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.

Aileen Luckowski – Student Highlight

United Career Institute is thrilled to introduce you to one of our co-Students of the Month, Aileen Luckowski! Aileen is a Practical Nursing student at United Career Institute.

While she has attended other post-secondary institutions, Aileen felt that United was her best option. “I’ve attended post-secondary education before, but I really felt like United being a smaller campus, was best for my learning style,” she said.

Prior to enrolling in United’s Practical Nursing program, Aileen was working a steady job, but she constantly felt that she needed more from her life. “Before I decided to attend United, I was working full time as a VIP Butler at a casino.  Although it was a very financially stable job, I left every day feeling as if I was meant to do something much more in life, which is why I chose to pursue Nursing. I chose Nursing because I want to help people and know I make a difference every day,” she said.

Aileen did her homework when it came to choosing nursing schools. She loved that she could get a very well-rounded education at United. She said, “I chose United because of their excellent NCLEX- PN* pass rates, small class sizes, and knowledgeable instructors.  The instructors came from all aspects of nursing, so I knew I’d get an in-depth education.  There was no other institution around that offered instructors with OR, maternity, pediatrics, behavioral health, and long-term care experience all under one roof.”

In addition to the well-rounded education she receives, Aileen chose United because of the small school atmosphere. “My favorite part of attending United would probably be the home-like classroom experience. Larger schools sit you in a large lecture hall, and you’re really just a number,” she said.

Aileen graduates from United in a few short weeks, and she is so excited to share that she already has a job lined up! “My ideal job after graduation would be in an emergency department. Luckily, with the skills I’ve attained at United, I’ve already been offered and accepted a full-time position in my local hospital’s emergency department.  It’s a great feeling knowing that in a little over a month, I’ll be graduated and starting my nursing career in the department I had my sights set on,” she said.

Although she is almost done with her United experience, Aileen still has big goals for her educational future! “In five years, I’d like to be beginning my Master’s Program for Family Nurse Practitioner,” she says.

As a final thought, Aileen said, “I would refer friends to United because I myself am a success story considering I’m in my late 30’s with a teenager, and I was able to do this program with the backing of great instructors and a good classmate support system.”

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

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

Sakya Baker – Student Highlight

Practical Nursing student, Sakya Baker, began her journey with United Career Institute in April 2021. United is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, an important advantage in Sakya’s search for schools. Another reason Sakya chose United was the location. The campus is located on Lincoln Highway in Irwin and is easily accessible from the turnpike and surrounding areas in Westmoreland County.

Before attending United, Sakya was a CNA for 15 years. She always wanted to further her education but did not feel she had the support system. Now she’s got her amazing support system and an 11-year-old daughter cheering her on! Sakya says, “a big part of her support system is the staff members at United Career Institute, who really want to see you succeed.”

United Career Institute prides itself on having supportive instructors with experience working in their respective fields. One of those staff members is nursing instructor Tina Fenyus, who teaches Sakya’s favorite classes. When asked why she said it is because “she is passionate about nursing and genuinely wants you to succeed.”

After graduating, Sakya hopes to work in a long-term care facility as an LPN where she will get to use the knowledge and skills United taught her. When asked where Sakya would like her life to be in five years, she said she would like to follow in the footsteps of her favorite instructor, Tina! Sakya said, “I plan to further my education and eventually become a nursing instructor.” Having a caring and encouraging instructor is a major reason Sakya would recommend United Career Institute to a friend or family member.

If you are interested in learning more about United, request information here!

Cassidy Winck – Student Highlight

United Career Institute is thrilled to introduce you to our August Student of the Month, Cassidy Winck.

Cassidy is a student in United’s Medical Assisting program.

United Career Institute is Cassidy’s first experience with a post-secondary institute. Prior to attending school, she was a part of the workforce. “I was working full time at Pediatric Associates as a receptionist,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy’s decision to attend United was driven by some of her friends who attended previously. “I chose to come to United Career Institute because two of my mutual friends came here a couple of years ago,” she said.

Cassidy’s experience as a receptionist at Pediatric Associates was part of what drove her decision to pursue medical assisting at United. She said, “I chose medical assisting because while I was working at Pediatric Associates of Westmoreland, I was able to see what a medical assistant was and became interested in what they do daily.”

Cassidy’s favorite part of attending United is the bond she has built with her fellow classmates. “My favorite thing about United Career Institute are the friends that I made while being here,” she said.

She also loves the instructors she’s had at United. “I haven’t found a teacher I didn’t like here. All of the teachers are helpful, supportive, and push you to do your best.”

Cassidy has some big plans for her life after graduation. “After graduation, my ideal job is to be a medical assistant.” She continued to say “I would [also] like to have a house and a family of my own.”

Cassidy said she would absolutely refer United Career Institute to a friend. “This school has shown me that hard work pays off.”

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

Stay Healthy During Back To School Time


Back to school time is here, and like many of us, you may be a little nervous about you or your child going back. With COVID-19, the flu, and other viruses, staying healthy is a priority for many during this time of year.

While you can’t fully shield yourself from most germs and bacteria, there are many things you and your children can do to try and stay healthy as you return to school. This week, we’re sharing our top tips with you for staying healthy during the back-to-school time!

Practice Good Hygiene

Practicing good hygiene is essential to staying healthy during back-to-school time and the rest of the year. The CDC recommends washing your hands frequently, especially before eating, after using the restroom, and after being around someone else who is sick. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, especially if you have not washed your hands or have been around a sick individual. Always cover your mouth when you cough, and if you have to sneeze, do it into your elbow.

If you or your children are sick, stay home and get some much-needed rest so that you can feel better. Don’t send your kids to school if they are sick because they could infect others.

Eat Nutritious Foods

Eating nutritious foods is a critical component to staying healthy and keeping your immune system strong. There are various vitamins and minerals that your body needs that come from the food you eat.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, some of the vitamins and minerals your immune system needs to perform include zinc, selenium, iron, folate, and vitamins A, C, D, and E. These substances can help prevent, fight off, and shorten infections, while supporting your immune system, so it functions properly.

Some foods rich in these vitamins and minerals are spinach, kale, strawberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, salmon, avocado, beans, turkey, and chickpeas. Many other fruits and vegetables include these essential vitamins and minerals, so it’s always a good idea to include many of them in your diet.

One way to easily add a number of these healthy foods to your diet is to make a smoothie. Mix your favorite fruits, such as strawberries, pineapple, and mango, and then add spinach and kale. Add some water, blend until creamy, and enjoy. This smoothie is delicious and nutritious!

Try to eat less sugar and processed foods that fill you up but do not include the nutrients your body needs to stay strong and healthy. One easy way to do this is by cooking more at home and eating out less. When you make your food at home, you can choose healthy foods and work to keep your body functioning properly.

Create Healthy Habits

Creating healthy habits and sticking to them daily can help you and your family stay healthy during back-to-school time. One essential healthy habit is to stay hydrated by drinking enough water. Your body is made up of a large percentage of water, and it serves many purposes at keeping you healthy.

Exercise is another healthy habit that is important to feeling your best. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s estimated that healthy adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Examples of moderate physical activity include taking a brisk walk, swimming, and riding a bike. Some examples of vigorous activity are jogging, jumping rope, or playing basketball.

Getting enough sleep is another important aspect of staying healthy. The amount of sleep you need depends on your age. For example, the Mayo Clinic recommends 9 to 12 hours of sleep per day for kids ages 6 to 12 and at least 7 hours of sleep per day for adults.

Reducing stress can keep you healthy because too much stress is not good for your mind and body. There are many ways to try and reduce stress, such as scheduling time for relaxation, meditation and mindfulness techniques, and learning ways to cope with stress better.

We hope these recommendations will help you stay healthy during the back-to-school time and all year round!

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

Amy Smith – Student Highlight

Before stepping on campus at United Career Institute, Amy Smith, one of our medical assisting students, spent some time at Slippery Rock University.  After her father suffered from some severe medical conditions, she, unfortunately, did not return.  Thankfully for us at UCI, that lead her here!

Amy did a lot of traveling and volunteer work before leaping back into her education.  When asked why she chose UCI, Amy said she saw the banner while visiting a local restaurant and decided to speak to one of our Admissions Advisors to get the ball rolling.  After her appointment, she knew this was something she could manage and wanted to earn her degree.

When asked why she chose to work as a medical assistant, Amy replied that she “enjoys working with people.”  Amy hopes to apply her “knack for making people feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations” to her future career as a medical assistant.  This “knack” is something we all have seen, as you can frequently find Amy in a study group with her peers, performing random acts of kindness and lending an ear to anyone who needs it.

Amy said her favorite part of UCI is the people.  She said she had no idea she would “meet so many truly wonderful people” when she decided to attend United.  Amy “thinks this profession attracts helpful and genuinely kind individuals, and we have a school full of them!”

When asked about her favorite instructor, Amy picked one of our newest team members, Annette Crowe. Medical terminology was once an intimidating class for Amy, but it is now Amy’s favorite class, thanks to Annette’s “down-to-earth and funny way” to approach the course.

After graduation, Amy feels like she could find herself working in a doctor’s office and maybe even offering private tutoring to struggling students.  In five years, Amy hopes to be “living in the moment by trusting and enjoying the story of her life.”

When asked if she would refer a friend or family to attend United Career Institute, Amy quickly replied, “I absolutely would refer a friend or family member.” In fact, her own daughter, a high school senior, is the first person she is recommending our school to.

We here at United feel it is truly a pleasure to have Amy as a student on our campus, and we can’t wait to see where life takes her.

How to Enroll for Fall Classes

Are you ready to make the move into an exciting healthcare career? Or maybe you want to advance your current career but aren’t sure where to start? Whatever your unique situation may be, we’ve got you covered at United Career Institute.

We have many years of experience helping students achieve their career goals by providing the training and education necessary to get started. From the time you first reach out to us to graduation and beyond, we support our students through every step of getting an education and starting their new careers.

Now is a perfect time if you are ready to get on the fast track to a new healthcare career. We are currently accepting applications for fall classes. Read on to find out exactly how to enroll and jump-start your new career!

Explore Our Programs

The first step to enrolling in fall classes is to decide which healthcare training program is best for you. To make this decision, ask yourself a few questions: do I want to work directly with patients, do I want to work in an office setting, and what skills do I want to learn?

For students who want to work directly with patients in a clinical setting, our Practical Nursing program may be the best choice for you. As a licensed practical nurse, you get to work directly under doctors and registered nurses to provide medical care to patients. Some of the skills students will learn while enrolled in the Practical Nursing program at United are conducting physical assessments, administering medications, caring for wounds, and performing routine lab tests. This comprehensive nursing program prepares students for the NCLEX-PN° exam, which is required to work as a licensed practical nurse.

If you want to work directly with patients but in more of a medical office setting, our Medical Assisting program may work best for you. As a medical assistant, your focus will be on helping with patient care and treatment while completing administrative and clinical tasks. Skills you’ll practice as you complete your medical assisting classes to include taking vital signs, collecting medical specimens, drawing blood, and giving injections. While in this program, students prepare to sit for professional certifications including National Certified Clinical Medical Assistant*, Certified EKG Technician**, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician**.

If you want to work more on the administrative side of healthcare, our Medical Billing/Administration program could be perfect for you. As a medical billing and administrative professional, you will be focused on helping medical facilities run smoothly by managing the front office operations. For students who choose the Medical Billing/Administration program, you will learn valuable skills such as performing basic coding, maintaining electronic health records, handling billing and transcribing doctor’s notes. As you complete your medical office classes, you will prepare for professional certifications, including Certified Billing and Coding Specialist*, Certified Medical Administrative Assistant**, and Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist**.

Meet Your Admissions Advisor

Now that you know more about the healthcare training programs we offer, it’s time to meet with an admissions advisor. To set up this meeting, request information now, or call our Irwin Campus at 724-515-2440 or our Mt. Braddock Campus at 724-437-4600. Our admissions advisors are friendly and ready to help you with anything you need to get started in your chosen career training program.

You will meet with your dedicated admissions advisor, who will walk you through the enrollment process. In this meeting, you will learn more about United Career Institute, the classes you will take as part of your program, and our proven process for helping you get into your new career. You will get the opportunity to ask any questions you have about United or our programs.

Your admissions advisor will give you a tour of the campus, so you can see the classrooms and labs, meet some of your instructors, and get a feel for what it’s like to attend United. You can complete your admissions meeting and campus tour in person or virtually.

Find Out About Financial Aid

Next, it’s time to meet with a financial aid advisor to learn more about the financial aid options that you may qualify for. Your financial aid advisor will explain the process to you and help you apply for the various financial aid programs.

Some of the financial aid resources that you will learn more about include federal grants, state grants, student loans, and veteran GI Bill programs. To determine which of these financial aid options you may qualify for, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your financial aid advisor can help you accurately complete your FAFSA.

Additionally, we offer several internal grants that students could qualify for if eligible, including the Nursing Pathway Grant***, Early Admission Grant***, and United Commitment Grant***.

Getting Registered for Classes

The final step is to register for your healthcare classes. At United, we take the work out of registering for classes. We will get you registered each term, so you don’t have to worry about not getting into the classes you need.

Set yourself up for success by ensuring you have everything you need to succeed in your healthcare courses. Get your supplies ready, make time for homework, and talk with your family and friends about any support you will need to excel in your program.

Now that you know exactly how to enroll for fall classes, you’re ready to get on the fast track to a new career. Contact us now to get started!

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

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

***For those who qualify. See catalog for detailed eligibility requirements.

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

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!

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.