Unitek College Guest of Honor: Congressman Swalwell

August 7, 2013 at 11:45 pm
Congressman Swalwell speaks at Unitek College graduation.

Congressman Swalwell speaks at Unitek College.

Congressman Eric Swalwell left a lasting impression on everyone in attendance at Unitek College’s allied health and nursing graduation on Saturday July 27th. His speech was both enthralling and inspiring: it began with laughs from the audience, then brought some to tears, and ended with the entire room feeling motivated and confident in their ability to make a difference in the world. Staying true to his nickname, the “Technology Rep”, he whipped out his phone as soon as he stepped on stage, to take a quick Vine video of the grads. He posted it to his Twitter account (@RepSwalwell) before graduation was even over.

As the youngest member of Congress, you may think Swalwell led a privileged life, the child of well-connected parents. And this is simply not the case. Like many Unitek College graduates, he worked hard to get where he is today. When he lost his college scholarship as the result of a soccer injury, he took an unpaid internship in Washington DC. Just to get by, Swalwell maintained a standard intern schedule, but worked from 5AM to 8AM at a gym, and from 5PM to 10PM at a restaurant. He commended the many graduates in the audience who also overcame adversity before being able to walk across the stage that weekend. Swalwell noted one in particular: she came to the United States and learned English as a second language. She attended Unitek College while working a full time job and mothering to two young children. And now, her perseverance has paid off: she is a Licensed Vocational Nurse. Swalwell said, “You have to stubbornly pursue your dreams, even if others tell you that you cannot do it.”

Swalwell went on to talk about the bright futures of the graduates sitting in front of him. He noted that they are entering the medical field, a field that is constantly changing and improving and being revolutionized by technology. But technology will never replace the human touch of a nurse. He spoke to the graduates about the ever-present need for the human touch: “In our sickest times, in our lowest times, during the times we need help the most, there is no ‘app for that’. There is you.”

“Technology will replace a lot of things in our lives and in the medical field, but it will not replace the care, attentiveness, knowledge and skills needed to make our patients better. And that is why it’s so important we have qualified nurses entering the field today.” Unitek College is proud of this weekend’s graduates, as they have most definitely proven that they have the compassion, knowledge, and skills necessary to be effective allied health and nursing professionals.

Swalwell challenged the grads to remember how they got to where they are today: their own hard work and resilient spirit, and the support of others. “You did not make it here on your own,” he said, “Find someone you can help. Someone pulled you up. Now it is encumbered upon you, as you start your career, to reach down and pull somebody else up.” Speaking directly to the grads, he said, “There will be challenges. But never forget why you started, an unequivocal desire to help others.”

The Benefits of Obtaining a BSN Degree Online

April 30, 2013 at 8:36 pm
Online degrees offer flexibility and convenience

Online degrees offer flexibility and convenience

There are plenty of benefits to furthering your nursing education. First and foremost, you will improve the quality of care for your patients, which is ultimately the main goal.

Nurses are busy people: in addition to family responsibilities and working long shifts, nurses balance social lives, personal commitments, and just life in general. There seems like there is never enough time for all of it. So how is one supposed to add “earning an additional college degree” on top of their existing (and seemingly never-ending) to-do list? For most, the time constraints make it impossible. However, online degree programs are changing that. Online RN to BSN programs offer many benefits over a traditional brick and mortar colleges. The benefits that stand out most are: maintaining your lifestyle, receiving superior instruction quality, and saving time and money.

Lifestyle – You are already an RN. You have a job. A hard one. But you have a life outside of nursing. Attending night and weekend classes after work would completely wipe out any free time you once had outside of work. This to me seems like the greatest advantage of an online RN to BSN program. You take classes from home (or library, or coffee shop, or the beach if you get wifi, or wherever you fancy). And you take them on your time. This allows you to maintain the lifestyle you are used to, while still making headway on your degree.

Instruction Quality – There is a misconception that online college courses just can’t offer the same level of instruction as traditional college courses. This is simply not true. Online schools and brick and mortar schools accredited by the same organizations are being held to the same standards. One of those standards is instruction quality. The quality of education of any vocational school, online or in-person, hinges in part on the quality of instructors. Nursing Instructors at Unitek College bring their students years of extensive nursing experience, and a  passion to share their knowledge and expertise with the next generation of nurses. Unitek College’s Fremont Main Campus and Sacramento Branch Campus are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), it’s San Jose Satellite Campus is recognized by the ACCSC as a satellite campus of the Fremont Main Campus.

Time – I’m not talking about the hours of time you save by not sitting in class, as I was in the first section. I am talking about the time it takes you to complete an RN to BSN degree from start to finish. Online courses are often much faster than traditional nursing courses. You are learning at your own speed, but the courses are accelerated and engaging, so you can get through them quickly and get on with the next step in your career. Some online BSN programs can be completed in as little as 20 months. BSN programs at traditional schools take 4 years to complete. Even RN to BSN programs tailored for post-grad working nurses can take years, as classes are only offered at night and are arranged around work schedules.

MoneyOnline RN to BSN programs are unbelievably cheaper than traditional RN to BSN programs. This is because they are taught online.  No buildings or expensive labs to maintain – yet the same caliber education – results in a much less expensive diploma.

If you would like to further explore the all of the benefits of an online RN to BSN degree, please visit us at www.UnitekCollege.edu.

How can I Earn my BSN Degree online?

May 5, 2012 at 9:41 pm
Explore your options for getting your BSN degree

Explore your options for getting your BSN degree

Earning your BSN degree offers you the chance to become a leader in the nursing industry or enter the world of nurse management and training. However, before you can do that, you will need to have the education necessary to earn your credentials. How do you go about earning a degree from a BSN school?

Find a School

The first step to getting your degree is to find the right school. Nursing schools differ significantly from one another. You will find private schools, public schools, distance learning programs and more. Make sure the program you choose is a good fit for your needs, both academically and financially. Check the school’s wait time for new enrollment, their tuition costs and student to teacher ratio. There is tremendous opportunity in choosing an Online program over a traditional on-campus program as these provide flexibility to work in parallel to taking the BSN.

Enroll

The next step, obviously, is to enroll in the BSN school of your choice. However, this might be easier said than done. Quite a few schools have rather lengthy wait times due to high enrollment. Before you decide on a school, make sure you won’t have to wait to get your education. Consider the opportunity cost associated with waiting for  an enrollment. If you can speed up the return on investing in an RN to BSN program by starting and finishing in a timely manner, you will definitely be ahead of your game.

Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree

Once you’re enrolled in the school of your choice, you can set about earning your bachelor’s degree. Many factors determine the length of your study program, but in most cases, an online degree program can help you cut down on the length of time you spend in school.

The process for earning your degree is relatively straightforward. However, that does not mean it’s simple and easy. You need to be dedicated to getting your degree and advancing your career. You also need to ensure that you’ve made the right choice in schools. For help in reducing your enrollment period, consider attending a school that offers an online program.

To learn more about Online BSN degree programs, contact Unitek College, a nationally accredited industry leader in providing career training through programs such as Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN Program), Registered Nursing (RN) and Bachelors of Science Nursing – RN to BSN To learn more about Unitek College and the programs we offer at each of our campuses, visit http://www.unitekcollege.edu or call 888-735-4355.

Budget Cuts Affecting Nursing Students

July 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm

It’s not news that nursing schools are impacted and nursing instructors are limited. I have a friend who has submitted her name into a lottery system for the past three years only to be denied acceptance into school (and she even has her BS in Biochemistry!) State cutbacks are now making matters worse for community college students. It seems like an accelerated RN to BSN online program may just be the best way to go!

According to the Fountain Valley Patch reporter John Sekata, “The budget signed by Gov. Jerry Brown cut the California community college budget by 8 percent, which means students will pay $36 per unit in the fall, a $10 per unit increase in tuition. Tuition could increase to $46 per unit in the spring of 2012 if the economy fails to meet the projections used in the budget… Another challenge on top of rising tuition for community college students… is fewer available classes and a smaller pool of faculty at work.”

With limited classes being offered and the competition increasing as more students are pursuing a higher education, money is a big issue closely followed by the time invested to wait to get into a program. Many higher education classes are being offered just once a year rather than year round.

“Over the last three fiscal years, the California community college budget has been cut by more than $800 million, according to a press release from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office,” writes Sekata. “For students, the new California budget means more of the same— higher costs, but fewer services and more hurdles to obtain a degree.”

With impacted nursing classes and high costs even at community colleges, online classes may be the path for you. There are several programs out there, but beware of sub rate ones. Check to make sure the school is accredited, that the faculty is credentialed, that it has a positive reputation and that the students who are graduating are able to find work. You may want to visit the campus and talk to a career counselor and students on campus to get the real back story of the school.

There are some great online RN to BSN nursing programs out there and the convenience can’t be beat. Working around a work or family schedule, you can pursue your education and prepare for a better future today… without putting your name on a waiting list!

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit:
http://fountainvalley.patch.com/articles/no-easy-path-to-an-associates-degree

Nurses Returning to School

May 20, 2011 at 4:04 am

If you’re an RN-BSN student, or a working nurse thinking about going back to school, this post is for you.  The healthcare field is continuously growing and making huge advances.  With stricter patient care policies and ever-higher performance standards, higher education is becoming a greater demand amongst nursing employers.  However, after all things are taken into consideration (work, family, costs) deciding to go to school can be a difficult decision to make.

RN Terri G with Nurse.com understands the challenge of making this decision.  As a working mother, she made the choice to go back to school and now encourages other nurses and aspiring nurses to do the same.

Here’s her story:

I have been thinking about returning to school for several years but have been hampered by my own personal list of reasons as to why it was not feasible.

My excuses included the usual litany. I was too busy. My family needed me. And, of course, school was too expensive. After all, I already was paying tuition for one child. How could I possibly afford a second tuition?

In reality, the lack of time and money were not the true reasons preventing me from going back to school. I was paralyzed by my fear of failure. Would a school accept me? Could I successfully navigate a formal education program? What if I didn’t have what it took to pass the classes?

I finally bit the bullet and am proud to say I am eagerly pursing a doctoral degree in nursing. I enjoy being exposed to the world of higher education and comparing notes with my daughter, who is a college sophomore. But more importantly, I love the intellectual stimulation and being able to expand my knowledge of nursing and healthcare. Finally, given the high cost of a college degree, I am definitely getting my money’s worth.

As our practice becomes more complex, we must accept the role of lifelong learners if we expect to improve patient-care outcomes. So when asked if going back to school is a good investment, my reply is, “I can’t afford not to.”

Having an advanced degree in medicine like Nurse Terri, or a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing), will not only give you an edge during the hiring process but actually help you while you’re working and treating patients.  This is because higher education not only trains nurses to do their jobs but also provides them a depth and breadth of knowledge that proves useful in the workplace.  While working, nurses have to think critically and quickly, so being more knowledgeable definitely gives nurses an advantage in tight situations.

Nurse Terri also provides useful information about on the cost of education and its increasing importance.

To read the entire article, please visit: http://forums.nurse.com/entry.php?1151-Passing-on-School-Truly-a-Failure

 

The Class Dummy

April 18, 2011 at 2:57 pm

For nursing students, the thought of working with patients is both exciting and terrifying. Nursing is all about helping people, but you have to have confidence in your skills and gaining experience takes time. Now there are new manikins being implemented in a few nursing schools to help RN to BSN students.

Eloise Lewis, Dean of Ivy Tech Community College in Columbus, Indiana writes about how this new technology is used and the impact that it is having on her students. “Clinical simulation situations are tools that are utilized to create a learning environment in which students can participate in clinical decision-making, practice and internalize the results of clinical judgment in a safe, nonthreatening, experiential environment. The simulation aims to enhance student learning; improve skills, such as critical thinking and decision-making; strengthen clinical teams; and evaluate performance.”

Gone are the days of simple CPR dummies and babies that teach teenagers the difficulties of motherhood. These life-sized human computers display a range of medical dilemmas for nursing students to decipher. “Through the development of scenarios in which manikins are programmed to exhibit medical situations, such as having difficulty breathing, nursing faculty create learning experiences and enhance the interactive component of teaching. The faculty can develop learning outcomes that occur in real time and assess learners’ critical thinking. The debriefing period, which follows the interactive simulation, allows for evaluation of student interventions and effectiveness.”

Another interesting aspect of this new teaching practice is that the students are videotaped as they treat the “patient.” When the scenario is completed, the video is analyzed to see if every procedure was done correctly. I think this is a great learning tool, but it would sure make me nervous! “These sessions allow the students and faculty to reflect upon the treatment choices made by the students. This reflective process can be continued throughout the curriculum; it prepares students for professional practice. The nursing faculty guide the students’ reflection of each scenario. Reflective practice supports the concept of the caring professional who uses critical reasoning in everyday practice… The time spent with students as they reflect on their actions and consider what they could improve and what they did well gives nursing students the opportunity to continue to use critical thinking in their learning process.”

For nursing students who are in a RN to BSN program, it’s exciting to see the amazing resources that are becoming available for students to hone their skills.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit:
http://www.therepublic.com/view/local_story/Technology_advances_nursing_ed_1303129738/

Obama’s Plan for Nurses

April 15, 2011 at 4:31 am

Many people considering nursing as a career are often deterred by the cost of school, particularly RN-BSN programs which tend to be longer and thus more expensive than other RN programs.  We’ve gone over the benefits of going the RN-BSN route in previous posts, and with Obama’s 2012 budget request, we can feel more (financially) secure about actually going.

Back in February we posted that we can expect more federal dollars for nursing education, here are some more details on the budget request:

On February 14, President Obama released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Budget Request, which includes funding for critical nursing education and research programs. The new budget request shows the administration’s commitment to nursing by increasing the funding for the Nursing Workforce Development Programs (Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act) and Nurse Managed Health Clinics to $333 million.  Additionally, the President’s request included a modest increase over the FY 2010 level for the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), totaling $148 million, which will support NINR’s mission to advance nursing science and translate innovations into improved patient care.

And he’s doing this in the midst of major fiscal constraints.  This is because the demand for healthcare is higher than ever and cannot be denied.  One way to deal with meeting the need for healthcare is by increasing the workforce.  As we know, and reiterate over and over, there’s a definite shortage of nurses and this is finally being addressed at the national level.

In his budget, the President stated:

“Strengthening the primary care workforce is critical to reforming the Nation’s healthcare system. Increasing access to primary care health providers can help prevent disease and illness, ensure all Americans have access to high quality care, and reduce costs by decreasing the need for more invasive treatment that could have been prevented through early care. To increase access to this type of care, the Administration provides increased resources for primary care training and support for health care providers who choose to enter primary care in medically underserved areas. In total, the Budget includes investments that will help train more than 4,000 primary care providers estimated to enter the workforce over the next five years.”

Great news, yes?  However, we still have a year to see how the budget will pan out.  We know we’re up against some major opposition looking to crush any possibility of healthcare reform, but this recent budget request shows that we’ve got a fighting force on our side.

For more information on Obama’s budget request, visit: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/Media/NewsReleases/2011/FY12Budget.html

Tips from Former Nursing Students

April 6, 2011 at 4:42 am


Going to school and getting your BSN is a great place to start if you want to become a nurse.  However, starting is easy, getting through school and completing your degree is the tough part.  Well, that is before you get to the tougher part — actually applying what you’ve learned.  Here are some tips from former nursing students on how to both do well in school, and excel at clinicals:
Get the most from your books:

  • Take your materials out of your house to study. Get away from distractions, undone dishes, radio and TV. The doughnut shop or all night cafe will offer quiet and ample amounts of coffee.
  • Read nursing journals and magazines. Often current articles will compliment your text and make the information more easily understood.
  • Use individual sheets of paper or large index cards to make a file of disease/conditions and their treatments. List etiology, signs and symptoms, diagnostic tests, interventions, etc. and keep them in a binder for future reference as well as present study.
  • Take notes from your notes! After taking notes in class or from the book, put away the book and tape player and outline the notes.
  • Turn course objectives (as found in the beginning of each chapter or from the course syllabus) into questions – instant study guide!

Thrive in clinicals:

  • Whether you don’t know how to make a bed or have been an EMT for years, remember everyone begins clinicals as different levels of experience. Focus on where you are going, what you will learn – not on how much (or little) you know now.
  • If you have trouble remembering protocols, lab values or even your patient’s name down on index cards and keep them in your pocket. The more you use them the more you study them.
  • In Psych rotation, take a moment to center yourself before working with patients. Most respond best to a calm focused approach.
  • Study your instructors. The more you know them the more likely you are to understand them and what they are expecting from you.
  • If you don’t know how to do a procedure, look it up, check the protocols, ask for help. Instructors would rather be “bothered” walking you through the procedure than fixing the mess or hearing the complaints if you do something wrong.
  • Be helpful to the nurse you are assigned to for clinical. Take all the vitals, never contradict publicly, don’t ask constant questions (that’s what you have instructors for) In general, kiss-up! The nurse will be glad of the help and be more likely to help you.
  • Don’t make your supervising nurse hold your hand. Even if you’re scared and have never done something before, jump in and do anything suggested.
  • Volunteer information! Instructors like to be informed about your patients. If they can trust you to keep them informed, you are likely to be trusted to work independently.
  • Explore volunteer opportunities in your area. It ain’t just for candy stripers any more. Many clinics and outreach organizations are completely run by volunteers. The experience can help you shine on the floor.

For more tips and resources that will help you get closer to that degree and into the workforce, visit: http://www.medi-smart.com/

Getting through Nursing School

March 25, 2011 at 5:18 am

It’s no surprise that student nurses in RN-BSN programs deal with a lot of stress getting through school.  Studies have even suggested that the stress levels in nursing are not only higher than they are in other academic programs, but also higher than their counterparts in medical school, pharmacology, and social work programs.

A nursing student has to juggle academic studies and clinical practice on top of work and their personal lives.  This is often more difficult than it sounds because many nursing students are in the middle of changing or advancing in their careers.  They tend to be older and more mature, dealing with their own children, aging parents, and personal predicaments.

We may have heard this all before, but in this stressful world we live in, we never get enough reminders to take care of ourselves, nurses especially.  In order to maintain their physical and emotional health, nursing students need to consider different ways of dealing with stress and managing their personal, academic, and professional lives.  After all, how can nurses take care of so many other people when their own health suffers from stress?

Fran Roberts of ScrubsMag provides a comprehensive list of advice for nursing students coping with stress.  Here is a condensed version:

1. Eat right. The body metabolizes more during stressful times, meaning you may be hungrier more often, but without proper planning you might find yourself making poor food choices. Because the nursing profession is largely comprised of women, it’s not surprising that eating disorders are prevalent in the profession. Eat five or six small meals a day, drink plenty of water and be conscious of choosing whole foods, with an emphasis on fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

2. Adopt smarter study habits. Nursing students are frequently encouraged by faculty to study in groups. While this is sometimes helpful and constructive, it can also lead to “group anxiety.” The stress levels of individual students can begin to mount and actually accelerate within study groups. So determine what works best for you. You may find that quizzing each other in groups while preparing for tests works well, but reading difficult chapters and articles is best done alone and isolated in a quiet, undisturbed place.

3. Pace yourself. At the beginning of a term or semester you generally know what your student workload will be. Resist the temptation to procrastinate completing assignments, which frequently results in the dreaded and extremely unhealthy “all-nighter.” Remember, you’re not a history major who can sleep the entire next day. More than likely you’ll have to show up at a clinical assignment the morning after your marathon event!

4. Get centered, physically and emotionally. Nurses are masters at multitasking—and often the trade-off of this mastery is sacrificing “me” time. Although it might seem impossible, carve out a minimum of 30 minutes a day for yourself. Spend this time wisely—incorporate a physical activity such as walking or yoga, set an intention for the day that helps you maintain your focus and spend some time in meditation. If you’ve never tried meditation or yoga, try a physical inversion (simply put, turn yourself upside down or do a deep forward bend). It increases blood flow and helps you rest better and think more clearly.

5. Love your profession. You’ll get frustrated. You’ll get upset. You may break down in front of professors and colleagues. But remember, you’re entering into one of the most admired and important professions in the world. Without you, the healthcare system would fail. As you go through your studies, keep this in mind, and think about what you want to do next. An attitude of lifelong learning will help you gain confidence and enhance your position in the workplace.

Completing your RN-BSN degree will be one of the most rewarding and exciting stages in your life as a nurse.  But to get to that point in one piece – and to move forward in your nursing career – you need to maintain your personal well-being.  When in doubt, or under the load of stress, remember that the first person you need to take care of, is you.

For more details on how to get through nursing school, please visit ScrubsMag.com



You Can’t be a BSN and a Wimp

March 12, 2011 at 8:18 pm

          As a former teacher, I notice that nursing and teaching have a lot in common: those who take up the challenge are in it for altruistic reasons. You have to love people to deal with them in such close quarters day in and day out. You have to communicate closely with family and take care of the people they love the most in the world – you either hear high praise or angry ranting; there just doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. Finally, good days are huge triumphs and bad days have you composing a letter of resignation in your head. For all these reasons, being is a field of service is not for wimps.
          The DesMoinesRegister.com had an interesting article about a new program which helps those who just graduated with their RN or RN to BSN degree stay in the profession. Estela Villanueva-Whitman, correspondent for the Register, reported on this story. “As Karen Lutter and Nancy Fink advanced in their nursing careers, they saw the need for more clinical experience for new graduates entering the health care work force. They helped develop a pilot nursing residency program at Iowa Health-Des Moines as part of graduate studies they completed earlier this year.” Fink explains that, “It costs close to $80,000 to orient and retain a new nurse. If they leave within a year and you have to orient another nurse, you lose quite a bit of money. The long-term goal is to keep them intrigued and continue their education and professionalism. We want to find where they fit in.” Lutter also mentions, “If you can start a new nurse out on the right foot, they’re more likely to stay. We’ve seen that with some of our residents. They want to be part of our professional committees. Nurses who are more actively involved are more likely to stay than nurses who are not. This starts them with that involvement from the day they enter the organization…In a patient room, it’s difficult to learn and to teach. This gives newly licensed nurses a non-threatening environment they can go into and talk about an event that happened in their clinical experience and work it out so the next time, they are able to deal with it.”
          Nursing is not easy, but getting the right education and support are vital. If you’re in an RN to BSN program, connect with your professors and fellow graduates; once your in the field, you’ll have a support system in place.