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 MinorityNurse.com. “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 MedExpress.com. “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.

Nurse Saves His Own Life From Heart Attack

Nurse Saves His Own Life From Heart Attack

Nurse Saves His Own Life From Heart Attack

Nurse Saves His Own Life From Heart Attack

When we hear stories of nurses saving lives, we naturally assume that the life belongs to another person. Just this past week, a nurse stepped in to save the life of a man whose heart stopped beating at a high school volleyball game.

“I don`t believe I was a hero. I think anybody could have done what I did,” nurse Kelly Fogelman recounted. “Always be willing to jump in and help.”

Her response is another thing we’ve come to expect in these inspirational stories—a nurse for whom saving lives is simply the natural thing to do.

But in the case of this nurse in Perth, Australia, the life he saved was his own.

The nurse, who has remained nameless, was stationed in a remote area of Australia’s west coast—over 100 miles from the nearest medical facility, and over 600 miles from the nearest major city—when he began feeling “dizziness and chest pain”. While many might initially write these symptoms off as something less severe, the nurse’s training and experience told him to pay attention.

He began by diagnosing himself using the medical equipment on hand. He quickly gave himself an electrocardiogram (ECG) and emailed the results to an emergency room doctor.

Miles away, doctors closely examined the scan, eventually spotting the culprit—a blockage in his right coronary artery.

Meanwhile, the nurse has noticed a new symptom—a series of rapid-fire heartbeats (sinus tachycardia), a sign that the partial blockage may have become a complete blockage. He takes a second ECG and emails the results. The doctors concur, agreeing that if the nurse doesn’t get medical attention soon, his chances of survival drop precipitously.

But despite his remote location, the Australian nurse refuses to give up. With no doctor nearby to treat him, he quickly begins to treat himself—relying on his years of experience and observation.

He begins by inserting an IV into his own arm, and according to the LA Times, “chews a full-strength aspirin, and puts himself on a trio of first-line medications for heart attack: a tablet of the anti-platelet drug clopidogrel (known commercially as Plavix), a dose of nitroglycerine under the tongue, and an IV bag of the blood thinner heparin.”

And he didn’t stop there. Preparing for the worst, the nurse attached defibrillator pads to his own chest, just in case the situation continued to worsen.

Fortunately, the medicine did the trick, breaking up the blockage enough for the nurse to avoid more serious steps. This buys him enough time for a helicopter to arrive and shuttle him to the nearest operating room, where further medication and a stent were applied. He was home 48 hours later.

In the end, he survived, and only because of his will to fight and his training as a nurse.

If you’d like to learn more about the career possibilities open to you as a nurse or medical assistant, contact Unitek College today for more information.

Is Your Nursing Shift Keeping You From Regular Exercise? Try Irregular

Is Your Nursing Shift Keeping You From Regular Exercise? Try Irregular.

Is Your Nursing Shift Keeping You From Regular Exercise? Try Irregular

Is Your Nursing Shift Keeping You From Regular Exercise? Try Irregular

The definition of “work” has changed a lot in just the last century. Not too long ago, working meant laboring—moving, sweating, lifting, plowing, and a host of other progressive verbs. But over the past several decades, much of our work has shifted indoors and behind desks… and this doesn’t bode well for our health.

“Most of us spend about 75 percent of our day sitting or being sedentary,” warns Dr. Meredith Peddie, “and this behavior has been linked to increased rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and overall mortality.”

Nurses and medical assistants aren’t exempt either. One recent study noted that employees who work shifts (specifically nurses) have a much more difficult time scheduling physical activity.

But none of this is new. We’ve known for a while that anything sedentary is bad for us. Nurses and Nurse Practitioners are constantly on the lookout for hypertension and lower back pain in patients that too much sitting can often cause. But fixing the issue can sometimes feel like an out-of-reach goal.

Look up any article on healthy living and the word that always precedes “exercise” is the word “regular”, and that can be disheartening. As the earlier study mentioned, shift work has an unpredictability that makes regular exercise difficult. And when you look at the prescribed amount of regular exercise (at least two and half hours per week), it’s easy to come to the conclusion “why bother?” After all, if you can’t do the minimum suggested amount, anything less is a waste of time, right?

Wrong. And that’s excellent news.

As researchers continue to study the impact of exercise on the human body, one thing keeps coming up—when it comes to physical activity, something is always better than nothing.

When it comes to prolonged sitting, for example, Dr. Peddie’s research concluded with clear results: even short interruptions to sitting (once every half hour) had distinctly positive impacts on health. And amazingly, neither the intensity level nor the age/weight of those monitored seemed to matter. You simply need to get up and move more often.

“We should all be finding ways to avoid sitting for long periods, and to increase the amount of movement we do throughout the entire day,” Dr. Peddie suggests.

Of course, getting to the gym or the trail has even greater benefits, but can also be difficult to find time to do regularly. Fortunately, even just a single workout has proven positive results for your body.

Mere minutes of exercise can begin to alter your muscles’ DNA, turning on certain genes for strength and metabolism. You’ll also get the mental boost that comes from endorphins and serotonin, both of which are released within one exercise session. Even the way your body metabolizes fats improves with just one good session of sweat—and because of this, just that one workout can improve your resistance to diabetes.

Not only does your body improve with a single exercise session, your mind and spirits do as well. That means improved focus and a decrease in stress, even if you just work out for ten minutes!

Obviously, regular exercise is still the healthiest option, but intermittent exercise certainly has its benefits as well. So the next time you finish your shift, toss your dirty scrubs, and are deciding between your workout clothes or your comfy sweatpants, remember that even a quick workout is better than none at all.

If you are interested in studying to be a nurse or medical assistant in the Bay Area, contact Unitek College today for more information on classes, current schedules, and opportunities.

Hanford, CA Makes Top 10 for “Best Cities For Student Loan Repayment”

Hanford, CA Makes Top 10 for “Best Cities For Student Loan Repayment”

Believe it or not, one of the secrets to paying off your student loan quickly might just be sitting in the center of the San Joaquin Valley.

Curious? Then read on.

Studying for a career in nursing takes a lot of work and dedication… and many times, so does paying for that study. While there are those who manage to complete their classes debt-free, many nursing students turn to student loans to help reach their career goal—7 out of 10, in fact.

Paying those student loans can seem daunting, however, especially for someone just getting their new nursing career off the ground, but don’t let that stop you—thousands have gone this route before you,  thousands have paid off those student loans, and there’s no reason to believe you won’t be one of them. You’re a nurse now, after all, and you eat bigger challenges than this for breakfast.

Still, when that first “payment due” note arrives in the mail, it helps to already have a plan in place for how to begin your repayment. And as mentioned at the top of this blog, one of those strategies is choosing the right city in which to begin your job.

This month, the website StudentLoanHero ranked American cities according to which ones are most helpful for recent nurse graduates paying off loans. Criteria included cost of living, demand for nurses, and average salary. And sitting at #8 on the list is a city not far from our own Unitek College campuses… Hanford, California.

While the cost of living in Hanford may be high, the city makes up for it by offering significantly above-average salaries for nurses.

“In fact,” the website adds, “of the 334 small, midsized, and large cities we reviewed, Hanford reported the 13th-highest annual average wage.”

That average? Over $90,000.

But not everyone can move to Hanford, we realize, and nurses are in demand all over the country. So for those who aren’t moving to Kings County, here are a few additional strategies to keep in mind:

  • Look For Loan Forgiveness Opportunities – Loan forgiveness is tricky business. There are a lot of qualifications you need to meet and only specific types of loans are considered. But if you’re a nurse with student loan debt, loan forgiveness is definitely worth a closer look. Programs such as the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program can pay up to 85% of your balance. Check out this list by LendEDU of some other nurse student loan repayment programs.
  • Know Your Loans – You may have just the one, you may have several, but whatever the case, know everything about them. That means payment due dates, loan types, interest rates, the works. Missing a payment due to ignorance is a quick way to a lower credit score.
  • Pay Higher Interest Loans First – These grow the fastest, so if you have the income to make additional payments, pay off the highest interest loan firsts. And if you’re still in school, consider paying off just the interest each month to keep those balances from growing.
  • Take The Deduction – Most student loan interest is tax deductible. You’ll often get a letter around December with the exact amount, so make sure to always open your mail when it comes from your lender.
  • Consolidate – One way to make things simpler (and possibly lower your interest rate) is to consolidate all your student loans into one single loan. Websites such as SoFi.com offer help with this and other refinance options.
  • Pay Extra – Yes, you finally have a paycheck, and yes, it hurts not to finally spend it on yourself, but putting a little extra into your student loan payments can help hack down that principle balance.

Student loans may seem like a lot to keep track of, but it’s very doable, and a small price to pay for the training that will help launch your nursing career.

Questions? Ready to get started on your nursing classes? Contact Unitek College today for more information.

Drawing Blood With Robots

Drawing Blood With Robots

Drawing Blood With Robots

Drawing Blood With Robots

Blood tests are one of the most common diagnostic procedures in the world. Checking cholesterol levels for a routine physical? Blood test. Checking blood cell count for a suspected infection? Blood test. Diagnose a disease, check organ function, determine blood type—blood test, blood test, blood test.

But for a procedure that’s so common and repetitive, the time cost of drawing and analyzing a blood sample can sometimes be subpar. Many times, doctors are unable to draw the blood samples themselves and must rely on phlebotomists, who then themselves have to rely on labs to analyze the results. The findings are valuable, of course, but the multi-step process can sometimes eat valuable time.

And let’s not forget the many styles and techniques necessary to successfully “stick” a patient without mess, drama, or contaminating the sample. We covered the topic in this recent post.

Enter the Rutgers University Blood Testing Robot.

Robots, by design, exist to take over repetitive tasks. Most commonly, those tasks exist within the manufacturing realm, but more and more, tasks within the world of medicine are falling to the machines (we also explored a few of those machines in this post).

But the Rutgers University Blood Testing Robot takes automation to a new level. Not only does it take over the task of drawing a blood sample, but it analyses the sample as well—saving doctors and nurses valuable time.

“This device represents the holy grail in blood testing technology,” says Martin L. Yarmush, the study’s senior author. “Integrating miniaturized robotic and microfluidic (lab-on-a-chip) systems, this technology combines the breadth and accuracy of traditional blood drawing and laboratory testing with the speed and convenience of point-of-care testing.”

The robot itself consists of three parts. The first part (the venipuncture arm) draws the blood sample by scanning the patient’s arm and creating a 3D model of the arm veins. After the needle is inserted, the second part of the machine obtains and protects the blood sample, delivering it to the third part—a built in centrifuge that analyzes the blood.

“In the U.S., for example, blood tests are performed 2 billion times each year and influence 80 percent of medical decisions made in hospital and primary care settings. However, blood draw success rates depend heavily on practitioner skill and patient physiology,” explains Dr Max Balter, one of the lead researchers. “By reducing turnaround times, the device has the capacity to expedite hospital workflow, allowing practitioners to devote more time to treating patients.”

So far, the machine has performed with 100% accuracy—a very impressive performance. And even the size is convenient. The prototype easily fits on a table, resembling the automatic blood pressure machines you see at local pharmacies.

Currently, the machine performs a “three-part white blood cell differential and hemoglobin measurement”, but developers hope to expand the available tests in the near future.

As far as nurses are concerned, however, there’s no fear of a robot replacing them any time soon. But a robot making a nurse’s job easier? That’s looking more and more likely by the day.

For more information on beginning a career in the exciting and rapidly changing world of nursing, contact Unitek College today.

Hero Nurse Breaks Down Barriers In Japan

Hero Nurse Breaks Down Barriers In Japan

Hero Nurse Breaks Down Barriers In Japan

Hero Nurse Breaks Down Barriers In Japan

If there’s one thing everyone quickly learns about nurses, it’s that no one or nothing should ever stand between them and helping their patient—even if that nothing is a two-thousand-year-old cultural tradition.

Sumo wrestling is a sport practiced only in Japan, and its historical roots stretch back to the BCE years. While the rules of the game have changed throughout the millennia, at its core, sumo wrestling has remained very true to its origins… even when those origins clash with the more progressive thinking of the present.

Almost as much a ritual as it is a sport, one very strict rule of sumo wrestling throughout its history has been a zero tolerance ban on women in the sumo ring. If a woman does enter the sacred space (called a “dohyo”) the ring is considered “ritually unclean”.

But when the ban on women came between one Japanese nurse and a man suffering from a stroke, she didn’t think twice. She entered the ring, and that bold move is still making waves in Japanese culture.

As Ryoto Tatami, mayor of Maizuru city in northern Kyoto, was delivering a speech before a sumo match, the 67-year old man suddenly collapsed in the ring. It was later determined to be a stroke, but for the female nurse watching from the crowd, the cause nor the setting mattered. She saw a man who needed help, and she charged into the ring to do so.

Her actions shocked the sumo judges, who began demanding over the PA system that she leave the ring immediately, repeating over and over the traditional ban on women in the ring. But the nurse (whose name has not yet been released) continued to work. Soon, other women began rushing into the ring to help, emboldened by the nurse’s example.

Thanks to her actions, Mayor Tatami survived the stroke, and nearly two months later was able to return to work.

“Even though sumo has a long history and traditions, its female ban policy is irrelevant today,” Tatami told a news conference on his first day back at work. “At least in situations requiring first aid, male or female should not matter. Anyone should be allowed to help out.”

The head of the sumo association also apologized for the incident, though the ban on females has not yet been officially lifted.

Still, the brave and selfless act of one nurse continues to make headlines today, two months after the mayor’s stroke, and could very well be a significant influencer in future cultural shifts in Japan.

If you are ever in a situation where you suspect a person may be having a stroke, the Mayo Clinic reminds first responders to assess the situation using the FAST acronym.

  • Face.Does the face droop on one side when the person tries to smile?
  • Arms.Is one arm lower when the person tries to raise both arms?
  • Speech.Can the person repeat a simple sentence? Is speech slurred or hard to understand?
  • Time.During a stroke every minute counts. If you observe any of these signs, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

 If you are interested in beginning your own career as a nurse, contact Unitek College today for information on our many nursing and medical assistant programs.