Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation

3 Essential Health Tips for Nurse Practitioners

The definition of “work” has changed a lot in the last century. Not long ago, “work” meant laboring—moving, sweating, lifting, plowing, and a host of other physical activities. But over the past several decades, much of our work has shifted indoors and behind desks… and this doesn’t bode well for our health.

“Most of us spend about 75 percent of our day sitting or being sedentary,” warns Dr. Meredith Peddie. “This behavior has been linked to increased rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and overall mortality.”

Nurses and Medical Assistants aren’t exempt, either. One recent study noted that employees who work shifts (specifically nurses) have a much more difficult time scheduling physical activity.

None of this is new, though. We’ve known for a while that anything sedentary is bad for us. Nurses and nurse practitioners are constantly on the lookout for hypertension and lower back pain that can result from extended periods of sitting or inactivity. Resolving this issue may feel impossible, but it doesn’t have to be.

If you’re a nurse or healthcare professional looking to stay healthy, the following tips and recipes will help you on your journey to wellness.

Is Your Nursing Shift Keeping You From Regular Exercise? Try Irregular

1. Embrace Irregular Exercising

Look up any article on healthy living and the word that always precedes “exercise” is “regular.” Shift work has an unpredictability that makes regular exercise difficult. And when you look at the prescribed amount of regular exercise—a little more than 20 minutes a day, or just two and a half hours per week—it’s easy to come to the conclusion “why bother?” After all, if you can’t do the minimum suggested amount, anything less is a waste of time, right?


As researchers continue to study the impact of exercise on the human body, one thing keeps coming up: Something is always better than nothing.

When it comes to prolonged sitting, for example, Dr. Peddie’s research found that even short interruptions to sitting had distinctly positive impacts on a person’s health. Amazingly, neither the intensity level nor the age/weight of those monitored seemed to matter. They simply needed to get up and move more often.

Mere minutes of exercise can begin to alter your muscles’ DNA, turning on certain genes for your strength and metabolism. You’ll also get the mental boost that comes from endorphins and serotonin, both of which are released within one exercise session. Even the way your body metabolizes fat improves with just one good session of sweat—and because of this, just that one workout can improve your resistance to diabetes.

Not only does your body improve with a single exercise session, your mind and spirits do as well. That means improved focus and a decrease in stress, even if you just work out for ten minutes!

Obviously, regular exercise is still the healthiest option, but intermittent exercise certainly has its benefits as well. So the next time you finish your shift, toss your dirty scrubs, and are deciding between your workout clothes or your comfy sweatpants, remember that even a quick workout is better than none at all.

2. Register for the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation Challenge

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation

The “Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation” challenge is sponsored by the American Nurses Association, and its premise 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.

Part of the challenge is the weight that nurses put on taking proper care of their patients. Of the nurse respondents, 68% said 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.

Nurses are natural caregivers and very hard workers. They care for their patients daily, and their drive and compassion has defined the role of nursing for decades. All of which is wonderful, of course… unless it comes at the cost of their personal and mental wellbeing.

The “Healthy Nurses, Healthy Nation” (HNHN) challenge focuses on two things:

  1. Improving the physical activity, sleep quality, nutrition, quality of life, and safety of nurses.
  2. Providing an online resource for nurses to connect with each other, educate themselves on life improvements, and cultivate “friendly competition.”

3. Prepare Easy & Healthy Portable Snacks

Whether you’re a student or a healthcare professional, you should try to consume high-protein snacks that are both healthy and portable. A great article by Healthline highlights a variety of snacks that can be eaten on a break or between classes. When you live the busy life of a nurse, a Medical Assistant, or a student, the right snacks can make all the difference!

Many are full of sugar and refined carbs, though. You don’t want to be left unsatisfied or lethargic throughout the day. If possible, you should strive to find snacks that are both nutritious and packed with protein. Not only does protein promote fullness, but it slows digestion and stabilizes blood sugar levels.

Below, we’ve compiled some of our favorite snacks from Healthline’s list!

Nutritious Snack Ideas for Nurses

Easy and Portable Snacks for Healthcare Professionals

  1. Veggies and Yogurt Dip: You might be wondering, what, exactly, is yogurt dip? It’s usually made from yogurt, herbs, and flavorings (think dill or lemon juice). To squeeze in more protein, you can use Greek yogurt. When it comes to convenience, we suggest that you make a big batch ahead of time and spoon it into smaller containers. Here’s a recommended recipe from Healthline.
  2. Chia Seed Pudding: This is a tasty, healthy, and popular snack. Not only is it high in protein, but it also contains omega-3 fatty acids. According to Healthline, “Snacking on chia seeds may help lower triglyceride levels, which is important for reducing the risk of heart disease.” Here’s a great recipe you can try.
  3. Homemade Granola: The title of this one is important—most store-bought granola tends to be high in added sugar. Because of this, homemade granola is usually the better option. You can make it using a combination of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and honey (or another sweetener). Thanks to its protein content, granola can make a very filling snack. Try this recipe for some magnificent granola.
  4. Pumpkin Seeds: This snack contains a great amount of protein, fiber, magnesium, zinc, and other nutrients. According to Healthline, they also provide “disease-fighting antioxidants, including vitamin E and carotenoids.” Curb your hunger by eating about an ounce of them raw or spiced and roasted.
  5. Edamame: If you’re not familiar with edamame, they are immature soybeans still in the pod. Like many of the other ideas on this list, edamame is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, and they also make for a quick n’ easy snack. Try a cup of steamed edamame, which can often be cooked in the microwave and found at many stories. Simply cook it and place it in a portable container, and you’re good to go!
  6. Cottage Cheese: Another filling snack that can be eaten on the go, a half cup of cottage cheese has about 14 grams of protein and a variety of nutrients. As stated by Healthline, these include important ones like calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12, and riboflavin. To make your snack even more delicious, add fruits, nuts, or a combo of both.
  7. Nut Butter: The ultimate portable snack, nut butter is full of nutrients and protein. In the U.S., many stores carry single-serving packets of nut butter, making it easy to grab one before you head out the door. One common brand is Justin’s, which offers snacks made of peanut butter, almond butter, and hazelnut butter.
  8. Protein Shakes: Even though it’s usually ideal to get your protein from whole food sources, protein shakes can be a great alternative when you need a little something extra. For example, some scoops of protein powder provide roughly 20 grams of protein. There are countless recipes for protein shakes, all of which can be found with a simple Google search. A quick base recipe tends to involve protein powder, milk or juice, ice, and fruit.

Whether you’re a nurse, studying to be a nurse, or starting your nurse training, we hope you’ll take a look at the HNHN challenge and try some of the healthy snacks we mentioned. You’re our front lines out there, and we need you in the best shape possible—mentally and physically.

RN Programs in California

If you are interested in becoming a nurse or a Medical Assistantcontact Unitek College today for more information about classes, current schedules, and opportunities.

what careers are related to nursing unitek college

Tips for a Safe Fourth of July Celebration

what careers are related to nursing unitek college

As we approach the Fourth of July, you might want to thank our heroes in scrubs! Even though the celebration usually includes fireworks, barbeques, and sunny weather, it also causes a sharp increase in car accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “Fourth of July is the worst day of the year for fatal car crashes.”

Nurses across the country will be working over the holiday and helping their communities. Some might wear patriotic scrubs in honor of the day, while others might create Fourth of July treats for inpatients at local hospitals. Throughout history, nurse heroes have come in all shapes and sizes. Many of them have followed soldiers into battle with scrubs and cloth bandages on hand. Their mission has always been to save as many lives as possible.

During the Revolutionary War, nurses became a common fixture in George Washington’s Continental Army. Sick and injured soldiers were suffering greatly at the time. In July 1775, a plan was enacted that provided one nurse for every 10 patients. The Revolutionary War and Independence Day—often referred to as the Fourth of July—helped create a larger role for women in the nursing field.

Holiday Advice from an Expert

As we celebrate this Fourth of July, let’s also remember some safety tips so that we can have a safe and happy holiday. This advice comes from Melissa Conrad Stöppler, M.D., at MedicineNet. Some of these tips might be obvious but bear repeating, while others just might surprise you!

Tips for a Safe Fourth of July Celebration

  1. Swim safely. According to Stöppler, “Water sports and fireworks are two of the biggest pastimes for Fourth of July celebrations, and these are both linked to numerous deaths and injuries each year.” Her advice? Never swim alone, and make sure that kids are supervised in the water at all times. Don’t assume others are watching the kids just because they’re nearby.
  2. Store and use fireworks correctly. This is a big one! If fireworks are legal in your area and part of your celebration, it’s important that you use them correctly. This means keeping spectators at a safe distance—emphasis on safe—and keeping kids away from the fireworks, too. If you’re concerned, you can always attend a firework display organized by professionals.
  3. Keep children away from campfires and grills. Along with fireworks, you’ll want to keep kids away from things like campfires and grills. Stöppler cites gas leaks, blocked tubes, and overfilled propane tanks, all of which can cause grill fires and explosions. These types of accidents happen more often than you might think.
  4. Drink responsibly. This one probably goes without saying, but alcohol and fireworks can be a hazardous combination. According to Stöppler, “alcohol and swimming can be as dangerous as drinking and driving.” Don’t forget to agree on a designated driver, too!
  5. Follow safe boating practices. Fourth of July festivities are often taken to the water, which means that lakes, waterways, and seas will probably be crowded with boats. Brush up on safe boating practices, and of course, don’t drink and drive your boat. Lastly, remember to stock enough life preservers for extra guests.
  6. Cover outdoor food but don’t leave it out all day. There are a number of reasons for this particular tip. Not only do you want to decrease the risk of food poisoning, but you also don’t want to attract bees or wasps. If someone is attending who is allergic to insect stings, you should buy an emergency anaphylaxis kit to have on hand. Avoid fragranced body products, bright colors, and sugary drinks to help prevent bee stings. When it comes to food-borne illness, “The U.S. FDA suggests never leaving food out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 90 F and not more than two hours at other times.”
  7. Apply sunscreen regularly. Stöppler suggests applying sunscreen both before and during an outdoor party. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause premature aging, painful burns, and skin cancer later in life. As Stöppler states, “Even those with darker skin should use a sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF).”
  8. Check prescription medications carefully. This one might surprise you! Before partaking in outdoor festivities, check your medications to ensure that you will not have a “sun-sensitizing drug reaction to the medication.”
  9. Protect yourself from tick-borne diseases. If your Fourth of July festivities include hiking or camping in an area where ticks are abundant, wear light-colored shirts, long sleeves, and long pants that you can tuck into your socks. For bare skin, you might want to use a tick repellent with 30% DEET.
  10. Avoid dehydration and heat illness. Don’t forget to take breaks and spend time in the shade while drinking plenty of fluids. According to Stöppler, “The risk of heat-related illness is increased when participating in strenuous activity or sports, and those with chronic medical conditions and the elderly are also at an increased risk of heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.”

We hope you found these tips helpful! During the holiday, you can have lots of fun and stay safe at the same time.

More About Careers in Nursing

Better Care for Patients Starts with Better Care for Nurses

Now that we’ve looked at some great safety tips, let’s go back to nursing for those that are seriously considering a career change. So, what careers are related to nursing? Vocational Nursing might be a great choice if you’d like to become a nurse without spending years in school. Nurses are essential members of the healthcare team, and their job opportunities are only expected to increase in the coming years. Reportedly, employment of LVNs is projected to grow 12 percent by 2026. This growth will likely afford nurses a certain degree of stability and job security.

Alternatively, you could pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Registered Nurses (RNs) with a BSN degree typically receive more management positions and employment opportunities. In addition to clinical skills, BSN students also learn more about communication, critical thinking, and other leadership skills. This combination allows BSN holders to create positive change in their healthcare settings.

Overall, nurses receive valuable exposure and experience. They work alongside physicians and other professionals while making a difference in the lives of their patients. At the end of the day, healthcare careers are all about helping others.

Unitek College can help you reach your goal of becoming a Licensed Vocational Nurse or a Registered Nurse. Contact us today for more information about classes, tuition assistance options, and other healthcare programs.

Nursing graduates

How to Become a Nurse

Nurses provide key support for physicians and champion the wellbeing of their patients. They are often selfless individuals who dedicate their lives to helping others. In this noble profession, you’ll find various types of nurses. You’ll also find a number of specialties and disciplines. All aspiring nurses, however, begin their careers by pursuing formal training through a diploma or degree program. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is one such degree, and it is highly valued in the healthcare field. However, there are multiple paths aspiring nurses can take to achieve their dream nursing career.

The Three Pathways to Becoming a Nurse

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is a popular and sought-after qualification that many pursue in order to launch or elevate their nursing careers. This degree requires more time in school than an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN), as a BSN can open doors for greater salaries, management positions, and career advancement. In fact, you might see more hospitals listing this degree as a requirement for their nurses.

Alternatively, some choose to pursue a diploma program for Vocational Nursing. This path often leads to a career as a licensed vocational nurse (LVN). It might be an ideal choice for those who would like to enter the nursing profession but do not want to spend years in school. In order to make this decision, aspiring nurses should look at their goals as well as the inherent value of the degree or diploma itself.

Why a BSN Is Important

Several years ago, the Institute of Medicine released a report called The Future of Nursing & Advancing Health. This document included many recommendations for improving the U.S. healthcare system, nursing requirements, and competitive edge with the rest of the world. One of the report’s many recommendations focused on the BSN degree. In recent years, the number of nurses with BSN degrees has hovered around 55%. But by the year 2020, the Institute of Medicine believes that 80% of nurses should hold the degree.

It’s not difficult to understand why the Institute of Medicine places such a high value on the BSN degree:

  1. The BSN degree allows nurses to specialize in certain disciplines. This means more job opportunities and better marketability as an employee.
  2. Nurses with a BSN degree earn significantly more on average than RNs equipped with an ADN. According to, BSN’s may earn on average up to $30,000 more a year than the average RN salary.
  3. Multiple studies state that more nurses with BSN degrees means better patient care overall within a hospital setting.
  4. A BSN is a requirement for most nurse management positions.

How to Get a BSN

Essentially, everything about the BSN degree comes down to leadership. Registered nurses fill a vital, necessary role in the healthcare community, and the BSN degree builds on the skills and clinical experience earned in ADN programs. In addition to clinical skills, BSN students also learn more about communication, critical thinking, and other management skills. Overall, this combination allows BSN holders to take charge and make positive changes in their healthcare settings.

The best nursing schools typically offer three pathways to a BSN degree:

  1. Full Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  2. Advanced Placement
  3. RN-to-BSN

Full – The Full Bachelor of Science (BSN) is a three-year program that prepares graduates for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

Advanced Placement – If you’re already an LVN, you can complete the BSN through an advanced placement program that usually takes about two years.

RN to BSN – This is a degree-completion program that transitions associate degree RNs into bachelor’s degree RNs. This can take about 1 year to complete.

Whether you have a high school diploma or years of nursing experience, these pathways can lead you to a BSN degree and create a foundation for career advancement.

How to Get an ADN

An Associate’s Degree in Nursing is another valuable option for aspiring nurses. While an ADN takes less time to obtain than a BSN degree, it requires more time than a Vocational Nursing diploma program. In addition, this alternative route does not offer the same benefits or prepare nurses for the same levels of responsibility as BSN graduates.

If aspiring RNs pursue an associate’s degree, they will complete about two years of study at a community college or a vocational school. ADN courses typically include basic nursing skills, anatomy and physiology, emergency care, nutrition, and more.

As with many healthcare degrees, an ADN program tends to blend hands-on training with class work. Graduates equipped with this degree might find work in various medical settings, such as hospitals, outpatient care centers, nursing care facilities, home healthcare services, insurance carriers, or offices of other health practitioners. In recent years, statistics from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) revealed that the average salary of an RN was $66,620, while the average salary for a BSN holder was $75,484.

If you’d like to become an RN, you might want to consider pursuing a BSN degree rather than an ADN. Though a BSN requires more time, it also comes with various benefits. Both degrees can lead you to the registered nursing profession, but a BSN degree creates a solid foundation for your future.

Becoming a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)

The licensed vocational nurse profession is another great place to start building a rewarding, beneficial career in the healthcare field. Licensed vocational nursing is a noble and respectable occupation, as LVNs assist patients and support their good health and wellbeing. This profession is also predicted to grow. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for LVNs is expected to increase 12% by 2026.

Additionally, LVNs can work in a variety of medical establishments. Some of these facilities include hospitals, nursing homes, private homes, group homes, and clinics. They are often responsible for providing basic medical care to ill, injured, disabled or convalescent persons, and they usually work under the supervision of a registered nurse. The path of vocational nursing can also be a valuable stepping stone for some professionals. Many start as LVNs and later use their experience to return to nursing school, where they might pursue a degree and become an RN.

How to Become a Licensed Vocational Nurse

Aspiring LVNs should be responsible and capable of working under pressure. Candidates to the LVN profession should also be highly motivated and capable of sustaining their professional activity while respecting ethical codes and regulations. In the absence of any previous LVN training and professional experience, aspiring LVNs must complete a vocational nursing program in order to become a licensed professional.

These training programs may differ from one state to another, but they generally include hands-on exercises and practical experience. Program lengths often range from one to two years, which might make them an ideal choice for those that want to enter the workforce as soon as possible. At Unitek College, for instance, you can complete a Vocational Nursing program in as little as 12 months!

There are plenty of reputed nursing schools offering high-quality vocational nursing programs, so obtaining access to the right form of education is relatively easy. Respectable vocational nursing schools, also referred to as career colleges, exclusively aim to give students the skills required in their future profession; such schools place an emphasis on teaching job-specific skills, and thus they should be regarded as institutions devoted to training, not education.

Once you enroll in a reputed and competitive vocational nursing program, you are only one step away from obtaining your license and building a noble career in the medical field. With ambition and hard work, you can obtain your license and pursue your dream job.

is LVN the same as RN

What You Need to Know About Vocational Nursing

So, just what is a Vocational Nurse? If you’re interested in nursing, you’ve likely also heard of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Nurses (RNs), and nursing assistants. All of these healthcare professionals work hard to help their patients as well as their coworkers. Of course, there are some important distinctions between these jobs.

Let’s start by giving you a brief rundown!

What Are Some Types of Nurses?

is LVN the same as RN

+ Licensed Vocational Nurse: Known as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) after passing the licensure exam, these professionals work under RNs and provide patients with quality care. Typically, you can become an LVN after completing a diploma program and taking the licensure exam.

+ Licensed Practical Nurse: This is actually another title for Licensed Vocational Nursing. Depending on your location in the U.S., one of these job titles will be used.

+ Registered Nurse: RNs fill a vital role in the healthcare field. To become a Registered Nurse, you’ll usually need to seek an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Like LVNs, you’ll also need to pass a licensing exam.

+ Nursing Assistant: Also known as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) once properly certified, these healthcare workers typically report to RNs or LVNs/LPNs. Their main role is to provide patients with basic care.

What Does a Licensed Vocational Nurse Do?

If you’ve ever considered a career as an LVN, and you’re curious about the training requirements, this post might be a great resource for you. Below you’ll find a bunch of information about how to start your nursing career. For instance, here are just some of the duties LVNs perform while on the job:

  • Assess and monitor their patients
  • Report adverse reactions to medication or treatment
  • Gather information from patients including their health history and how they are currently feeling

*In some states, including California, LVNs are also allowed to…

  • Administer prescribed medicines
  • Start intravenous fluids
  • Provide care to ventilator-dependent patients
  • Complete a plan of care for a specific patient in long-term care
  • Complete insurance forms, pre-authorizations, and referrals
  • Work with the interdisciplinary team to help determine the best course of care for a patient
  • Teach family members how to care for a relative or teach patients about good health habits
  • Supervise nursing assistants and aides

Is LVN the Same as RN?

In short, no—LVNs and RNs are not the same. Both are healthcare professionals in the nursing field who help others and work with physicians. However, LVNs require less training, as they do not bear the same level of responsibility as RNs. Registered Nurses almost always complete a degree program and seek licensure before looking for employment.

Without a doubt, nurses are key figures in healthcare. Their support and tireless dedication uplifts the entire community. Although nursing predates the 19th century, the history of professional nursing is thought to have started with Florence Nightingale, who is often referred to as the founder of modern nursing (you can read more about this trailblazing woman here).

How Much Does a Vocational Nurse Make a Year?

average healthcare salary

That’s a good question! Salary is always important to consider when you change careers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for LVNs was $46,240 in May 2018. They also reported that the highest 10 percent earned more than $62,160. Here are the top industries where high-earning LVNs worked in 2018:

+ Government

+ Nursing and residential care facilities

+ Home healthcare services

+ Hospitals; state, local, and private

+ Offices of physicians

How Do You Become a Vocational Nurse?

In the U.S., you must complete an approved educational program (LVNs and LPNs must also have a license). Generally speaking, these certificate or diploma programs can be found at vocational schools and community colleges. They often take about a year to complete, though some require more time. For instance, the VN program at Unitek College can be completed in as little as 12 months!

The curriculum blends hands-on training with classroom instruction. Students benefit from more than 900 hours of clinical instruction in simulations and healthcare facilities. Throughout the program, aspiring nurses can expect to study topics like: Nursing Theory, Nursing Clinical Skills, Introduction to Pharmacology, Medical-Surgical Skills, Maternal and Newborn, Pediatrics, and Professional Development.

(We should also mention that students have access to fully-stocked labs, which contain patient care stations that simulate actual hospital settings).

Why Should You Pursue Vocational Nurse Training?

how do you become a vocational nurse

If you’d like to become a nurse without spending years in school, Vocational Nursing might be the ideal choice! Nurses are essential members of the healthcare team, and their job opportunities are only expected to increase in the coming years. Reportedly, employment of LVNs is projected to grow 12 percent by 2026. This growth will likely afford nurses a certain degree of stability and job security.

Overall, LVNs receive valuable exposure and experience. They work alongside doctors and RNs and make a difference in the lives of their patients. At the end of the day, healthcare careers are all about helping others.

Unitek College can help you reach your goal of becoming a Licensed Vocational Nurse. Contact us today for more information about classes, tuition assistance options, and other healthcare programs.

what careers are related to nursing

Medical Heroes: Five Outstanding Nurses from History

If you’re interested in becoming a nurse, you are probably familiar with nurse theory and registered nursing. But do you know who introduced those concepts? Today, we’re going to give you the answers in this latest installment of the Medical Hero series. Join us for a look at five outstanding nurses from history and how their accomplishments have impacted modern healthcare!

Our information comes from an insightful article by Pulse Uniform. They examine various nurses who have undoubtedly made the world a better place. Let’s take a closer look at some of these exceptional people…

Founder of the American Red Cross

what careers are related to nursing

(1821 to 1912) Clarissa Harlowe Barton didn’t start her nursing career until the American Civil War. Once a teacher, she later brought supplies to various battlefields during the war. According to Pulse Uniform, she was rightfully known as the Angel of the Battlefield. The need for medical supplies was dire at the time. After helping to advertise and collect donations, Clara Barton partnered with army ambulances to dispense supplies, nurse injured men, and even cook for soldiers.

Barton also helped locate missing soldiers and notified their families. It was this activity in particular that “ushered the Red Cross tracing services to the humanitarian scene.” In time, the American Red Cross would not just serve warzone victims but disaster victims as well. The humanitarian service also led to the expansion of International Red Cross relief efforts. Many were adamant about constantly carrying nurse kits so that they could provide assistance whenever necessary.

In the end, Barton served the American Red Cross until 1904. Before her death, she established the National First Aid Association of America, where she was honorary president for five years.

Introduced the System of Nursing Registration

(1846 to 1926) Elizabeth Grace Campbell Neil spent the first stages of her nursing career as lady superintendent of the Pendlebury Hospital for Children in Manchester. In 1886, she left England for Australia, where she later became known as “a determined nurse with a stethoscope on her neck at all times.” After New Zealand established their Department of Health, Neil was given the opportunity to help draft a bill that aimed to protect the public from nursing malpractice. According to Pulse Uniform, this became the world’s first Nurses’ Registration Act.

Not long afterward, the Midwives’ Registration Act was also passed. Neil was asked to establish the very first state maternity hospital—known as St. Helen’s Hospital—which successfully opened in 1905 and was followed by three more hospitals in the span of two years. Ultimately, Neil’s extensive knowledge of the technicalities of the nursing profession made her a key figure in international nursing politics.

First Registered African-American Nurse

(1845 to 1926) Mary Eliza Mahoney became interested in nursing at a young age. This led her to the New England Hospital for women and children, where she worked as a cook, a janitor, and a laundry woman. During that time, she also worked as an unofficial nursing aid, which was a significant step toward her dream of becoming a professional nurse. In 1879, she was accepted into the hospital’s nursing school. Mahoney proved her competence and skill when she was one of only three nursing students to complete the rigorous training!

After graduating, Mahoney officially registered in the Nurses Directory at the Massachusetts Medical Library. She soon found work in private practice, where she cared for patients in the New England area. Mahoney also sought to end racial discrimination in nursing. She first became a member of the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada. At the time, the discrimination in the association “moved Mahoney to co-find the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses in 1908.”

Through the NACGN, Mahoney helped improve the status of African-American nurses nationwide. Additionally, she devoted many years of her life to the Howard Orphan Asylum, where she served as director and national chaplain. After her death, the NACGN created the Mary Mahoney Award. She was also inducted into the American Nurses Association’s Hall of Fame as well as the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Developed the Nursing Theory

Medical Heroes: Five Outstanding Nurses from History

(1897 to 1996) Virginia Avenel Henderson is known as the first lady of nursing. In fact, some consider her to be “the most famous nurse of the 20th century.” Henderson has influenced both American and international nursing education, practice, and research. According to Pulse Uniform, she was responsible for the development of nursing theory, and she carefully defined the role of nurses in healthcare.

Henderson spent her early nursing years as a public health nurse at the Henry Street Settlement. She also contributed to the visiting nurse service in Washington D.C. In time, Henderson became the first full-time nursing instructor at the Norfolk Protestant School of Nursing, not to mention a very active member of the Virginia Nurses Association. While she was an instructor, Henderson lobbied for the inclusion of psychiatric nursing in Virginia State’s nursing education.

Some of Henderson’s published works are still used as nursing textbooks and source material for in-depth knowledge of nursing. Fittingly, Henderson was the first recipient of the Christiane Reimann Prize in 1985. Though she passed on March 19, 1996, her significance continues to live on in the nursing profession.

First African-American Chief of the Army Nurse Corps

(1927 to 2011) Hazel W. Johnson-Brown became the first African-American Brigadier General of the Army Nurse Corps. Reportedly, she reached the honorable rank when she was appointed as chief of the ANC. This meant that Johnson-Brown commanded 7,000 men and women in the Army National Guard and Army Reserves! She also oversaw various medical centers, free-standing clinics, and community hospitals in a number of countries, including Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Panama, and the United States.

In 1947, Johnson-Brown traveled to New York City and was admitted to the Harlem Hospital School of Nursing. For a time, she worked at the Philadelphia Veteran’s Hospital, but soon enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps after some encouragement from her colleagues. Johnson-Brown quickly rose through the ranks, accumulating a number of impressive credentials from the positions she held. She reached the peak of her career as Chief of ANC, with the rank of Brigadier General.

After enjoying much success in the military, Johnson-Brown retired from the service in 1983. She then began her second career in academia, where she worked as a professor of nursing at Georgetown University. Though Brig. Gen. Johnson-Brown retired from teaching in 1997, she served several health administration boards in the Washington area.

About Healthcare Training at Unitek College

Unitek Looks at Five Outstanding Nurses from History

If you felt inspired after reading about these trailblazing women, you might now be wondering: What careers are related to nursing? Aspiring nurses can train for a new career path in as little as 12 months with Unitek’s Vocational Nursing program. Those who would like to advance their nursing careers can also obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree through one of three pathways. Whether you have a high school diploma or years of nursing experience, the BSN program can create a foundation for career advancement, management positions, and greater salaries.

In addition, those searching for Medical Assistant schools will find a dynamic program at Unitek. Medical Assistant program lengths often vary, but Unitek’s MA program can be completed in as little as 9 months. Aspiring Dental Assistants, Medical Office Administrators, and Information Technology professionals can also find accelerated training at Unitek College.

Founded in 2002, Unitek College is an accredited, private institution that combines unique academic and technical specialties to provide excellent training programs in healthcare and nursing. With seven campuses in California, Unitek offers educational programs in the cities of Fremont, San Jose, Hayward, Concord, South San Francisco, Sacramento, and Bakersfield. For more information, please visit our contact page and reach out to a school representative.

Change lives with Unitek College!

what qualifications do you need to be a nurse

Medical Heroes: Renowned Nurse Florence Nightingale

Welcome to Unitek’s Medical Hero series! In each installment, we’re going to look at an outstanding individual who has been influential in healthcare. Today, that person is nurse legend Florence Nightingale. Some even refer to her as the founder of modern nursing, which just goes to show how much of an impact she had on the nursing profession.

If you aren’t familiar with nurses, they typically provide and coordinate patient care. Most Registered Nurses (RNs) work as part of a team with doctors and other healthcare professionals. Some RNs also oversee Licensed Vocational/Licensed Practical Nurses, nursing assistants, and home health aides. Many view nurses as a key pillar of strength that supports the healthcare team and ensures it functions well.

Since Florence Nightingale is an important figure in the nursing profession, we thought we’d kick off this medical series with her accomplishments. Learn more about this amazing woman with us…

what qualifications do you need to be a nurse

Who Was Florence Nightingale?

According to The website, Florence Nightingale was a pioneering figure in nursing who “greatly affected 19th- and 20th-century policies around proper care.” She was well known for her night rounds tending to the wounded, which also earned her the nickname Lady with the Lamp.

Born on May 12, 1820 in Florence, Italy, Nightingale defied the expectations of her wealthy family—not to mention the expectations of the time—and passionately pursued what she saw as her true calling. During the Crimean War, Nightingale and a group of nurses worked tirelessly to improve unsanitary conditions at a British-base hospital, which greatly reduced the loss of life. Her writings later “sparked worldwide healthcare reform, and in 1860 she established St. Thomas’s Hospital and the Nightingale Training School for Nurses.”

How Did Florence Nightingale Become a Nurse?

Born to an affluent British clan, Nightingale was the younger of two daughters and apparently had a strong-willed personality. Her parents provided her with a classical education, which included subjects such as mathematics and foreign languages (German, French, etc.) It has been said that Nightingale was also active in philanthropy from a very young age. Eventually, she realized that nursing was her divine purpose in life.

Unfortunately, Nightingale’s parents forbade her to pursue a career in nursing. Not one to be deterred, Nightingale went against her family’s wishes and refused a marriage proposal so that she could follow her true calling. According to Pulse Uniform, she took her first formal nursing course in 1849 at the Institute of St. Vincent de Paul in Alexandria, Egypt. Within the following years, she also enrolled as a nursing student at the Institution of Protestant Deaconesses in Kaiserswerth, Germany.

How Did Florence Nightingale Impact Nursing?

Let’s count the ways! After training in Germany and France, Nightingale volunteered to serve as Superintendent at the Establishment for Gentlewomen, a hospital that was opened during a time of illness in London. Pulse Uniform has stated that the skills Nightingale gained from these experiences prepared her for the challenges of tending to British military victims when the Crimean War broke out in 1854.

They also stated that “British medical facilities were in dire need of improved sanitary conditions when Florence Nightingale and 38 nurses entered the military hospitals in Scutari. Mortality in military hospitals was seven times higher than in the actual battlefields, but dropped with Nightingale’s help.”

In addition, Nightingale introduced sanitary items like surgical caps. She also put her mathematical skills to use by collecting data and calculating mortality rate changes after sanitary methods were utilized at the medical facilities. Eventually, these life-saving methods spread to all British military hospitals. In fact, the statistical data Nightingale used—referred to as the coxcombs—is now called the Polar Area Diagram. Because of her actions, countless lives have been saved in the past as well as present day.

About Healthcare Training at Unitek College

Finding a Good School for Medical Assistants

If you felt inspired after reading about Florence Nightingale, you might now be wondering: What qualifications do you need to be a nurse? Aspiring nurses can train for a new career path in as little as 12 months with Unitek’s Vocational Nursing program. Those who would like to advance their nursing careers can also obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree through one of three pathways. Whether you have a high school diploma or years of nursing experience, the BSN program can create a foundation for career advancement, management positions, and higher salaries.

In addition, those searching for Medical Assistant schools will find a dynamic program at Unitek. Medical Assistant program lengths often vary, but Unitek’s MA program can be completed in as little as 9 months. Aspiring Dental Assistants, Medical Office Administrators, and Information Technology professionals can also find accelerated training at Unitek College.

Founded in 2002, Unitek College is an accredited, private institution that combines unique academic and technical specialties to provide excellent training programs in healthcare and nursing. With seven campuses in California, Unitek offers educational programs in the cities of Fremont, San Jose, Hayward, Concord, South San Francisco, Sacramento, and Bakersfield. For more information, please visit our contact page and reach out to a school representative.

Follow your calling with Unitek!