Father and Son Change The Way You’ll See Your Patients

Father and Son Change The Way You’ll See Your Patients

Father and Son Change The Way You’ll See Your Patients

Father and Son Change The Way You’ll See Your Patients

Some father and son pairs spend their weekends building model airplanes or treehouses. Phil and Anthony Butler, on the other hand, spent the last ten years building an entirely new version of the x-ray machine… and this year, they finally finished.

Phil (the father and a physics professor) and his son Anthony (a bioengineering professor) built the technology through their company MARS Bioimaging, and after the testing period concludes, you could easily be seeing their work in your patients’ files.

It’s fascinating how the new x-ray works, but to fully understand it, you have to know how the current x-ray creates images. The x-rays in use today travel through your body, where denser materials like bone absorbs the rays and softer materials like skin and tissue allow the x-rays to pass through. The x-rays that make it through strike a piece of film on the other side of the body, causing bone to appear as white and everything else to appear as shades of black.

The new x-ray takes a much more complex approach. The rays pass through the body in much the same way, but rather than using film, a scanner detects the exact moment that each ray touches each particle of your body. The energy level detected at that exact moment is fed back to the scanner and helps create a 3D image that doesn’t just include bone—but a detailed look at the tissue surrounding it.

If that sounds like an incredible complex piece of computing, you’re not wrong. Which is why the new x-ray scanner uses a very complex piece of machinery, the Medipix3, the same technology used to study sub-atomic particles in the Large Hadron Collider.

And a piece of even better news? The technology isn’t just theoretical. It’s already successfully been used on human patients.

“As a new imaging device, a new microscope if you like, biomedical researchers can non-invasively see different kinds of details inside patients,” Anthony explains. “So far researchers have been using a small version of the MARS scanner to study cancer, bone and joint health, and vascular diseases that cause heart attacks and strokes.”

The promising early results, he added, suggests that when the imaging technology becomes routine at clinics and hospitals worldwide, it will mean “more accurate diagnosis and personalization of treatment.”

This breakthrough technology will obviously be a gamechanger for radiologists and imaging techs, but will it impact your daily work as a nurse?


The more accurate imaging becomes, the better you will know your patients’ needs. And the better you know their needs, the more effective your treatment becomes. You and your patient will also enjoy the security and peace of mind that can only come with accurate information and diagnosis. There may be a recovery battle or treatment ahead for them, but knowing exactly what you’re dealing with is half the battle, and allows you, your patient, and their doctors to keep focus on the most vital elements of their care.

If you’d like to begin a career in the rapidly changing and fast-growing world of nursing and medical assisting, Unitek College can help make that dream a reality. Contact us today.

More Bay Area Hospitals for Bay Area Nurses

More Bay Area Hospitals for Bay Area Nurses

More Bay Area Hospitals for Bay Area Nurses

More Bay Area Hospitals for Bay Area Nurses

Last week, we highlighted three Bay Area hospitals—or more accurately, three opportunities for Bay Area nurses and nursing students who are deciding where to send their applications. But if none of the three struck you as “the one”, don’t worry! The Bay Area is full of respected and well-known hospitals and clinics who are always looking for hard-working, well-trained nurses.

This week, we’re highlighting three more hospitals in the Bay Area—including where they are, what they’re known for, and (most importantly) where to go to send in your application.


  1. Kindred Hospital, San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Who They Are: Kindred Hospital is a transitional care hospital—meaning they offer the same care as most hospitals, but they cater specifically to patients who have an extended recovery period ahead of them.

Bragging Points: Offering 99 patient beds plus a 10-bed ICU and two negative pressure rooms, Kindred is well-equipped to provide specialized care during those longer recovery periods. This includes programs that focus specifically on those recovering from a recent organ transplant, stroke recovery, post-intensive care syndrome, wound care, and IV antibiotic therapy.

How To Apply: Click here to search available jobs at Kindred Hospital (or their “at home” and hospice care units).


  1. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital – Palo Alto, CA

Who They Are: A branch of Stanford Children’s Health, the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital is part of the only health care system in the Bay Area that exclusively focuses on pediatrics and obstetrics. With a total of 60 locations across the Bay Area, Stanford Children’s Health offers everything from treatments for rare and complex conditions to well-child care.

Bragging Points: Not only have they been ranked in all 10 pediatric specialties by US News and World Reports, but the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital just recently expanded, adding an additional 521,000 square feet to their hospital building.

How To Apply: Search open jobs and apply by clicking here. You can also test the waters as a volunteer by clicking here.


  1. Eden Medical Center – Castro Valley, CA

Who They Are: A member of the Sutter Health family, Eden Medical Center “is the regional trauma center for Southern Alameda County and features many centers of excellence, including neurosciences, orthopedics, rehabilitation, birthing center, imaging, stroke and cancer care.”

Bragging Points: Eden Medical Center boasts 130 beds (all private rooms), but even more impressive is the Sutter Health not-for-profit mission. Sutter Health is known for reinvesting funds back into their communities, and claim to care for more low-income Northern California patients than any other health system.

How To Apply: You can find a list of open nursing jobs by clicking here.


As we continue to dig into the plethora of health systems and hospitals in the Bay Area, one thing continues to be clear: for a nurse or nursing student in the Bay Area, lack of opportunity should never be a problem.


Ready to get started on your nursing or medical assisting career? Contact Unitek College today for more information on programs, classes, and opportunities.

Nurse Saves His Own Life From Heart Attack

Nurse Saves His Own Life From Heart Attack

Nurse Saves His Own Life From Heart Attack

Nurse Saves His Own Life From Heart Attack

When we hear stories of nurses saving lives, we naturally assume that the life belongs to another person. Just this past week, a nurse stepped in to save the life of a man whose heart stopped beating at a high school volleyball game.

“I don`t believe I was a hero. I think anybody could have done what I did,” nurse Kelly Fogelman recounted. “Always be willing to jump in and help.”

Her response is another thing we’ve come to expect in these inspirational stories—a nurse for whom saving lives is simply the natural thing to do.

But in the case of this nurse in Perth, Australia, the life he saved was his own.

The nurse, who has remained nameless, was stationed in a remote area of Australia’s west coast—over 100 miles from the nearest medical facility, and over 600 miles from the nearest major city—when he began feeling “dizziness and chest pain”. While many might initially write these symptoms off as something less severe, the nurse’s training and experience told him to pay attention.

He began by diagnosing himself using the medical equipment on hand. He quickly gave himself an electrocardiogram (ECG) and emailed the results to an emergency room doctor.

Miles away, doctors closely examined the scan, eventually spotting the culprit—a blockage in his right coronary artery.

Meanwhile, the nurse has noticed a new symptom—a series of rapid-fire heartbeats (sinus tachycardia), a sign that the partial blockage may have become a complete blockage. He takes a second ECG and emails the results. The doctors concur, agreeing that if the nurse doesn’t get medical attention soon, his chances of survival drop precipitously.

But despite his remote location, the Australian nurse refuses to give up. With no doctor nearby to treat him, he quickly begins to treat himself—relying on his years of experience and observation.

He begins by inserting an IV into his own arm, and according to the LA Times, “chews a full-strength aspirin, and puts himself on a trio of first-line medications for heart attack: a tablet of the anti-platelet drug clopidogrel (known commercially as Plavix), a dose of nitroglycerine under the tongue, and an IV bag of the blood thinner heparin.”

And he didn’t stop there. Preparing for the worst, the nurse attached defibrillator pads to his own chest, just in case the situation continued to worsen.

Fortunately, the medicine did the trick, breaking up the blockage enough for the nurse to avoid more serious steps. This buys him enough time for a helicopter to arrive and shuttle him to the nearest operating room, where further medication and a stent were applied. He was home 48 hours later.

In the end, he survived, and only because of his will to fight and his training as a nurse.

If you’d like to learn more about the career possibilities open to you as a nurse or medical assistant, contact Unitek College today for more information.

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

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

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

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

The definition of “work” has changed a lot in just the last century. Not too long ago, working meant laboring—moving, sweating, lifting, plowing, and a host of other progressive verbs. 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, “and 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.

But none of this is new. 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 in patients that too much sitting can often cause. But fixing the issue can sometimes feel like an out-of-reach goal.

Look up any article on healthy living and the word that always precedes “exercise” is the word “regular”, and that can be disheartening. As the earlier study mentioned, shift work has an unpredictability that makes regular exercise difficult. And when you look at the prescribed amount of regular exercise (at least two and 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?

Wrong. And that’s excellent news.

As researchers continue to study the impact of exercise on the human body, one thing keeps coming up—when it comes to physical activity, something is always better than nothing.

When it comes to prolonged sitting, for example, Dr. Peddie’s research concluded with clear results: even short interruptions to sitting (once every half hour) had distinctly positive impacts on health. And amazingly, neither the intensity level nor the age/weight of those monitored seemed to matter. You simply need to get up and move more often.

“We should all be finding ways to avoid sitting for long periods, and to increase the amount of movement we do throughout the entire day,” Dr. Peddie suggests.

Of course, getting to the gym or the trail has even greater benefits, but can also be difficult to find time to do regularly. Fortunately, even just a single workout has proven positive results for your body.

Mere minutes of exercise can begin to alter your muscles’ DNA, turning on certain genes for 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 fats 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.

If you are interested in studying to be a nurse or medical assistant in the Bay Area, contact Unitek College today for more information on classes, current schedules, and opportunities.

Sick Of Jogging? Try Hiking

Sick Of Jogging? Try Hiking

Sick Of Jogging? Try Hiking

Sick Of Jogging? Try Hiking

As nurses or nursing students, the importance of exercise isn’t new information. After all, if you aren’t studying about the positive impact of exercise on overall health, then you’re encouraging patients to exercise to improve their overall health.

But when it comes to exercising ourselves, that can sometimes be a struggle. For some, it’s an issue of just not having the time. For many others, it’s just plain boring.

Some people swear by jogging or running, but many find the exercise tedious and repetitive. Others have the same complaint about the gym—it’s the same motion over and over at slightly higher weights, with not much happening to stimulate the senses.

If this describes you, don’t worry—you aren’t alone. Plenty of others have struggled with the same issue of boredom and mental motivation, and many of those have found their solution in one specific alternate activity: hiking.

Whether you’re hiking for an afternoon, a week, or taking on the John Muir trail, the benefits of hiking are irrefutable. WebMD describes hiking as a “powerful cardio workout” that can:

  • Lower the risk of heart disease.
  • Improve blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
  • Boost bone density.
  • Build lower body strength and core muscles.
  • Improve your balance.
  • Help control weight.

Hiking has even been found to boost the mood of participants, something particularly useful for nurses and others in high stress jobs. According to Dr. Gregory Miller (president of the American Hiking Society), “Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and we sometimes forget that.”

This is particularly good news for anyone studying nursing or medical assisting in the Bay Area, as the area around San Jose has some spectacular trails just waiting to be explored.

Calero County Park – Not only is Calero County Park known for its beautiful views, but the dirt trails (as opposed to paved) give the hike a much more “back to nature” feel. This park has been reviewed as “great for all ages”, so if you have kids you’d like to bring along, this might just be the spot for you.

Santa Teresa County Park – This is another park known for dirt or gravel trails and fantastic views. One reviewer suggests taking the westward trail in late afternoon to catch the sun dipping towards sunset—which is a statement just poetic enough to guarantee we’ll be giving this one a try.

Castle Rock State ParkIf you don’t mind driving a little further to get to your hike, or if you’re looking for a hiking and camping spot, Castle Rock is a great spot to start. There’s even a waterfall viewing area for those with a soft spot for majestic and awe-inspiring natural beauty.

As you begin hitting the trails, you’re guaranteed to bump into others at various stages of the hobby, and one thing about most hikers is that they love to talk hiking. So be sure and listen for recommendations for other trails, parks, and hikes surrounding the Bay Area… you may even find one worth sharing with us!

Enjoy the trails, be safe, bring water and bug spray, and above all, come back refreshed and reenergized for your next shift.

Interested in beginning a career as a nurse or medical assistant? Unitek College can help you get started today. Contact us here for more information.

Drawing Blood With Robots

Drawing Blood With Robots

Drawing Blood With Robots

Drawing Blood With Robots

Blood tests are one of the most common diagnostic procedures in the world. Checking cholesterol levels for a routine physical? Blood test. Checking blood cell count for a suspected infection? Blood test. Diagnose a disease, check organ function, determine blood type—blood test, blood test, blood test.

But for a procedure that’s so common and repetitive, the time cost of drawing and analyzing a blood sample can sometimes be subpar. Many times, doctors are unable to draw the blood samples themselves and must rely on phlebotomists, who then themselves have to rely on labs to analyze the results. The findings are valuable, of course, but the multi-step process can sometimes eat valuable time.

And let’s not forget the many styles and techniques necessary to successfully “stick” a patient without mess, drama, or contaminating the sample. We covered the topic in this recent post.

Enter the Rutgers University Blood Testing Robot.

Robots, by design, exist to take over repetitive tasks. Most commonly, those tasks exist within the manufacturing realm, but more and more, tasks within the world of medicine are falling to the machines (we also explored a few of those machines in this post).

But the Rutgers University Blood Testing Robot takes automation to a new level. Not only does it take over the task of drawing a blood sample, but it analyses the sample as well—saving doctors and nurses valuable time.

“This device represents the holy grail in blood testing technology,” says Martin L. Yarmush, the study’s senior author. “Integrating miniaturized robotic and microfluidic (lab-on-a-chip) systems, this technology combines the breadth and accuracy of traditional blood drawing and laboratory testing with the speed and convenience of point-of-care testing.”

The robot itself consists of three parts. The first part (the venipuncture arm) draws the blood sample by scanning the patient’s arm and creating a 3D model of the arm veins. After the needle is inserted, the second part of the machine obtains and protects the blood sample, delivering it to the third part—a built in centrifuge that analyzes the blood.

“In the U.S., for example, blood tests are performed 2 billion times each year and influence 80 percent of medical decisions made in hospital and primary care settings. However, blood draw success rates depend heavily on practitioner skill and patient physiology,” explains Dr Max Balter, one of the lead researchers. “By reducing turnaround times, the device has the capacity to expedite hospital workflow, allowing practitioners to devote more time to treating patients.”

So far, the machine has performed with 100% accuracy—a very impressive performance. And even the size is convenient. The prototype easily fits on a table, resembling the automatic blood pressure machines you see at local pharmacies.

Currently, the machine performs a “three-part white blood cell differential and hemoglobin measurement”, but developers hope to expand the available tests in the near future.

As far as nurses are concerned, however, there’s no fear of a robot replacing them any time soon. But a robot making a nurse’s job easier? That’s looking more and more likely by the day.

For more information on beginning a career in the exciting and rapidly changing world of nursing, contact Unitek College today.