Top Ten Positive Health Stories of 2018

Top Ten Positive Health Stories of 2018

Top Ten Positive Health Stories of 2018

Top Ten Positive Health Stories of 2018

From wildfires to midterm elections, for better or for worse, 2018 was nothing if not a year full of stories. It feels like each year is somehow busier than the last, and this year was no exception. As the world prepares to enter the new year, here’s a look back at ten of top health stories of 2018.

#10 – A Leap Forward For Transplants – 2018 saw several major breakthroughs in the science of transplants. The world’s first baby was born from a transplanted uterus, for example, giving new hope to hundreds of thousands struggling with infertility. And face transplant techniques improved enough to allow a man in France to undergo a second face transplant after a medication issue jeopardized his first.

#9 – The Year Of The Recalls – The title of Public Enemy Number One went to an unlikely culprit in 2018… Romaine lettuce. This past year saw a flurry of food recalls, many of which were vegetables or frozen vegetables. But despite the scares, the real takeaway from these stories is how much faster the industry has become at identifying threats and taking action.

#8 – Fighting Peanut Allergies – Food allergies send thousands to the ER every year, with an average of 150 to 200 deaths. Of those, nearly half stem from peanut allergies. But 2018 gave those with allergies hope, using peanut flour as a way for children with allergies to build an immunity.

#7 – Opioid Epidemic Showing Progress – The opioid epidemic was one of the biggest stories of 2018, with overdose deaths sweeping the nation. But data shows “leveling off of deaths nationally and even modest reductions among selected states and cities. While still staggeringly high, these data may point to policy and practice solutions that are demonstrating effectiveness.”

#6 – Medicaid Expansion – Healthcare access has been a partisan issue in politics, but bipartisan efforts in three states (Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah) have expanded Medicaid access to approximately 300,000 people in 2018, with more states already laying the groundwork to follow suit.

#5 – Alternative Pain Treatments – Pain medication is vital, but also plays a big part in creating a potential opioid dependency. To combat this, 2018 saw over $81 million dedicated by three government agencies (the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense) to study alternative treatments for pain.

#4 – Cancer Vaccine Progress – Medicine hasn’t figured out how to prevent cancer yet, but thanks to efforts in 2018, we’re a step closer. Scientists found a cocktail of stimulants that has proven effective in helping the body reject lymphoma, breast cancer, colon cancer, and melanoma in mice.

#3 – Stroke Recovery – Often a stroke is the beginning of the end, as full recovery afterwards is a difficult road. But thanks to progress made in human trials in 2018, a new technique known as deep brain stimulation is helping test patients regain motor function after post-stroke paralysis.

#2 – Preventing Migraines – Those suffering from migraines know that the splitting pain can quickly become debilitating, and many times, the intense headaches are impossible to predict or prepare for. 2018 brought hope, however, through a new drug (Aimovig) approved by the FDA in May. The drug goes a step beyond treating migraines and actually works to prevent them from occurring.

#1 – People Love Nurses – And of course the top medical story of 2018 centers on the pulse of the medical community, the nurses. For the 17th year in a row, nurses ranked as the top profession for honesty and ethics. 82% of Americans rated nurses as high or very high in ethics for 2018, which is a huge accomplishment.

“In general, nurses enter the profession because they want to help people,” said Maria Morales, MSN, RN, CPAN, director of clinical education, content, at Relias. “Many had a personal or family experience that inspired them to enter healthcare to assist others through health situations. One typically does not enter the nursing field for fame or fortune, but rather as a way to serve others. It’s heartwarming to see how the public respects and honors the servant leadership of nurses.”

If you are interested in joining the rapidly growing field of nursing in 2019, Unitek College can help. Contact us here for help beginning your journey.

Keep Your Resolution To Become A Nurse in 2019

Keep Your Resolution To Become A Nurse in 2019

Keep Your Resolution To Become A Nurse in 2019

Keep Your Resolution To Become A Nurse in 2019

Resolutions are fantastic—self-improvement is always a good idea, and New Year’s provides the perfect opportunity to take on the challenge. Unfortunately, only 9.2 percent of people on average actually follow through with their plans. Those aren’t great odds!

With the promise of a competitive salary, a wide-open job market, and rapidly growing career prospects, the resolution to become a nurse makes a lot of sense. The combination of a dependable and dynamic career (plus the added bonus of genuinely helping people every day) makes nursing a very attractive “New Year / New You” option.

As with any resolution, there’s a right way and a wrong way to pursue it. Charge in without planning or, well, resolve, and you could easily join the 91.8% of failed resolutions.

But take a few simple steps to do it the right way, and the resolution to become a nurse could easily be the best you ever make.

Make Specific Goals – “Become a nurse” is too vague. “Enroll in nursing school” is better, but still skips a few steps. Your resolution is your ultimate goal, but to reach it, you’ll need to make a list of specific goals and milestones.

Your list can start as simply as “call admissions office to get a flyer” or “schedule a campus visit”. Start small, start specific, and move forward only as fast as you’re able.

“My goals may seem impossibly far-fetched when really they’re not,” writes author Richelle E Goodrich in her book Making Wishes. “Break them down into steps and see how I accomplish great things. I can easily reach from A to B. I can manage from B to C. I can then make it from C to D. And so eventually, I will find my way from A to Z.”

Prepare Your Life For Change – Nursing school means schedule changes for family and for your existing job. Look at your life and identify what needs to change to make the conditions as good as possible to pursue your goal. Get an idea of class schedule through the school’s admissions office, then figure out how to make that schedule work for your life.

Make It Public – You have a greater chance of success if others (friends and family) know your goals. This applies to all resolutions, from losing weight to spending more time with the kids to landing that nursing degree. The more people know your plan, the more help you have staying on track.

Believe – The most important person to convince of the validity of your dream is you. If you don’t believe in what you claim to want, you have little to no chance of success. If you want to be a nurse, you have to see yourself as a nurse. Do your research, do some volunteering, schedule a campus visit—know your potential future and see yourself in it.

Then (and this is the most important part) refuse to let anything stand between you and those scrubs.

Ready to make the leap? Or looking to gather some information for those first few specific goals? You already have help. Give us a call at Unitek College and we’ll make sure you have everything you need to know in order to make that big decision.

Good luck in 2019, future nurses! We’re rooting for you.

Tax Tips For Nurses: Making The Most of Your Money

Tax Tips For Nurses: Making The Most of Your Money

Tax Tips For Nurses: Making The Most of Your Money

Tax Tips For Nurses: Making The Most of Your Money

They say two things in this world are certainties… death and taxes. As a nurse, you spend every working hour trying to battle that first certainty, but the second one requires some special attention as well. Don’t worry, taxes are next to impossible to forget. Not only do we get to see the deductions in every paycheck, but from now until April, literally every other commercial on television is for a tax service, an accounting firm, tax software, or tax attorneys.

In other words, unless you’re hiding under a rock, you can’t miss tax season. In fact, even if you are under a rock, chances are the IRS will find you and remind you they’re missing your return. But taxes don’t have to be a horrible experience. In fact, if you’re a nurse, you may just have some surprise deductions waiting for you.

The IRS gets a bad rap most of the time, but their tax code actually allows for quite a few deductions that can work very well for nurses. Nursing is a lot of work and a lot of hours, and sometimes that work comes with additional expenses. But track those expenses correctly throughout the year, and you may be able to get some of that money back.

Note: Be sure to consult a licensed professional before claiming expenses. All tips below do not constitute professional tax advice and may not apply to all tax situations.

Here are a few of the items you may be able to deduct as business expenses, as compiled by the financial website Pocket Sense:

  • Clothing, such as scrubs, purchased specifically and used only for work.
  • Tools and supplies purchased for work, such as sanitizer and medical equipment.
  • Protective gear, such as safety goggles or surgical masks.
  • Union dues
  • Subscriptions to nursing magazines or other work-related publications
  • Costs of attending work-related conferences and seminars
  • Donations to nursing charities (excluding political action committees)
  • State licensing fees
  • Nursing board exam fees
  • Educational courses and educational material

If you’re a traveling nurse (and working as an independent contractor), you have even more options available, as suggested by the expense tracking service MileIQ.

  • Non-taxable stipends for meals and incidentals
  • Temporary housing costs (from hotels to temporary apartments)
  • Some airfare costs
  • Some bus / train / car rental / public transit costs
  • Some vehicle maintenance costs

The key to getting the most from your tax deductions as a nurse is to save your receipts and carefully track your expenses year-round. Simply estimating what you think you spent is a quick way to get into trouble with the IRS.

You do a lot of work as a nurse, and it’s important that you keep every cent that belongs to you. So watch those expenses, take advantage of your accountant or accounting service, and get every deduction you can. You’ve earned it!

If you’re interested in starting a career as a nurse or medical assistant, Unitek College can make that dream a reality. Start your new year right by Contacting Us Here.

Nurse Narrowly Escapes Fire, Returns To Save Patients

Nurse Narrowly Escapes Fire, Returns To Save Patients

Nurse Narrowly Escapes Fire, Returns To Save Patients

Nurse Narrowly Escapes Fire, Returns To Save Patients

Nurse Nichole Jolly is lucky to be alive, and her story reads more like something you’d see on the big screen than something that could happen in real life. She’s being called a hero, and for good reason—as she faced down a raging wild fire twice in the line of duty.

Nurse Jolly was working her shift at Feather River Hospital in Butte County, California when the hospital received the news they’d been dreading—the wildfire sweeping across the state was now heading in their direction, and fast. The staff flew into action, getting patients loaded and out the door as quickly as possible. Nichole refused to leave until the last of the patients had left, then she jumped in her car and headed for safety.

But the flames had moved too quickly. The roads were blocked by fire, smoke, and disabled vehicles, and Nichole found herself trapped as smoke began pouring into her car. Knowing this could be the end, she called her husband.

“I told him I probably was not going to make it. I’m trapped and there’s flames everywhere. I told him to take care of the kids and tell them I love them and I love him,” she remembered saying.

But her husband wasn’t about to let her go easily.

“He told me, ‘Don’t die. Get out of that car and run. Don’t die.'”

Nichole obeyed. As quickly as she could, she began running down the road through the dark black smoke. Even with visibility failing, she spotted a familiar car ahead—her friend and co-worker Karen. But the car was filled with smoke, and the doors wouldn’t open.

“It was melting front of my eyes, and I thought for sure, I just watched my best friend die right in front of me,” Jolly said. But she knew she couldn’t stay. “I had to move on, I had to keep going. I couldn’t sit there and you know just pick up the pieces. I had to keep running. That was absolutely devastating. That was one of the hardest moments I had to do right there.”

She pressed on, the heat from the pavement and the heavy smoke becoming unbearable. Cars on either side began bursting into flame, and for one horrifying moment… so did Nichole. She took cover in another car where she was able to put out the flames (after they melted a hole through the leather seats), but soon, smoke began to fill that space as well. She began to run once more.

“This was truly the time I thought I’m dead because I couldn’t see in front of me and I was running out of air. I pushed forward and God heard my prayers because I ran into a fire truck,” Jolly said. “If that fire truck that I grabbed on to wasn’t there, I would’ve gone down.”

The door of the truck had melted off, but firefighters inside heard the nurse and quickly pulled her in. For a moment, she thought the horrifying ordeal might be over… but then the fire chief shattered her hopes. The truck couldn’t escape, he said, they were stuck… and they needed to brace for the worst.

“We were trapped by cars on fire and trees falling around us. The wind was so bad it caused a fire tornado that took out a few cars,” Jolly said.  

Just then, another hero—this one driving a bulldozer—crashed onto the road, pushing burning vehicles aside and clearing a path. But the way out was still blocked, and firetruck had to turn around and head back to the hospital. She passed her own car on the way back, and that of her friend Karen. Both were completely engulfed in flames.

But when the firetruck arrived at the hospital, Nichole knew that now was not the time for tears or breakdowns. Patients were flooding into the building, and there was work to be done. She leaped from the truck and immediately went to work.

And as fate would have it, Nichole was given an unexpected gift that helped her press on. As she worked treating her patients, she spotted a familiar face in the crowd.

“I turned to and saw my beautiful friend Karen and we broke down crying in each other’s arms, “Jolly wrote in her post. And the two refused to separate, tackling the oncoming challenges as a team. “We were able to triage patients and take care of wounds, and take care of breathing issues… and just we said nope, we’re not leaving each other again. We stayed right, hand in hand together, took care of patients and got them back to safety.”

The flames continued to press closer, but Nichole and Karen stayed until every last patient had once again been evacuated. And as the last to leave, the two were forced to watch as their beloved hospital burned to the ground.

Once again, the nurses attempted another escape through the fiery roads—this time in a doctor’s car—but this time, they were able to make it through safely to the other side, where Nichole was finally reunited with her family. She learned that her home had been claimed by the fire, but her spirits have not been dampened—she remains grateful for her husband, their three kids, and a medical community that came together in spectacular ways even in the face of death.

You can hear Nurse Jolly’s story in her own words right here.

To Nurse Jolly, Nurse Karen, and the thousands of other doctors, nurses, and first responders who put life on the line during the fires this year… a thousand “thank you’s” will never be enough.

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

Nurse Takes On California Wild Fires

Nurse Takes On California Wild Fires

Nurse Takes On California Wild Fires

Nurse Takes On California Wild Fires

These days, it’s almost impossible not to think about the fires sweeping across California. For many, the fires are literally impossible to ignore, as homes are destroyed and air quality drops into dangerous levels. The stories pouring out of the state are ones of shock and tragedy, and CNN reports the current death toll as over 76.

But among the tragedies are other stories—stories of bravery and self-sacrifice. At the center of one of those stories (as is often the case) is a nurse, Allyn Pierce.

Nurse Pierce manages the ICU at Adventist Health in Paradise, California, one of the many town’s in the wildfires’ path. As the flames drew closer, Allyn and his team were given the green light to begin evacuating, which they accomplished as quickly as possible. But even with their speed, the fire had already drawn to a dangerous proximity, and when Allyn jumped into his Toyota pickup to head for safety, he ran into trouble.

As flames swallowed the greenery on either side of the highway, Allyn and the drivers around him ran into gridlock. Cars and trucks on either side of him began bursting into flame as the drivers leapt out and ran for safety. Certain that he was next, Allyn recorded a video for his family, saying goodbye and promising that he’d done what he could to try and escape.

Just then, a bulldozer appeared out of the smoke, shoving a burning truck out of the way and giving Allyn space to finally maneuver. He freed himself from the gridlock, then did something completely unexpected. Rather than race for safety, Allyn turned around and headed back into Paradise. Having seen the dangerous situation first hand, he knew there would be others behind him in need, and he didn’t want to leave without him.

Back at the evacuated Paradise hospital, Allyn found that many scared and injured people had flocked to the building looking for help. And like Allyn, several other doctors and nurses had returned to the hospital. They quickly set up a triage unit and began treating patients, even as the world burned around them. For supplies, they broke into the locked hospital, bringing out gurneys, bandages, and oxygen tanks.

“Now all of us are like, ‘oh, this is what we do’,” recalls Allyn. “We’re terrible at burning to death, but we’re amazing at taking care of people.”

The fire pressed closer, and Allyn and his team of volunteers moved their patients to the helipad, where help soon arrived. Thanks to their efforts, every patient and every medical professional escaped the blaze.

Through it all, Nurse Pierce remained humble, telling reporters later “This is what we do. Any nurse, any healthcare worker, any cop, they were there and they all did their jobs.”

But despite his humility, recognition and thanks have continued to pour in for Allyn and the volunteers, including one very generous “thank you” from the Toyota Motor Company.

After posting his story online, including a photo of his beloved and mostly melted Toyota pickup, Toyota reached out to Allyn with the gift of a brand new truck.

“We are humbled you’d risk your life and your Toyota Tundra to drive people to safety,” the company tweeted from their Toyota USA account. “Don’t worry about your truck, we’re honored to get you a new one!”

The California fires may be an inescapable shadow these days, but stories such as Allyn’s are a brilliant reminder of the indominable human spirit… and the indominable spirit of nurses everywhere.

To Allyn and every other doctor, nurse, and first responder fighting the good fight against the California fires, hang in there. We can’t thank you enough!

If you’re interested in beginning your own career as a nurse or medical assistant, contact Unitek College today to start your journey. And if you’d like to donate to those in the path of the California wildfires, visit the Red Cross website for more information.

Am I Smart Enough To Be A Nurse?

Am I Smart Enough To Be A Nurse?

Am I Smart Enough To Be A Nurse?

Am I Smart Enough To Be A Nurse?

A quick Google search of the question “am I smart enough to be a nurse” turns up a surprising amount of verbatim results, which means that a lot of people who are interested in a career in nursing are asking themselves this question. And that means that a lot of potential nurses are talking themselves out of pursuing their dream because of their fear of failure. But in the end, the question shouldn’t be “am I smart enough” but “am I willing to work hard enough”.

There is usually a GPA requirement of some sort at every nursing school, though that exact number will fluctuate by school, program, or whether you’re attempting to transfer credits (requirements for Unitek College, for example, generally land between 2.0 and 3.0 depending on your specific course or program). And it makes sense that certain GPA requirements exist… after all, your nursing school has to make sure you know what you’re doing before you take over the care of patients.

But here’s what’s important to remember. There will be nursing students who ace every test and nursing students who struggle to make that passing grade, but once the tests are passed and the scrubs are one, those grades don’t matter any longer… all that matters then is how hard you work, how much you remember from your training, and how much you care for your patients.

“When I first started nursing school, I heard from other nursing students who were above me how hard nursing school was and how all these people failed….etc,” writes Sarah at RegisteredNurseRN in her blog. “My advice to you is don’t listen to them….they are being negative… if you put the time and effort into it you will pass… I’m not any smarter than the average person and I’m doing just fine and if I can do it you can trust me!”

(Sarah gives a great pep talk on the subject here).

And the numbers back Sarah up. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the one-year retention rate for nursing students averages around 90% (the nationwide average for other programs and studies averages between 60 and 70 percent).

And the numbers are just as encouraging when you finish nursing school. The national pass rate for the NCLEX-RN ranges around 85%.

So does this mean that nursing school is easy? Nope. In fact, nursing school has to be challenging because life as a nurse is challenging (but rewarding). There’s a lot you have to know, and to really know something takes a lot of work, study, and practice.

“Nursing school is hard,” writes RN and blogger Stephen Bobulsky. “You won’t waltz through it. But, if you actually do all the homework/reading– and on time, not catching up- that’s even harder- and you sit attentively through the lectures, listening actively, not passively…..and God willing and the river don’t rise and interrupt your studies….You will have the mind and knowledge and skills of a nurse. You can make it.”

So don’t let doubts about whether you’re smart enough to be a nurse stop you from becoming a nurse. If you are willing to put in the work, there’s a very good chance you’ll be wearing the pin and the scrubs one day. And remember, your faculty is there to help! There will naturally be things you struggle to fully comprehend, but your teachers and lab instructors are there to make certain that you do.

Use your faculty, use your school’s resources, study hard, and make wise time-management decisions. You’re smart enough to do this. The only real question is, how much do you want it?

Ready to take the next step and begin your journey towards becoming a nurse? Contact Unitek College today for more information on our nursing and medical assistant programs.