Vocational Nurse (VN) training in Concord

Why Concord Students Benefit from the VN Program

The top 8 reasons why Unitek students might benefit from our Vocational Nursing program in Concord, California.

Vocational Nurse (VN) training in Concord

Vocational Nursing has always been a popular choice at Unitek College. Nursing is often seen as a career that is both stable and rewarding. Not only do nurses perform a variety of clinical tasks, but they promote good health habits and champion the wellbeing of their patients. Perhaps most importantly, Vocational Nurses have the ability to change lives.

Students at our Concord Campus are particularly passionate about nursing. To learn the fundamentals of healthcare, they utilize classrooms, labs, and learning resource stations. In the labs, real-world simulations are employed to better prepare students. In fact, our students receive more than 900 hours of practical training in simulations, labs, and healthcare facilities.

Here are the top 8 reasons why we think our Concord students might benefit from a career in nursing:

Various Work Environments

More often than not, nurses have the opportunity to work in a number of healthcare facilities. For example, some nurses work in private homes, some in research facilities, and others in hospitals or private offices. Additionally, nursing can allow for more tailored schedules. For instance, those that are unable to work during the day could pursue night nursing.

Relatively Quick Timeframe

Most Vocational Nursing programs can be completed in under two years. The VN program at Unitek College can be completed in as little as 12 months.

Specialized Areas of Interest

There are numerous specialties in the nursing field. If you have the proper licensing or certification, then you can pursue a specialization that you truly care about. Some nurses specialize in pediatrics, oncology, critical care, family care, and more.

A Generally Exciting Profession

Nursing is often meaningful. It is usually an exciting profession, and at times it can even be chaotic. There probably aren’t that many dull moments in the nursing profession.

Opportunities to Educate and Connect

Nurses not only perform a variety of duties, but they promote and teach patients better health habits. They also have the chance to connect with their patients and the community.

Integral Teamwork and Support

No matter the specialization, nurses typically network and support each other in their careers. Teamwork is also a vital component of healthcare. If you enjoy working in a team atmosphere, Vocational Nursing could be a great career choice for you.

Contributing to the Community

Through their job or volunteer efforts, nurses can contribute greatly to numerous communities. In the future, if you’d like to volunteer, nurses can donate their time to both local communities and foreign countries.

Job Security

There is usually a certain amount of job security in the nursing profession. Nurses will always be needed, as healthcare will always be a necessity. In fact, experts anticipate that a nursing shortage will soon hit the United States.1 As the baby-boomer population ages and demand for healthcare grows, the need for a greater nursing staff will also intensify.

Unitek VN Program - Concord California

A Segment of the Nursing Workforce is Approaching Retirement Age

Additionally, a segment of the nursing workforce is approaching retirement age. According to a recent survey spearheaded by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and The Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers, approximately 50% of Registered Nurses (RNs) are age 50 or older.2

When not training to become Vocational Nurses, our students have the city of Concord at their fingertips. A populous city in the San Francisco Bay Area, Concord is either home to or located near attractions like Mount Diablo, Briones Regional Park, Heather Farm Park, and the annual Concord Jazz Festival. Our campus can be found near Willow Pass Road and State Route 242, right by a slew of convenient stores and restaurants.

If you’re in the Concord area and you’re interested in Vocational Nursing, we encourage you to contact us and learn more about our program.

Take that first step with Unitek College!

Vocational Nurse Training Program - LVN
1 http://www.aacnnursing.org/News-Information/Fact-Sheets/Nursing-Shortage
2 https://www.ncsbn.org/workforce.htm

Hospitals offering more perks to entice more nurses

Hospitals offering more perks to entice more nurses

Hospitals offering more perks to entice more nurses

Hospitals offering more perks to entice more nurses

Even with a few recent downswings, the U.S. economy is booming… so why aren’t hospitals happy about it?

It all comes down to nurses.

During tougher economic times when a family’s personal finances might be more of a struggle, nurses tend to stay put in their jobs. They keep their shifts, work extra hours, and may even push retirement back a few years. That paycheck, after all, is vital to making ends meet.

But when the economy is stronger and family finances aren’t strained, suddenly the idea of retirement or fewer work hours becomes a lot sweeter and a lot more doable. That means fewer nurses filling shifts on top of an preexisting shortage of nurses nationwide. In other words, the higher that stock market arrow climbs, the harder hospitals start thinking about finding ways to entice you.

Many hospitals are turning to pricey perks and incentives, as CNN Money reports. Some of these include five figure signing bonuses, free housing, and in some rare cases, programs may even pay for your kids to go to college.

“These are some of the grandiose examples we’ve heard from our members,” says Seun Ross, director of nursing practice and work environment at the American Nurses Association. “Who knows what employers will come up with next?”

Other incentives include perks such as bonuses for continued education and specialized training to help career advancement—for example, training nurses for intensive care units or emergency medicine. One hospital in Ohio even offers a Knowledge Bonus for new hires who already possess certain job skills.

Of course, when you’re fresh from graduation and looking for that first nursing job, signing bonuses tend to grab the attention first, and there are plenty of opportunities for signing bonuses available nationwide. But a handful of cash can sometimes distract from a less than perfect working environment.

“We’ve never offered nurses a sign-on bonus,” says Kathy Franz, director of human resources at Washington’s Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. “Sign-on bonuses typically keep nurses in their jobs for two years. Our goal is to attract candidates who want to work here for other reasons.”

Instead, Franz’s hospital offers lifestyle perks, such as flexible scheduling, onsite childcare, tuition reimbursement, and better opportunities for advancement. And the approach is working… the hospital constantly has a “steady stream” of applicants.

“All it takes is for one nurse to tell her friend that where she works is a great place for these reasons and applications will come in,” says Seun Ross.

So remember, as you begin your job search, make sure not to miss out on the perks available. But keep in mind that not all job benefits can be quantified on the front of a check.

Happy hunting!

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

Nurse Runs Marathon for Children’s Heart Health

Nurse Runs Marathon for Children’s Heart Health

Nurse Runs Marathon for Children’s Heart Health

Nurse Runs Marathon for Children’s Heart Health

There were plenty of noteworthy stories this week in the world of medicine, such as the development of a new drug that could treat peanut allergies, and a study that says red wine may protect your oral health. But one particular story stood out, highlighting the lengths to which many nurses go for the causes near and dear to them.

Nurse Colby George of Massachusetts isn’t a marathon runner. At least, not yet. This year, however, she plans to make the 26.2 mile journey at the annual Boston Marathon—not for the prestige, but for her patients.

In 2013, a six-year old boy named Joseph Middlemiss died unexpectedly from cardiomyopathy—a disease of the heart muscle. “Joey’s infectious laugh, and curly-lashed blue eyes were never happier than the day his baby brother was born. His special heart held a wisdom and empathy far beyond his 6 years”, reads the homepage of the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation Inc. The non-profit foundation was created by Joey’s parents shortly after the young boy’s death, and raises funds to help with research and awareness of childhood heart issues.

Nurse George’s husband, Justin, was a first responder when Joey died, and ran the Boston Marathon last year for the foundation. But this year, Nurse George (herself a recipient of one of the Big Heart Foundation’s “Acts of Kindness”) couldn’t remain on the sidelines any longer.

“To run the marathon is just something that I’d like to accomplish because I didn’t think I’d ever be able to run a marathon,” George, 39, explains. “But to do it for their foundation — to raise awareness for their foundation — is really the main reason why I want to do it.”

And this year, it turns out, the decision to run is particularly timely. Five years after the death of their oldest son Joey, the Middlemiss family spent time back in the hospital as their four-year old son Jack underwent a heart transplant. Jack, also born with cardiomyopathy, made it through the surgery successfully, but the close call makes Nurse George’s decision to run seem all the more potent.

“Out of something awful, a beautiful friendship has evolved,” Joey’s mother, Kate Middlemiss, said Friday of the family’s bond with Nurse George and her husband. “It’s a connection that we will always have with them.”

According to the Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Registry, one in every 100,000 children in the U.S. under the age of 18 is diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. The majority of diagnosed children are under 12 months followed by children 12 to 18 years old. Pediatric cardiomyopathy is considered a rare disorder, and can be present at birth or have new onset at any age—with or without symptoms.

Colby begins her 26.2 mile run on Monday, April 16th (Patriot’s Day), and she hopes to raise at least $6,000 dollars this year for the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation. You can follow her fundraising efforts (or make a donation) at this link.

No one wants to wind up in a hospital bed, but even through those sometimes tragic  circumstances, bonds between nurses and patients so often transcend distance, disease, and all other obstacles. And in cases like Nurse George and the Middlemiss family, sometimes those connections can have a ripple effect that touches more lives than either thought possible.

Best of luck in the race, Colby! We’ll be cheering for you.

For more information on a nursing program in California, or starting your own career as a nurse or medical assistant, contact Unitek College today for class enrollment information, convenient scheduling, and to find a campus near you.

Nurses’ Actions Go Viral

Nurses’ Actions Go Viral

Nurses’ Actions Go Viral

Nurses’ Actions Go Viral

These days, everything makes it onto the web. Everything. Whatever is happening, there’s a good chance that someone is standing nearby filming it on their phones, and within minutes, it’ll be online. And sometimes, that’s a good thing.

Take for instance the viral video from Ohio, which shows a nurse stopping on his way to work to save the life of a woman who’d stopped breathing after a car crash. 36-year old Keith Ezell was on his way to work when he heard the crash. Knowing every second counted, he quickly grabbed his respiratory mask and began administering CPR.

During the five-minute ordeal, Ezell was thinking “I have to get her back. She was turning blue. She had no pulse and I kept thinking she can’t die on me,” he recounts to KARE 11. And his hard work wasn’t in vain. The paramedics arrived, and Ezell heard the words he’d been praying for.

“They said they got a pulse! And I thought, my job is done. She gets to live,” Ezell says.

And one of the best parts of the video comes at the end, as the victim is taken away in an ambulance, Ezell can be heard saying “I got to go to work”, and leaving for the hospital. For him, the moment hadn’t been about heroics. It was about doing what needed to be done, then going to work to do it some more.

Another nurse to go viral this week is Florida nurse Katherine Lockler, who finally had enough with this year’s flu season. After a 12-hour night shift filled with influenza patients flooding her hospital and ER, Lockler sat in her car and recorded her frustrations with the lack of disease prevention she’d witnessed. Her seven-minute video was soon shared across social media, and Lockler’s plea has now been viewed over nine million times.

During the video, Lockler presents a barrage of information on how the flu is spread, the dangers of contracting it, statistics on the outbreak, and the importance of hygiene during flu season—all with the passion and perspective only a nurse can provide.

“When you come into emergency rooms where there are signs posted saying to wash your hands, and people don’t—or when you ask someone to put on a mask because they’re coughing and they refuse—that gets me a little frustrated!” Lockler tells PEOPLE. “The video was meant to be a public service announcement, but I wanted to do it in a light-hearted way.”

Lockler also makes an important point about relying on an emergency room for non-emergency situations during highly infectious times.

“I want to get the word out not to come into an area of high concentrated infection unless you are absolutely in need of it, such as a true emergency,” she says. “Most things can be done at a pediatrician’s office, or a minute clinic, or so many other facilities, not the emergency room.”

This year’s flu season has been the worst in over a decade.

We know there are countless wonderful things being done by nurses on a daily basis, and we’re always thankful for the chance to see some of them ourselves. So whether your work is seen by nine million people or by nine, keep up the good work out there!

For information on starting your own career as a nurse, Unitek College can get you started! Contact us today for more information. We have 3 types of nursing programs, located in California

The Danger of Stress in Young Patients

The Danger of Stress in Young Patients

The Danger of Stress in Young Patients

The Danger of Stress in Young Patients

A wide range of patients with a wide range of health problem walk through the doors of your hospital or clinic every day, and of that wide range of health problems, it’s amazing how many may be traced back to stress. High amounts of stress have been found to cause heart issues, digestive issues, breathing problems, headaches, immune system deficiencies, and other health problems. In other words, we know that stress in our adult patients is far from healthy… but how bad is stress for child patients?

“Very bad”, according to the Center for Youth Wellness (CYW) in San Francisco. And the long-term effects can range from asthma to heart disease and even to cancer.  Simply put, heavy amounts of stress on a young life can lead to that life being cut short.

“It can tip a child’s developmental trajectory and affect physiology,” explains Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a pediatrician and founder of the CYW. It can trigger chronic inflammation and hormonal changes that can last a lifetime. It can alter the way DNA is read and how cells replicate, and it can dramatically increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes — even Alzheimer’s.”

Dr. Harris goes on to explain that childhood stressors such as divorce, abuse, or death of a loved one “literally gets under our skin, changing people in ways that can endure in their bodies for decades.”

Stress by itself can actually be a good thing for both children and adults… if it occurs in small doses. Stress can help keep us awake, focused, and activates the “fight-or-flight” response when we encounter a dangerous situation. But in order to accomplish these things, stress activates so many of our bodies’ systems simultaneously (immune, hormonal, respiratory, cardiovascular, muscular, and more)—and keeping all those systems perpetually revved up and ready for action eventually starts to wear the body down.

And just imagine what that kind of wear-and-tear does to a body that’s still developing.

But unlike many of the health problems that can be caused by stress, stress itself can be dealt with before it becomes a life-threatening issue… if caught in time. Dr. Harris shares the story of one patient, a 3-year-old girl, who scored a seven on the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, a very high score for a patient so young. The patient simply wasn’t growing (“itty bitty”, in the words of Dr. Harris). But after identifying stress as a contributing cause and prescribing child-parent stress therapy, her patient was back to a healthy place on the growth curve within six months.

As a nurse, you also have the unique opportunity to help temporarily reduce stress in your young patients. A trip to the clinic, doctor’s office, dentist’s office, or hospital is almost never without an element of fear for most children, but there are a few simple tips you can use to help make the experience a positive one.

  1. Positive Reinforcement – Pay attention to what’s going well and use praise to reinforce that behavior. Are they doing a good job of listening or holding still? Let them know!
  2. Take a Deep Breath – Or more accurately, take several deep breaths. Show your patient some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation to help calm their nerves.
  3. Explain Everything – Dr. Greg Psaltis (a pediatric dentist) suggests providing “a running commentary to the child so that nothing comes as a surprise. By telling the patients (in simple, understandable words) what is happening, they can anticipate the next instrument, sensation, or procedure with minimal anxiety.”
  4. Don’t Forget The Parents – Very little upsets a child faster than seeing their parents upset, so be sure to share some of your focus with the adults in the room. Keeping them calm will in turn help keep their children calm.

Of course, these tips and tricks work primarily for the medical or dental visit itself—they aren’t designed to deal with the bigger psychological stressors that may be a factor at home. But it’s always possible that stress-management techniques learned in one place (your workplace) can be applied in others (their home or school). And as always, if you believe stress may be impacting the health of your young patients, address the possibility with your supervisor first.

“This is a public health crisis,” says Dr. Harris. “So guess what? Schools, you need help! Doctors’ offices, you’re part of the solution! If you’re in early childhood, you’re part of the solution. If you’re in juvenile justice, you’re part of the solution. We all need to be part of the solution. If we each take off our little piece, it’s nuts how far we’ll be able to go, together as a society, in terms of solving this problem.”

If you’d like more information on beginning your career as a nurse, medical assistant, or dental assistant, Unitek College can help! Contact us today for more information.

Tips For Passing Your NCLEX Exam

Tips For Passing Your NCLEX Exam

Tips For Passing Your NCLEX Exam

Tips For Passing Your NCLEX Exam

Looming at the end of every nursing student’s program of study is that final hurtle between “student” and “professional nurse”… the NCLEX exam. All your hard work in classes, labs, and projects comes down to one final test, so it’s only natural that many test takers feel a little nervous going in. Fortunately, anyone preparing to take the test in the near future already has something big in their favor—they aren’t the first to take the test. Thousands have taken (and passed) the exam, and many have shared tips from their experience to help those following behind. Here are a few we’ve found to help you excel at that final certification and achieve that goal of becoming a nurse.

  1. Prepare Early – Cramming may have worked in high school, but you don’t want to rely on a last minute study “sprint” when your career is on the line. Instead, treat your studying and your test as more of a marathon—study early, study often, as far in advance as possible. “Even though you’ve done well in nursing school and you’ve had a great education, you must still prepare—and that means practicing,” says Jan Jones-Schenk (DHSc, RN, NE-BC). “Take 100 questions per day for two to three weeks leading up to your exam date.”
  2. Take Your Test ASAP – The longer you wait after graduation, the more chances you have to forget things you’ve learned. Make sure and take the test while the knowledge is still fresh in your mind. “The sooner you take it, with good preparation, the better your odds are for a first-time pass,” advises Jones-Schenk. “Two to three weeks should be enough time to prepare.”
  3. Know What You’re Getting Into – It’s natural to worry about a test like the NCLEX, but the more you know about the exam and exam requirements ahead of time, the more you can concentrate on actually taking the test (and remembering everything you studied). Check out https://www.ncsbn.org/nclex.htm early for a good idea of what’s ahead.
  4. Practice, Practice, Practice – The best way to prepare for what’s ahead is to actually experience what’s ahead, and there are plenty of practice tests available to help you do just that. Take advantage of the NCSBN’s practice exams to give yourself a head start on exam day.
  5. Get A Good Night’s Sleep – Resist the urge to stay up cramming the night before the test, and instead focus on getting seven to eight hours of sleep. Not only will the sleep be of greater benefit, but the cramming? Turns out it doesn’t work.
  6. Pick Up A Good Book – You can find a thorough and descriptive list here of books written to help nursing students prepare for the NCLEX.
  7. Look For The Logical Choices – There’s a great strategy guide available here to help you navigate the many multiple choice answers and use logic to narrow down the correct one. One recurring theme in the guide is to pay close attention to the wording of each question. For example, if a question uses absolute words like always, never, none, only, etc, pay extra attention to those answers. Just because an answer might apply to most situations, it doesn’t always mean all.

And while everyone wants to pass on the first try, keep in mind that not everybody does. Plenty of nurses failed their first tests only to pass later on and enjoy successful careers in health care. In California, failing the test simply means you must wait 45 days before trying again, and there’s no limitation to how many times you try. So if the first one doesn’t work out, use that waiting period to study for the second. You’ve worked hard to get this far, and your nursing career is waiting just a few correct answers away.

Good luck!

For more information on studying to become a nurse, contact Unitek College for more information on our multiple nursing and medical assistant progr