Advantages of Practical Nursing

If you have always dreamed of becoming a nurse, starting a career in practical nursing may be the perfect choice for you. As a licensed practical nurse, you have the opportunity to help people and make a difference in their lives every day when you go to work.

There are many advantages of choosing a career in practical nursing, such as being able to start your career quicker, the opportunity to advance your nursing career, and enjoying more meaningful work.

Start Your Career Quicker

One of the top advantages for those who want to become a licensed practical nurse is the ability to start their career quicker. Most practical nursing programs are completed in 12 months, which means that you can finish school and graduate faster.
In comparison, many other healthcare degree programs take years to complete. Nursing programs at more traditional schools require years of general education classes before you are even accepted into nursing school, with many never being accepted at all.

At United, we designed our Practical Nursing program to be direct admission. This means that you don’t have to waste precious time and money taking years of general education classes. For those who are accepted into the Practical Nursing program at United, you will start your nursing classes immediately. Our direct admission policy allows you to get into your dream nursing career faster.

Advance Your Nursing Career

There is a positive job outlook for those who choose to pursue a career as a practical nurse. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be about 60,700 job openings for licensed practical nurses on average each year for the next decade in the United States. The growth rate for LPNs during the same time period is projected to be 9%, which means healthcare employers will need to hire even more LPNs in the future.

Starting your healthcare career as a licensed practical nurse gives you the opportunity for upward career mobility in the future. Since those choosing a career as an LPN are able to finish school so quickly and get started in their careers sooner, they gain valuable real-world experience that will be extremely helpful in any future educational pursuits.

For example, some people start their careers as an LPN and work for a couple years, and then go back to school to earn a degree in registered nursing. With LPN to RN bridge programs, this process can be even more streamlined. For those who want to go even further, there are also nursing master’s degrees that you could pursue.

Enjoy More Meaningful Work

Another top advantage of becoming an LPN is the opportunity to enjoy more meaningful and fulfilling work. When people are having health issues and interacting with healthcare professionals, this is when they need supported the most. As a nurse, you can offer your patients the kindness, compassion, and caring nature that will make a huge difference for them in tough moments.

Nurses not only get to provide comfort to their patients, but they also get to empower them and their families to take care of their health. For example, if a patient comes in with an open wound, as a nurse you will care for the wound and instruct the patient how to care for the wound themselves once they get home. By empowering the patient with information on how to correctly care for their wound at home, you are lessening the chance of complications like an infection.

United’s Practical Nursing Program

Our direct admission Practical Nursing program here at United offers students the ability to train for a new career as a licensed practical nurse and graduate in only 12 months. Students complete comprehensive nursing courses and are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-PN* exam.

While completing their practical nursing training, students learn a variety of hands-on skills including how to conduct physical assessments, care for wounds, perform IV therapy, monitor vital signs, collect medical specimens, and perform routine lab tests.

Upon graduation, practical nursing professionals have the opportunity to work in different types of healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, clinics, doctor’s offices, and long-term care facilities.

We offer Practical Nursing programs at both our Irwin Campus and our Mt. Braddock Campus, so you can train for your new career closer to home. Contact us today to start your path to an exciting practical nursing career!

 

*Passing the NCLEX – PN exam is required to become a Practical Nurse.

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!

Proper Eye Examination

Hands-on clinical skills are a critical component in our allied health programs at United Career Institute. Watch the video to observe one of the many skills learned in our Medical Assisting program. Allied Health Program Director, Kelly Shriver, guides two of her medical assisting students through performing a proper eye examination.

If you see yourself in a healthcare career such as Practical NursingMedical Assisting, or Medical Billing/Administration, click here to learn more. Enjoy the demonstration!

Kelly Shriver – Staff Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is excited to introduce you to our new Allied Health Programs Director, Kelly Shriver! Kelly oversees all allied health programs, including Medical Billing/Administration, Medical Assisting, and Clinical Medical Assistant (our 12-month diploma program.)

Though Kelly is new to the United Mt. Braddock family, she has been a part of the United Irwin family since its inception in 2019. We are so happy to have her as part of both teams now!

Kelly’s educational background is in healthcare. She graduated from Indiana County Technology Center with her diploma in Medical Assisting and from Robert Morris University with her Bachelors of Science in Health Services Administration.

Kelly has a plethora of experience in the healthcare industry. Before coming to United, she worked at places such as Excela Health and her alma mater. She says, “I started my career as a medical assistant working in a neurology practice at Excela Health. I moved into a family practice setting 8 months later. After working in family practice for almost 3 years, I was promoted to be a quality coordinator. I worked closely with physicians to make sure patients were receiving all their necessary health screenings. After a year in this role, I was approached to join the organizational, education, and training team, which I happily accepted.  One year into that role, I was promoted to team lead. While working full time at Excela Health, I also taught for two years at Indiana County Technology Center for their evening adult Medical Assistant program.”

Training future medical professionals is one of Kelly’s favorite parts of working at United. “I wanted to get back into being an instructor as it was something I truly enjoyed doing.  Training future medical assistants is really where I saw myself working,” she said. She also loves the familial atmosphere at United. “From the top of the ladder down, everyone truly cares about you and your wellbeing. It really is a great place to work with amazing people,” she continued.

In addition to training future medical professionals, Kelly is motivated by her daughter, Harper. She said, “My daughter Harper motivates me more than anything else. I want to show her that no matter what she wants to do in life, she can achieve it with hard work, dedication, and love. I want to be the best role model I can be for her.”

Kelly is most proud of her academic accomplishments, specifically her time at Robert Morris. “I am most proud of graduating magna cum laude from Robert Morris because I started my program while working a full-time and part-time job and finished it with a newborn baby. Achieving a high GPA was an amazing accomplishment,” she said.

Kelly has some big plans for her future, both in her education and career! “My long-term career goals would be to further my education by getting my master’s in the field of education.  Down the line, I would love to take on a more leadership-oriented role in the organization, too,” she said!

Something you may not know about Kelly is that she wanted to be a special education teacher growing up. “I wanted to be a special education teacher, specifically at the elementary level. I went to elementary school with an autistic boy, and working with him on a daily basis made me so happy. Even though I didn’t end up doing that as a profession, I am still happy where life took me.”

To learn more about United Career Institute, request information here!

What Is the Difference Between a MA and LPN?

Many people dream of starting a career in the healthcare industry, and maybe you are one of them. The healthcare field is continuing to grow, and the different types of available jobs are also increasing. When you work in healthcare, you have the chance to make a difference in people’s lives by helping them when they need it most.
With so many different opportunities to starting your healthcare career, it can be challenging to figure it all out. To help you do this, we’re explaining the difference between a medical assistant and a licensed practical nurse. Keep reading to learn more about these healthcare career options!

Career Outlook

Medical assistants have a promising career outlook here in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, medical assistants have a projected growth rate of 19% from 2019 to 2029. This is very high compared to the average growth rate of 4% for all other occupations. This means that employers will need even more qualified and skilled medical assistants in the future to fill open positions.

The BLS estimates the projected growth rate for licensed practical nurses will be 9% for 2019 to 2029. This is also more than the 4% growth rate for all occupations, but not as high as the growth rate for medical assistants. This means that employers will also need skilled and well-trained licensed practical nurses at a higher rate in the future.

Skills Needed

Medical assistants complete both clinical and administrative tasks while on the job, focusing on assessing patients and helping with care and treatment. They need to learn various skills, including performing lab tests, practicing phlebotomy, taking vital signs, assisting with minor surgeries, and performing EKGs.

For those who choose to become a licensed practical nurse, the focus is more on providing basic medical care while working under the supervision of doctors and registered nurses. Skills a licensed practical nurse needs include performing IV therapy, caring for wounds, assisting patients with daily activities, and monitoring medical equipment.

At United, our Practical Nursing program gives students the opportunity to gain valuable experience practicing their skills as they complete their clinicals while in the program. With this valuable hands-on experience, Practical Nursing students are ready for their careers in just one year.

Training Required

To start a career as a medical assistant, you will need to prepare for this specific job via specialized training. Most medical assisting programs are comprised of both classroom instruction and hands-on skills and are completed in under two years. It is also beneficial to choose a Medical Assistant Degree program that will prepare you for professional certifications, as many of today’s healthcare employers prefer certified candidates.

For example, students enrolled in our Medical Assisting program at United learn valuable knowledge in the classroom and practice their hands-on skills in labs and their externship. Additionally, students prepare for professional healthcare certifications, including National Certified Clinical Medical Assistant*, Certified EKG Technician**, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician**.

To become a licensed practical nurse, students are required to complete a state-approved program that can usually be completed in one year. Students are trained in areas like nursing, pharmacology, and biology. After graduating from a practical nursing program, students must take the NCLEX-PN° exam and pass to be employed as a licensed practical nurse in their state.

Work Environment

According to BLS data, 57% of medical assistants work in a physician’s office, and 15% work in hospitals. The remainder of medical assistants works in outpatient care centers and at chiropractors. Most medical assisting positions are full-time with a 40 -hour workweek. Those who choose to work in healthcare facilities that are open all the time, like hospitals, for example, may be required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Licensed practical nurses are more likely to work in nursing and residential care facilities, with 38% working there, 15% working in hospitals, 13% in physicians’ offices, 13% in-home healthcare services, and 6% in government, according to BLS data. LPNs are required to be on their feet for a lot of the workday, and they need the ability to lift patients who cannot care for themselves. Due to the type of healthcare facilities they work in, many practical nurses must work nights, weekends, and holidays.

Now that you have a good understanding of the difference between medical assistants and licensed practical nurses, you can decide on the best way to start your healthcare career!

Explore our healthcare training programs in Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, and Practical Nursing today. Request information now to start your dream healthcare career!

 

°Passing the NCLEX – PN exam is required to become a Practical Nurse.

*Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry certification exam. Required/included in tuition/fees.

**Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry certification exam. Optional at own expense.

 

Career Services at United

Career services at United Career Institute assist students with their experience while giving them the edge they’ll need for future job prospects. Whether you’re a traditional or nontraditional student, returning to school, or just starting your journey, United’s career services are here for you.

We are committed to helping you achieve your goals, which is why we offer career readiness, professional development, and continuing assistance to all of our students.

Career Readiness

Interviewing for your dream job can be intimidating and overwhelming, which is why students are given the opportunity to participate in mock interviews before graduation. Practicing and polishing your interviewing skills helps you gain the confidence needed to stand out from others in actual interviews who may be applying for the same job as you.

United maintains partnerships with a network of local employers where students can gain hands-on experience in real-world settings through externships or clinicals, depending on your program. The skills and knowledge you acquire during this experience will benefit you when added to your resume and LinkedIn profile.

The assistance of career services goes beyond the classroom. We take great pride in helping employers find qualified candidates for open positions while simultaneously helping our students with job placement as they begin their careers.

Professional Development

At United, we have a team ready to assist all students with professional development. From admissions to career services to graduation, our team is dedicated to helping you create a plan to achieve your career and financial goals.

Personal and professional branding is essential in today’s job market and can help you stand out among other job applicants. Career services will help you create individualized branding tailored just for you.

We will help you create a LinkedIn profile showcasing your knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience to prospective employers. Volunteer work, externships, and special projects may be added to demonstrate your value as an employee.

Career services will also help you prepare professional documents like cover letters, resumes, thank you notes, references, and letters of recommendation. These documents are often the first impression an employer has of you as a potential employee and should be error-free and professional-looking.

Continuing Assistance

Our enthusiasm for your success doesn’t end once you graduate. We’ll still be here to give you continued guidance throughout your career. You’ll have access to courses that keep you up to date in your chosen career. For example, you’ve earned a degree in Medical Assisting from United, and a few years later, you must learn a new technique. Career services can assist you with learning about and understanding the new procedure.

Additionally, your career goals may change over time, so with that in mind, United offers career advising to all alumni because we want you to succeed now and in the future.

Apply Today

When you choose United, you receive hands-on training as you prepare for professional certifications or licenses while earning your degree.

Applications are now being accepted for fall classes! Check out our career-focused degree programs in Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, and Practical Nursing. Request information now to get started on your path to a new career!

Brandon Hegland – Student Highlight

People always dream of studying abroad, which is exactly what United Career Institute  Practical Nursing student Brandon Hegland was able to do. His studies led him to South America, and upon his return to the United States, he attended Mutual Aid’s Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program.  Though the training was rigorous, Brandon said it was an “amazing training experience.”

That rigorous training helped to prepare him for what to expect from United’s fast-track Practical Nursing program.  When asked about why he chose United, Brandon credited his sister, a graduate of our Mount Braddock campus, as his “inspiration for becoming a nurse.”

Brandon enjoys the small class sizes and the individualized instruction provided by his instructors. When asked who his favorite instructor was, he said Tina because “she really does know the material she teaches and is more than willing to present the material in different ways so that all her students can comprehend the lectures.”

Clinical experiences are Brandon’s favorite as they help put students in the industry and showcase their skills and work collaboratively with other nurses and patients.  Brandon says clinical allows him to “put all the skills learned into good use.” Clinical experiences have also presented the opportunity for Brandon to reflect on how much he has grown as a practical nurse.

When asked about his ideal job, Brandon didn’t have a specific organization or area in mind, but he does want to be somewhere where he can see the difference he makes in someone’s life.  In his time here at United, this comes as no surprise since Brandon can always be found conversing with his peers and the faculty and staff of United Career Institute with a smile on his face. Five years from now, Brandon sees himself being successful and back to traveling abroad while still keeping in touch with his fellow classmates, particularly Jodi.

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

The Return to Campus

As more and more people get vaccinated, and things start opening back up, we are all transitioning back to our in-person lives. Our children are returning to school, many people have returned to their in-person jobs, and schools are bringing students back on campus.

Here at United Career Institute, we are so excited for our students to return to campus. Like before, there are many positive advantages of on-campus learning. When you enroll in a career-focused degree program here at United, you enjoy an interactive education, receive a variety of in-person support, and build great connections.

Interactive Education


Students who choose United to start their path to a successful career have an interactive educational experience. Our class sizes are small and intimate, so you receive personal attention and instruction from your teachers. We understand that each student has unique needs and learning preferences, so we work with you to ensure you have the support needed to excel in your classes.

While completing your healthcare degree program, you will learn hands-on skills to apply directly when you start your career. Our training programs include interactive labs that allow you to practice these skills with the guidance of your experienced instructors.

You also have the opportunity to complete an externship, providing you with real-world experience in your chosen career field. This on-the-job experience in a real healthcare setting gives you the confidence and credentials to set you up for success when applying for jobs.

In-Person Support

As you complete your interactive educational experience, we offer a variety of in-person support at both of our campuses. From the moment you first reach out to us, our helpful admissions team will guide you through the process of enrolling in school. From filling out your application to completing your FAFSA to registering for classes, we are here to help!

Once you are enrolled and begin your healthcare training program, our academic team will support you every step of the way as you complete your degree. We offer academic advising, tutoring services, help developing your study and test-taking skills, and help setting your academic goals.

As you get closer to completing your degree program, our career services team helps you prepare to succeed in getting a job and beyond. Your dedicated career services director will help you develop a five-year career plan, create your resume and cover letter, help you practice with mock interviews, and facilitate job interviews.

Great Connections

When you attend healthcare training classes at our Irwin or Mt. Braddock campus locations, you have the opportunity to build lasting connections with a variety of people, including the staff, your instructors, and your classmates. With our family atmosphere, you will feel right at home here in your classes.

Creating these meaningful connections while in school gives you a more enjoyable experience and helps you build your professional network, which can be valuable for years to come. You also have the opportunity to build connections with potential employers as you complete your externship experience.

At United, we truly care about you, your education, and your future success. We are dedicated to helping you reach your career goals with our WE CARE approach to education. Whatever you need to succeed, we are here to help you every step of the way.

Get Started Today

Are you looking for a school that offers career-focused degree programs and personalized support throughout your educational experience? Then you’ve come to the right place at United. Explore our Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, and Practical Nursing programs today. Request information now to get started!

Sterile Gloving Procedure

Hands-on clinical skills and training are such a vital component of United Career Institute’s healthcare programs. Watch the video to witness one of our practical nursing students demonstrate one of the many skills our students learn during their time in the Practical Nursing program. Practical Nursing instructor Stacey Mantich guides student Lindsey Harris through the proper sterilization technique for surgical gloving. Our students’ other skills include conducting physical assessments, administering medications, caring for wounds, performing IV therapy, performing phlebotomy and giving injections, and many others.

If you see yourself in a healthcare career such as Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, or Medical Billing and Coding, click here to learn more. Enjoy the demonstration!