An ambulance rushes to the scene

Alabama Nurse Changes Woman’s Life… Twice

It was a moment that could have ended in tragedy but instead ended with a woman’s life changed for the better, all thanks to one Alabama nurse.

Twenty years ago, Erika Samuels (then an associate at her local Best Buy) was in a serious crash after a drunk driver slammed into her car. The night could have very easily been her last were it not for the help and determination of a young nurse, Philip Streit.

“I almost lost my life that night,” recalls Samuels. “And to have someone who cared about me when my parents weren’t there, he gave me more than nursing care. He actually gave me life…. I just remember all this glass, in my face, in my eyes, in my hair, and I was in so much pain. And Philip was there for me the whole time and never left my side. Even when my parents came, he was holding my hand.”

Saving her wasn’t the only way Streit changes Samuels’ life. After the accident and initial hospital stay, it took Samuels three years of physical therapy to get completely back on her feet. But despite the pain and hard recovery, that potentially tragic night had given Samuels a new purpose in life. So grateful was she for the actions of her nurse after her accident, she decided to become a nurse herself and continue the cycle of caring.

“What he did for me actually changed my life,” Erika says. “That’s why I have a passion for nursing, because of people like him.”

Their story could have ended here, with Streit unaware of just how much his help had impacted Samuels, were it not for a chance encounter just a few weeks ago. Twenty years after her accident, Samuels (now a nursing student, graduating this May) was featured in a video presentation during a hospital ribbon cutting in Mobile, Alabama. And it just so happened that Philip Streit (now a nurse administrator) was in the crowd that day.

The moment he saw her name on screen, Philip knew that he was seeing “his Erika” from two decades past. After the ribbon cutting, he quickly tracked her down and asked whether she had ever been in a car accident. The result was a tear-filled, joyful reunion between the two nurses, one that was captured on camera and shared online more than 33,000 times. The story was even noticed by NBC News and covered by Lester Holt himself.

You can see the full NBC story here.

So here’s to Philip and Erika, two people who turned tragedy into something amazing, and whose lives have been dedicated to good ever since.

If you’d like more information on become a nurse or medical assistant, Unitek College can help! Contact us here to take your first step towards your medical career.

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Taking Care of Nurses Means Better Care for Patients

A new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing showed that patients who are treated in hospitals with good working conditions for nurses had up to a ten percent lower chance of readmission when compared to patients treated in hospitals with poor working conditions for nurses.

Researchers examined data from more than 200,000 nurses and 412 hospitals, looking at readmission rates for medicare patients over 65 who have suffered from a heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia. For hospitals with superior work environments, roughly six percent of patients returned within 30 days, while patients treated in hospitals with inferior working environments returned at rates as high as 16 percent.

The study examined Medicare patients specifically, because hospitals can be penalized for excessive rates of readmission. According to Penn Nursing, preventable readmissions cost Medicare more than $15 billion dollars each year.

“To work effectively, nurses must practice in an environment that reinforces their professional role and autonomy, provides adequate resources, demonstrates consistent and high-quality managerial support and leadership, and includes nursing in institutional decision making,” said Dr. Matthew McHugh, a health policy expert at Penn Nursing.

While improving nursing environments, which often includes having an adequate number of nurses on staff, poses a financial hurdle for many hospitals, the study also suggests that at least some of those costs will be offset by factors such as lower turnover rate, less retraining, improved patient outcomes and lower readmission rates. Regardless, this study confirms what is common sense for many nurses: Providing the best care for the patient, means providing for the caregiver as well.

Funding for the study was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institute on Nursing Research, the National Institute on Aging, the Frank Morgan Jones Fund and the Penn Institute on Urban Research.

Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

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Nurse Donates Own Kidney to Patient

Longtime transplant nurse Allison Batson knows better than most that the donation of an organ can mean the difference between life and death for thousands of people in need. So when Clay Taber – a 23 year old, recent Auburn University graduate with a rare kidney disease – was admitted to Allison’s wing of Emory University Hospital, she knew she had to help.

“Immediately, when Clay came onto our unit, he became a special patient that everyone just gravitated to,” Batson said. “Here was this young man with everything in his life ahead of him, and he was fighting for his life.”

As Allison got to know Clay better, she started to build a strong connection with this near-stranger who wasn’t even technically her patient. “He wanted to get married to his sweetheart. He just graduated from college. The whole world was his, with the exception of this incredibly rare illness that hit him out of the blue. I have children his age, and I felt the same kind of pain his mother was feeling. Something inside me said I needed to do more.”

Auspiciously, Allison shared Clay’s rare blood type (O-negative) and further screening confirmed that she was a perfect match to be a donor. She then literally offered part of herself to a person she practically just met.

“She said ‘My offer stands. If you’ll let me do this, I want to help you,’ ” Taber explained. “Something at that point just hit me. There are so many people in need of an organ transplant and have been waiting like me – even longer than me in many cases. And here is Allison offering to do this amazing thing. When she said ‘If you’ll let me,’ there was just something in those words. I couldn’t say no.”
The operation was performed January 10th, and both Allison and Clay are reportedly doing well. What will happen going forward? For one thing, when Clay gets married this June, he’s saving a special dance at the wedding for the nurse who made it all possible.

Source: Emory University

Photo courtesy of Emory University Hospital 

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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).

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Unitek College Welcomes Veterans Back to School

There were many reasons why Lannel De Los Reyes chose to pursue a nursing career. The most compelling reason was watching her dad suffer through rheumatoid arthritis and gout. She decided to dedicate her life to helping others.

“It just motivated me to become a nurse and take care of people, especially my loved ones,” Reyes said.

Reyes served six years active duty with the Air Force and decided to use her GI Bill to attend Unitek College’s Vocational Nursing program in Fremont, CA. Her ultimate goal is to graduate with a Bachelor in Nursing (BSN) and return to the military.

In the same nursing classroom sits another fellow Air Force veteran, Grecia Benitez. One of Benitez’s motivations to enlist into the Air Force directly out of high school was the educational benefits. After completing 5 years of service, Benitez was ready to start on her career path. During an open house tour at Unitek College, she found the start of her nursing career with the Vocational Nursing program.

Benitez’s plan after college is slightly different from Reyes’s.  While Benitez does not shy away from the idea of returning to the military, she is currently focused on completing the Vocational Nursing program and continuing on to become a Registered Nurse through Unitek College’s LVN to RN bridge program. After finishing school, Benitez plans to either pursue a nursing career in a hospital or rejoin the Air Force.

Benitez and Reyes share both a dedication to their country and a desire to achieve higher learning. The Post 9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI bill, amongst other Veterans Assistance (VA) benefits, reward veterans for their service and allow them to pursue higher education.  Although many institutions have yet to accept VA benefits, Unitek College made accepting VA benefits a top priority to make quality education available to America’s returning vets.

The majority of healthcare training programs offered by Unitek College are VA approved. “Unitek College is 100% committed to assisting our dedicated service men and women in making a successful transition into civilian life. Our main priority is to help them obtain the necessary education and training that can be parlayed into a lasting and rewarding career. Serving our veterans is a privilege we don’t take lightly.” Navraj Bawa, COO and Executive Vice President, Unitek College stated in a press release.

“If nursing is what you want to do…I would definitely recommend this school”, Benitez said.

Unitek College anticipates growth in enrollments from veterans who are looking to achieve their goals of higher education. This is particularly true with the recent deep budgetary cuts at public schools. Reyes, in advising other veterans said, “Definitely take advantage of your GI bill. That is part of why I joined the military.”

Are you a VA looking to get into the field of nursing?  Unitek College offers Training in Vocational NursingRegistered Nursing (LVN to RN), Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Bachelors of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN).  Contact us today at 888-735-4355 to see how you can get started on a very rewarding career as a nurse.

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Unitek College Welcomes Oikos Faculty and Students to Fremont

Following the tragic shooting that killed six students and a receptionist at Oikos University in Oakland, the Nursing Training school, Oikos University, is struggling to get its nursing students to resume classes.  The nursing students of the small Christian university are scheduled to resume classes shortly but are understandably still shaken from the shocking event. Many are still traumatized by the events of April 2nd and are fearful of returning to the site where they saw their classmates and friends brutally gunned down in cold blood. To help with the transition of returning to classes, Unitek College has extended an invitation to Oikos University faculty and students to use facilities in its campus in Fremont.

The classes will be conducted by Oikos University faculty. Unitek College’s executive leadership have extended this help to Oikos in an effort to help the faculty and students move forward with their program, and to try and put the tragic shooting behind them. Nav Bawa, COO, Unitek College said “The students and faculty at Oikos University are devastated by this tragedy. We want to do everything we can to help them feel safe, and continue on with their education and careers.”

This is not the first time Unitek College has reached out to students of other institutions. Just this past February, Unitek College administrators assisted students who were victimized by the sudden shutdown of the Institute of Medical Education. Unitek College had reached out to IME’s students and provided guidance and training options to students who had lost all other training options.

The Oikos tragedy shooter and former student, One L. Goh has been formally charged with seven counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder since the deadly shooting spree that took place on April 2nd. He has yet to enter a formal plea. Oikos’ future is still up in the air, but thanks to partners such as Unitek College, the students can move forward and focus on their future.

News Links on the Oikos Shooting Tragedy