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Meningitis Awareness Promoted by California School Nurses Organization and Sacramento County Board of Supervisors

A week-long campaign to promote meningitis vaccination and awareness of the potentially serious disease was launched on Monday by the California School Nurses Organization (CSNO), the Sacramento Board of Supervisors, the Sacramento Healthy Community Immunization Coalition and the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services.

Known as the Voices of Meningitis Week, the August 16-20 promotion is designed to educate the families of Northern California-area adolescents and preteens about the vaccination and other preventative measures against the dangerous meningococcal meningitis.

According to a news release issued by the public coalition, the disease is rare but can often have fatal consequences for its victims, particularly children. Sacramento’s public health officials encourage young adults and preteens aged 11 to 18-years-old, as well as freshmen-level college students based in dormitories to be vaccinated against the fast-acting condition.

Meningitis, also known as meningococcal disease, is caused by an inflammation of the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord, called meninges. This inflammation may be caused by bacteria, virus, injury, drugs or cancer-based spinal fluid infections. Bacterial meningitis, commonly called spinal meningitis, is typically the most serious form of the disease.

Although often treatable with antibiotics, this rapidly-spreading variant of the disease may cause serious physical injury or death if left undetected. Early detection of spinal meningitis may help prevent fatalities; however, some of the most frequent signs of the disease like nausea, light sensitivity and vomiting may resemble other common illnesses.

While the disease may be especially devastating to children, recent surveys by the National Immunization Survey identified less than half of California’s 13-17 year-old population has been properly immunized against meningitis—numbers far below the recommended 90 percent vaccination rate issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

To help raise awareness about the dangers of serious diseases like spinal meningitis, Northern California needs more trained professionals like Santa Clara LVNs and San Francisco LVNs. See how the quality Vocational Nursing training program at Unitek College can help you prepare for Sacramento LVN jobs and other related positions in the Bay Area.
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UC Davis Medical Center Under Investigation for Potential Nurse Staffing Shortages

Possible violations of nursing staff levels have triggered the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to investigate the UC Davis Medical Center, reports the Sacramento-based Capital Public Radio broadcasting organization.

In a feature story broadcast August 3, reporter John Sepulvado describes investigations by California state regulators into charges of nurse staffing shortages at the central Sacramento trauma center and comprehensive teaching hospital.

The investigation is reported to be the result of a February complaint filed with regulators by the California Nurses Association (CNA). The organization has a long track record of campaigning for guaranteed healthcare, patient safety, and the rights of California’s registered nurses.

Among the chief concerns expressed in the papers are chronic nurse understaffing at UC Davis Medical Center, and patient problems related to the staff shortage.

According to the Capitol Public Radio report, the California Department of Public Health confirmed that an investigation of UC Davis Medical Center is underway, but offered no further comments. The story also stated that two UC Davis nurses, who are also CNA members, said they were questioned in the last 30 days by the CDPH about understaffing and specific patient cases.

California state law requires different ratios of nurses, including Sacramento LVNs (licensed vocational nurses), to patients. These figures may vary depending on the type of facility and care unit. Operating rooms must have one nurse for each patient, while emergency rooms require one nurse for every four patients.

The CNA documents provided to Capitol Public Radio include several allegations of specific patient problems connected to a shortage of nurses at the UC Davis Medical Center. One complaint details an infant whose stomach required pumping after being overfed. In another instance, a patient in distress was assigned individual monitoring by a nurse. The patient later attempted suicide after being left without the recommended one-on-one nurse monitor.

For years, the California Nurses Association has cited numerous cases of nurse understaffing at hospitals throughout the state. Similar complaints were filed by the organization against the UC Davis Medical Center in 2009 and 2004.

There is an urgent need for qualified nursing professionals, like expert San Francisco LVNs, throughout Northern California. If you’ve thought of pursuing a career as a Santa Clara LVN, or a vocational nurse elsewhere in the Bay Area, see how Unitek College’s skilled training program can get you started in this growing field today!

For additional information on Capitol Public Radio or the California Nurses Association, please visit:

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California Nurses Join Naval Medical Mission to Haiti and Central America

A group of California-based nurses departed July 21 for a month-long medical mission to Haiti and Central America, announced National Nurses United, the largest nursing union in the United States. The California registered nurses (RN) will join nurse volunteers from Michigan and Washington state as part of the international humanitarian assistance program Continuing Promise 2010.

During their deployment, the nurse volunteers will be stationed aboard the USS Iwo Jima, an amphibious U.S. Naval ship. From July to November, the Continuing Promise volunteers will provide nursing care in temporary clinics located on the coasts of Haiti, Coasta Rica, Colombia, Guatemala, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama, and Suriname. The nurses will assist patients in these countries on a one-month rotational basis.

The first team of professionals to participate in the mission is comprised of Nurse Practitioners (NP) and Registered Nurses (RNs) who have disaster relief experience and backgrounds in women’s health. Like other kinds of nursing professionals, including Santa Clara LVNs, RNs and Nurse Practitioners undergo specialized training that provides them with the knowledge and skills they need to care for their patients safely and effectively.

San Francisco Bay Area women’s health nurse practitioner Jane Ernstthal is one of the healthcare professionals participating in the Central American-bound mission. She has extensive clinical nursing experience in regions as diverse as Chile, Ecuador, Haiti, Mexico, Malawi and Kenya. During her previous nursing missions, Ernstthal provided family planning education and training for personnel at local clinics.

Joining Ernstthal and the other volunteers is San Diego-area Registered Nurse Amanda Howard. After Haiti’s devastating earthquake in January, Howard spent six weeks in the island nation. As part of her volunteer nursing work, the RN helped establish pre- and post-natal care at an existing Haitian clinic.

Erstthal and Howard are part of National Nurses United’s volunteer Registered Nurse Response Network. The group provides widespread care through a series of continuous assignments, including a mission earlier this year to treat those critically injured in the Haiti earthquake.

Since 2005, Continuing Promise has brought together civilians, Sailors and Marines with a desire to provide humanitarian aid to citizens of South and Central American countries, particularly during critical situations resulting from natural disasters.

The need for skilled nursing professionals both abroad and close to home continues to grow. If you’ve been thinking of exploring LVN jobs in San Francisco, Fremont or elsewhere the Bay Area, see how Unitek College can get you started on an exciting nursing career. From LVN jobs in Sacramento, to nursing roles in San Jose, Unitek College has the quality training program to help you jumpstart your career in this growing healthcare field.

For additional information on National Nurses United, please visit:

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Greater Sacramento Licensed Vocational Nurse to Receive a Prestigious Nursing Award in Washington D.C.

Brenda Calvin Wright, a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) clinical manager for the Chapa-De Indian Health Program in Auburn, California, will receive a distinguished national award for excellence in nursing on July 21 in Washington D.C., reported the Colusa County Sun Herald.

Wright will be awarded on Wednesday during the 2010 Nurse Leaders in Native Care Conference. The annual event includes a series of educational workshops and presentations on the people and issues that impact American Indian and Alaskan Native nurses. It is sponsored by the Indian Health Service (IHS), the Indian Health Service National Nurse Leadership Council, and the Arizona Nurses Association.

As a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Wright was nominated to the National Nurse Leadership Council by her supervisor for her compassionate approach to nursing, and the positive impact she has on her patients’ lives. In her nomination, Wright is said to improve the attitudes of numerous patients by taking the time to communicate sensitive medical practices and emphasizing the benefits of daily self-care.

According to the Colusa County Sun Herald, Wright began working at the Chapa-De Indian Health Program as a receptionist five years ago. After a year at the Auburn-based healthcare program, the native of Colusa County, northwest of Sacramento, transitioned to a rewarding new role as an LVN. This professional change followed the death of her husband Larry in a truck accident.

Wright, a grandmother of two, is the only California Indian Health Care nurse to receive this year’s prestigious award from the IHS National Nurse Leadership Council.

The Chapa-De Indian Health Programs serve more than 4,000 patients in the Greater Sacramento communities of Auburn, Grass Valley and Woodland. While many of the programs’ patients are Native American, Wright is recognized for sharing her compassionate and professional nursing skills with all of Chapa-De’s clients. As she told the Colusa County Sun, “All our patients are like family to me. Not just Native Americans, but those from all communities.”

Like other nursing personnel, such as San Francisco LVNs, Wright is part of a vital and growing field in the healthcare profession. Licensed vocational nurses play an important role in the and daily care of patients in clinics, hospitals and other settings. They also provide key information on preventative care and treatment to families and caregivers.

If you’ve thought of exploring LVN Jobs in Sacramento or considered working as a Santa Clara LVN, Unitek College has a quality training program that can get you started on a rewarding career in the expanding nursing industry. Discover more about Unitek College’s LVN convenient training program today!

To learn more about Brenda Calvin Wright, please visit:

And to learn more about the federal Indian Health Service program, please visit:

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Nursing Professionals Address California Whooping Cough Epidemic

The American Nursing Association (ANA) and other professional groups are joining the campaign to raise awareness among nursing professionals, like Sacramento Vocational Nursing, on the California whooping cough epidemic.

In June, the California Department of Health declared an epidemic of this highly contagious yet preventable respiratory disease. More than 900 cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, have been reported in California in less than three months. An additional 600 suspected cases are also under investigation. Sadly, five infants also died recently in the state as a result of pertussis infections.

In a special release issued on June 25, the ANA urged nurses, particularly those working closely with infants and newborn babies, to be vaccinated against whooping cough with the tetanus-diptheria-pertussis vaccine, or “Tdap,” vaccine.

“This is a tragic reminder that vaccine-preventable diseases still exist, and the need to maintain vaccine coverage is vital to protecting the public, especially those most vulnerable,” stated the ANA in its online statement on the outbreak of this bacteria-borne disease.

The ANA also encourages California’s nursing professionals, such as San Francisco Vocational Nursing, to educate pregnant women and parents on whooping cough. In particular, the organization recommends that health professionals promote the need for babies, children and adolescents to be vaccinated against the disease.

Pertussis is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. The name ‘whooping cough’ is based on the whooping sound generated by sufferers as they attempt to breathe in air during strenuous coughing fits. Babies are especially susceptible to this airborne disease, which can be spread through mucous discharge from the nose and mouth.

Following a 7-10 day incubation period, pertussis sufferers usually experience nasal discharge along with mild coughing and sneezing. Symptoms typically become worse during the next 1-2 weeks, and eventually lead to uncontrollable and aggressive coughing attacks. From this point, sufferers may experience unpleasant coughing fits for an additional 2-8 weeks. In serious cases, particularly those involving infected infants, whooping cough can contribute to severe complications like pneumonia.

Despite the existence of vaccines, contagious diseases like whooping cough remain on rise in California and other parts of the country. As serious illnesses continue to impact more people, the need for qualified licensed vocational nurses who can care for and educate patients will also grow.

If you’ve thought of training for Vocational Nursing jobs in Santa Clara or other parts of the state, now may be the best time to act. Unitek College’s quality LVN education program can help you develop skills you need to help California respond to outbreaks of whooping cough and other preventable diseases.

For additional information on preventing pertussis, please visit: