Protecting Your Patient

Protecting Your Patient: What We Learned From Nurse Alex Wubbels

Protecting Your Patient

Protecting Your Patient: What We Learned From Nurse Alex Wubbels

It’s a video that swept across the social media pages of nurses and non-nurses alike: a Utah nurse roughly put in handcuffs and arrested for refusing to follow the orders of a police officer. And not only is the story sparking outrage nationwide, it’s also highlighting just how important it is for nurses to know both the law and their hospital policies.

The issue began in July, after a driver fleeing from police crossed into oncoming traffic and caused a major collision. The driver was killed in the crash, but fortunately, the other man (a truck driver and part-time police officer) managed to survive. He was rushed to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, where Nurse Alex Wubbels (a former Olympic skier) was assigned to him.

This, however, was when Alex’s situation took a turn for the frightening.  John Payne, a police detective, arrived at the hospital shortly after the injured driver, requesting a sample of the motorist’s blood to be analyzed at the crime lab. But the patient was still unconscious and couldn’t give his consent. Payne ordered that the sample be drawn regardless, and that’s where Nurse Wubbels drew the line.

“The patient can’t consent,” she says to a person on the phone in the released video of the incident. “And he’s told me repeatedly that he doesn’t have a warrant. And the patient is not under arrest. So I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to do, that’s all.”

Soon after in the video, Payne goes on the offensive, accusing Wubbels of interfering with an investigation. She repeatedly attempts to explain the hospital policy to him, but his responses grow more and more agitated.

“I either go away with blood in vials or body in tow,” Payne can be heard saying.

Wubbels, crying for help, was put in handcuffs and led away—an action that Wubbels and her attorney now say amounts to assault. While she was soon released and allowed to physically recover, Wubbels doesn’t consider the matter resolved. She tells the Salt Lake City Tribune that she’s “heard anecdotally of other health care workers being bullied and harassed by police, and that these videos prove that there is a problem.”

“I can’t sit on this video and not attempt to speak out both to re-educate and inform,” she said. Police agencies “need to be having conversations about what is appropriate intervention.”

The incident is currently being investigated, though the Salt Lake City Mayor’s office has already issued an apology, but what happened to Nurse Wubbels shines a spotlight on the need for all nurses to be aware of their hospital policies.

“If you choose not to follow hospital policy — say, for instance, you drew the labs on the request of the detective, without a court order or patient consent, and on a patient that wasn’t under arrest — you open yourself up to many potential legal ramifications,” writes Dr. Jennifer Mensik for

She also points out that Alex Wubbels stood up—not just for hospital legal policy—but also for the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics. Two parts of the code, she points out, were at stake. Provision 1.4, which requires all patient decisions to be voluntary , and Provision 2.1, which says that a nurse’s primary commitment is to her patient.

“The nurse stood up valiantly for her patient when the patient could not speak for himself,” concludes Mensik. 

While we always hope that issues like those Nurse Wubbels faced never happen again, it’s still always best to be prepared to face them. So familiarize yourself with the American Nurses Code of Ethics, and your hospital or clinic’s policies, and never hesitate to reach out to your superiors or your workplace’s legal department if you ever question something you’ve been asked to do.

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

Nurses Face Off Against Hurricane Harvey

Nurses Face Off Against Hurricane Harvey

Nurses Face Off Against Hurricane HarveyIt’s been days since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, and he’s still causing trouble. The storm has claimed two lives so far and continues to dump inches of water into east Texas—sending the residents of flood-prone cities like Houston scrambling for higher ground.

But evacuation isn’t a simple task, and not everyone is able to do so without a significant amount of help… residents of this nursing home, for example, were stranded in waist deep water until help could arrive. As Harvey approached, many hospitals began closing their doors—sending their patients north to Dallas.

“We want to make sure that people are located in a facility where they can receive care without the impact of a hurricane,” explained Corpus Christi Fire Chief Robert Rocha.

The federal government made emergency health care a top priority as well, with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price declaring a public health emergency—a decision that relaxes many Medicare and Medicaid requirements to make it easier for health centers to treat the wave of new patients.

But even with the federal help, treating the sudden influx of patients requires more than just paperwork assistance. It requires boots on the grounds and scrubs in the halls. In other words, fighting Hurricane Harvey requires an army of nurses, and nurses from all over are answering the cry for help.

A team of thirteen from the Texarkana region boarded a plane and headed for the coast, landing ahead of Harvey and immediately going to work easing the burden on Texas hospitals.

“We’ll help take care of those patients and provide the care. We’ll provide the hospital a little relief as they’re taking in these added patients,” explained Micah Johnson, CHRISTUS St. Michael-Atlanta Director of Nursing.

Other nurses, like NICU nurse Michelle Smith, helped fly critically ill and premature babies to Dallas, as doctors felt the risk was too great for the young patients should their hospitals lose power. Smith, who did similar work following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, took the role very seriously.

“I saw one young mom saying goodbye to a baby she loves very much,” Smith said. “We don’t take lightly the responsibility of caring for their children.”

Other nurses stayed behind to assist patients who couldn’t be moved, including four mothers who gave birth in Corpus Christi during the storm… one of the babies was even named “Harvey”.

And as the storm fades, more nurses continue to volunteer to help, using services such as the RN Response Network to find a need. (If you’re interested in helping out, you can fill out their volunteer form here.)

Thanks to all of the brave men and women in scrubs who stepped up to the challenge, proving once again that when the skies get darkest, that’s their opportunity to shine the brightest.

If you’d like to explore your potential future as a nurse or medical assistant, Unitek College can help make that dream a reality. Contact us here for more information.

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 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.

gas gauge on empty

One Good Turn Deserves Another

gas gauge on empty

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*

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.


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

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

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

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

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

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