Getting The Best Of Your Blues

Nurses - Getting the Best of Your Blues

Nurses have to be healthy themselves, getting the Best of Your Blues

For nurses to provide the best care for sick patients, nurses have to be healthy themselves. This means good physical health, obviously, and staying ahead of illnesses through good diet, good sleep, and regular check-ups. But mental health can play just as big a part in a nurse’s overall health, and sometimes, can be one of the hardest things to maintain.

According to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) nearly 15 million Americans are diagnosed with a major depressive disorder—something that on average pops up in their early 30’s—and there are lots of factors that can contribute to the issue. Workplace stress, physical exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, all play a part in creating conditions for depression. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that those in the medical field (a rewarding but demanding field) are no strangers to “the blues”. In fact, studies have shown that nurses are diagnosed with depression at twice the national rate.

This finding could easily be alarming—after all, it takes full mental focus to provide health care, especially when dealing with complicated medical cases—and depression and mental exhaustion can impact concentration.

The good news is that depression can be treated… if you know how to spot it. Some common symptoms (collected by NurseBuff.com) include inability to focus, poor time management, slow response time, low productivity, and a tendency to be more accident-prone. If you notice these trends in yourself or in one of your co-workers, it may be time to look for help.

“Nurses feel they need to be perfect and healthy at all times. It is just not possible when they are doing so much for someone else,” explains Nikki Martinez, PsyD, LCPC, a behavioral health counselor. Mental health professionals realize that this is a huge problem. Openly talking about it is the only way to break the cycle, but no one talks about it. When they do talk about it, it takes away stigma and shame.”

And nurses who seek help, explains Blake LeVine, often come out stronger than before.

“Nurses know that admitting a mental health problem puts their job at risk,” says LeVine. “People are scared to admit it. That’s when mistakes happen. Get treated. Nurses feel they have to hide it to protect their jobs, but a nurse that seeks help for depression ends up a better and stronger nurse. Those who seek help have more longevity in their career.”

As for the treatment itself, there are often many avenues that can be pursued, and many ways to improve a nurse’s environment to help improve their mental health. Educating yourself about depression, improving your workload, speaking to a therapist, and focusing on self-care are just a few of the many options. Regular exercise can also go a long way towards stronger mental health. In fact, one study recently found that enjoying yoga can go a long way in combatting depression, anxiety, and stress. Practicing mindfulness and meditation can also help—and there a few great apps (like the app Headspace) that help make the practice smoother and more convenient.

Remember, there’s never any shame in asking for help, so if you feel your mental health may not be at its peak, talk to somebody! Take a moment to get the best of the blues. You’ve earned it.

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”  – Helen Keller

 

If you’d like more information about a potential career in nursing, Unitek College has several programs designed to help you reach your full potential. Contact us here for more information.

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One Good Turn Deserves Another

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Nurses can make unforgettable differences in other people’s lives, but even nurses need a helping hand sometimes, and in those stories, it’s the nurse that experiences something unforgettable.

TunDe Hector is an aide who’s in the process of finishing her nursing degree, but her path to graduation hasn’t an easy one. Financial hardships were hitting fast, and she was struggling just to keep gas in her car. Such was the case on a rainy Georgia afternoon when her car ran out of gas on the side of the road. While walking through the rain, she was passed by a young family on their way to church. The driver, Chris Wright, spotted her and felt compelled to stop.

He turned the car around and offered her a ride to the nearest gas station, then filled her gas can and drove her back to her car. But the kindness didn’t end there.

“I was being tugged on the inside again and felt the Lord said, ‘Whatever you have in your pocket just give it to her. She needs that,'” Wright said. “I gave her the $40 and she cried and I didn’t know if I’d ever see her again. But I felt like it was what I was led to do at that point.”

They waved goodbye and parted ways. But their story was far from over.

Three years later, Chris and his family were dealing with a hardship of their own. Chris’s mother (Judy) was diagnosed with Parkinson ’s disease and her failing health landed her in the hospital. When she was finally released to be taken home, Chris and the family decided it was time to hire a nursing aide.

The choice, it turned out, was much easier than Chris had anticipated. One particular aide went the extra mile for Judy, showing up without being scheduled and providing excellent care for his mother. She was a natural for the job, but first, Chris wanted a chance to meet her.

“My dad called me after she leaves and said, ‘Hey, I got a lady that we need to use because for whatever it is, there’s something different about her that I feel better when she’s in the house and your mom loves her as well,'” Chris Wright told ABC News. “And I said, ‘Oh, great.’ I texted her and set up a time for her and I to meet to talk about the times she can care for her and what we wanted to have done.”

The woman who showed up, as you may have guessed, turned out to be none other than TunDe Hector herself. The two didn’t recognize each other at first, as their only brief meeting had been three years prior and in the rain. But the experience was one that had stuck with TunDe, and during the interview, she began to share the story of a man who’d stopped to help her in the rain, and the life-changing effect that gesture had had on her life. It was then that Chris realized who she was.

“I just looked at her and I said, ‘TunDe, that was me.’ And we both just start crying. And she said, take your hat off. And so I took my hat off and she said, ‘It was you.’ And we both, we just cried and had a moment right there,” Chris Wright said.

TunDe was given the job, and cared for Judy right up until the day she died. The family then decided that instead of flowers, they asked that anyone wanting to memorialize their mother do so by making donations to a fund that would be used to help TunDe complete nursing school. They’d hoped to raise $1,000 for her tuition costs… and instead raised over $20,000.

You can watch the heartfelt moment when the family presented TunDe here check by clicking here. But we warn you… keep the tissues handy.

We know nurses change lives for the better on a daily basis. But it’s always nice to be reminded that there are grateful people out there just waiting to return the favor.

If you’d like more information on beginning your own career in nursing, check out the many programs available at Unitek College by clicking here.

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Check your mail: National RN Survey Could be Waiting

There is a lack of data regarding RNs in this country. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and the Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers aim to fill that void with with a nation-wide survey beginning this month. They are hoping the information gathered will aid in the efforts to cope with the coming shortfall of RNs around the country.

There are two major changes that are prompting this study. First, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act means that 30 million more patients will be seeking healthcare in the years to come according to the NCSBN. Secondly, as the elderly population grows in number and in proportion to the rest of the population, there will be an increased demand for nurses. Information in this study will be crucial in helping predict nursing shortages, allocating resources, as well as recruitment and education efforts.

The American Nursing Association is onboard, and encourages those chosen to participate in this confidential survey. So check your mail for the survey, you’re answers could have a hand in shaping the future of healthcare.

Source: American Nurses Association

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Forward with Affordable Care Act

With President Obama re-elected, this means the health care reform that Mitt Romney had planned to stop on day one, had he won, will continue to move forward. The Affordable Care Act increases access to health care ultimately leading a demand for nurses as the country is provided with the right to health care.* The American Nursing Association (ANA) agrees with the president when he says, “health care is a right, not a privilege,” said ANA President Karen A. Daley.* The Act will increase the demand for nurses due to the increase of patients and coverage options.

As of August 2012, one of the most important benefits to the Act was enforced; insurance companies have made preventative screenings, vaccines and scans free under their plans. This will be a positive change for many hospital and clinics as health care providers are given the chance to prevent illnesses. Nurses will have more time to provide health care education and preventative services.

The Act will also introduce over 34 million uninsured Americans by 2014, as it requires anyone that does not have health care to gain coverage either through private companies, Medicaid, Medicare or exchange. In addition, effective 2014, insurance companies may not discriminate or deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions.*

Amy Fusselman, a RN at Allegheny GeneralHospitalin Pennsylvaniasaid “I have seen the grief and pain suffered by patients and their families who delayed care because they could not afford the co-pays that come with visits for preventive screenings. In my experience, outcomes are much better when patients have access to proper preventive care and appropriate medical treatment.”*

Another effect of the increase in access to proper health care is the shift to having clinics ran by nurse practitioners.  A nurse practitioner is a nurse that has achieved a graduate level of education. A nurse practitioner can act as a patient’s primary care provider as they have gone through diagnosis and treatment training.

“And in communities where there is no medical care at all, clinics run by nurse practitioners hold the potential to make a real, positive difference in the quality of people’s lives. And that is what ‘care’ is all about,” said a blogger of AllVoices.com.*

Upcoming reforms from this Act:*

–          January 2013: New funding provided to states to expand Medicaid programs that offer preventative care to patients at low or no cost.

–          Fall of 2013: open enrollment begins

–          January 2014: All Americans will be insured either from private companies, Medicaid, Medicare or exchange.

  • Insurance companies cannot deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
  • Individuals whose employers do not offer insurance can receive coverage from the exchange.
  • Tax credit will be issued to middle class families to help pay for private insurance plans.

–          January 2015: Physician’s pay will be determined by the quality of care they provide.

Would you like to start a career in the expanding world of nursing? UnitekCollegeoffers a variety of nursing training programs. Vocational Nursing, Registered Nurse (RN), Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), and Bachelors of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN).   Contact Unitek College to speak to an admissions representatives to see how you can be a part of history in healthcare.

Sources:

*The Affordable Care Act calls for all Americans to be insured, and requests nurses to provide patient education and preventative services.  (Source: www.healthcare.gov, 11/2012).

* The American Nurses Association (ANA) publically thanked and congratulated the President on being elected for another 4 years.  (Source: www.nursingworld.org, 11/2012).

*The Affordable Care Act states by 2014 Insurance companies may not deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions. (Source: www.healthcare.gov, 11/2012).

*Registered Nurse Amy Fusselman recently shared her support of the Act after experiencing what her patients have gone through.   (Source: www.seiu.org, 11/2012).

*A blogger states nurse practitioners have potential to make a positive difference in the quality of people’s lives.  (Source: www.allvoices.com, 11/2012).

* According to the timeline for things to be rolled out.  (Source: www.healthcare.gov, 11/2012).

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Unitek College Welcomes Veterans Back to School

There were many reasons why Lannel De Los Reyes chose to pursue a nursing career. The most compelling reason was watching her dad suffer through rheumatoid arthritis and gout. She decided to dedicate her life to helping others.

“It just motivated me to become a nurse and take care of people, especially my loved ones,” Reyes said.

Reyes served six years active duty with the Air Force and decided to use her GI Bill to attend Unitek College’s Vocational Nursing program in Fremont, CA. Her ultimate goal is to graduate with a Bachelor in Nursing (BSN) and return to the military.

In the same nursing classroom sits another fellow Air Force veteran, Grecia Benitez. One of Benitez’s motivations to enlist into the Air Force directly out of high school was the educational benefits. After completing 5 years of service, Benitez was ready to start on her career path. During an open house tour at Unitek College, she found the start of her nursing career with the Vocational Nursing program.

Benitez’s plan after college is slightly different from Reyes’s.  While Benitez does not shy away from the idea of returning to the military, she is currently focused on completing the Vocational Nursing program and continuing on to become a Registered Nurse through Unitek College’s LVN to RN bridge program. After finishing school, Benitez plans to either pursue a nursing career in a hospital or rejoin the Air Force.

Benitez and Reyes share both a dedication to their country and a desire to achieve higher learning. The Post 9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI bill, amongst other Veterans Assistance (VA) benefits, reward veterans for their service and allow them to pursue higher education.  Although many institutions have yet to accept VA benefits, Unitek College made accepting VA benefits a top priority to make quality education available to America’s returning vets.

The majority of healthcare training programs offered by Unitek College are VA approved. “Unitek College is 100% committed to assisting our dedicated service men and women in making a successful transition into civilian life. Our main priority is to help them obtain the necessary education and training that can be parlayed into a lasting and rewarding career. Serving our veterans is a privilege we don’t take lightly.” Navraj Bawa, COO and Executive Vice President, Unitek College stated in a press release.

“If nursing is what you want to do…I would definitely recommend this school”, Benitez said.

Unitek College anticipates growth in enrollments from veterans who are looking to achieve their goals of higher education. This is particularly true with the recent deep budgetary cuts at public schools. Reyes, in advising other veterans said, “Definitely take advantage of your GI bill. That is part of why I joined the military.”

Are you a VA looking to get into the field of nursing?  Unitek College offers Training in Vocational NursingRegistered Nursing (LVN to RN), Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Bachelors of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN).  Contact us today at 888-735-4355 to see how you can get started on a very rewarding career as a nurse.

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Registered Nursing – a Growing Field in 2013 and Beyond

The future looks bright for Registered Nurses.  While other economic job sectors have suffered tremendous losses in the past few years, the healthcare sector, and nursing particularly, has continued to grow and will continue to do so in 2013 and beyond.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that by 2020, there will be more than 711,900 new Registered Nursing jobs created.  Furthermore, between 2010 -2020 the number of Registered Nursing jobs will increase by 26 percent, making it the fastest growing occupation in the U.S.*

This continued growth in the Registered Nursing profession stems from a few different sources including: changes in health care reform, technological advances in all areas of healthcare services and the aging of the baby boomer population.

Health Care Reform: The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama in 2010 will have a profound impact on the growth of the nursing profession.*  This legislation requires all Americans to be insured, which will increase the number of patients who can access health care services.  The legislation also focuses on the need for more healthcare prevention services, which will require more trained nurses be available to provide patient education and preventative services.

Technological Changes: While much of the technological changes which have occurred so far in the health care industry primarily affected patient care, technology is beginning to change all aspects of health care services, including how patient medical information is collected and maintained.  The 2009 American Recovery and Rehabilitation Act provides $1.2 billion a year to aid in the implementation of electronic health records.*  Nurses are needed to help companies develop and implement the use of these systems as well as maintain and support the electronic health care records.

Aging Baby Boomers:  The aging of the baby boomer population has affected the nursing field in a couple of ways.  First, due to the large number of people reaching retirement age, the number of nurses needed is growing in order to help keep senior citizens healthy and active.  Second, there are a large number of nurses who are baby boomers and are now retiring as part of that generation.  The growth in the healthcare sector combined with large numbers of retiring nurses has helped increase the demand for trained nurses, especially those trained in Geriatrics, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Not only is Registered Nursing a growing field in terms of numbers but it’s also a growing field in terms of the variety of employment opportunities available.  Nurses can work for numerous  health-care related settings including assisted living facilities, hospitals, doctor’s offices, home and public health agencies, clinics, in addition they can also work in schools.*

Registered Nurses will continue to have a wide variety of career options and opportunities available to them. The future certainly looks bright for RN’s and now is a great time to advance your career.

Unitek College’s LVN to RN Transition program offers LVN’s the opportunity to build upon their training to advance their career and become eligible for the Registered Nurse Licensure Examination.


Sources:

* The U.S. Department of Labor’s  Bureau of Labor Statistics reports by 2020 there will be more than 711,900 Registered Nursing jobs created and between 2010-2020 jobs will increase by 26 percent.   (Source: www.bls.gov, 10/2012).

*The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to be insured, and calls for more trained nurses to provide patient education and preventative services.  (Source: www.healthcare.gov, 10/2012).

* The 2009 American Recovery and Rehabilitation Act provides $1.2 billion a year to help hospitals implement and use electronic health records. (Source: www.whitehouse.gov, 10/2012).

*According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics Registered Nurses can work in a variety of settings. (Source: www.bls.gov, 10/2012).


About the Author:

Phyllis Edson is a freelance writer focusing on noteworthy areas of the nursing industry for Unitek College.