Being an Essential Healthcare Worker in a Post-COVID World

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things in our daily lives. Those who are healthcare workers have experienced an even more significant number of changes that have affected their professional lives.

The growth of telemedicine, the increased focus on sanitation and cleanliness, and the shortage of healthcare professionals are changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has partly caused. Read on as we share more information on each of these shifts!

Growth of Telemedicine

If you are unfamiliar with the concept, you may be wondering, what is telemedicine? Telemedicine is defined as the use of telecommunications and technology to assess, diagnose, and treat patients remotely.

For example, if you wake up with a weird rash and decide to schedule a virtual visit with your healthcare provider, you will likely have a video call to complete the visit. Your healthcare professional will go through the same set of questions that they would at an in-person appointment. They will want to know things like how long the rash has been there, if anything specific caused it, and may even ask you to show it to them on camera. Then, they will provide the appropriate treatment, such as calling in a prescription for a rash cream to your local pharmacy.

This type of patient assessment and treatment has become much more common due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Telemedicine allows healthcare providers to treat patients from the comfort of their homes, which can stop the spread of illness for those who are contagious since they do not have to leave their homes to receive care. It also allows healthcare providers to reach patients in more rural areas who may not be able to travel to appointments.

According to a report from McKinsey & Company, telehealth usage has increased 38 times from what its usage levels were before the pandemic. This means there are more opportunities now than ever before to work in telemedicine.

If you are considering a career as a healthcare worker in a position like practical nursing or medical assisting, you may one day treat patients in a telemedicine environment.

Focus on Sanitation

As the COVID-19 pandemic began, an increased focus on sanitation and cleanliness quickly started as well. There are sanitation and cleanliness standards for essential healthcare workers that must be practiced while on the job for infection control.

Even at home or in public spaces, healthcare professionals and everyone else have experienced this increased focus on sanitation. For example, it’s recommended to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soapy water many times per day to stop the spread of germs.

For buildings in community settings, the CDC recommends cleaning high-touch services at least once per day. Some examples of these surfaces include countertops, light switches, desks, keyboards, shopping carts, and phones.

For those who work in healthcare, you will need to consistently practice sanitation and cleanliness standards to avoid the spread of germs while on the job and in your personal life.

Shortage of Professionals

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, there was a growing shortage of healthcare professionals. With the aging baby boomer generation needing more care and the increased access to healthcare created by legislative changes within the past decade, the need for qualified healthcare professionals has been growing for some time.

One example of this growth is for practical nursing professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the projected growth rate for practical nurses from 2020 to 2030 will be 9%, and there will be an average of 60,700 job openings for LPNs each year in the United States.

When COVID-19 hit the US, it increased the need for healthcare professionals even more. With hospitals and other healthcare facilities providing care to a larger number of patients, many are experiencing a critical shortage of healthcare professionals.

Due to these shortages, some healthcare facilities have increased the salary for qualified professionals and even started offering sign-on bonuses. With this continuously growing need for healthcare professionals, now is the perfect time to start a career in the medical field.

If you’re ready to get started in this growing industry, we’re here to help! Learn more about our healthcare training programs in Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Billing/Administration today.

Request information now to get started on your path to a healthcare career!

Allison Orr – Graduate Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is excited to introduce you to Allison Orr, a recent graduate of our Medical Assisting program.

Prior to attending United, Allison was working with the elderly at a nursing home.  She knew she had a passion for helping people and wanted to find a school that would set her up to continue to do that in her career. She said, “I chose United because it looked like a promising school. I was absolutely correct about my expectations. I’m so grateful I chose this school.”

Allison chose United’s Medical Assisting program because of her love for helping people and her desire to learn all she can about the medical field and have a meaningful impact on the community around her. “I have a passion for helping people. I want to make a difference in this community and become very educated in my field of study,” she said.

There were many things about United Career Institute that Allison enjoyed. Among these things were the curriculum and the “amazing teachers,” but first and foremost, she liked that she was treated as an individual. “Everyone knew you as who you were, and [you were] not just a number,” she said.

Allison cites the “amazing teachers” as one of her favorite things about United, but one instructor, in particular, stands out as her favorite. “My favorite teacher was Kelli Workman. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She pushed me to my greatest potential. She knew I had the courage within me and encouraged me. I’m so thankful to have had her while I attended this school,” Allison said.

Allison graduated from United Career Institute a few short weeks ago, and we are so excited to announce that she will be returning to United for our Practical Nursing program! Many students who dream of becoming a nurse choose to start their journey in the medical field with United’s Medical Assisting program. This allows students to gain a base knowledge in a less stressful and rigorous environment.

Allison has some very admirable goals for the next five years. She says, “In five years, I would love to be at my forever job. I can’t wait to be a nurse and helping people every day of my life. The ultimate goal is to be unconditionally happy.”

When asked if she would refer a friend to United Career Institute, Allison said, “Absolutely. This is a great environment to learn and grow as a person.”

To learn more about the medical pathway programs at United Career Institute, request information here!

Amber Berdar – Student Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is thrilled to introduce you to our July Student of the Month, Practical Nursing student, Amber Berdar.

Amber started her journey with United as a student in our Medical Assisting degree program. She said, “I attended United before for the Medical Assisting program, and I had a very good experience. Everyone was very helpful, and you learned a lot of information that helps in the long run.”

Many United students who have long-term dreams of being nurses choose to start their journey in the Medical Assisting program. This program is slower-paced than the Practical Nursing program so that students can gain a base knowledge of the medical field in a less stressful environment. Students can often work while attending school because the United Medical Assisting program is a smaller time commitment than our Practical Nursing program. This was the case with Amber. “I was working at Mount Macrina Manor nursing home as a CNA and went to school for Medical Assisting at United. After I got my MA certification, I got a job at Adagio and worked there full time until it was time for me to start the PN class,” she said.

Amber discovered United when she was still in high school and trying to determine what to do with the rest of her life. “I was at a job fair in Cal U while still in high school, and the school really caught my eye. I took the brochures home and was deciding which program I wanted to do. When I went for a tour of the school, [it]wasn’t too big or too small, and all the people there seemed very kind and inviting when you came in. I just knew that the school was a place for me, and it was going to be a good experience.”

Amber has many family members who work in the medical field, and that is what initially got her interested in a long-term career in healthcare. “All my family is in the medical field, and they encouraged me to go for nursing. But, most importantly, my mother and boyfriend are my biggest support systems, and they are the ones that pushed me to go further, and I’m glad that I made the decision to become a nurse,” she said.

The hands-on clinical experience she gets is Amber’s favorite part of attending United, and her favorite instructor is Danielle. She also really loved her Med Surg class. She said, “This class was very fast-paced and a lot of information, but I loved learning about all the different diseases and disorders that can happen and how to take care of the patients while they are sick.”

Amber’s ideal job after graduation is no surprise, considering how much she loved her fast-paced Med Surg class. “I would like to work as either a trauma nurse, ER nurse, or on the Med Surg floor. I like a fast-paced environment with a lot of things to do,” she said.

In five years, Amber hopes to be working as a trauma nurse in a hospital, but her educations dreams haven’t ended either! “I also see me furthering my education by becoming an RN or going for NP,” she says.

Amber had this to say about her overall experience at United. “I would refer a friend to United because this school is great for someone who wants to be in the medical field but does not want to go to a large college to become a nurse. You get a lot of great education attending this school, and I would want my friend to get the same experience I got.”

To learn more about United’s Practical Nursing program, request information here!

Katelyn Burgman – Student Highlight

Before attending United Career Institute’s Medical Assisting program, Katelyn Burgman, like many before her, attended a local community college to pursue a radiology technician program. Katelyn did not have an enjoyable experience and quickly realized that she wanted to go into a field doing something she “actually enjoyed instead of just settling for a job,” and she landed at United Career Institute.

When asked why she chose United, Katelyn quickly responded, “I want to be a nurse, but I chose to get my MA first so I can have options and more knowledge of the medical field.”  Katelyn’s favorite part of attending United Career Institute is that the presented material isn’t overwhelming, and assistance is available.  Her favorite classes so far have been her three clinical courses because they provide a hands-on experience, and Katelyn is a hands-on learner.

When it comes to her favorite instructor, Katelyn couldn’t choose a specific one. “All of my instructors have shown caring and understanding, and I like them all in different ways.” This comes as no surprise, as the Medical Assisting program staff truly puts the student first, as does anyone at United.

Upon completion of her externship, Katelyn doesn’t have a particular specialty in mind but knows with the options available to medical assistant graduates; the possibilities are plentiful. After graduation, Katelyn sees herself being happy with the path she chose and having her life on track. We can’t wait to see what successes Katelyn has in her future as a medical assistant!

Dominique Thomas – Graduate Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is excited to introduce you to Dominque Thomas, a graduate of our Medical Assisting program and our Practical Nursing program. When Dominique attended United for the Medical Assisting program, she loved it so much that she knew she had to come back to continue her education in nursing. It is common for United students to start their journey into the medical field with our Medical Assisting program and then continue into nursing. United has a pathway program to make it as easy on the student as possible!

Before attending United, Dominque was working at a gas company. She was already considering going back to school when she received a message from a United staff member about coming back to school. Dominique took it as a sign that this was the right move for her. “I’m 100% glad that I did it,” Dominque said.

Dominique chose to continue her education in nursing because her medical assisting program showed her how much she loved the medical field. “When I completed the Medical Assisting program and got a job, I realized that I wanted to be a nurse. And this program was the best fit for me,” she said.

The familial atmosphere was Dominique’s favorite part about attending United Career Institute. “I basically had a second family away from home. There was always help when I needed it,” she said. Dominique’s favorite class was Med Surg. “I loved learning about diseases/disorders,” she said.

Dominique is currently working as a practical nurse at a psychiatric hospital, but she has hopes to continue her education even more! “I would like to become an RN and work where I am currently working,” she said.

Dominique says she would absolutely recommend United to a friend! “It’s a great school. There is always help if you need it, and I was able to feel confident in my position when I got my first job.”

If you are interested in becoming a nurse, or if your story sounds similar to Dominque’s, request information here!

Mackenzie Stefanini – Graduate Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is thrilled to introduce one of our newest graduates, Mackenzie Stefanini. Mackenzie graduated from United’s Medical Assisting program this month and is already working in the field!

Mackenzie began her journey at United right after high school! She attended a presentation in one of her classes that sparked her interest, and went for an interview afterward and loved it!

Mackenzie has always known she wanted to be in the medical field. However, she knew she needed a school where she could get her foot in the door of the medical field that also provided one on one time with instructors in a small school atmosphere. She said, “I chose the MA program so that I could get my foot in the door and be sure that this was the career I wanted and because I have always wanted to do something in the medical field.” Mackenzie continued,  “I chose United because it was hands-on experience and was a small building with not a lot of people at one time, allowing more one-on-one time with teachers for any questions you might have had.” United’s small class sizes allow plenty of time for one on one help if students need it!

The familial atmosphere was Mackenzie’s favorite part of attending United. “My favorite part was how friendly and family-oriented the building was. They made you feel at home while you were there,” she said. While the family-like atmosphere was Mackenzie’s favorite part of attending United, Kelli, United’s Allied Health Program Coordinator, was her favorite instructor. She said, “I would say my favorite teacher was Kelli. She was the teacher for my clinical classes, and I loved my clinical classes. She always told stories to help remember things.”

One of the most exciting parts of a student’s experience at United Career Institute is the externship they get to participate in their last 12 weeks of the program. This externship allows students to get real-world experience in medical settings. This experience can sometimes lead to job opportunities, and that is the case with Mackenzie! She said, “I am currently working from my extern because they hired me at Conn Family Medicine.”

Mackenzie has big plans for her life in the next five years, both professionally and personally! “I would like to be living in my own house, and starting a family, possibly even go back to United for their LPN program.” Many United students who graduate from the Medical Assisting program go on to the Practical Nursing program because the MA program offers an excellent base to build on.

Mackenzie says she would absolutely refer a friend to United because of the friendly environment and staff! “I would definitely refer somebody to United because of how friendly the environment is. Also, because of how great the teachers are, and they love what they do. I loved the hands-on experience that I also got being at the school.”

If your story sounds similar to Mackenzie’s, request information here!

Aleesha Guidos – Student Highlight

Aleesha Guidos is one of United Career Institute’s medical assisting students. She enrolled at the Irwin campus in the summer of 2020. She graduated from Latrobe High School and attended EWCTC while working as a CNA. She chose the Medical Assisting program because she thought it would be a good stepping stone into the medical field. United Career Institute was a good fit because she liked the idea of our small classes and felt that we had a positive atmosphere.

So far, her favorite instructor has been Kelly Shriver. Aleesha said, “She is understanding and always willing to help in any way she can.” She feels that the staff is very welcoming, and her favorite class so far has been Anatomy and Physiology. “I liked that class because I was able to learn about how each and every body system works,” she said.

After Aleesha graduates, she hopes to work as a medical assistant. Possibly in a pediatrician’s office! Later down the road, she hopes to have her BSN and work at a children’s hospital. We wish you all the luck, Aleesha!!

If you want to get into the medical field and like the idea of small classes like Aleesha, request information here and learn more today!

Nikki Feltes – Student Highlight

While in high school, United Career Institute Medical Assisting student Nikki Feltes had an idea she may want to pursue a career in healthcare, but didn’t see herself going to a four year college. During her time at Latrobe Area High School, she took advantage of a program available to students through the Eastern Westmoreland Career Technology Center where they could split HS studies with a health occupation program. During that time, Nikki began to see herself making healthcare a career, so when she wasn’t studying for school, she was working part-time at a nursing home. Upon graduation in June 2020, Nikki discovered United Career Institute in Irwin and thought it might be a perfect avenue to continue her healthcare aspirations. After meeting with the admissions team, her decision was made.

When we asked Nikki why she chose the United Career Institute Irwin campus, she said, “I thought it would be a fun and interesting school. Now that I have begun the program, boy was I right!” She has enjoyed learning new things pertaining to the medical field and not only going to class with other high school students in the same position as her, but other adult learners too. Her ultimate motivation for choosing UCI’s Medical Assisting program was sparked by her already having exposure to it from her time at EWCTC. She learned a lot about what medical assistants do from her Health Occupations program, and just knew that it would be something she’d be good at. She feels she’ll always enjoy working in a healthcare setting and hopefully make a difference in people’s lives.

The Medical Assisting program has many engaging and hands-on classes, but we had to ask Nikki what her favorite class has been so far, and she didn’t hesitate to answer; Anatomy & Physiology. “I love learning about the human body and diseases,” said Nikki. We also had to ask Nikki who her favorite instructor has been to this point, and the answer was immediate again; Kelly Clark. Nikki added, “She is so nice and laid back. I’ve always felt like I could tell her anything.” That reaction to Kelly Clark’s teaching is not uncommon. So it came as no surprise that Nikki felt the same way. It’s always good to hear positive feedback like this from our students, and Nikki’s is no exception.

Looking into the future, we asked her what she sees her life like after she graduates. Nikki hopes to be a medical assistant in either a children’s hospital or at a doctor’s office. She has a true passion for caring for children. She will be looking to do her externship in pediatrics locally to quell her passion for working with kids. Five years from now, she hopes to still be working as a medical assistant, and she wants to start a family eventually. Nikki can see herself married, happy in her career, and hopefully buying and moving into a new house.

If your story sounds like Nikki’s, request information here!

Cassidy East – Student Highlight

United Career Institute is thrilled to introduce you to Cassidy East, the February Student of the Month!

Cassidy has not been a part of the United family for long, as she started classes after she graduated from high school last year. “Before attending United Career Institute, I was enrolled as a student at Mount Pleasant Jr/Sr High School. I was also enrolled in the Health Occupations program at Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center,” she said.

Cassidy chose United’s Medical Assisting program because of the flexibility it offers. Medical Assisting students only attend classes Monday through Thursday and are done by 2:30 each day. This schedule allows United students to work while in school, if they choose to do so. Cassidy said, “I chose to come to United because it seemed like the perfect fit for me as I still wanted to continue to work as I gained my education.”

Cassidy has hopes to continue her education one day, but chose to start with the Medical Assisting program because it offers a great base to build off of. “I chose my program based on the knowledge I wanted to gain. I felt if I did the Medical Assisting program first, I would have a better understanding for when I go to further my education,” she said.

Medical Terminology was Cassidy’s favorite class so far. “This was my favorite because of how well I excelled in that class. I earned over 100% for Med Term 1-3,” she said. Overall, her favorite part of attending United is the general environment. “My favorite part of United is how relaxing it is, and also the people are really nice, and so it makes going enjoyable.”

After graduation, Cassidy hopes to be working in the medical field, specifically in a hospital. “My ideal job after graduation is in the hospital.” She continued, “If these plans are unable to be done right away, I would also enjoy working at a doctor’s office until I can further my education.”

In five years, Cassidy hopes to have a good job and generally be living a stable life. She said, “I would like to see myself having a stable job with a livable income. I would also like to see myself living on my own and having a better car.”

Cassidy is enjoying her time at United Career Institute and would definitely refer a friend! “I would definitely refer a friend as you gain a great education at United Career!”

If your story sounds similar to Cassidy’s or if you are interested in learning more about United’s Medical Assisting program, request information here!

Kristen Ruby – Student Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is thrilled to introduce you to our January Student of the Month, Kristen Ruby!

Prior to starting medical assisting classes at United Career Institute, Kristen was taking CNA (certified nursing assistant) classes and working at Cherry Tree Nursing Home, but she had bigger goals for her career in the healthcare industry. She had her sights set on being a nurse!

Kristen chose United Career Institute because of the small class sizes. She knew that having fewer students meant more one on one time with her instructors. United prides itself on keeping its class sizes small so that instructors can be sure to give each student the individualized attention they deserve.

Kristen has dreams of becoming a nurse, but wisely chose to start that journey In United’s Medical Assisting program. She knew that a practical nursing program’s rigor is made much easier when you have the base knowledge of a medical assisting program, so when she heard of United’s Nursing Pathway Program, she knew she found the right fit. This pathway program allows graduates of the United Medical Assisting program, who maintain a certain GPA and attendance percentage, to be exempt from taking the TEAS exam, the entrance exam used for nursing programs.

Kristen’s favorite part of attending United is “learning new things in the medical field and making new friends.” She also loves the instructors at United. “I would have to say that all my teachers that I have had so far are my favorite. I can’t pick a favorite one. My favorite class would have to be between med term and clinicals because they were both fun, and I learned new things,” she said.

After graduation, Kristen hopes to work in a doctor’s office to gain some experience but ultimately has her eyes set on becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse. She also hasn’t written off the idea of continuing on to become a Registered Nurse!

Kristen says she would absolutely refer a friend to United Career Institute because “it’s a small school and has small classroom sizes and a lot of people like that. The staff is very helpful when they are needed.”

If your story sounds similar to Kristen’s or if you are interested in ultimately becoming a nurse, request information here!