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.

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.

 

“New” Organ Could Mean Faster Detection of Cancer

“New” Organ Could Mean Faster Detection of Cancer

“New” Organ Could Mean Faster Detection of Cancer

“New” Organ Could Mean Faster Detection of Cancer

Scientists have just discovered something about your body—yes, your body. Just when we thought medical science had a comprehensive grasp of the human body’s organs, a new breakthrough throws a monkey wrench in the system. Not only have we been completely overlooking an organ, we’ve been overlooking an organ that may be one of the biggest in our body.

Yes, even with all our modern medical technology, we’ve been completely unaware of a part of our bodies.

Researchers call the newcomer the “interstitium”—a series of fluid-filled compartments in our connective tissue. More specifically, it’s “an open, fluid-filled space supported by a lattice made of thick collagen bundles,” according to Neil Theise, author of the study. The organ works like bubble wrap, insulating our other organs and providing them with a cushion for shock absorption.

As it turns out, we’ve been looking right at the interstitium this whole time, we just didn’t know it. Imagine blowing bubbles—as long as the bubble is active and floating, you can see it. But the second you touch it, it pops and becomes something else entirely. The interstitium is similar—while it’s active in the body, it can be seen. But the moment the cells are removed and go through the “fixing” process (removing fluids) for a microscope, the compartments collapse and appear to be solid tissue.

In other words, the only way to find the interstitium is to know exactly what you’re looking for… which is hard to do when no one knew it existed.

“Just taking a bite of tissue from this space allows the fluid in the space to drain and the supporting collagen bundles to collapse like the floors of a collapsing building,” explained Theise.

The discovery could mean big changes within the medical community, particularly for those researching and battling cancer. The presence of a “directional flow” between tissue instead of a solid wall means a “potential conduit for movement of injurious agents,” according to the study results. Essentially, the interstitium (an interstate for fluids to travel around the body) could also be the passage cancers use to move and spread. It’s a scary thought, but now that we know it exists, we can begin to study it.

“Once they get in, it’s like they’re on a water slide,” says Theise. “We have a new window on the mechanism of tumor spread.”

And on the odder side of the discovery, the existence of the interstitium may eventually explain a few other medical mysteries—such as the “healing jolt” of acupuncture.

“There’s something new here,” Theise concludes. “No one’s ever seen it before, but it’s been there the whole time.”

All in all, this just goes to show why medicine and healthcare fascinates us so much… we never know just how the human body is going to surprise us next.

For more information on beginning your career in health care, contact Unitek College today for more information on our nursing and medical assistant programs.

Nurse with great bedside manner talks to patient

Caring for the Mind: Life as a Psychiatric Nurse

Nurse with great bedside manner talks to patient

Not all nurses put on their scrubs and go to work to suture wounds, change IV’s, and treat physical illnesses. Nurses working in the psychiatric realm of medical care can often have very different experiences from their counterparts in the emergency room, and they are just as valuable. Right now, 1 in 5 Americans deals with a mental illness in a given year (1 in 25 deals with a serious mental illness), and suicide remains the 10th leading cause of death in the country. Mental health is a nationwide problem, one that demands a skilled, caring, and dedicated medical workforce to combat… and that’s where psychiatric nurses come in.

“While RN’s can specialize in anything, I opted for psychiatric nursing because I’m a ‘people-person’,” shares RN Jess C. of Colorado Springs. “I love the fact that psychiatry is not a cut and dried field – nothing is black and white when dealing with the human mind. The best part of my job is when I get to make a positive impact on a person and help them get their life back on track.”

As someone working with mental health patients, a day for a nurse like Jess tends to focus on two things: monitoring and safety. Psychiatrists can only do so much at one time, so they rely on their nurses to be their eyes and ears-which can mean assessing mental health needs, tracking progress on mental health regimens, and even providing counseling from time to time as patients work through their self-care activities. Nurses also play a big part in managing the “therapeutic environment” and making certain that everyone-patient or medical personnel-is safe.

“While I was in nursing school I fell in love with psychiatric nursing,” writes RN Dan J. of Baltimore. “It is extremely challenging trying to meet the needs of psychiatric patients, and I like teaching the patients and their families about their illnesses and medications. They depend on me to calm their fears and I like knowing that I help put them at ease. It’s very satisfying to know that I made a real difference in a patient’s life.”

While some states only require their psychiatric nurses to be RN’s (NCLEX-RN certified), some states require some additional certifications and training, but in a field that’s expected to grow 19% by the year 2022, that extra effort can add up to a lot of job security.

(For a more detailed look into a day in the life of a nurse working in the mental health field, RN Stephanie Dauphin describes exactly that in this video.)

While the current number of mental health issues in the country can feel overwhelming, the challenge isn’t insurmountable. New technology (such as Woebot) and new treatments are entering the field almost daily, but what will really turn the tide are the people who work one-on-one with these patients every day of the week. So if psychiatric nursing sounds like a good fit for you, don’t hesitate. There’s a long line of people out there just waiting to appreciate your help.

For more information on becoming a nurse or furthering your nursing education, Unitek College can help. Contact us here for more information on our upcoming classes and programs.

The Medical Science Behind Those Magic Glasses

If you’re on any form of social media, chances are you’ve seen one of the heartwarming videos capturing the moment when a colorblind friend or family member puts on a pair of magic glasses and can suddenly see the world in color. If you haven’t seen one of these videos, grab some tissues (they’re tearjerkers) and take your pick: two colorblind brothers overwhelmed by a full color world, a colorblind grandfather given the gift of full sight, a 10-year old boy who gets the birthday gift of a lifetime, and many more like them.

The individual stories and reactions are amazing, and we could easily spend all day focusing on just those, but there’s another medical aspect to the stories that deserves some attention as well-why and how these “magic glasses” work.

The creation of the color-correcting glasses was actually a happy accident. In 2005, Don McPherson (a glassware specialist) was working on protective sunglasses for laser surgeons-glasses that would both protect the surgeon from the brilliance of the laser while still allowing them to tell the difference between blood and tissue. To accomplish this, he used a rare earth iron in the glass, an element that absorbed the light, boosted the color saturation of the wearer, and had one unintended side effect.

While playing ultimate Frisbee one afternoon, a friend (Michael Angell) asked to borrow the custom pair of sunglasses McPherson was wearing. But the moment Michael (who is colorblind) put on the glasses, he was shocked and pleasantly surprised to suddenly be seeing a world of color. It was then that McPherson realized the potential of what he’d created.

The way the glass works is fascinating. In every human eye, there are three photopigments (cones) that are each sensitive to a unique color-blue, red, or green. As photons from light hit the cones, they translate that information into color. Blue cones operate independently, but the red and green cones often overlap in their duties… for example, if an equal amount of photons hit the red and green cones simultaneously, we see yellow. If they land primarily on the green instead of the red, we see a more greenish hue. (There’s also a 4th type of non-functioning cone found in a small percentage of women that, if activated, would allow them to see 100 million colors rather than the one million most people see).

Colorblindness occurs when the red and green cones overlap too much (the cause of colorblindness in 99% of cases). It’s as if the cones can’t decide between each other what color to send to the brain, so they choose “nothing”. McPherson’s glasses add a “band of absorption”, essentially forcing the light photons to separate further, preventing overlap issues between the cones.

The glasses aren’t perfect, but they’re an amazing leap forward for those struggling with colorblindness. Some rare cases, like those where a person is completely missing a set of cones, can’t be helped. But the technology is on the move, new types are being turned out, indoor glasses in the process of being developed, and some doctors are hoping to use the glasses to prevent the progression of colorblindness in children.

The medical science is fascinating, the results are incredible, and if you need us, we’ll be watching more of those Youtube videos for the next hour. Please pass the tissues.

For more information on starting your own career in the medical field, contact Unitek College here to find out how you can begin working towards your nursing degree now!