Moving to a Better Nursing Job…Without Burning Bridges

Moving to a Better Nursing Job Without Burning Bridges

Moving to a Better Nursing Job…Without Burning Bridges

You waited and waited for the news, yet it was still a surprise when it came in… the best kind of surprise. The new nursing job to which you’d applied decided that you were an excellent fit for their program. They were offering the works—a salary increase, extra vacation days, even moving expenses—and the potential for adventure in the new city was priceless.

Only one question remained in your mind… what to do about your current job.

This isn’t a rare scenario for nurses. It’s actually fairly common. With nurses in such high demand nationwide, it’s no shock that hospitals across the country are upping their game to attract new talent. And the better you do at your job, the better your chances of moving upward.

But a career in nursing is also a career of relationships. The last thing you want to do is leave a job on a bad note, burning bridges behind you. The ideal situation is one where your current job is sad to see you go but respects your decision enough to help you leave. And navigating this world of professional resignation isn’t all that difficult.

Know the Policies – Two weeks’ notice is probably the most common policy for employers, but every hospital and clinic is different. Check your employee handbook for information on how much notice is required, then make sure you abide by that rule.

Don’t Hide Your Decision – The worst situation is when your manager finds out that you’re leaving… from someone other than you. The moment you know that you will be taking another position, you need to have a discussion with your manager or human resources. Not only does it keep you in good standing, but it gives your current employer a little more time to find your replacement.

Put It in Writing – Your letter of resignation becomes part of your permanent employment record, so give it plenty of thought and polish. Keep it to one (short) page but be sure to include any applicable dates (the date of your verbal notice, your last day of work, etc) plus your reason for leaving (“I’ve accepted a position as _____ at ______”). And it doesn’t hurt to include a brief note of gratitude to your employer as well—after all, they took a chance on you.

Ace the Exit Interview – Most hospital HR departments will have you give an “exit interview” to finalize all the details of your departure. Some use this as a chance to air any lingering frustrations or give a few parting shots at that co-worker who kept eating your lunch but resist the urge to do this. Be courteous, be constructive, be professional, and frame everything from the perspective of wanting to leave your former hospital in better shape than you found it.

Don’t Phone in the Final Weeks – Work just as hard in your final weeks as you did in your first week… harder, if possible. This has two benefits—first, it helps alleviate any lingering guilt you might have about leaving, and second, it shows your managers and co-workers that you really did appreciate the job.

Remember, there’s no telling what changes life has in store for you. You may be leaving for a better nursing job now, but who knows? Maybe an even better position will bring you back one day. And the way you leave now plays a huge part in how you’ll be received then.

Happy hunting!

If you’d like more information on beginning your career in nursing or as a medical assistant, contact Unitek College today for information on our many available programs and online courses.

Nurse Gets Surprise Bedside Pinning Ceremony

Nurse Gets Surprise Bedside Pinning Ceremony

Nurse Gets Surprise Bedside Pinning Ceremony

Julie Harless’s story is one that could have simply been sad and tragic. But Julie spends her days surrounded by nurses, and nurses have a way of turning the tables on tragedy.

A fifty-year-old nurse’s assistant, Julie had finally decided to take the leap and become a nurse herself. For nearly two decades, Julie had worked hand in hand with nurses, and her dream was to one day wear the pin herself. Finally, in 2017, she decided to do something about it.

She enrolled in a local nursing school and began her classes, well on track to achieving her dream. But what came next shocked everyone.

“Last month, she was sitting in class smiling,” said Natalie Robinson, the school’s nursing program coordinator. “This month, she’s in hospice.”

The diagnosis was cancer, and it was anything but benign. Her doctors informed her that she had stage 4 lung and ovarian cancer, as well as cancer in her hip and tailbone. As to be expected with such a serious diagnosis, her condition quickly deteriorated.

The terminal diagnosis was bad enough, but for Julie, the news was doubly bad. Her nursing school graduation would have taken place in 2020, but her doctors doubted she would live that long. She’d waited decades to call herself a nurse, and now it looked as though she’d started towards her dream too late.

That’s when her classmates decided to step in.

“Julie kept saying, ‘Well, all this hard work I’ve done is for nothing.’ We wanted her to know it was worth it,” Robinson said.

So last week, nearly 100 of her friends, family, co-workers, and fellow nursing school students crowded into the halls of Our Lady of Belafonte Hospital, where they surprised Julie with her own pinning ceremony.

“She’s the epitome of what a nurse should be,” clinical instructor Lynn Hill said. “I hope (her classmates) take just a little bit of Julie and strive to become what Julie is.”

Julie’s sister Barb (also a student in the nursing school) has plans to take Lynn’s advice literally and says she’ll wear Julie’s pin during her own 2020 graduation ceremony, as a way of making sure part of Julie still walks across the graduation stage.

Other members of her family were touched and amazed by the outpouring of support, but none were shocked at the impact Julie has had on those around her.

“It was amazing,” said her son, Jordan. “She wanted to be an inspiration to other people to not give up, to keep fighting. She’s a very strong and amazing person.”

As a nurse’s assistant, Julie touched thousands of lives. As a nursing school student, she touched even more. And if this past week is any indication, her example and spirit will live on for decades more in the work of brothers and sisters in scrubs.

If you’re interested in achieving your own dream of becoming a nurse, Unitek College would love to help make that a reality! Contact us today for more information on our many available programs.

Nurse Saves Her Own Life With Self-Diagnosis

Nurse Saves Her Own Life with Self-Diagnosis

Nurse Saves Her Own Life With Self-Diagnosis

For nurses (or those training to become a nurse), most of your skills are focused on helping your patients… and rightfully so. But there’s another significant advantage to the training… the many ways in which you can help yourself.

Understanding healthcare, the importance of healthy habits, and the need for regular “healthy you” checkups are just a few of the benefits your nurse’s training includes, all of which are very important in maintaining your health. But an additional benefit of your training is knowing the red flags that could signal a life-or-death health situation.

Such was the case for 25-year-old Katie Barber, a nurse from Long Island, New York, whose ability to recognize warning signs in her own body wound up saving her life.

It all began when an old hip injury from her teens began flaring up again, making it difficult to do her rounds. Wisely, she decided to have the problem checked out.

“About a year ago, I noticed I was having severe hip pain, and a CT scan revealed I had a torn labrum in my right hip,” she said. “My orthopedic surgeon felt that, over time, bone degeneration led to wear and tear injury of my right labrum.”

A surgery was scheduled, followed by bed rest for two weeks. But it was when she started experiencing shortness of breath during physical therapy that she began suspecting something might not be right.

“Being a nurse, I started to wonder if this could be deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE),” she recalls. “I never thought something like this would happen to me, but I went to the hospital just to be safe. Well, I’m glad I went because it turns out I had a right leg DVT with bilateral PEs.”

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is caused by a blood clot in one of the body’s deep veins, and according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, DVT can often follow surgeries in the hip region, such as Katie’s. The condition can easily become fatal if the clot travels or can cause permanent vein damage if the clot remains.

Fortunately, Katie’s training and experience as a nurse had prepared her—not only to spot the warning signs prior to diagnosis, but what to expect next during the treatment. Follow up tests revealed that she had a clotting disorder, but the problem didn’t stop there. She began to notice dizzy spells throughout the day, sometimes so severe she had trouble getting out of bed. This, she knew, was another red flag, and one that needed to be addressed immediately.

“I was weak and couldn’t stand for more than a few minutes at a time. In September 2018, I went to the hospital and was found to have an abnormal heart rate, later diagnosed as a junctional rhythm. I was kept in the hospital for eight days receiving IVs due to low blood pressure. The next day, I developed chest pain and difficulty breathing. A chest X-ray revealed fluid in my lungs, requiring oxygen for a few days.”

The issue was a heart condition known as junctional rhythm, and the solution—a pacemaker. For most 25-year-olds, the idea of a pacemaker can easily be terrifying. The device is typically associated with senior citizens. But as a nurse who works a cardiac unit, Katie not only understood that many younger patients are given pacemakers, but that receiving one was vital to keeping her alive.

“As a cardiac ICU nurse, I’m accustomed to seeing patients with pacemakers,” she said. “Most are much older, but there are a fair share of younger patients also needing these devices. It seems that more people without formal training don’t understand the purpose of pacemakers, and more importantly, the normal lifestyle that one can give.”

And good news—after receiving the pacemaker, Katie reports that she’s already noticed more energy and the dizzy spells have disappeared. What could have been a medical tragedy ended positively, with Katie back in scrubs and treating her patients—all thanks to her nurse’s training and her wise decision not to ignore warning signs.

If you’re interested in starting a career as a nurse or medical assistant, contact Unitek College today to find out the next steps you should take.

Hospitals Using Cell Phones to Battle Opioid Addiction

Hospitals Using Cell Phones to Battle Opioid Addiction

Hospitals Using Cell Phones to Battle Opioid Addiction

The opioid addiction crisis in the United States continues to ruin (and claim) lives. According to, over 47,000 Americans died in 2017 as a result of opioid overdose, 1.7 million suffered from substance abuse disorders, and the economic burden costs country approximately $78.5 billion every year.

As a nurse, this means that your chances of seeing a patient who struggles with opioid addiction or pain prescription misuse is very high. Nurses who have been in the field a while can probably name five to ten patients right off the tops of their heads who struggle with the addiction.

But despite the enormity of the issue, strides are being made in combating opioid addiction, and as of December, the newest treatment is already in your patients’ purse, pocket, or palm—the cell phone.

An app called reSET-O (from Boston-based Pear Therapeutics) hopes to play a major part in turning the tide on opioid abuse, and it’s the first digital therapeutic approved by the FDA for use in combating addiction.

“It is software to treat disease,” explains Dr. Yuri Maricich, chief medical officer at Pear Therapeutics. “We can identify patients who are struggling and then based on that information, the clinical care team can reach out to those patients and ask them or engage with them in ways to improve their outcomes.”

The reSET-O app isn’t a standalone treatment—treatment also includes in-person therapy and medication—but the app allows for a level of daily monitoring and craving/symptom journaling that therapy alone simply can’t provide. And patients who use the app have shown a much higher likelihood of remaining in their treatment programs.

The app is also programmed to help patients retain interest in using it—including quizzes, videos, and even the ability to unlock potential prizes on the app’s “prize wheel” as a reward for regular use.

“Addiction is a chronic and relapsing disease that requires constant support, monitoring and access to treatment,” said Corey McCann, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of Pear Therapeutics. “We believe prescription digital therapeutics can transform the way clinicians treat addiction by providing a way for patients to access treatment when and where it’s needed. reSET-O has been clinically proven to increase the likelihood that a patient will remain in treatment, while also providing a way for patients to access treatment anytime, anywhere, under clinician supervision.”

And the app isn’t just helpful for your patients… it’s also proven to be useful for healthcare providers as well. The app works as a “training, monitoring, and reminder tool” for clinicians through the reSET-O Clinician Dashboard, which gives healthcare providers “deeper insights into their patients’ progress toward recovery.”

At its core, the app is simply a tool of behavioral psychology, training patients to monitor their own thoughts and actions as a way of teaching them how to better control those thoughts and actions. The app is available now, and once prescribed, patients are given an access code to download and begin treatment.

If you’d like more information on starting your own career in healthcare, Unitek College can help make that dream a reality. Contact us today to learn more about our nursing and medical assisting programs.

Nurses Behind the Silver Screen

Nurses Behind the Silver Screen

Nurses Behind the Silver Screen

For the majority of nurses, the workplace is a clinic or a wing of a hospital, but for some, location can vary quite a bit. School nurses, sports therapy nurses, traveling nurses all may do their work in a variety of surroundings. But no surroundings change quite as much as they do for the nurses of Hollywood studios.

Set Nurses and Medical Script Nurses both play very important roles behind the scenes of Hollywood’s big movies and prime time television shows, and it’s not just tending to the health needs of the stars.

The Set Nurse

Movie sets, despite safety regulations, can still be dangerous places, and studios need qualified staff on hand in case something goes wrong.  Lights can fall, ladders can tip, stunts can go wrong, and those are just during the domestic shoots—imagine the trouble actors and crew can get into while shooting on location in, say, the heat of a desert or the freezing, thin air of a mountaintop.

And set nurses aren’t just needed for film projects. Concert tours also hire nurses to be on standby in case of accidents or other medical emergencies.

The Medical Script Nurse

Very few scriptwriters also go to medical school, so when it comes to writing stories in medical settings (Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs, House MD, The Good Doctor, etc.), they often need a little help making sure their stories and facts are accurate. That’s where the Medical Script Nurse comes in. He or she essentially works as a consultant, reading the scripts and offering feedback if the story strays too far from medical reality.

This may sound like a far cry from directly helping patients, but believe it or not, the work is vital. Millions of people watch the medical movies and television shows that Hollywood churns out, and those shows can easily color the perception that viewers have of healthcare.

Celebrities in Scrubs

On rare occasions, people who are celebrities today were discovered while they themselves were wearing scrubs. Here are just a few who started their careers as nurses:

  • Paul Brandt (singer, former pediatric nurse)
  • Bonnie Hunt (actress, first appeared on screen in Rain Man while still an oncology nurse)
  • Julie Walters (actress best known as Mrs. Weasley from Harry Potter, former nurse)
  • Kathryn Joosten (actress known for The West Wing, Desperate Housewives, and Ally McBeal, former psychiatric nurse)
  • Tina Turner (actress and singer, former maternity ward nurse)
  • Robin Quivers (DJ, former military nurse)
  • Adrian Holmes (actor, former nurse)
  • Naomi Judd (singer, former ICU nurse)

The bottom line is that nurses are needed everywhere—sometimes behind the camera, sometimes in front of it, and you never know where that nursing degree will take you until you try.

Ready to begin working towards your own career as a nurse or medical assistant? Unitek College can help! Contact us today for more information.

Did Scientists Really Just Cure Cancer?

Did Scientists Really Just Cure Cancer?

Did Scientists Really Just Cure Cancer

Cancer is a disease that touches just about everyone. According to the American Cancer Society, men have a 39% chance of contracting some form of cancer at some point in their lives, while women have a slightly lower risk at 37%. And if you’re fortunate enough not be diagnosed with cancer yourself, the odds are high that someone you know will.

Because of this, a cure for cancer is the holy grail of the medical research community. Incredible treatments have been developed, but for hundreds of years, the hunt for an actual cure has felt like the hunt for a unicorn… a beautiful prize that may not even exist.

So just weeks ago, when Israeli scientists announced they’d found what they believe is a cure for cancer, the declaration sounded too good to be true. But here’s the thing:

It might just be real.

“Our cancer cure will be effective from day one, will last a duration of a few weeks, and will have no or minimal side-effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market,” explains Dan Aridor, board chairman of the pharmaceutical company behind the research. “Our solution will be both generic and personal.”

The miracle cure is nicknamed MuTaTo, a string of peptides that attacks cancer cells on three fronts—preventing the cancer from escaping via mutation.

“Instead of attacking receptors one at a time, we attack receptors three at a time,” Aridor says. “Not even cancer can mutate three receptors at the same time.”

MuTaTo also seems to completely ignore healthy cells, or at least, it has in lab studies using mice. So far, no human trials have been conducted, and for this reason, many American researchers remain skeptical.

“As experience has taught us so many times, the gap from a successful mouse experiment to [an] effective, beneficial application of exciting laboratory concepts to helping cancer patients at the bedside is in fact a long and treacherous journey, filled with unforeseen and unanticipated obstacles,” writes Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, the chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.

In other words, as promising as this new study seems, experience says to take it with a grain of salt. Cancer, after all, is older than humans—scientists have discovered dinosaurs with metastatic tumors—so the chances of a single drug curing all forms of cancer seems far-fetched at the least.

But a breakthrough is still a breakthrough, and sometimes the greatest finds come from the most unlikely of people and places. The discovery of MuTaTo and its promising attacks on cancer are definitely still worth watching. And as the Israeli scientists take their discovery to the next stages of testing, keep your fingers crossed that something positive comes out of it. In the war against cancer, every step forward is appreciated, even if it doesn’t turn out to be the final cure.

If you’d like more information on beginning a career in the exciting and dynamic world of healthcare, Unitek College can help! Contact us today for more information on training for a future career in medical assisting or nursing.