Why I Became A Nurse

Why I Became A Nurse

Why I Became A Nurse

Why I Became A Nurse

People have all sorts of reasons for choosing to become a nurse. Some choose nursing because of the rising number of opportunities. Others choose nursing for the competitive compensation. Some do it because it’s a family tradition. And many choose nursing simply because they love helping sick people get better (of those, many would probably tell you that they’ve always been a nurse… they just got licensed).

If you’re a nurse or nursing student in the Bay Area, you’ve probably got an interesting reason of your own (and feel free to share it with us). But for those on the fence about donning the scrubs, here are a few reasons to join right from the nurses themselves.

Nurse Anna’s journey to becoming a nurse began at age 14, as she held her father’s hand as he passed away. She was too young to assist with his care then, but that moment led her to her ultimate destination.

“I feel like nursing is my chance to fight for my father,” she writes. “To care for every patient as I would have cared for him if given the chance…if given the time.”

Nurse Daniel Satalino began school as a Biology major, but he quickly discovered that his heart lay else ware.

“The thing I love most about nursing is the wide range of opportunities available for you. Whether you love bedside nursing, research, documentation… there are many specialties that are fit for different personalities,” says Satalino. “The greatest thing about the profession I have chosen is the ability to help people even if the help may seem minor. The patient will always remember who was at the bedside during their hospital stay.”

Others, like Nurse Jesus Adaniel, find that the excitement of the job is what drives them.

“Caring for patients is my calling,” Adaniel (now a commissioned officer in the Army Nurse Corp) tells MinorityNurse.com. “I always wanted to work in the critical care and trauma area early on in my career. I love the feeling of excitement and the fast-paced atmosphere.”

And some, like Nurse Pam Colvin, find their calling comes from a deeper, possibly even spiritual place.

“My passion for nursing stems from being influenced by two incredible historical leaders— Clara Barton and Mother Theresa,” Colvin shares. “Neither are traditional nurses by occupation, but both spent their lives serving people in times of hardship, loss, and devastation. Their example has inspired me to love nursing by making a difference in the lives of others. Despite the challenges, it is a calling and a love unending.”

And for Nurse Jessica Speer, being a nurse is simply the job that she finds the most rewarding.

“For every bad day, there is a great one that picks me right back up,” she writes in an article for MedExpress.com. “In my experience as a nurse, there has always been a patient that was beyond thankful and appreciative of the few extra minutes I spent with them explaining their new blood pressure medication; going over how to administer insulin to a newly diagnosed diabetic; providing a quick nebulizer treatment to the asthmatic in respiratory distress. Those are the moments that make it all worth it.”

There are nearly three million nurses in the United States today, and each one of them has their own unique story, vision, and reason for doing what they do. Which just leaves us with the question… what will your reason be?

For more information on beginning your career as a nurse or medical assistant, contact Unitek College today to learn more about classes, programs, and schedule options in the Bay Area.

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

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

Nursing jobs on a cruise ships

Could A Cruise Ship Be Your Next Nursing Job?

Nursing jobs on a cruise ships

Could A Cruise Ship Be Your Next Nursing Job?

Most people (with the exception of sailors and entertainers) don’t think “full-time job” when they hear the words “cruise ship”. Most of us think of a cruise as a getaway, our chance to leave work and worries behind for an all-inclusive, buffet-filled vacation at sea. But running a cruise ship takes a lot of manpower behind the scenes, especially when it comes to heath care.

More and more people are taking cruises every year, with the industry continually setting new records for numbers of passengers. In 2016, attendance jumped to a record 24.2 million people who cruised worldwide, and when the number of people grows, the potential for health issues grows as well.

Time Magazine compiled a list of some of the significant disease outbreaks aboard cruise ships in the past few years—including the norovirus outbreak on Royal Caribbean that infected over 600, and back to back outbreaks on Princess and Celebrity cruises that sickened over 1500 passengers combined. Passengers can also be injured or infected while exploring ports. And if that’s not enough, the rising and falling seas while onboard (combined with steps, wet surfaces, and alcohol) often lead to slips and falls… especially among elderly passengers.

All that to say… a cruise ship may sound like paradise, but they definitely rely heavily on their ship nurses, and if you’re looking for an opportunity to provide health care while traveling, then a cruise line may be one possible fit.

In most cases, ship nurses report directly to the ship doctor / physician, and work under the supervision of the lead nurse (also a solid career opportunity). In addition to assisting the ship doctor and lead nurse in a broad range of medical care, ship nurses are also usually the first line of defense when an injury or illness is reported—one reason why many cruise lines prefer to hire nurses with emergency room experience.

Interested? Nurse.org offers a few of the pros and cons of the position. In the “positive” column, the website lists the flexibility of short-term contracts, travel, chances to explore international ports, and generally more responsibility than one might find in a traditional nursing position. Under the “negatives” column,  they list the stress of multi-month deployments (especially for those with a family), a competitive job market, and a lower than average pay rate… although they also mention that due to the free room and board the job offers, the salaries tend to even out.

For many nurses, though, such as Nurse Joan Jones, the experience is one they return to again and again. “It can be like a working vacation,” she says. “It is far less stressful than a hospital environment.”

(It might be a good idea to make sure you aren’t prone to sea sickness before you apply, though, or you may spend as much time in the sick bay as the people you’re treating!)

If you’d like more information on exploring a career in nursing, contact Unitek College today for more information on our multiple nursing and medical assistant programs.

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Emerging Demographic Factors Indicate Increasing Need for LVNs

A variety of factors are now influencing the supply and demand for well-trained nurses in the state of California. This trend is one that is occurring throughout the nation, and the state of California is also by it.

More Nurses Retiring

One of the reasons the demand for nursing is increasing in California is that the supply of trained nurses has not yet met the continually rising demand for nurses throughout the state. Numerous factors have contributed to the increasing need for nurses. For instance, a large percentage of nursing professionals are now reaching retirement age. In fact, findings released from a report from the Nursing Management Aging Workforce Survey in 2006 found that 55% of nurses surveyed had intentions of retiring between the years 2011 and 2020*.

Increasing Elderly Population

While this large number of nurses leaving the field will leave a glut in the industry, the future demand for qualified nurses is expected to continue rising significantly as Baby Boomers reach retirement age and beyond. Per a nursing report released on caregivers, the ratio of prospective caregivers to the individuals who will be more likely to require care, which is the elderly population, is expected to decline by as much as 40% by the year 2030*.

In 2008, the Council on Physician and Nurse Supply found that an additional 30,000 nurses would need to be graduated each year simply to meet the healthcare needs of the country. This number represents an increase of 30% over the current number of nurse graduates each year*.

The increasing demand for nurses cannot be ignored. The need for qualified nurses is present at all levels of the industry, including at the vocational nurse level.  A LVN is a Licensed Vocational Nurse; a designation used in California as well as the state of Texas. LVNs work under the direct supervision of registered nurses (RN) or physicians. Vocational Nursing training provides nursing candidates with the practice and knowledge they need to embark upon a vocational nursing career. This scope of instruction and practice may include amongst other tasks, such things as checking the vital signs of patients, administering medications and treatments, hanging IVs, performing dressing changes and daily living activities.

A vocational nurse may be employed in a hospital or in one of many other types of facilities, such as a skilled nursing facility, home health care agency, physician’s office, correctional facility, school or clinic.

The decision to become a licensed vocational nurse is one that can lead to a rewarding and satisfying career. Many people also decide to support themselves working as a LVN while pursuing advanced healthcare training, such as RN qualification.

Vocational Nursing training course lasts about one year and provides students with the experience and instruction they need to achieve their goal of entering the rewarding and exciting world of licensed vocational nursing.

*According to a report from the Nursing Management Aging Workforce Survey in 2006 55% of nurses surveyed had intentions of retiring between the years 2011 and 2020. [Source: www.NursingCenter.com, 02/2012]

*According to the Nursing Institute at the University of Illinois College of Nursing, the ratio of potential caregivers to the people most likely to need care, the elderly population, will decrease by 40% between 2010 and 2030. [Source: www.NursingPower.net, 02/2012]

* In March 2008, The Council on Physician and Nurse Supply, an independent group of health care leaders based at the University of Pennsylvania, determined that 30,000 additional nurses should be graduated annually to meet the nation’s healthcare needs, an expansion of 30% over the current number of annual nurse graduates [Source: www.AllNurses.com, 02/2012]