“Bionic Face” Kicks Off New Year of Medical Breakthroughs

“Bionic Face” Kicks Off New Year of Medical Breakthroughs

When it comes to kicking off the new year with some new habits, many people take the “gradual” approach. Diets start with one or two little changes at a time, exercise starts with a single workout and builds up to three or four. But medical science hit the ground running in 2019 and roared into the new year with the first of many exciting medical discoveries… a potential cure for partial facial paralysis.

“Bionic Face” Kicks Off New Year of Medical Breakthroughs
“Bionic Face” Kicks Off New Year of Medical Breakthroughs

Whether caused by palsy, a stroke, or one of many other possible maladies, facial paralysis is very difficult to live with. Not only is it debilitating, but the lack of muscle control takes a toll on self-confidence and morale as well.

Now, thanks to a breakthrough announced on January 1, 2019, there may soon be a cure.

A piece of surgically implanted equipment called “the bionic face” is showing incredible promise, by registering the electrical and muscular impulses on the healthy side of the face and transferring those commands to the paralyzed side of the face.

“Though the ultimate goal of reanimation is to restore dynamic motion of the entire facial musculature, restoration of three symmetric facial movements alone — brow elevation, blink, and smile — would dramatically improve outcomes,” writes lead researcher Dr. Nate Jowett in a press release.

It’s not the first time this technique has been explored… but it’s the first time that scientists have made it work without unwanted side effects. In earlier tests, transferring commands from one side of the face to the other may have successfully created movement, it also opened the door for a lot of unwanted movement—involuntary twitching and other similar issues.

To accomplish this, scientists added an alternating current to the bionic face—waves of high-frequency electricity that essentially cancel out any unwanted nerve signals.

As of right now, the successful experiments have only been done on lab rats, but researchers are optimistic. The partially paralyzed rats were able to blink both eyes simultaneously, and move whiskers on both sides of their faces when they could previously only move one.

It may be a while before you start seeing this technology in your hospitals (and in your patients), but the news is a giant leap towards a better life for those with partial paralysis.

This means the ability to blink both eyes again. The ability to raise both eyebrows at the same time to restore facial expressions. And the biggest win of all, the ability to smile a big natural smile whenever your patients wants.

This breakthrough could eventually mean a whole new life for those in your care, and it’s only the first month of the year. If the first weeks of 2019 are any indication, there are some wonderful things to look forward to in the healthcare industry this year.

And how incredible is it for nurses to have front row seats. If you’re interested in beginning a career as a nurse or medical assistant, contact Unitek College today!

Top Ten Positive Health Stories of 2018

Top Ten Positive Health Stories of 2018

Top Ten Positive Health Stories of 2018

Top Ten Positive Health Stories of 2018

From wildfires to midterm elections, for better or for worse, 2018 was nothing if not a year full of stories. It feels like each year is somehow busier than the last, and this year was no exception. As the world prepares to enter the new year, here’s a look back at ten of top health stories of 2018.

#10 – A Leap Forward For Transplants – 2018 saw several major breakthroughs in the science of transplants. The world’s first baby was born from a transplanted uterus, for example, giving new hope to hundreds of thousands struggling with infertility. And face transplant techniques improved enough to allow a man in France to undergo a second face transplant after a medication issue jeopardized his first.

#9 – The Year Of The Recalls – The title of Public Enemy Number One went to an unlikely culprit in 2018… Romaine lettuce. This past year saw a flurry of food recalls, many of which were vegetables or frozen vegetables. But despite the scares, the real takeaway from these stories is how much faster the industry has become at identifying threats and taking action.

#8 – Fighting Peanut Allergies – Food allergies send thousands to the ER every year, with an average of 150 to 200 deaths. Of those, nearly half stem from peanut allergies. But 2018 gave those with allergies hope, using peanut flour as a way for children with allergies to build an immunity.

#7 – Opioid Epidemic Showing Progress – The opioid epidemic was one of the biggest stories of 2018, with overdose deaths sweeping the nation. But data shows “leveling off of deaths nationally and even modest reductions among selected states and cities. While still staggeringly high, these data may point to policy and practice solutions that are demonstrating effectiveness.”

#6 – Medicaid Expansion – Healthcare access has been a partisan issue in politics, but bipartisan efforts in three states (Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah) have expanded Medicaid access to approximately 300,000 people in 2018, with more states already laying the groundwork to follow suit.

#5 – Alternative Pain Treatments – Pain medication is vital, but also plays a big part in creating a potential opioid dependency. To combat this, 2018 saw over $81 million dedicated by three government agencies (the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense) to study alternative treatments for pain.

#4 – Cancer Vaccine Progress – Medicine hasn’t figured out how to prevent cancer yet, but thanks to efforts in 2018, we’re a step closer. Scientists found a cocktail of stimulants that has proven effective in helping the body reject lymphoma, breast cancer, colon cancer, and melanoma in mice.

#3 – Stroke Recovery – Often a stroke is the beginning of the end, as full recovery afterwards is a difficult road. But thanks to progress made in human trials in 2018, a new technique known as deep brain stimulation is helping test patients regain motor function after post-stroke paralysis.

#2 – Preventing Migraines – Those suffering from migraines know that the splitting pain can quickly become debilitating, and many times, the intense headaches are impossible to predict or prepare for. 2018 brought hope, however, through a new drug (Aimovig) approved by the FDA in May. The drug goes a step beyond treating migraines and actually works to prevent them from occurring.

#1 – People Love Nurses – And of course the top medical story of 2018 centers on the pulse of the medical community, the nurses. For the 17th year in a row, nurses ranked as the top profession for honesty and ethics. 82% of Americans rated nurses as high or very high in ethics for 2018, which is a huge accomplishment.

“In general, nurses enter the profession because they want to help people,” said Maria Morales, MSN, RN, CPAN, director of clinical education, content, at Relias. “Many had a personal or family experience that inspired them to enter healthcare to assist others through health situations. One typically does not enter the nursing field for fame or fortune, but rather as a way to serve others. It’s heartwarming to see how the public respects and honors the servant leadership of nurses.”

If you are interested in joining the rapidly growing field of nursing in 2019, Unitek College can help. Contact us here for help beginning your journey.

Keep Your Resolution To Become A Nurse in 2019

Keep Your Resolution To Become A Nurse in 2019

Keep Your Resolution To Become A Nurse in 2019

Keep Your Resolution To Become A Nurse in 2019

Resolutions are fantastic—self-improvement is always a good idea, and New Year’s provides the perfect opportunity to take on the challenge. Unfortunately, only 9.2 percent of people on average actually follow through with their plans. Those aren’t great odds!

With the promise of a competitive salary, a wide-open job market, and rapidly growing career prospects, the resolution to become a nurse makes a lot of sense. The combination of a dependable and dynamic career (plus the added bonus of genuinely helping people every day) makes nursing a very attractive “New Year / New You” option.

As with any resolution, there’s a right way and a wrong way to pursue it. Charge in without planning or, well, resolve, and you could easily join the 91.8% of failed resolutions.

But take a few simple steps to do it the right way, and the resolution to become a nurse could easily be the best you ever make.

Make Specific Goals – “Become a nurse” is too vague. “Enroll in nursing school” is better, but still skips a few steps. Your resolution is your ultimate goal, but to reach it, you’ll need to make a list of specific goals and milestones.

Your list can start as simply as “call admissions office to get a flyer” or “schedule a campus visit”. Start small, start specific, and move forward only as fast as you’re able.

“My goals may seem impossibly far-fetched when really they’re not,” writes author Richelle E Goodrich in her book Making Wishes. “Break them down into steps and see how I accomplish great things. I can easily reach from A to B. I can manage from B to C. I can then make it from C to D. And so eventually, I will find my way from A to Z.”

Prepare Your Life For Change – Nursing school means schedule changes for family and for your existing job. Look at your life and identify what needs to change to make the conditions as good as possible to pursue your goal. Get an idea of class schedule through the school’s admissions office, then figure out how to make that schedule work for your life.

Make It Public – You have a greater chance of success if others (friends and family) know your goals. This applies to all resolutions, from losing weight to spending more time with the kids to landing that nursing degree. The more people know your plan, the more help you have staying on track.

Believe – The most important person to convince of the validity of your dream is you. If you don’t believe in what you claim to want, you have little to no chance of success. If you want to be a nurse, you have to see yourself as a nurse. Do your research, do some volunteering, schedule a campus visit—know your potential future and see yourself in it.

Then (and this is the most important part) refuse to let anything stand between you and those scrubs.

Ready to make the leap? Or looking to gather some information for those first few specific goals? You already have help. Give us a call at Unitek College and we’ll make sure you have everything you need to know in order to make that big decision.

Good luck in 2019, future nurses! We’re rooting for you.

Am I Smart Enough To Be A Nurse?

Am I Smart Enough To Be A Nurse?

Am I Smart Enough To Be A Nurse?

Am I Smart Enough To Be A Nurse?

A quick Google search of the question “am I smart enough to be a nurse” turns up a surprising amount of verbatim results, which means that a lot of people who are interested in a career in nursing are asking themselves this question. And that means that a lot of potential nurses are talking themselves out of pursuing their dream because of their fear of failure. But in the end, the question shouldn’t be “am I smart enough” but “am I willing to work hard enough”.

There is usually a GPA requirement of some sort at every nursing school, though that exact number will fluctuate by school, program, or whether you’re attempting to transfer credits (requirements for Unitek College, for example, generally land between 2.0 and 3.0 depending on your specific course or program). And it makes sense that certain GPA requirements exist… after all, your nursing school has to make sure you know what you’re doing before you take over the care of patients.

But here’s what’s important to remember. There will be nursing students who ace every test and nursing students who struggle to make that passing grade, but once the tests are passed and the scrubs are one, those grades don’t matter any longer… all that matters then is how hard you work, how much you remember from your training, and how much you care for your patients.

“When I first started nursing school, I heard from other nursing students who were above me how hard nursing school was and how all these people failed….etc,” writes Sarah at RegisteredNurseRN in her blog. “My advice to you is don’t listen to them….they are being negative… if you put the time and effort into it you will pass… I’m not any smarter than the average person and I’m doing just fine and if I can do it you can trust me!”

(Sarah gives a great pep talk on the subject here).

And the numbers back Sarah up. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the one-year retention rate for nursing students averages around 90% (the nationwide average for other programs and studies averages between 60 and 70 percent).

And the numbers are just as encouraging when you finish nursing school. The national pass rate for the NCLEX-RN ranges around 85%.

So does this mean that nursing school is easy? Nope. In fact, nursing school has to be challenging because life as a nurse is challenging (but rewarding). There’s a lot you have to know, and to really know something takes a lot of work, study, and practice.

“Nursing school is hard,” writes RN and blogger Stephen Bobulsky. “You won’t waltz through it. But, if you actually do all the homework/reading– and on time, not catching up- that’s even harder- and you sit attentively through the lectures, listening actively, not passively…..and God willing and the river don’t rise and interrupt your studies….You will have the mind and knowledge and skills of a nurse. You can make it.”

So don’t let doubts about whether you’re smart enough to be a nurse stop you from becoming a nurse. If you are willing to put in the work, there’s a very good chance you’ll be wearing the pin and the scrubs one day. And remember, your faculty is there to help! There will naturally be things you struggle to fully comprehend, but your teachers and lab instructors are there to make certain that you do.

Use your faculty, use your school’s resources, study hard, and make wise time-management decisions. You’re smart enough to do this. The only real question is, how much do you want it?

Ready to take the next step and begin your journey towards becoming a nurse? Contact Unitek College today for more information on our nursing and medical assistant programs.

Pittsburgh Nurse Shows Love in the Face of Hate

Pittsburgh Nurse Shows Love in the Face of Hate

Pittsburgh Nurse Shows Love in the Face of Hate

Pittsburgh Nurse Shows Love in the Face of Hate

Just over a week ago on Saturday, October 27, the world was stunned when a shooter opened fire on the worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill community of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Before law enforcement could arrive and subdue the shooter, 46-year-old Robert Bowers, he’d already taken eleven lives and wounded many others, including two of the responding SWAT officers. The entire violent exchange lasted nearly twenty minutes before Bowers was wounded and surrendered.

As expected after all tragedies, the medical community of Pittsburgh quickly stepped up to help, rushing aid to the victims and working as hard as possible to ensure that the number of dead did not rise by a single person more.

But for nurse Ari Mahler, who also happens to be Jewish himself, the work took a much more difficult and much more personal turn than he’d expected… when he discovered that his patient was none other than Robert Bowers—the alleged murderer, the man who just moments before had allegedly acted upon his belief that “all Jews must die.”

Nurse Mahler could have requested to be given another assignment and no one would have blamed him, but instead, he stayed true to his commitment to nursing, and began treating Bowers as best he could.

“Bowers thanked me for saving him, for showing him kindness, and for treating him the same way I treat every other patient,” Ari wrote in a lengthy Facebook post shortly after the ordeal. “I’m sure he had no idea I was Jewish. Why thank a Jewish nurse when 15 minutes beforehand, you’d shoot me in the head with no remorse? … This was the same Robert Bowers that just (allegedly) committed mass homicide. The Robert Bowers who instilled panic in my heart worrying (that) my parents were two of his 11 victims less than an hour before his arrival.”

The son of a rabbi, Nurse Mahler says that he’d been no stranger to anti-Semitism as he grew up, even in the relatively peaceful community of Squirrel Hill.

“I found drawings on my desks of my family being marched into gas chambers, swastikas drawn on my locker, and notes shoved inside of it saying, ‘Die Jew. Love, Hitler.’ It was a different time back then, where bullying was not monitored like it is now,” he wrote.

This experience could have made him bitter. It could have easily driven him to hate those who hated him and his family. But instead, he began to see the perpetrators as people acting out of ignorance, a perspective that played a huge part in his treatment of Bowers.

Mahler said he did his best to treat Bowers with compassion and empathy, and that he felt that the best way to honor his victims was for a Jew to prove him wrong.

“Love. That’s why I did it,” Nurse Mahler concludes in his post. “Love as an action is more powerful than words, and love in the face of evil gives others hope. It demonstrates humanity. It reaffirms why we’re all here. The meaning of life is to give meaning to life, and love is the ultimate force that connects all living beings. I could care less what Robert Bowers thinks, but you, the person reading this, love is the only message I wish instill in you. If my actions mean anything, love means everything.

Respectfully,  Ari Mahler, RN.”

The world needs more nurses, and for more information on becoming a nurse or medical assistant, you can contact Unitek College today to begin your journey.




Nurses Find Success As Small-Business Owners

Nurses Find Success As Small-Business Owners

Nurses Find Success As Small-Business Owners

Nurses Find Success As Small-Business Owners

It’s no secret that nursing itself is a solid career choice, especially as the demand for more nurses continues to boost the profession into one of the fastest growing career paths in the country. Salaries are strong, the openings are constant, and the work itself is often emotionally rewarding.

But a growing number of nurses are discovering something else about their chosen profession—their ability to succeed outside of traditional nursing as entrepreneurs and small business owners. The movement of nurses into small business has gotten so strong that interested nurses can now join the NNBA (National Nurses in Business Association) for conferences, training, networking, and swapping ideas.

“Naturally gifted with the qualities required for success-talent, resourcefulness, creativity, knowledge, education, experience, and skills-no nurse takes on a task halfway; they go over and above with 100% dedication and commitment,” writes Alene Nitsky (PhD, RN, OCN) after a recent visit to an NNCA conference. “Nurses go into business for many reasons, but most cite the desire to provide solutions to problems that are not being solved in traditional healthcare, wanting to provide better services and quality of life to the clients and patients they serve.

The appeal of setting your own working hours, goals, fees, and policies is also a major draw for nurses seeking to branch out on their own.

For the most part, small businesses created by nurses tend to focus on services that only a nurse can provide. For example, Expert Witness Nurses is a nurse-owned business that connects lawyers with nurses who are willing and able to provide expert testimony in court. Created by nurse Dawn Cook, the idea became reality after she pitched the concept to an NNBA “Shark Tank” at an NNBA conference and was awarded first place.

Other businesses created by nurses include:

  • Temporary healthcare staffing firms
  • Self-care skill building programs
  • Companion Care programs
  • Consulting
  • Medical bill review services
  • Medical equipment and supplies sales
  • And many, many more

The businesses created by nurses are hard to assign any one category, because each is unique. Nurses have a one-of-a-kind perspective on the healthcare industry, so it makes sense that they would be among the first to spot gaps and opportunities to improve healthcare. Often the idea is the simplest part, and it’s organizations such as NNBA that help fill in the rest—how to build the business, the legal and tax aspects, raising funding, and other skills.

Starting a business doesn’t require an MBA or the next Steve Jobs, it takes a good idea, common sense, hard work, and a willingness to learn—all qualities that nurses exemplify in spades every day they’re on the job. So as you complete your own nursing degree or eye your next career move as a registered nurse, just remember… opportunities for nurses don’t stop at the end of the hospital hall.

For information on beginning your career as a nurse or medical assistant, contact Unitek College today.