Nurses’ Actions Go Viral

Nurses’ Actions Go Viral

Nurses’ Actions Go Viral

Nurses’ Actions Go Viral

These days, everything makes it onto the web. Everything. Whatever is happening, there’s a good chance that someone is standing nearby filming it on their phones, and within minutes, it’ll be online. And sometimes, that’s a good thing.

Take for instance the viral video from Ohio, which shows a nurse stopping on his way to work to save the life of a woman who’d stopped breathing after a car crash. 36-year old Keith Ezell was on his way to work when he heard the crash. Knowing every second counted, he quickly grabbed his respiratory mask and began administering CPR.

During the five-minute ordeal, Ezell was thinking “I have to get her back. She was turning blue. She had no pulse and I kept thinking she can’t die on me,” he recounts to KARE 11. And his hard work wasn’t in vain. The paramedics arrived, and Ezell heard the words he’d been praying for.

“They said they got a pulse! And I thought, my job is done. She gets to live,” Ezell says.

And one of the best parts of the video comes at the end, as the victim is taken away in an ambulance, Ezell can be heard saying “I got to go to work”, and leaving for the hospital. For him, the moment hadn’t been about heroics. It was about doing what needed to be done, then going to work to do it some more.

Another nurse to go viral this week is Florida nurse Katherine Lockler, who finally had enough with this year’s flu season. After a 12-hour night shift filled with influenza patients flooding her hospital and ER, Lockler sat in her car and recorded her frustrations with the lack of disease prevention she’d witnessed. Her seven-minute video was soon shared across social media, and Lockler’s plea has now been viewed over nine million times.

During the video, Lockler presents a barrage of information on how the flu is spread, the dangers of contracting it, statistics on the outbreak, and the importance of hygiene during flu season—all with the passion and perspective only a nurse can provide.

“When you come into emergency rooms where there are signs posted saying to wash your hands, and people don’t—or when you ask someone to put on a mask because they’re coughing and they refuse—that gets me a little frustrated!” Lockler tells PEOPLE. “The video was meant to be a public service announcement, but I wanted to do it in a light-hearted way.”

Lockler also makes an important point about relying on an emergency room for non-emergency situations during highly infectious times.

“I want to get the word out not to come into an area of high concentrated infection unless you are absolutely in need of it, such as a true emergency,” she says. “Most things can be done at a pediatrician’s office, or a minute clinic, or so many other facilities, not the emergency room.”

This year’s flu season has been the worst in over a decade.

We know there are countless wonderful things being done by nurses on a daily basis, and we’re always thankful for the chance to see some of them ourselves. So whether your work is seen by nine million people or by nine, keep up the good work out there!

For information on starting your own career as a nurse, Unitek College can get you started! Contact us today for more information. We have 3 types of nursing programs, located in California

The Danger of Stress in Young Patients

The Danger of Stress in Young Patients

The Danger of Stress in Young Patients

The Danger of Stress in Young Patients

A wide range of patients with a wide range of health problem walk through the doors of your hospital or clinic every day, and of that wide range of health problems, it’s amazing how many may be traced back to stress. High amounts of stress have been found to cause heart issues, digestive issues, breathing problems, headaches, immune system deficiencies, and other health problems. In other words, we know that stress in our adult patients is far from healthy… but how bad is stress for child patients?

“Very bad”, according to the Center for Youth Wellness (CYW) in San Francisco. And the long-term effects can range from asthma to heart disease and even to cancer.  Simply put, heavy amounts of stress on a young life can lead to that life being cut short.

“It can tip a child’s developmental trajectory and affect physiology,” explains Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a pediatrician and founder of the CYW. It can trigger chronic inflammation and hormonal changes that can last a lifetime. It can alter the way DNA is read and how cells replicate, and it can dramatically increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes — even Alzheimer’s.”

Dr. Harris goes on to explain that childhood stressors such as divorce, abuse, or death of a loved one “literally gets under our skin, changing people in ways that can endure in their bodies for decades.”

Stress by itself can actually be a good thing for both children and adults… if it occurs in small doses. Stress can help keep us awake, focused, and activates the “fight-or-flight” response when we encounter a dangerous situation. But in order to accomplish these things, stress activates so many of our bodies’ systems simultaneously (immune, hormonal, respiratory, cardiovascular, muscular, and more)—and keeping all those systems perpetually revved up and ready for action eventually starts to wear the body down.

And just imagine what that kind of wear-and-tear does to a body that’s still developing.

But unlike many of the health problems that can be caused by stress, stress itself can be dealt with before it becomes a life-threatening issue… if caught in time. Dr. Harris shares the story of one patient, a 3-year-old girl, who scored a seven on the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, a very high score for a patient so young. The patient simply wasn’t growing (“itty bitty”, in the words of Dr. Harris). But after identifying stress as a contributing cause and prescribing child-parent stress therapy, her patient was back to a healthy place on the growth curve within six months.

As a nurse, you also have the unique opportunity to help temporarily reduce stress in your young patients. A trip to the clinic, doctor’s office, dentist’s office, or hospital is almost never without an element of fear for most children, but there are a few simple tips you can use to help make the experience a positive one.

  1. Positive Reinforcement – Pay attention to what’s going well and use praise to reinforce that behavior. Are they doing a good job of listening or holding still? Let them know!
  2. Take a Deep Breath – Or more accurately, take several deep breaths. Show your patient some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation to help calm their nerves.
  3. Explain Everything – Dr. Greg Psaltis (a pediatric dentist) suggests providing “a running commentary to the child so that nothing comes as a surprise. By telling the patients (in simple, understandable words) what is happening, they can anticipate the next instrument, sensation, or procedure with minimal anxiety.”
  4. Don’t Forget The Parents – Very little upsets a child faster than seeing their parents upset, so be sure to share some of your focus with the adults in the room. Keeping them calm will in turn help keep their children calm.

Of course, these tips and tricks work primarily for the medical or dental visit itself—they aren’t designed to deal with the bigger psychological stressors that may be a factor at home. But it’s always possible that stress-management techniques learned in one place (your workplace) can be applied in others (their home or school). And as always, if you believe stress may be impacting the health of your young patients, address the possibility with your supervisor first.

“This is a public health crisis,” says Dr. Harris. “So guess what? Schools, you need help! Doctors’ offices, you’re part of the solution! If you’re in early childhood, you’re part of the solution. If you’re in juvenile justice, you’re part of the solution. We all need to be part of the solution. If we each take off our little piece, it’s nuts how far we’ll be able to go, together as a society, in terms of solving this problem.”

If you’d like more information on beginning your career as a nurse, medical assistant, or dental assistant, Unitek College can help! Contact us today for more information.

Frequent Flyer: Nurse Commutes 2,600 Miles To Work

Frequent Flyer: Nurse Commutes 2,600 Miles To Work

Frequent Flyer: Nurse Commutes 2,600 Miles To Work

Frequent Flyer: Nurse Commutes 2,600 Miles To Work

If you’re looking for a state in which to begin your nursing career, or you’re already a nurse and looking for a move, it’s hard to beat California. Frequently ranked as one of the top (if not the top) states in nurse salaries, it should come as no surprise that nurses from all over the country are eyeing jobs in the Golden State… even if they don’t plan to live there. One survey found that of all the out-of-state nurses crossing the border into California for jobs, a whopping 84% still planned on leading active lives in their former state. That’s a lot of commutes.

But one commuter in particular takes the cake when it comes to job dedication. Tom Fowkes is a nurse who lives near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and he has no intention of moving… despite the fact that his full-time job is in Oakland, California. That’s a commute of over 2,600 miles… one way!

“I can’t believe I’ve been doing it for 9 years,” Fowkes told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It seems like 4 or 5. It’s changed my life. I spend more time with my son. And when I’m home and I don’t work, we can do things because I have money now.”

So just how beneficial is it for nurses like Fowkes to make the long commute? With the high cost of travel, it may seem like the cost would outweigh the benefits, but that’s not always the case, and certainly wasn’t with Fowkes.

“These are the highest paid nursing jobs on the planet,” he says, referring to his job at Kaiser. “I make more than some doctors do back home.” And for a nurse who was previously working three jobs just to make ends meet, that pay difference has been life-changing. Not only is he working just the one job, but he’s found more time to spend with his family… and was even able to afford to splurge on a new swimming pool.

And nurses like Fowkes are becoming more and more common. In fact, Fowkes estimates that 10% of the workers on his floor commute from other states.

Of course, travel from coast to coast isn’t always the case for commuting nurses. Nurses such as Ann Inman of Las Vegas still fly to work each week, but it’s a much shorter jump.

“It’s very intense for me, especially because I don’t like to fly,” Inman told the LA Times. “But I can make more money here than anyplace else, and I’m kind of getting used to it.”

And money isn’t the only benefit. Job satisfaction ratings among California nurses are on the rise, earning a 4.21 on a scale of 1 to 5, a 10-year high. The study also found that California RN’s were “more ethnically diverse, better educated, better paid and more satisfied with their work than in previous years.”

So if you’re already a nurse and looking to make a move, there’s a lot to be said for California. And if you’re someone who’s hoping to become a nurse, we also have seven campuses here in California to help make that a reality.

Nurse Delivers Baby In Parking Lot… Then Saves His Life Again

Nurse Delivers Baby In Parking Lot… Then Saves His Life Again

Nurse Delivers Baby In Parking Lot… Then Saves His Life Again

Nurse Delivers Baby In Parking Lot… Then Saves His Life Again

As a trauma nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, nurse Steven Welton has seen many things… but what he was asked to do earlier this December still came as a huge surprise. Steven’s mother Chris Biesemeier, who also works at VUMC, was the first to notice a man frantically trying to get help for his wife—who was still outside in the backseat of their car—and quickly let her son know. Steven headed out, unsure of what to expect.

There in the backseat of the car was a crying toddler, an expectant mother, and a newborn baby already in the process of being born. Welton immediately jumped into action.

“It’s kind of fuzzy at this point because adrenaline was pumping,” Welton told Nashville’s Fox 17. “But the baby looked to be about halfway out so I grabbed him, pulled him the rest of the way, and I could see the umbilical cord and everything. No gloves. I’m just out there in it!”

But delivering the baby turned out to be only half the challenge. As the baby fully emerged, Welton quickly noticed that the child was blue, not crying, and wasn’t drawing that crucial first breath. Training kicked in, and Welton began compressions.

“I immediately could tell he was blue and not doing anything,” Welton said. “He wasn’t moving, wasn’t crying. I just said I gotta start compressions and held him in my hand and started doing it, about two minutes of solid compressions.”

Those two minutes of compressions turned out to be exactly the right decision. Baby Elijah finally took his first breath just as his father arrived back at the car.

“I’m thinking ‘oh my goodness’ and he had a smile on his face,” Welton said. “I think because he was happy things were getting better, and in my mind I was like ‘Man, you have no idea what just happened.’”

Mother and son were quickly transported into the hospital and both are doing well, thanks to the quick thinking and immediate action of nurse Steven Welton—yet another in a long line of heroes in scrubs.

And if you are ever put in a situation where you have to help deliver a baby who’s determined to show up earlier than expected, the experts at VeryWell.com have a few tips:

  • Call 911, the doctor, or the midwife even if you won’t make it to them on time. They can at least begin making important preparations.
  • Remind Mom to pant and to push gently—push only with the contractions.
  • Support the head as the baby emerges.
  • Don’t pull! Let the baby and her mother’s body do the work.
  • Don’t cut the cord! It’s better for both mother and child if the cord stays attached until reaching the hospital.
  • Wipe the fluid from the baby’s nose to help him breathe.
  • Let Mom hold her newborn – As soon as the baby is born, hand her to her mother for skin-to-skin contact with the head “slightly lower than the body” to help with drainage. If you have clean blankets or towels available, cover the two.

If you would like to begin your own training to become a nurse or medical assistant, contact Unitek College for information on our many courses, schedules, and to find a campus near you.

In Harm’s Way: Nurses Fight Back Against California Wildfires

In Harm’s Way: Nurses Fight Back Against California Wildfires

In Harm’s Way: Nurses Fight Back Against California Wildfires

In Harm’s Way: Nurses Fight Back Against California Wildfires

California is no stranger to wildfires, but this year has been tougher than most. October saw over $9 billion in damage to Northern California as fire raged over 245,000 acres, and this month’s wildfires in Southern California are keeping pace. As of today, over 181,000 acres have been consumed, with over 210,000 residents forced from their homes. A state of emergency was recently declared for the entire state, and the fire is now considered the fifth worst in the state’s history.

And as is the case in nearly all emergencies, nurses are at the center of the chaos—treating existing patients and new fire victims even as flames threaten their own homes and hospitals. Nurses such as Julayne Smithson, a 55-year old ICU nurse in Santa Rosa, who was working the overnight shift when the fires arrived.

Julayne was so busy with her patients that she’d paid little attention to the fire’s location, and was completely caught off guard by how close the flames had gotten. “One of the nurses came up to me and she said, ‘Julayne, I’m sorry, but your house is not going to make it,'” Julayne recounts. She’d only purchased the house in the past weeks, and hadn’t finalized the insurance arrangements yet.

“I was so busy working the last couple of weeks that I didn’t get my insurance, which I never do. I never ever, ever go uninsured,” she says. “I kept saying, ‘Tomorrow, I’m going to do that. Tomorrow, I’m going to do that.'”

With only minutes to spare, Julayne rushed home to save what she could. Faced with a crucial decision, she ultimately decided to save those few things with which she could make the biggest difference: her nursing supplies. She escaped with her scrubs, her nursing documents, and a nightgown. A short time later, she was back at work in the ICU as her neighborhood burned. But the fire wasn’t finished with her yet. Two hours later, the fire suddenly changed direction, and the hospital was ordered to evacuate.

“A lot of nurses and staff were putting patients in their cars and driving them to the hospital,” Julayne told NPR. “And then other people were carrying people on blankets, people who couldn’t walk, and putting them in cars.”

(For more information on the Santa Rosa hospital, check out this video by NBC News.)

But even the hospitals untouched by fires have been impacted. Doctors and nurses across the area have not only taken responsibility for evacuated patients, but have seen a significant number of fire-related injuries and conditions come through their doors as well—particularly asthma and other lung or breathing problems caused by smoke and air pollution. Air purifiers and “closed door” policies are now in place at many hospitals, in an attempt to keep the air inside as pure as possible, and the evolving situation has caused staff shortages in some areas.

One hospital was even forced to rely on generator power after the fires caused blackouts.

“Santa Paula Hospital, which is just miles from the original start point for the Thomas fire, remained opened throughout the evolving disaster, in large part due to the courage and coordination of the hospital staff and efforts of fire rescuers from state, county and local battalions,” said spokesperson Sheila Murphy.

Another hospital, Vista Del Mar Psychiatric, wasn’t so lucky. While the patients and employees were unharmed, the wildfire completely destroyed the building.

It’s a frightening situation for all involved, but as in all difficult times, local doctors and nurses have proven again that they don’t give up without a fight. And if you’d like to help in that fight (and in the recovery), there are many ways to do so. One way is by donating to the local Red Cross (you can find more information here) or by volunteering to help the Red Cross with relief efforts (by clicking here). But be careful… multiple scams have already surfaced seeking to intercept donations before they reach victims. The Ventura sheriff recently addressed the issue, and has a very helpful list of tips for avoiding criminals here.

“Makes me want to be able to go out there and help people,” explains nurse Jody Pinion, a nurse from Charlotte, NC who flew to California with the Red Cross to help at area shelters. “It’s why I do what I do.”

If you’d like more information on beginning your own career as a nurse or medical assistant, contact Unitek College today.

Nurse Takes “Hero” To New Level

Nurse Takes “Hero” To New Level

Nurse Takes “Hero” To New Level

Nurse Takes “Hero” To New Level

If you look up the definition of hero, you’ll see one described as a person “admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.” (If the definition describes one as a submarine sandwich, you’re looking at the wrong hero). And with that definition in mind, it’s easy to see why most people unanimously agree that nurses are heroes. But when you hear the word “superhero”, you probably don’t think of nurses first. You probably think of superpowered beings in tights fighting villains and aliens on the big screen or in comic books. But once you meet nurse Tobin Matthew, that all may change.

12 years ago, Tobin graduated from nursing school and went to work at Chicago’s Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he called his job of caring for infants and small children “the best job in the world”. On his very first day, Tobin wore a superhero t-shirt during his shift, not knowing that he’d just begun a 12-year tradition that would one day attract a national spotlight.

“I guess it sort of happened organically,” Tobin told the Chicago Tribune. “I’m really into super heroes. As a kid, I would grow up reading comic books and watching super hero movies. When I started at what was called Children’s Memorial back then, I found that the kids that I took care of seemed to be into the same stuff that I was. So I was like ‘OK, I’m going to start wearing super hero shirts,’ and sort of just spiraled from there … I would say kids and parents get about equally excited now, which is really cool.”

Since then, his costumes have ranged from Superman to the Hulk to the Ninja Turtles. And on holidays such as Halloween and Christmas, when being in a hospital is especially difficult for kids, he’ll make up to five wardrobe changes to bring as much light as possible to his young patients. He’s raced down halls as the Flash, hung upside down as Spider-man, and there’s no telling where his heart or creativity will take him next.

Because of his efforts, and the impact he’s had on so many of his patients, Tobin was recently featured on the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (you can watch the story here). He was also awarded the 2017 American Red Cross Nurse Hero award, an award given each year to a nurse who “exhibited heroism either in their response to an emergency situation or through an ongoing commitment to the community through acts of kindness, courage or unselfishness in response to an identified need.”

“The biggest compliment that you can receive is a family trusting you with their kids, the most important thing in their lives,” says Tobin. “Dressing as a superhero helps me to motivate myself to be the absolute best I can be for my families at the hospital. Some of the patients you take care of for months and years. It is my job to let them be kids, let them know I care and make that time as special as possible.”

And there is no shortage of literal compliments for Tobin’s care, either. On the hospital’s Facebook page, one mother writes “Tobin was my son Isaac’s nurse many days when he was admitted in May and June with a mysterious illness that left him in isolation with facial lesions! We can’t say thank you enough to this superhero nurse for all that he did to help us during some very difficult days. Thank you, Tobin!!”

So a big thanks to Tobin and the many other nurses out there like him who daily go above and beyond for the people in their care. You may not be in tights and a cape, but you qualify as superheroes in our book. (Besides, scrubs look a lot more comfortable).

If you’d like information on starting your own career in health care, contact Unitek College today for information on our many nursing and medical assistant programs.