Pink garden roses in bloom

Take a break and smell the roses

Whether you’re in class, learning in the field with your dental assisting externship, or building practical experience in the Unitek College Dental Assisting Lab, one thing is the same: you’re working hard. When you’re working towards a possible new career in the Dental Assisting field, it’s easy to get caught up in studies, projects, and exams, and there’s nothing at all wrong with working hard to meet your career goals. But it’s also important to take moments when possible to “rest your brain”, refuel, and refocus. Fortunately, if you’re studying at our Sacramento campus, you’ve got plenty of options. Here are a few ideas on how to spend your valuable down time.

Smell the Roses in MSmell the RosescKinley Park – Literally. McKinely Park is home to one of Sacramento’s famous rose gardens, a must-see if you’re the type of person who needs to get outdoors to clear your head. The rose garden features free admission and takes about 30-minutes to see start-to-finish. There’s also a jogging track, plenty of play areas for kids, and the park is dog-friendly if your furry roommate needs a break as well. We’re told April is a particularly nice time to visit.

Coast Along the American River Bicycle Trail – Considered one of the best bicycle trails in the country, the American River Bicycle Trail winds its way through the Sacramento area and is available only for non-motorized visitors… which is great news for students who enjoy biking without worrying about distracted drivers. It’s a quick way to forget that you’re in the middle of a city. Look for beautiful river views, quiet forests, and occasional wildlife… but if possible, avoid the trails around midday on the weekends. They can get crowded!

Shop in Old Sacramento – Nature not your thing? Check out the cobble-stone streets of Old Sacramento. There’s a little something for everyone, whether you like museums, food, or shopping (they have a great mix of old-timey shops plus a few modern boutiques). If you play your cards right, you’ll come back from your visit an expert on California Gold Rush history.

Catch a Movie – There are lots of ways to watch a movie, and Sacramento has all of them. Check out a concert or catch a classic movie at The Crest. Or combine entertainment with the great outdoors and see a blockbuster at the Sacramento 6 Drive In. Need a little more “oomph” in your films? The Esquire Imax Theater just got an upgrade (and we hear the new seats are very comfy).

Chow Down with a Food Tour – Foodies, we didn’t forget about you. And hey, who can study on an empty stomach? Check out the Local Roots Food Tours for a personalized tour of some of the best restaurants, cafe’s, and watering holes off the beaten path. Or satisfy the sweet tooth with a tour of the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

Whether you’re on your own, with kids, or with pets, the Unitek College Sacramento campus is surrounded by activities, attractions, food, and unique experiences. We all need a break from studies at one point or another, and our Dental Assisting students have a world of opportunities from which to choose. Don’t forget to let us know some of your favorites!

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Health Care Job Trends

We’re all looking for economic stability and security and it’s been said time and again that health care is one of the top industries. has verified this with some new statistics that were published.

Reporter Melody Brumble stated in her article two days ago that, “Nationally, more than 1 in 4 newly created jobs in the United States will be in the health care and social services industry through 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor’s occupational outlook data… The fastest growth is projected in low-level jobs like nursing assistants and personal care aides as well as mid-level jobs like physician’s assistants and dental hygienists. Registered nursing jobs also are expected to grow significantly in the next nine years.”

Brumble further explains, “In Louisiana, personal and home care aide jobs are projected to increase by 59 percent, registered nursing positions by 32 percent and nursing assistant jobs by 29 percent through 2016.

“Allied health jobs in physical and occupational therapy, cardiac technology and radiology also are projected to grow between 20 and 35 percent in Louisiana through 2016. The greatest increase is expected in second- and third-tier jobs — the assistants and associates — similar to the trend in nursing.

“Other health-related jobs expected to grow are pharmacy technicians and medical assisting.”

Although many of these statistics are based in Louisiana, I think that these trends are something that will be similar throughout the country. We have an aging population, a current generation with unhealthy habits plus an increase in government aid to the poor. The positions that will become available won’t always be ideal, but in a flailing job market these statistics are quite amazing.

“However, long-time registered nurse Terri Durel warns that even health care jobs experience economic cycles…’The nursing shortage is not near what it used to be. I’ve been a nurse for 25 years. When I got out of school, you could work wherever you wanted and what hours you wanted,’ Durel said. ‘Now there are still jobs, but they may be in a nursing home, and you may have to work nights.’

“The same economic trends that influence other industries is at work in health care. Durel noted that there are fewer hospitals in Shreveport and Bossier City compared to a decade ago. Nurses close to retirement are hanging on to their jobs because their retirement investments have dwindled.”

Regardless of the economic trend in health care, it is only a minor setback considering the demand for skilled health care workers. It is obvious that students in a medical assistanting program in the San Francisco Bay Area are likely to find jobs and financial security in the future.

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Health Care Crisis is Devastating More Families

Within my circle of family and friends, I’m shocked at how many are ill and have been hospitalized recently. It feels like this strange windfall of crazy occurrences and out-of-the-ordinary circumstances. I can’t help but wonder if it’s the times we live in: are people sicker and stress is compromising our health more or is stress weakening our immune system therefore causing us to be sicker? Does worry make us sick or are we sick which gives us another thing to worry about and makes us weaker to handle situations?

In The Merced Sun Star, reporters Jocelyn Weiner, CHCF Center for Health Reporting and Ken Carlson also noticed that with the hardship of the economy, many families are being hit with serious medical conditions. “A health care crisis is sweeping the Central Valley, devastating middle-class and poor families and threatening to overwhelm the region’s fragile safety net.

“The deep recession has pushed the ranks of the uninsured here to unprecedented levels. At the same time, a dire state budget deficit has forced lawmakers to drastically scale back or eliminate key health care programs for the state’s poorest residents.”

Weiner and Carlson explain that across class lines, patients are struggling to get the medical attention they need. “Doctors and nurses at county and nonprofit clinics say they’re seeing mounting numbers of out-of-work professionals and laid-off blue-collar workers joining the chronically poor and undocumented in waiting rooms throughout the region… In the past few years, growing numbers of unemployed workers have added 700,000 to the ranks of the state’s uninsured, bringing the total to 7.1 million.”

“When people become uninsured, not only do they live sicker, they die younger, they’re one emergency away from financial ruin and there are very few options available,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, which advocates for affordable health care for all Californians. “It’s a tattered safety net that has gotten worse because of the budget crisis.”

How will this affect those who are medical assistanting, pharmacy technicians or Vocational Nursing? There is definitely a shortage of those in the health careers industry so there is more stability than in other professions. With the federal health care bill, ideally more government money will be designated to the uninsured, but with cutbacks and having taxpayers maxed out, we’ll just have to wait and see. If the government does pass this bill, more medical staff will be needed to treat the new individuals who were previously uninsured.

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What Kind of Nurse Would Steal a Patient’s Meds?

I’ve been putting off writing on this type of story because it seems so tabloid-like and puts nurses in a bad light. Unfortunately, it seems like every day I see updates or a new story about how a nurse or pharmacy technician has stolen patient medications. I just can’t fathom what could go on in a person’s mind to get to such a low point as to stealing drugs from a patient.
I read a story on that appalled me. A nurse, Sarah May Casareto, was supposed to administer drugs to a patient who was to have his kidney stones removed. “The patient should have received 500 mcg of Fetanyl, a schedule II controlled substance. Instead, authorities allege Casareto ‘wasted’ more than half the drug and took 50 for herself. The patient received 150 mcg — about a third of the intended dosage.”
Furthermore, what completely disturbed me was that the patient was “screaming and moaning during the procedure” while the nurse appeared to be tired, dizzy,” belligerent and disoriented”. First of all, if a patient is in that much distress, wouldn’t the other staff present try to tend to his needs? Wouldn’t they know that something was amiss if the appropriate dosage of Fetanyl was administered? Secondly, if the nurse who consumed the medication was acting strangely, not performing her tasks and appeared “intoxicated”, shouldn’t someone have pulled her aside or removed her from assisting with a medical procedure?
The article on the website continues by saying that “After the procedure, a colleague found Casareto with two unlabeled syringes in her pocket. The colleague told her to throw the syringes away, and she emptied one syringe and threw it in the garbage…The colleague then refused to sign the medication sheet after the surgery, believing medication had been wasted or unused.
“When doctors and human resources representatives later confronted Casareto on the matter, they found an additional four empty syringes in her scrubs. She was asked to take a drug test, but instead resigned from the hospital… Casareto later met with police and told them she was dependent on pain medication.”
As a professional in Vocational Nursing, pharmacy technician, or RN, this incident just reminds me how important it is to be the patient’s advocate, not just protecting them from illness or injury, but from any source that may hinder the result of healing.
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Changing Technology Effects Health Care Industry

I got a new cell phone last month. Okay, so I’m a bit behind the times, but my husband insisted I turn in my old flip phone for one that accesses the internet, has an internal keyboard and has a million apps on it. I was hesitant to get a new one because my old phone just needed a new battery and with a new phone comes an instruction manual as thick as the Bible that sits on my nightstand. Now that I’ve had my new phone I must admit that I do like some of the more convenient features, but I still miss the simpler days where all I wanted it for was to dial home.
So what does this all have to do with being a Medical Assisting , pharmacy technician or nurse? Well, technology is everywhere and it influences every aspect of our life. A few nights ago I watched an episode of Family Ties and Elise and Steven Keaton were playing baseball on an old 1980’s tan computer with an attached keyboard. Compare that to the Wii and it’s a pretty amazing jump how far technology has advanced just in the not-so-simple world of gaming.
Several months ago my husband, who is an Vocational Nursing , had excessive training on a new drug dispensing machine at his place of work. (I can’t help but think of the glass and red painted metal candy machines that are at the front of grocery stores in which you drop in your quarter, turn the knob and candy spills out like a slot machine.) Instead of bugging the pharmacist, he just plugs in his ID number and the patient’s name and the pre-packaged drug can be found in the appropriate slot (or so he says). This machine has made work somewhat easier for him (except for the training and the weeks that followed as bugs were being worked out in the system), and as time progresses, I can’t help but wonder what other technology is on the horizon. When I had my baby a year and a half ago, I was surprised that my medical bracelet had a barcode and that the nurse had to scan it every time I popped a pill.
With new medicines, procedures and technology, it is important to stay on top of your game. If you are considering going back to school to become a nurse, a pharmacy technician or a Medical Assisting , consider Unitek College. Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Clara and Sacramento, Unitek will give you the skills you need to thrive in this ever changing and fast paced profession.

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Certification Verses Degree

Even before the economy turned sour, it was common for individuals to change careers. Now with the unemployment rate high and debt even higher, many are choosing to go back to school to pursue a steady career with the promise of longevity. As such, many students are choosing to earn certificates rather than degrees to save time, money and to join the work force quickly.
Joanne Jacobs from The Hechinger Report tackles this topic on Jacobs explains that, “Labor economists and some educators believe career-driven degrees should become an increasingly common choice and are advising students to pursue skills-oriented fields of study they feel offer better job opportunities. Fueling the trend is the worst economic decline in more than 70 years and a slowly falling unemployment rate of 9.4 percent. Add to that the staggering total of $830 billion in student debt nationally.”
What really surprised me was that, “Nationally, 27 percent of people with licenses and certificates also earn more than the average bachelor’s degree recipient, according to Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Carnevale’s newest data show that at least half of all anticipated job opportunities in the next seven years will be open to ‘middle-skill’ workers like pharmacy technicians.” In short, you may not make as much to begin, but you’ll have a good paying job; that’s not such a bad trade off in these times!
Jacobs has some good news for those who are pursuing a certificate in the health care industry. “Nursing, medical technology and other healthcare jobs are growing rapidly, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even in Michigan, where the unemployment rate is 12.4 percent — tied with California for the second-highest nationally — those with associate degrees in nursing and allied health fields can find jobs, said James Jacobs, president of Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich.”
If you are considering going to school in the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Clara, or Sacramento, consider Unitek College. You can get certified as a Pharmacy Technician, Medical Assisting, or Vocational Nursing in a short amount of time and have the skills you need to succeed in the medical field.

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