Helping Nurses In The Wake Of Hurricane Florence

Helping Nurses In The Wake Of Hurricane Florence

Helping Nurses In The Wake Of Hurricane Florence

Helping Nurses In The Wake Of Hurricane Florence

From the moment Hurricane Florence set its sights on the Carolina coastline, everyone knew the impact would be big. And despite weakening in strength just before landfall, the high winds and even higher waters carved a path of destruction through the state, the scope of which Carolinians are still trying to grasp.

As of Friday, September 21st, the death toll sits at a tragic 41, and “unheard of amounts of water” continue to wreak havoc in cities and neighborhoods.

It’s exactly the type of situation where nurses would be needed most… but unfortunately, the North and South Carolina nurses are among the storm’s victims.

Which is why the North Carolina Foundation For Nursing is putting out the call for help nationwide—to collect donations “to provide support to nurses who have suffered loss or damages from Hurricane Florence. The NCFN – Nurse Recovery Fund seeks tax-deductible donations whose sole purpose is to help nurses get back on their feet sooner; NCNA and NCFN believe that helping nurses return to their normal lives will benefit the entire state.”

The emergency campaign is both generous and perceptive—without nurses on the ground and in the hospitals, recovery efforts in the Carolinas would be seriously handicapped. And the speed at which the campaign was launched is no accident. After Hurricane Harvey ripped through Texas in 2017—also leaving many hospitals understaffed—the Texas Nurses Association created a similar campaign to help get their staff back on their feet and into their scrubs. And before Hurricane Florence had even made landfall, the TNA was already sharing what they’d learned with their nursing comrades in the Carolinas.

“It is immensely harder to focus on patient care if you are reeling from your own losses, so we see this as a chance to support our fellow nurses and try to help them get back to normal,” said NCNA President Elaine Scherer, MAEd, BSN, RN. “Caring for each other is a vital part of being a nurse. We saw an opportunity to step up and have a positive impact on a terrible situation. Doing nothing was simply not an option.”

One thing is for sure, the eastern Carolinas aren’t out of the woods yet. Waters continue to rise, and the hurricane is already proving to be one of the costliest natural disasters in recent history. If there were ever a time to have a full staff of nurses ready to help, it’s now.

If you’d like to donate (or if you’d like to share this article to help raise support), donations can be made at this link. And if you know of any nurses who were impacted by the east coast storm, they can apply for assistance here.

There’s also an opportunity for nurses (even nurses here in the Bay Area) to volunteer to help those impacted by the storms. recently posted an article with the many ways in which you or your nursing colleagues can get involved. That article is available here.

A big thanks to everyone doing what they can to help the nurses impacted by the storm.

If you’d like more information on becoming a nurse or medical assistant and would like to visit one of our Bay Area campuses, contact Unitek College today.

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 “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 “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

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