A Drone Could Be Your Next Co-Worker

A Drone Could Be Your Next Co-Worker

A Drone Could Be Your Next Co-Worker

We’ve shared in previous posts how robotic technology could soon change the working environment of hospitals in big, big ways. These included robots that follow doctors on rounds, robots that assist the elderly, and robots that literally lift and carry human patients so a nurse won’t risk injury while moving them.

Many of these robots, though, are still very much in the testing phase and won’t be making it to your hospital halls any time soon. But the skies outside your hospital are a whole other story, and as of April, it’s no longer a test…it’s reality.

This April, for the first time in history, an organ was delivered for transplant by an unmanned drone. A patient in Baltimore, Trina Glispy, had undergone dialysis for over eight years and was in desperate need of a kidney. When one became available, Trina agreed to the drone flight—a technology that doctors and researchers believe could speed up organ delivery times, expand access to more organs, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

The flight was a success, and more importantly, so was Trina’s surgery.

“This whole thing is amazing. Years ago, this was not something that you would think about,” said Ms. Glispy.

Drones have been used to make deliveries for some time now, with companies such as Amazon investing more and more into unmanned aerial deliveries, but medical supplies—living organs in particular—require much more planning and preservation than the average cardboard box.

“As a result of the outstanding collaboration among surgeons, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), engineers, organ procurement specialists, pilots, nurses and, ultimately, the patient, we were able to make a pioneering breakthrough in transplantation,” said Joseph Scalea, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery at UMSOM, project leader and one of the surgeons who performed the transplant at UMMC. “This was a complex process.  We were successful because of the dedication of all of the people involved over a long period of time.”

The challenges the drone and the team of pilots faced weren’t small. First, the organ had to be constantly monitored during the flight, with updates being transmitted to both the pilots and the receiving hospital. Conditions within the cargo space had to be maintained precisely in order to prevent damage.

“When we started this project, I quickly realized there were a number of unmet needs in organ transport,” said Dr. Scalea.  “For example, there is currently no way to track an organ’s location and health while in transit. Even in the modern era, human organs are unmonitored during flight.  I found this to be unacceptable. Real-time organ monitoring is mission-critical to this experience.”

And the flight itself followed a course through an urban living area—a path lined with obstacles, airwave interference, and other unpredictable challenges.

“As astonishing as this breakthrough is from a purely engineering point of view, there’s a larger purpose at stake,” explains Darryll J. Pines, Ph.D., Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering and the Nariman Farvardin Professor of Aerospace Engineering. “It’s ultimately not about the technology; it’s about enhancing human life.”

As every nurse knows, any breakthrough in organ transplant and transportation is excellent news. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there were nearly 114,000 people on organ waiting lists in 2018, and only 36,500 transplants actually performed.

Hopefully with the introduction of a better delivery system, those numbers can soon begin to improve.

If you’d like more information about pursuing a career in the exciting and dynamic world of healthcare, Unitek College can help! Contact us today for more information on our nursing, BSN, and medical assistant programs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vocational Nursing

Frequently Asked Questions About Vocational Nursing

Frequently Asked Questions About Vocational Nursing

Recently, we looked at FAQs for Medical Assisting and the BSN degree. This third installment delves into frequently asked questions for Vocational Nursing. If you’re a compassionate person interested in helping others and starting a new career, you might want to consider becoming a Licensed Vocational Nurse.

Read on with us to learn more about this profession! Stay tuned for a brief overview of Unitek’s VN program, too.

FAQs for Vocational Nursing

1. Q: What does a Vocational Nurse do?

A: Licensed Vocational Nurses, or LVNs, assist in the medical care of patients under the direction of doctors and registered nurses. They care for people who are sick, injured, convalescent or disabled. LVNs often have more contact with patients than any other member of the healthcare team. 

While job duties might vary depending on the location and employer, they typically include the following:

    • Assess and monitor 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 permitted 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
2. Q: What’s the difference between an RN and an LVN?

A: According to Top Nursing, “The most basic difference between an LPN/LVN and an RN is that the former one requires a less formal program. An LPN performs certain medical duties but is not given [the same] responsibilities [as] an RN.” Additionally, an LPN/LVN typically works under the supervision of an RN. Both of these professionals can often be found working in home healthcare, hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.

3. Q: What do you need to be a Vocational Nurse?

A: On their website, Nurse Journal states the following: “Becoming an LPN/LVN requires you to take an accredited educational program that is approximately one year in length. Most states in the U.S. refer to these workers as LPNs, but in California and Texas, they are referred to as LVNs. As mentioned above, becoming an LPN/LVN takes one year of training, plus the required clinical hours.” An LVN must also obtain a license, just as an RN must do so.

4. Q: How much do Vocational Nurses make?

A: Vocational Nurse compensation greatly depends on the location, employer, and experience of an individual VN. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses was $46,240 in May 2018. Learn more about this here.

5. Q: How many years does it take to become an LVN? 

A: Every LPN or LVN must obtain a license for the state in which they work. Once they have completed their educational program—again, this usually takes about a year—they will be eligible to sit for their licensing examination. To give you a better idea, check out what Nurse Journal has to say below:

“To obtain your license, your state will require you to prove that you have graduated from an accredited LPN or LVN program. It also may require you to pass a background check. You may have to provide fingerprints, too.

Each state in the U.S. administers the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCLEX-PN) examination. This is the exam you must pass to get your license. You will need to renew that license every few years, and your employer likely will require you to provide documented proof of your active license.”

About the VN Program 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.

All of these locations offer a Vocational Nursing program that can be completed in as little as 12 months. Ultimately, Unitek seeks to prepare students for entry-level employment as Vocational Nurses. They will benefit from more than 900 hours of combined hands-on training in simulations, labs, and healthcare facilities. In addition, Unitek assists students with passing the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN) so that they can become Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) in California.

For more information, please visit our contact page and reach out to a school representative. Realize your dreams with Unitek!

Happy National Nurses Week

Happy National Nurses Week!

Happy National Nurses Week

At hospitals around the world—and here at Unitek College, of course—every week is Nurses Week. When you see firsthand how hard nurses work, how many lives they touch, and how selflessly they serve, it’s next to impossible not to be in awe of these heroes in scrubs.

This week, however, the rest of the country officially joins in, and the result can mean some fun rewards and thank-you gifts…if you know where to look. Here are just a handful of the businesses officially celebrating this year:

Cinnabon – If there’s a Cinnabon near you, stop by next week for something warm, sweet, and free. As a supporter of the DAISY Foundation, helping nurses is a priority for the Cinnabon company.

MOD Pizza – Celebrate the people everyone loves (nurses) with the food everyone loves (pizza). Nurses can visit MOD Pizza on Sunday, May 12 for buy-one-get-one-free pizza and salad.

Enlightened Ice Cream – Speaking of foods everyone loves, Enlightened Ice Cream is donating free pints to nurses, celebrating those who “make the world a little brighter.” You can collect your coupon (or send one to a nurse friend) at this link.

Uniform Advantage – Food not your thing? Want something more practical? How about scrubs? Uniform Advantage is offering 50% off everything site-wide in honor of nurses. That’s all types of scrubs, brands, footwear, and accessories.

DiscountGlasses.com – If you or one of your co-workers wear glasses, this week might be a good time to grab a back-up pair. Use the code HEARTNURSES30 sometime this week for 30% your purchase. Or go here and use HEARTNURSES15 for 15% off contact lenses…if frames aren’t your thing.

Amazon – Grab one or all of these free Kindle books on nursing—we’ve seen everything from historical books to memoirs to educational texts and fiction.

Continuing Education Credits – Have a few CE credits to earn? Why not knock out a few courses for free, available this week courtesy of BAYADA.

Contests and Giveaways – Bring home something big this National Nurses week by entering one of the many Nurses Week giveaways, such as these at NerdyNurse.com. You can win anything from high-end footwear to next-gen medical equipment.

Play Some Cards – Nurses are expert card players…according to at least one now infamous politician. And one company is having some fun with the situation, by offering a free deck of cards to all nurses. However, they need some help designing the cards first—and if they pick your design, you could win a quick getaway as well.

The perks and rewards don’t stop here, so if you have a favorite chain, restaurant, store, or service, be sure and ask if they’re offering any discounts or freebies next week. Of course, none of these gifts even come close to showing the full debt of gratitude owed you, but it’s a start. So enjoy, and again…thank you!

If you’d like to join the proud ranks of nurses and medical assistant, Unitek College can help make that a reality! Contact us today for more information on our many available classes, BSN programs, and online courses.

Pregnant and in Scrubs: Work Tips For The Expecting Nurse

Pregnant and in Scrubs: Work Tips for the Expecting Nurse

Pregnant and in Scrubs: Work Tips For The Expecting Nurse

Nurses are notoriously hardworking people, and very few things can change that—even pregnancy. When they learn they’re pregnant, many nurses just trade their old scrubs for maternity scrubs and keep working, sometimes right up to when labor begins.

“During my pregnancy, I worked up until the very last minute. Literally,” writes nurse Cassie in her blog. “My water broke at 38 weeks, 6 days while in a patient’s room! The shift before my water broke, I was performing CPR in order to save a patient’s life! It was exhausting, both mentally and physically, but I feel like I had a healthier pregnancy because I continued to work. Of course, it’s always best to consult with your doctor before following any advice because each and every pregnancy is unique.”

The drive to work hard and treat patients is admirable, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make the job less stressful, reduce risk to mother and baby, and address certain challenges before they arise. Here are just a few of the ways nurses can balance work and pregnancy.

  1. Keep Your OB In The Loop – Your OB should be the final word on any course of action regarding your pregnancy, so before laying out your work plan, make sure your doctor is on board. Let her know that you’re a nurse and communicate your job’s demands so that she has all the facts and figures in front of her. And if she recommends taking it easy, take it easy.
  2. Invest In Your Shoes – Two things are certain in pregnancy—you will gain some weight, and your feet will eventually start to hurt. So plan to invest in shoes that provide extra comfort while still conforming to your work and safety requirements. Compression socks are also a lifesaver.
  3. Tell Your Managers and Co-Workers Sooner Rather Than Later – Your pregnancy will impact your ability to do your job—for some, it will just be small things, like needing an extra bathroom break here and there. For others, the challenge will be more impactful—smells that drive you from a room, exhaustion, and morning sickness. So make sure your managers and your co-workers know as early as possible that changes are ahead so they can adjust accordingly.
  4. Consider An 8-Hour Shift – This isn’t a possibility at all hospitals or clinics, but it’s certainly worth looking into. If you find you’re struggling with the 12-hour shift, see if you can temporarily switch to an 8-hour to allow some extra rest. And if this isn’t an option, part-time may be something to consider.
  5. Look Into Light Duty Shifts – Again, this isn’t an option at all hospitals, but some do have the option of assigning light duty shifts to nurses. Light duty shifts typically involve more paperwork and managerial tasks rather than the more strenuous tasks of lifting patients and similar responsibilities.
  6. Fill That Nursing Bag – Before, you may have used your nursing bag for alcohol swabs and lip balm, but now, be sure to stock it with pregnancy essentials. Pack an anti-nausea pack, snacks to help keep you going when the cravings hit, and crackers to provide a little extra help when nausea strikes.
  7. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself – Every pregnancy is different, and while some nurses seem to breeze through, others may struggle a little more. Remember that your pregnancy is unique to you, so don’t judge yourself too harshly if you feel you’re struggling more than others around you. And remember, as your body changes, your tolerance may as well. Sights, smells, and sounds that never bothered you before may turn your face green now. Just know your new limits, and don’t get discouraged. You’ve got this!

For many nurses, it can be frustrating to feel like you aren’t operating at 100% capacity for 9+ months, but the most important thing to remember is that you have help and no one is expecting you to be a superhero. Ask for help when you need it, don’t push yourself beyond your limits, and most of all—take a breath and enjoy the moment. You’re going to do great!

If you’re interested in beginning your own career as a nurse or medical assistant, Unitek College can help make that dream a reality. Contact us today for information on our many nursing programs, BSN programs, and online classes.

How Magnet-Recognized Organizations Attract Excellent Nurses

How Magnet-Recognized Organizations Attract Excellent Nurses

How Magnet-Recognized Organizations Attract Excellent Nurses

If you’re not familiar with Magnet Recognition®, this is a designation awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). According to American Nurse Today, it’s the “highest and most prestigious distinction a healthcare organization can receive for nursing excellence and high-quality patient care. With only 8% of U.S. hospitals earning the Magnet designation, it’s clearly the gold standard.”

This coveted status helps empower nurses to reach their potential. An article at nursingworld.org further explains that the designation affords an organization more than just external prestige. It sheds a light on the organization’s true appreciation for nurses and their invaluable potential to instigate change.

When healthcare organizations nurture the model environment for nursing talent, the entire organization has the opportunity to reap many rewards…

How Magnet Status Benefits Nurses

According to nursingworld.org, the Magnet Recognition Program® “provides a roadmap to advance nursing excellence, with contented staff at its core. Optimum job satisfaction results in lower nurse attrition and an improved patient experience.” In order to draw some of the best nursing talent, Magnet-designated organizations “embody a collaborative culture, where nurses are valued as integral partners in the patient’s safe passage through their healthcare experiences.”

Such organizations invest in nursing education and development. Ultimately, they strive to support nurses in their chosen career path and consistently focus on shared respect, autonomy, and values. The article at nursingworld.org also cites the below as some outcomes that Magnet organizations enjoy:

  • Lower nurse dissatisfaction and nurse burnout
  • Higher nurse job satisfaction
  • Lower Registered Nurse (RN) turnover

How Magnet Status Benefits Patients

The happiness and successful working environment of nurses can directly impact the standard of care for patients. When a healthcare organization attains Magnet designation, it pledges to not only support nurses but deliver high-quality care. As nursingworld.org states, “This is not only evident in decreased mortality rates and shorter hospital stays, but in the experience of every patient who walks through a Magnet organization’s doors.”

They list the following outcomes as ones that have been produced by Magnet-recognized organizations:

Quality and Safety

  • Higher adoption of National Quality Forum safe practices
  • Lower overall missed nursing care
  • Higher support for evidence-based practice implementation
  • Higher nurse-perceived quality of care
  • Higher patient ratings of their hospital experience

Patient Outcomes

  • Lower mortality rates
  • Lower patient fall rates
  • Lower nosocomial infections
  • Lower hospital-acquired pressure ulcer rates
  • Lower central line-associated bloodstream infection rates

Without a doubt, the Magnet designation highlights an organization’s commitment to supporting nurses and meeting impeccable patient standards. Learn more about this golden status here!

About Unitek College and Healthcare Training

rn to bsn programs

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 Bakersfield, Concord, Fremont, Hayward, Sacramento, San Jose, and South San Francisco.

Have you found yourself searching for RN to BSN programs or “Registered Nurse programs near me?” At Unitek, we provide three pathways to achieving a BSN degree. Whether you’re a high school graduate, a Vocational Nurse, or a Registered Nurse with an associate’s degree, you can find a pathway that suits you at Unitek College.

These pathways are outlined below to give potential students a better idea:

  • Full: This option applies to individuals who have a high school diploma or GED and would like to attain a BSN degree. No previous college-level training or courses are necessary.
  • Advanced Placement: If you’re a Licensed Vocational Nurse and would like to become an RN equipped with a bachelor’s degree, then this might be the ideal pathway for your aspirations. This route will allow you to get credit for some courses in the BSN program.
  • RN-to-BSN: Registered Nurses who seek management positions and leadership roles often obtain a BSN degree. Unitek offers a pathway for these driven individuals.

The BSN program is currently offered at our Fremont Campus. For more information, please visit our contact page and reach out to a school representative.

Realize your dreams with Unitek College!

Nurses Rally After Controversial Playing Cards Comment

Nurses Rally After Controversial “Playing Cards” Comment

Nurses Rally After Controversial Playing Cards Comment

This week was a busy one for the healthcare community. Researchers discovered that hospital curtains are potentially a source for drug-resistant bacteria transmission. Reusable tourniquets for venipuncture, another study revealed, are another source for contamination. And scientists in Israel successfully 3D printed a miniature human heart (including blood vessels and other supporting structures)… using actual cells from a single donor.

However, the biggest story—in terms of discussion—wasn’t any of these but the nationwide reaction to a lawmaker’s comments about nurses playing cards.

In case you missed it (or were confused by all the nurse card-playing memes that suddenly flooded Facebook), the issue began during a discussion on a bill that would protect nurses’ rights to meal breaks and overtime protection. While arguing that small, rural hospitals should be excluded from this protection, Washington state senator Maureen Walsh (R) commented that nurses at small hospitals “probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”

The reaction from nurses across the country was swift.

The response began with the Washington State Nurses Association in a blog post that became so popular, it crashed the website.

The comments, the association wrote, were “incredibly disrespectful and patronizing. No, senator, nurses are not sitting around playing cards. They are taking care of your neighbors, your family, your community.”

Across social media, thousands of nurses rallied, posting everything from humorous memes to open letters and challenges asking the state senator to follow a nurse on a 12-hour shift. All of these nurses proudly stood up for the hard work done twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week by men and women in scrubs.

Nurse Maddie Allen posted a photo of a table covered in medical flash cards, writing “1 years’ worth of flashcards in a nursing degree. Never had a single chance to even look at them at a clinical site. These are the cards it takes to simply learn enough base knowledge, so we never play cards with someone’s life. #nursesdontplaycards”

Patients, first responders, and other medical professionals also chimed in. “I worked in an ICU as a unit coordinator during undergrad,” tweeted one, “and I remember begging a few nurses to grab a snack on more than one occasion because they never had a chance to eat. I literally put a cracker in one of their mouths while they were wheeling a patient. #nursesdontplaycards”

One nurse even went so far as to post the step results of her Fitbit following her last three shifts.

“I love how health professionals come together when stuff like this happens,” tweeted another. “It’s like we’re siblings who poke fun of each other, but when someone else messes with one of us, you’re gonna deal with the whole family!”

Across all social media platforms, the message was unified—nurses are some of the hardest working professionals in the country, they are the backbone of the healthcare system, and they have an army of avid supporters behind them.

The backlash over the state senator’s comments have also thrown a very important issue into the spotlight, the need to care for nurses (read our previous blog on the subject here). Simply put, research and years of data have proven again and again that rested, supported nurses provide the best care, make the fewest mistakes, and result in the best possible treatment for patients.

“Study after study show that unplanned overtime assignments have a high potential to be unsafe,” warns the viral WSNA blog. “Working more than 10 hours in a given day, when unplanned, results in lower quality of care, higher RN burnout, decreased patient satisfaction, and increased errors.”

It says something about just how incredible the nursing profession is that an entire country rallies so quickly to their defense. Nurses truly are a priceless gift, and the world needs more of them.

If you’d like to join the healthcare family, Unitek College can help make that happen! Contact us today for more information on our nursing programs, BSN program, and medical assisting program. We even offer some courses online! Start your journey today.