8 Ways To Improve Your Bedside Manner

8 Ways To Improve Your Bedside Manner

8 Ways To Improve Your Bedside Manner

8 Ways To Improve Your Bedside Manner

Good bedside manner (the way in which you interact and communicate with your patient) can have a noticeable impact on your patient reviews. But more importantly, good bedside manner can have a noticeable impact on your patients’ health as well.

Our results show that the beneficial effects of a good patient-clinician relationship on health care outcomes are of similar magnitude to many well-established medical treatments,” says psychologist John Kelley. “Many of these medical treatments, while very important, need to balance their benefits against accompanying unwanted side effects. In contrast, there are no negative side effects to a good patient-clinician relationship.”

It’s amazing to think about—that the way a nurse talks to their patient can have a direct impact on their health. It also makes it even more important for nurses to go that extra mile in making sure they establish a good, open relationship with their patients, something that’s sometimes difficult to do when it feels like you’re being pulled twenty directions at once.

The good news is, there are simple but effective ways to boost the power of your bedside manner. Here are eight of our favorites.

  1. Give Them Your Full Focus – You may have a hundred other things happening, but don’t let your patient know that. As long as you’re in their room, let them know that they have your full focus. Nothing builds a connection faster than feeling like you matter to someone. Good eye-contact is a fantastic way of doing this.

 

  1. Listen Carefully – Some people listen to understand, others listen to respond. If you want to make a good impression, be the former, not the latter. Let the patient know you’re hearing them and understanding them. It’s a quick way to let them know you’re on their side.

 

  1. Ask Open-Ended Questions – “Yes” or “No” questions are impersonal, and the one-word answers won’t give you very much insight into your patient. Look for questions that force them to expound—for example, asking them “How does this feel” instead of “Does this hurt” opens the door to a lot more potential information.

 

  1. Forget The Shop Talk – You spend your day among co-workers who can rattle off medical jargon like a second language, but your patient probably isn’t one of those people. Keep your terms simple and easy to understand, otherwise you risk raising their anxiety level when they hear a flurry of terms they aren’t familiar with.

 

  1. Plan Your Exit – Some patients don’t like to talk… others won’t stop talking. This can be an issue when you really need to move on to your next patient but don’t want to appear rude. Find some tried and true exit phrases or ways to get the conversation back on track, then use them to regain control of the moment without making your patient feel brushed off.

 

  1. Knock Knock – The power of humor in medicine can’t be overstated, and humor in bedside manner is especially powerful. Finding the right moment (and the appropriate topic) might take some doing, but if you can get a patient to crack a smile, you’ve won. (The Atlantic did a fantastic article on the subject of humor in medicine if you’d like to read more.)

 

  1. Introduce Yourself – One of the quickest ways to make a connection is to simply tell your patient who you are. And don’t be afraid to introduce yourself multiple times—they’re going to be pretty distracted and may have difficulty remembering the names of all the medical staff they’ve met, so frequent reminders of who you are can take a lot of that stress off their minds.

 

  1. Be Observant – Look for the little things in their body language, in what appears to be missing in their room, in the way they talk to you, etc. Spotting a small favor you can do for them—like bringing water for their “Get Well” flowers—lets them know they aren’t alone.

 

There are many other ways to improve your bedside manner, but it all comes down to simply caring for the people in that bed or on that exam table. If you really care, it can’t help but shine through, and that can’t help but make a difference.

If you’d like more information on beginning a career in nursing, contact Unitek College today.

6 Signs You Grew Up With A Nurse For A Mom

6 Signs You Grew Up With A Nurse For A Mom

6 Signs You Grew Up With A Nurse For A Mom

6 Signs You Grew Up With A Nurse For A Mom

It’s not uncommon for those raised by a nurse to develop an interest in the health care profession themselves, which means if you’re currently studying to be a nurse (or have already gotten that license), there’s a good chance that your mother or another influential figure in your life also wore scrubs. If you are of those lucky enough to have been raised by a nurse, you know that there were certain things about your childhood that still stand out to this day. So this week, as we head into Mother’s Day weekend, we’re taking a look at six telltale signs that you grew up with a nurse for a mom.

#1 – You Learned To Be Tough. Your mom was quick to help with skinned knees or bloody lips, but you learned early on that milking those bumps and bruises for extra attention didn’t play. She knew what real injuries look liked, and she was always quick to put your minor scrapes into perspective.

#2 – You Could Never Fake A Sickness And Get Away With It. Your mom saw illnesses and diseases of all kinds, all throughout her week. She knew symptoms by heart and could diagnose a malady within seconds. Unfortunately, that meant she could also spot a fake illness a mile away. You may have tried to use a tummy ache or fake fever to get out of a school day, but she never fell for it.

#3 – You Never Thought Of Work Weeks As Monday Through Friday. 8 to 5, Monday through Friday… this type of consistency was unheard of for your mom. As a nurse, her shifts could change constantly, and weekends were always on the table for work. Sometimes she was working the night shift and returning as you sat down to breakfast, other times she was home and waiting for you right after school. Her schedule was unpredictable at times, but you discovered you really didn’t mind.

#4 – You Knew The Medical Terms For Everything. You learned from an early age that asking your mom about her day as you ate dinner meant that you heard all the details. Graphic descriptions of injuries or medical procedures quickly became the norm for your household, and if something weird, gross, or crazy happened, she didn’t hesitate to describe it all in detail. As a result, medical terminology and accurate anatomical terms became a second language around the house.

#5 – Your Friends Knew Whom To Ask For Advice. Your friends, her friends, your relatives, strangers on the bus, anyone who recognized your mom as a nurse eventually had a health question for her. There were no topics off-limits, from describing symptoms to showing her rashes or injuries. She took it all in stride and was happy to offer her expertise. And if she didn’t know the answer, you knew she had a dozen people already in mind to call for help.

#6 – She Could Handle Anything. Your mom wasn’t just tough, she was smart, she was level-headed, and she had the uncanny ability to bring order to chaos. And you grew up with the quiet confidence and security that comes from a parent who you know could save a life if needed, stitch a wound, ease any pain, or cure an ailment with one of the hundred medicines they always seemed to have on hand. She saw crazy every day at work, so there was nothing you or your family could dish out at home that she wasn’t prepared for. Sure, she got tired and cranky like everyone else at times, but you grew up knowing that when the chips were down, she would have everything under control.

These, of course, are just the tip of the iceberg, but we know they’re familiar to any who grew up with a nurse in their homes. Or maybe you are the nurse raising a family, and these are just a few of the ways that your family sees you. Whatever the case, here’s to all the mothers in scrubs. A Happy Mother’s Day to you all, and thank you for being there for all our scraped knees.

For more information on a career as a nurse, contact Unitek College today!

Stop the Bleed: School Nurse Saves Child After Freak Accident

Stop the Bleed: School Nurse Saves Child After Freak Accident

Stop the Bleed: School Nurse Saves Child After Freak Accident

Stop the Bleed: School Nurse Saves Child After Freak Accident

Accidents happen… just watch any episode of Chopped. We might not be able to prevent them 100% of the time, but we can prepare, and sometimes that preparation is all that stands between life and death. Such was the case for a 4th grader in Georgia this past week, when a tumble on the playground almost became a fatality.

Jennifer Leon Lopez, a student in Forsythe County, Georgia, was playing with her friends during recess when she fell. The fall alone might not have been so bad had another girl immediately landed on top of her. Her arm broke, and in the process, severed her artery.

Enter school nurse Kathy Gregory, who less than 24 hours previously had unpacked the school’s brand-new supply of a vital new tool—Stop the Bleed kits.

“I heard another teacher yelling for help, so that’s when I grabbed the Stop the Bleed Kit and rushed to Jennifer’s side,” she told Fox 5 Atlanta. “I am so thankful we had them. They were still in the box and I just grabbed the one on top and ran.”

The Stop the Bleed kits (which include gloves, tourniquets, and bandages) are designed to help first responders treat traumatic hemorrhaging (particularly after a major emergency such as a school shooting), which is exactly what Nurse Gregory needed at that moment. She applied the tourniquet and stopped the bleeding long enough to get Jennifer to the hospital. Once there, two surgeries successfully saved both her arm and her life.

“We got a note from the trauma doctors and they said the tourniquet made the difference in Lopez keeping her arm and her life,” Gregory said. “Because of that training, because of that kit, we saved a little girl’s life.”

Stop the Bleed kits have been around for years, but recent school shootings (such as the one in Florida) have renewed a call to equip all schools with the kits—to be used by both school nurses and by bystanders.

“When the American College of Surgeons looked back at the Sandy Hook school shooting, they found that some deaths could have been prevented if people on site were trained in basic bleeding control techniques,” explained Dr. Jeff Kerby, a professor of surgery at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham.

In many emergency situations involving a shooter, locations quickly go on lockdown—which may be effective in preventing more violence or the attacker from escaping, but is bad news for victims who need immediate care. Often a timely tourniquet makes all the difference between a serious injury and a fatality, and making sure that those tourniquets are available (with clear instructions and possibly even prior training) is certain to save lives.

Stop the Bleed training is also spreading across the country, with the goal of using doctors and nurses to train police officers and school nurses, who in turn train the teachers themselves.

For one little girl, that training and kit (plus one skilled school nurse) saved her life. And as the training and movement continue to spread, we hope to hear of many more needless deaths prevented.

Interested in beginning your own nurses training? Unitek College can help! Contact us today.

 

Accelerated Nursing Programs in California

Accelerated Nursing Programs in California

Searching for the right nursing program can be a confusing process. Before you pick a school, you’ll need to determine which type of nursing program is right for you. In many states, you’ll find various options, such as Vocational Nursing programs, ADN programs, and BSN programs. There are also accelerated nursing programs in California. All of these programs can be great choices, but some are more ideal than others when differing circumstances are taken into account.

The search for nursing programs in California

When you search for nursing programs in California, you’ll typically find a number of Vocational Nursing programs. The goal of these programs is to prepare students for the national licensing examination so that they may become Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) in California. Unitek College offers a Vocational Nursing program at each of its seven campuses. This program combines more than 900 hours of applied training in simulations, labs, and healthcare facilities. Despite the comprehensive curriculum, it can be completed in as little as 12 months.

Accelerated Nursing Programs in California

RN programs and Associate Degree Nursing

RN programs in California are often synonymous with ADN programs. Associate Degree Nursing programs strive to prepare students for the NCLEX-RN license exam and entry-level employment as Registered Nurses. They can also be ideal entry points for LVNs that would like to become Registered Nurses. At Unitek College, LVNs can apply for Advanced Placement status in the ADN program. Those who gain Advanced Placement status are allowed to skip the first 4 semesters of the program. Without Advanced Placement status, the ADN program takes about 26 months to complete. However, General Education courses are entirely online.

Accelerated nursing programs in California

Accelerated nursing programs in California are designed for students who have already received a bachelor’s degree in another field. Graduates of these accelerated programs earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). They typically are able to do so in 11 to 18 months, which means that students must manage a full-time course load. It can be a great choice for those that would like to earn a BSN in as little time as possible. However, it may not be the best choice if you have time constraints or need to work, as the class schedule is often a demanding one.

You may be asking yourself, what kind of students attend accelerated nursing programs? They are usually people who either return to college after embarking on another career, or they are students that did not choose nursing until their later college years. Because of this, there is often a good mix of students. Accelerated nursing programs are intense and fast-paced, which is good to keep in mind when selecting your school.

Accelerated Nursing Programs in California

Not be confused with RN-to-BSN programs

These accelerated programs should not be confused with RN-to-BSN programs, which are designed for current nurses that would like to advance their careers. RN-to-BSN programs usually take about two years to complete, but Unitek’s RN-to-BSN program can be completed in as little as 12 months.1 It features 100% online instruction, and up to 90 credits can be transferred. Ultimately, this is a degree-completion program that transitions Associate Degree RNs to Bachelor’s Degree RNs while preparing them for leadership roles.

Not only does a BSN typically grant RNs more opportunities, but it is often a prerequisite for other roles. These include teaching, consulting, research, and management roles. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), approximately 79% of employers strongly prefer nurses with a bachelor’s degree.2 Again, the best program for you depends on your goals, your constraints, and your needs. Accelerated nursing programs take less time to complete, but earning a BSN often gives Registered Nurses more opportunities.

Nurses are instrumental in the healthcare field

There’s no doubt about it; nurses are instrumental in the healthcare field. With the impending nursing shortage and the aging baby-boomer population, the field of nursing will continue to be in demand. Generally speaking, all types of nursing programs can be great choices. If you’re searching for RN programs in California, you have several different options. On the other hand, if you’d like to become a Vocational Nurse, you’ll find various options as well.

For more information about Unitek College, please check out our health care program pages or contact us at one of our seven campuses.

1 assuming maximum credit transfer
2 http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-workforce

Changes Ahead for Dialysis and Dialysis Nurses

Changes Ahead for Dialysis and Dialysis Nurses

Changes Ahead for Dialysis and Dialysis Nurses

Changes Ahead for Dialysis and Dialysis Nurses

Big changes could be headed to dialysis treatment centers near you, and that means big changes for the nurses who work there.

The field of nephrology tends to be a bright one for many nurses. For starters, the demand for nurses nationwide is high, but in this field, it’s especially high—with a 19% job growth expected through the year 2020. And while the job requires some additional certification and training, the payoff is high.

Many dialysis nurses enjoy “normal” work hours (since patients schedule dialysis during business hours and not overnight), and the nature of the job allows nurses to develop real relationships with their repeat patients—allowing that natural compassion and kindness to really shine.

“I highly encourage nurses who are looking for a job shift to consider dialysis because of the relationship factor,” says Elaine DeVoe, RN . “Patients bring a lot of issues with them, and you deal with the patient on a personal level. You treat the patient physically, mentally and sometimes spiritually.”

Location is also flexible for dialysis nurses. Some may work from hospitals, others from privately owned dialysis centers, while others may provide dialysis services to patients in the patient’s own homes.

But big changes could be ahead for the world of dialysis, and the catalyst is an electronic device about the size of a coffee cup.

This year (2018), an organization called The Kidney Project plans to begin human trials with the first artificial kidney, the Hemofilter, a surgically implanted device that would eliminate the need for a patient to undergo dialysis. This testing stage is a long time coming, as the Kidney Project hoped trials would begin early last year but funding and approval delays held them back.

“When we said clinical trials would begin in 2017, that was our most favorable scenario at the time,” according to the Kidney Project website. “Our projected timeline has always been dependent on obtaining the required funding, and not encountering unanticipated scientific hurdles. We finally raised sufficient money to complete preclinical trials for the Hemofilter just earlier this year. We are now working as fast as we can to complete the preclinical work and have started fundraising specifically for the clinical trials. As such, we have had to adjust our clinical trial timeline accordingly.”

Once approved and successfully tested, however, the Hemofilter could mean enormous changes for patients. The intrusive need for regular dialysis would disappear, as would traditional dialysis side effects (low blood pressure, nausea, cramping, and disorientation).

Patients are understandably excited. One patient, Tamara Clark, writes on the Kidney Project Facebook page “I have been on dialysis for 8 years now. I am so excited about implantable kidneys! This is the greatest advancement ever! I would love to be a test subject. At this point of my life I just can’t wait for them to be on the market. The chance to live dialysis free is enthralling.”

But even after the Hemofilter and other similar technologies hit the market, the need for dialysis nurses will remain. Not all patients will be able to afford the device, many won’t want to risk the surgery, and others may not be healthy enough to undergo the procedure. Others may just prefer the “usual way”. Whatever the reason, the need for hard-working, compassionate dialysis nurses shows no sign of waning any time soon.

“It’s rewarding to know the care you provide is literally life-saving,” says Joanna Rengstorf, RN. “When patients share stories about milestones and celebrations they were able to participate in, it is rewarding to know they are alive for those moments because of the dedication of those in my profession.”

If you’re interested in beginning your career in nursing, contact Unitek College today for more information.

Kate Middleton, Pope Francis Praise Nurses Worldwide

Kate Middleton, Pope Francis Praise Nurses Worldwide

Kate Middleton, Pope Francis Praise Nurses Worldwide

Kate Middleton, Pope Francis Praise Nurses Worldwide

When she isn’t busy capturing the heart of Britain, having royal children, or effortlessly setting fashion standards with her sister Pippa, the royal family’s Kate Middleton has another cause dear to her heart: promoting the importance of nurses worldwide.

This week, the Duchess of Cambridge visited a UK hospital, where she helped announce the launch of the international “Nursing Now” campaign, a three-year global campaign organized by the International Council of Nurses and the World Health Organization. The campaign aims to raise the status of nurses worldwide, and ensure that they are “properly deployed, valued and included in policy and decision-making”—a goal which, if you are a nurse or studying to become a nurse, should sound pretty darn great.

“This campaign means a lot to me personally. My great-grandmother and grandmother were both volunteer nurses,” Kate said in her speech. “Your dedication and professionalism are awe-inspiring. I have been struck today by the enormous range of responsibilities that nurses have, not only in providing access to healthcare, but also in terms of providing a holistic approach to caring for our physical and mental health.”

Kate has also become an official patron of the campaign. If you’d like to see and hear her speech launching Nursing Now, you can see it here.

Activities took place in countries all around the world, including the US, Switzerland, the UK, Jamaica, and others, all celebrating the contribution of nurses to world health, and looking forward to what nurses could accomplish in the near future. (You can watch the official launch here, but carve out some time… it’s over an hour and a half long, but worth it!) .

In an unrelated but equally valuable moment, another world figure also took the time this week to praise nurses: Pope Francis.

Nurses (whom he calls “experts in humanity”) are “truly irreplaceable,” the pope said. “Like no other, the nurse has a direct and continuous relationship with patients, takes care of them every day, listens to their needs and comes into contact with their very body, that he tends to.”

To add a personal aspect to his words, the pope shared the story of when a nurse (Sister Cornelia Caraglio) saved his life when he was just a 20-year old in Argentina.

“[She was] a good woman, even brave, to the point of arguing with the doctors. Humble, but sure of what she was doing,” the pope recalled. “Thanks to those things [she suggested], I survived.”

In a time when our shortage of nurses seems to be getting worse, public encouragement and recognition of nurses is more important than ever. We can’t wait to see what comes from the Nursing Now movement, and are always thrilled to see the hardworking nurses we know given the spotlight they so richly deserve.

For more information on beginning your own career in nursing, or advancing your current career, Unitek College is always happy to help. Contact us here for more information.