computer and the connected screen until he could determine the reason for the issue. Sometimes the issue is as simple as a loose connection or a damaged cord. In this situation, hands-on lab experience is infinitely more instructive than listening to a lecture or studying a diagram in a textbook.

Unitek College’s Information Technology Certificate students have more exams ahead of them before they graduate from the program, but the skills they learn each day translate to a broader understanding of computer technology fundamentals that will support them in a variety of IT positions throughout their career.


Unitek College   Unitek College’s Information Technology Program:

In a world increasingly dependent on computers, the demand for talented IT professionals is incredibly high. Unitek College’s Information Technology Program offers curriculum focused on several areas: troubleshooting hardware and software, understanding how data is stored, and setting up security systems to prevent system and network breaches. Unitek College’s Information Technology program prepares students to pass six industry standard certification exams: CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, CompTIA Linux+, CompTIA Storage+, and Microsoft’s MCTS: Windows 7, Configuration. CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications are generally regarded as the benchmark certifications for entry-level functions in Information Technology.

Train with a mix of instructor-led classroom instruction and hands-on labs. Get started today and train for a career as an IT professional.

For more information about Unitek College’s IT Certificate Program, please visit our website.