Hero Nurse Breaks Down Barriers In Japan

Hero Nurse Breaks Down Barriers In Japan

Hero Nurse Breaks Down Barriers In Japan

Hero Nurse Breaks Down Barriers In Japan

If there’s one thing everyone quickly learns about nurses, it’s that no one or nothing should ever stand between them and helping their patient—even if that nothing is a two-thousand-year-old cultural tradition.

Sumo wrestling is a sport practiced only in Japan, and its historical roots stretch back to the BCE years. While the rules of the game have changed throughout the millennia, at its core, sumo wrestling has remained very true to its origins… even when those origins clash with the more progressive thinking of the present.

Almost as much a ritual as it is a sport, one very strict rule of sumo wrestling throughout its history has been a zero tolerance ban on women in the sumo ring. If a woman does enter the sacred space (called a “dohyo”) the ring is considered “ritually unclean”.

But when the ban on women came between one Japanese nurse and a man suffering from a stroke, she didn’t think twice. She entered the ring, and that bold move is still making waves in Japanese culture.

As Ryoto Tatami, mayor of Maizuru city in northern Kyoto, was delivering a speech before a sumo match, the 67-year old man suddenly collapsed in the ring. It was later determined to be a stroke, but for the female nurse watching from the crowd, the cause nor the setting mattered. She saw a man who needed help, and she charged into the ring to do so.

Her actions shocked the sumo judges, who began demanding over the PA system that she leave the ring immediately, repeating over and over the traditional ban on women in the ring. But the nurse (whose name has not yet been released) continued to work. Soon, other women began rushing into the ring to help, emboldened by the nurse’s example.

Thanks to her actions, Mayor Tatami survived the stroke, and nearly two months later was able to return to work.

“Even though sumo has a long history and traditions, its female ban policy is irrelevant today,” Tatami told a news conference on his first day back at work. “At least in situations requiring first aid, male or female should not matter. Anyone should be allowed to help out.”

The head of the sumo association also apologized for the incident, though the ban on females has not yet been officially lifted.

Still, the brave and selfless act of one nurse continues to make headlines today, two months after the mayor’s stroke, and could very well be a significant influencer in future cultural shifts in Japan.

If you are ever in a situation where you suspect a person may be having a stroke, the Mayo Clinic reminds first responders to assess the situation using the FAST acronym.

  • Face.Does the face droop on one side when the person tries to smile?
  • Arms.Is one arm lower when the person tries to raise both arms?
  • Speech.Can the person repeat a simple sentence? Is speech slurred or hard to understand?
  • Time.During a stroke every minute counts. If you observe any of these signs, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

 If you are interested in beginning your own career as a nurse, contact Unitek College today for information on our many nursing and medical assistant programs.

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation

If you haven’t yet been introduced to the “Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation” challenge, just give it time. The premise of the challenge (sponsored by the American Nurses Association) is simple: by improving the health and lifestyle of all nurses, those nurses can then set a healthy example for all around them. It’s a program designed to establish the nurse as a role model for personal health.

But those running the program have their work cut out for them.

You would think that everyone involved in the medical field would naturally gravitate towards healthy lifestyles. And in some ways, you’d be right. Nurses tend to be very proactive when it comes to things like getting flu shots (91%), using sunscreen (88%), or not smoking (94%). But when it comes to aspects of personal life and health that can be influenced by stress, nurses aren’t always a shining example.

Part of the challenge is the weight that nurses put on taking proper care of their patients. 68% of nurse respondents said that they put their patients’ wellbeing over their own health and safety. Many times, that means taking on longer hours, sleeping less, and settling for a diet that’s more convenient than healthy.

In fact, the study also found that the average body mass index (BMI) of nurses surveyed was over 27, a number firmly in the “overweight” column.

It all goes back to that 68% mentality. Nurses are natural caregivers and very hard workers. They work face to face with patients daily, and their drive and compassion is an incredible and unique combination that has defined the role of nurse for decades. All of which is wonderful, of course… unless it comes at the cost of personal and mental wellbeing.

Enter the goal of the “Healthy Nurses, Healthy Nation” challenge.

“Just think,” the ANA writes on their website, “if all 3.6 million registered nurses increase their personal wellness and support some of their family, community, co-workers, and patients to do the same, what a healthier world we would live in.”

The HNHN challenge (which you can register for here) attempts to focus on two things: improving the physical activity, sleep quality, nutrition, quality of life, and safety of nurses, and providing an online resource for nurses to connect with each other, educate themselves on life improvements, and cultivate “friendly competition”.

“Nurses are on the frontlines of health care, “writes Dr Pamela Cipriano,” and their well-being is critical to the health of the nation… If we support nurses in getting healthy, they will model these habits for their patients, family members, friends, colleagues and communities.”

Each month of the year, HNHN issues specific challenges to participating nurses. The challenges may center around the passive, like encouraging mindfulness or improving sleep. Some focus on safely, such as completing sharps training or pledging to stop distracted driving. And of course, some of the challenges are physical—such as running a 5k. This month’s challenge is simply called “Hydration”.

Whether you’re a nurse, studying to be a nurse, or simply considering starting nurse training, we hope you’ll take a look at the HNHN challenge and give some thought to taking part. You’re our front lines out there, and we need you in the best shape possible—mentally and physically.

If you’re interested in becoming a nurse or medical assistant, Unitek College can help get you started. Contact us today for more information.

Stick Like A Pro: Tips For Mastering The Art Of Venipuncture

Stick Like A Pro: Tips For Mastering The Art Of Venipuncture

Stick Like A Pro: Tips For Mastering The Art Of Venipuncture

Stick Like A Pro: Tips For Mastering The Art Of Venipuncture

Taking a blood sample or starting an IV usually isn’t the highlight of a medical worker’s day… and it’s definitely not a favorite moment for the patient, especially if multiple sticks or other complications are involved. But phlebotomy and venipuncture are necessary, and mastering them can make the experience better for both patient and lab tech.

For starters? Remember that there’s no such thing as normal when it comes to sticking a vein.

“Anybody who expects just routine draws is quickly disappointed,” says Dennis Ernst, director of the Center for Phlebotomy Education in Corydon, Ind. “Because you have five or six categories of patients who present challenges—and you never know who’s going to walk in the door.”

The best rules to remember, of course, are the ones you learned in your medical training, and you should always defer to those techniques or to your administration for proper procedure. But here are a few tips and tricks that can help keep the sample process “flowing smoothly”.

Take A Deep Breath – Not you (though you can if you’d like), but the patient. By asking the patient to take a deep breath just before the stick, it both keeps them occupied and keeps them distracted. Being given something to do helps a person feel more in control of the situation—and this works as the needle is being removed, also.

Anchors Away – Stretching the skin by “anchoring” the vein doesn’t just help you stick the vein on the first try, it also helps make the stick less painful. Remember, your thumb goes below the venipuncture site, and give yourself plenty of room so you don’t accidentally jab your own fingers.

Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings – Finding the vein and choosing your venipuncture site is perhaps the most difficult part of phlebotomy, especially if your patient’s veins are small, fragile, or non-elastic, and much of selecting the vein comes down to feeling. Not gut feeling, literal feeling.

There’s an old joke about how the first thing lab nurses notice when meeting a new person is how good their arms veins are, and that joke isn’t far from reality. Some patients are gifts from the gods, with veins thick and visible. But others are more of a challenge.

To that end, feeling for the vein (not slapping, despite what you see in movies) will always be the most reliable approach. Palpate for that “spongy firmness”, and feel above and below your target area for a better idea of direction.

The Invisible Vein  – Still can’t find a place to stick? Dr. Jabr of Florence, Oregon suggests “to obviate the need for multiple inconvenient and painful attempts at securing the needle, apply a warm pad to the target vein for a few minutes. This helps dilate the vein and makes it more visible and accessible.”

Another trick (from the venipuncture site AimVein.com) is to bend the arm upward if the veins are hiding. This sometimes makes them easier to spot.

Less Than Thirty – You’ve probably heard this a hundred times in your nurses training, but it never hurts to hear again. The World Health Organization guidelines suggest keeping the angle of insertion at 30 degrees or less (15 is ideal) to avoid passing through the vein.

Label Immediately – There’s nothing worse than getting a great stick, drawing a great sample, then forgetting to label it right away. Actually, there is something worse… and that’s mixing up samples because they weren’t labeled at the bedside. For your sake and the patient’s sake, label all sample immediately, even if things are going a mile a minute.

Know When To Quit – Just can’t get that blood sample? Veins just aren’t cooperating? Considering a third or fourth attempt? Here’s something else to consider—getting help. Don’t think of it as failure or defeat, think of it as making the best decision for your patient. Getting a fresh set of eyes on the situation might be all that’s needed to finally draw a good sample, and knowing when to seek help is the mark of a pro.

There’s A Body Attached To That Arm – At the end of the day, though, everything really comes down to how safe and peaceful you make your patient feel. So treat each and every one as if they were a friend or relative, and remember that just because you see needles and blood samples many times a day, this is a fairly rare experience for them. They will often be nervous. Some may faint. Some may be nervous because they’re afraid they’ll faint. It’s up to you to coach them through it and make the experience as positive as possible. The better it goes, the better the chances of that person seeking medical attention in the future, and that’s always a great takeaway.

“Compassion is not antiquated,” writes Dr Larry Dossey. “It remains a crucial factor in healing and will never go out of style. It is always available for any healthcare professional who is wise enough to claim it.”

Interested in beginning your own career as a nurse or medical assistant? Unitek College can help! Contact us today for more information on our many available programs.

Officers Rally Behind Nurse Battling Cancer

Officers Rally Behind Nurse Battling Cancer

Officers Rally Behind Nurse Battling Cancer

Officers Rally Behind Nurse Battling Cancer

One of the greatest benefits of a life spent helping others is that when you run into trouble, you almost always have a support team already assembled. Such was the case for Hernando County nurse Debra Dolby, who found a source of strength in her uniformed co-workers.

A nurse at the Hernando County detention center since 2006 (and a member of the Navy and Marine Corps before that), Nurse Dolby has worked side by side with county deputies for over a decade. So last year when Debra was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer, her co-workers quickly found ways to help… and one of those ways is now getting national attention.

“She’s just a fun person that gets down to business and calls them like she sees them,” Programs Deputy William Ingersoll said, a perspective most of her co-workers share. So when cancer treatment cost Debra her hair, staging a demonstration of support was a “no brainer”.

Many of the deputies already sported shaved heads (or were bald naturally), and the ones who weren’t quickly grabbed a razor and shaved. Soon, Debra was surrounded by a smiling pack of bald-headed friends, all smiling for a photo that now serves as motivation for her.

“It’s how you get your strength and your courage, and this is a badge of courage, ” Nurse Dolby said of the support she’s found in her team. “Being bald is hard for a woman, not hard for a man, but it’s how you get your power.”

“We wanted to demonstrate that we’re part of the same team, part of the same unit, and we wanted to show a little solidarity,” Classification Sgt. Dan Carriveau said of Nurse Dolby.

And ever the helper herself, Debra is already looking for ways that her battle today can help someone tomorrow.

“There’s a lot of diseases that people need motivation for, and if I can give them just a little bit, share my story, then I’m happy,” she said.

If you’d like to see the photo (and other support from the Hernando County deputies), you can see it on their Facebook page here.

As of today, Debra’s doctors have given her a 40% chance of beating the disease, a number Debra refuses to take negatively.

“I said what’s my chances of surviving this? He said 40% and I said who says I’m not in the 40%, ” she said, adding that her motivation for survival isn’t for her sake… it’s for the sake of those who depend on her. “They need me so it’s not about me. It’s about them.”

We love stories of nurses who change lives through their dedication, passion, and skill—nurses such as Evelyn Sotomayor, whose unrelenting care helped save a patient and inspired her to become a doctor herself. But just as much, we love stories of a community that recognizes the value of the nurses who help them, and who come together when it’s the nurse who needs help.

If you’d like to explore your own options in the world of nursing, Unitek College is here to help. Contact us here for more information.

Memorial Day 2018: Nurses On The Front Lines

Memorial Day 2018: Nurses On The Front Lines

Memorial Day 2018: Nurses On The Front Lines

Memorial Day 2018: Nurses On The Front Lines

This past weekend, the nation paused to honor the military men and women who died in the line of duty. And we’d like to continue that theme of remembrance this week by focusing on some of the heroes in scrubs who also served on those front lines. These were the nurses who carried bandages in place of rifles, yet still put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of their country and their brothers and sisters in arms.

Here are a few of their stories.

Colonel Ruby Bradley

Colonel Bradley was already a military nurse when America entered World War II and was based in the Philippines when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Soon, the Japanese army was sweeping through the islands, and Nurse Bradley, another nurse, and a doctor hid in the hills after their base was evacuated. Unfortunately, the three were betrayed by two of the locals, and Nurse Bradley soon found herself a captive in a Japanese POW camp.

But rather than allowing this to end her story, Nurse Bradley chose this moment as the beginning. She began treating prisoners with any useful medicine or instrument she could get her hands on, earning her the nickname “Angel in Fatigues”. In a short time, Bradley set up a small pharmacy, a clinic, and a smuggling operation by which she and a doctor brought morphine and other medicines into camp.

In the 37 months that Bradley was a captive, she performed over 230 major operations and delivered 13 babies, all while using anything and everything on hand as instruments.

“Three days after [smuggling morphine into camp], we had an appendectomy,” Nurse Bradley recalled during a 1983 interview. “The Japanese thought it was wonderful that we could do all this without any instruments.”

Nurse Bradley was eventually rescued, but her story didn’t end there. She went on to serve as a combat medic in the Korean War, eventually becoming the Army’s most highly decorated nurse.

Lieutenant Reba Whittle

Nurse Whittle served as a flight nurse in the European theater of World War II, and like Nurse Bradley, fought her battle from behind the walls of a POW camp. When her plane was shot down over Aachen, Germany, Nurse Bradley became the only female POW in Europe during World War II. Her situation was so rare that the Germans themselves were confused as to how to treat her.

Eventually, she was allowed to attend to prisoners within the camp—falling back on her flight school nursing training where she learned to treat injury and illness in the absence of a physician. But when she wasn’t treating soldiers, she was kept in an isolated cell.

After the war ended and Nurse Whittle returned home, she began a second battle—one against the United States government for recognition as a veteran and POW. Because of her gender and the rarity of her situation, she was denied benefits and recognition, something she fought until her dying day.

It was a battle Nurse Whittle eventually won, earning recognition (posthumously) of World War II POW in 1992.

Lieutenant Elsie S. Ott

Nurse Ott was another flight nurse who served during World War II, treating evacuees as they flew from India to Washington, D.C. While this may seem run of the mill today, the use of airplanes to evacuate the wounded (and to bring in fresh troops) was considered experimental.

Nurse Ott was chosen as flight nurse for the first evacuation flight and within 24 hours was onboard, despite the fact that she had yet to board an aircraft in her life. But Nurse Ott took to the skies like a natural, treating soldiers for a wide assortment of maladies as the plane completed its six-day flight to the states.

But Nurse Ott didn’t just treat her patients during the flight. She also kept a detailed list of the endeavor, noting the equipment and changes needed to improve the process for both the injured and the medical personnel. She eventually returned to India with the 803rd Evacuation Squad, and by 1946, she had been promoted to captain.

Her bravery and commitment lead to Nurse Ott becoming the first woman to receive the U.S. Air Medal.

 

If you’re interested in beginning your own career in nursing, Unitek College is the place to start. Contact us today for more information.

Patient Reunites With Nurse 38 Years Later

Patient Reunites With Nurse 38 Years Later

Patient Reunites With Nurse 38 Years Later

Patient Reunites With Nurse 38 Years Later

Amazing things happen in the world of medicine every day, like this month’s breakthrough that allows doctors to use AI to recreate human cells for disease study. But the real magic in the industry comes from the connections formed between patient and caregiver. Nurses care for hundreds of patients each year, sometimes as just a passing helper, and sometimes as an embodiment of hope and kindness that patients carry away with them for the rest of their lives.

Many times, those patients and those nurses never see each other again. But in some cases, reunions do happen… even if that reunion is almost forty years later.

For Amanda Scarpinati, that special nurse was a woman she met in 1977 as a three-month old baby. Already suffering from an illness (possibly pneumonia), Amanda was lying on a couch when she rolled over—falling off the furniture and onto the scalding hot surface of a boiling steam vaporizer.

The damage was instant and intense. She was rushed to the hospital, where multiple surgeries and grafts followed. Her struggle didn’t end there, with years of reconstructive surgeries and school bullying still to survive. But in those years, Amanda found strength and comfort in something unusual… a magazine photo from her first appearance at the hospital.

In the photo, a young nurse cradles the heavily bandaged Amanda, who appears remarkably calm in her arms.

“It’s the nurses who are there comforting you, and here I am, this tiny infant, she’s just staring at me and smiling and I wasn’t crying in any of those pictures, so that says a lot,” says Amanda. “Growing up as a child, disfigured by the burns, I was bullied and picked on, tormented. I’d look at those pictures and talk to her, even though I didn’t know who she was. I took comfort looking at this woman who seemed so sincere caring for me.”

Twenty years later, Amanda has recovered beautifully from the scars and surgeries, though her journey and the mystery nurse remained constantly on her mind. Finally, on a whim, Amanda decided to do something about it—posting the photo online and asking for help in tracking down the identity of the woman.

The post exploded—quickly going viral and spreading through the nursing community nationwide. It wasn’t long until another nurse from that same hospital, Angela Leary, recognized a familiar face.

“I said oh my God, that’s Sue Berger,” said Leary. “Connecting the dots was easy and I was happy to do it.”

And once the dots were connected, it didn’t take long for the reunion to finally happen. (You can watch the tearful moment unfold in this video from NBC news).

Nurse Berger, despite the passage of nearly four decades, remembered the moment she held Amanda. She’d held on to the same photos, and had even spoken of the moment with family and friends.

“She [Amanda] was very peaceful,” Nurse Berger said. “Usually when babies come out of surgery, they’re sleeping or crying. She was just so calm and trusting. It was amazing.”

“I don’t know how many nurses would be lucky enough to have something like this happen, to have someone remember you all that time,” she continued. “I feel privileged to be the one to represent all the nurses who cared for her over the years. This is to me what nursing means. It’s caring. It’s our gift.”

If you’d like to begin your own career in nursing, contact Unitek College to find out how you can start today!