Category Archives: Health Professions

Free LIFE Clinic Helps Those with Pain

Do you know someone who lives with pain every day or has difficulty completing simple to more complex day-to-day activities? Tell them about Parkland College’s Learning Information for Everyday (LIFE) Clinic, offered by our Occupational Therapy Assistant program, because we can help.

We started the LIFE Clinic two years ago as a FREE service to our community. That’s right, free. For those in our communities who come and see us, we can offer simple strategies to conserve energy or recommend or construct an assistive device to help them navigate their activities better.

What do people think about our LIFE Clinic services? One of our clients, who experiences pain in her right hand, had this to say last spring:

Modification fabricated by OTA students.

“I had no idea of what occupational therapy assistants did. They developed creative contraptions to help me be able to walk my dogs and pour water from gallon glass jugs with much less pain. The students were kind, professional, very pleasant ,and helpful. I was impressed! It was a good day when I met Michelle and her students! Thank you so much!”

If you or someone you know could benefit from the LIFE Clinic at Parkland College, just give us a call at 217/353-2782. For Spring Semester 2018, the LIFE Clinic will offer services Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., March 1, 8, 15, and 29.

[Michelle Roberts is the OTA program director at Parkland College.]

Pathophysiology, the Bridge to Understanding

It’s one thing to know WHAT disease or injury a person suffers from. It’s another thing entirely to understand WHY he or she became sick or injured in the first place.

If you’re studying to be in a Parkland College Health Professions program, or even if you’re already in a health career, you may not yet have made the important connection that fits these two pieces of knowledge together.  In fact, most clinical programs in the U.S. acknowledge a slight disconnect between foundational health career courses and the applied clinical practice. What is needed, they recognize, is a ‘bridge’ of understanding that can answer the question: What has gone wrong within the basic anatomy and physiology of a particular patient to cause the disease or condition that they present with?

With a basic knowledge of pathophysiology, you can come to understand this link and be on your way to delivering better care for your patients.

Pathophysiology (BIO 225) is that bridge; this course describes the underlying disturbances in the basic homeostatic mechanisms that lead to the signs and symptoms of selected diseases. In other words, you can learn to determine what is it that causes the problems associated with congestive heart failure, glomerulonephritis, or a host of other maladies that we humans can get.  

Professor John Moore teaches BIO 225 this summer, and students find that he makes that health education-clinical practice connection lots clearer. One of his students commented:

I have learned some of the same material in my health career classes, but [Professor Moore’s] presentation of the subject matter makes it much more tangible. When he teaches, I get it. I never want to miss any of his classes.”

BIO 225 meets  Mondays and Wednesdays,  1–3:50 p.m., from June 19 to Aug. 10 in Room X104. For more information, visit Parkland College’s summer class schedule or go to the my.parkland student portal.

[Cindy Smith is program manager for Arts and Sciences at Parkland College.]

 

Mayo Clinic to Visit Parkland Surgical Tech

Exciting opportunities are happening this spring for Parkland College Surgical Technology students!

The world-renowned Mayo Clinic is flying a recruitment team in later this month to pay a visit to our students, just one of several companies that have contacted us this month for access. Others include UnityPoint Health Group, which owns nine hospitals including Methodist, Proctor, Pekin, and others throughout Illinois and Iowa. Next week, our students will meet with Vantage Outsourcing, which outsources eye surgical equipment and techs from its base in Effingham and 10 satellite locations across the country.

It’s no surprise that top clinics and medical suppliers are seeking out Parkland College Surgical Technology graduates to fill their in-demand jobs. Our program is among the top in the nation for graduate success rates on the National Certifying Board exam. For four years running, Parkland has achieved a 100 percent pass rate, while the national pass rate for this exam is around 70 percent!

Graduates passing the national exam to become a certified surgical technologist (CST) demonstrate an understanding of the basic competencies for safe patient care in the operating room. These companies want highly skilled surgical technologists, and they know they can get them from Parkland College. Mayo Clinic already has one of our grads on its transplant team.

The surgical technologist serves as an integral part of the surgical team, standing next to and across from the surgeon during all surgical procedures. He or she is either

  • handling the instrumentation and the medications for the patient
  • helping handle tissue, or
  • troubleshooting anything that may arise.

We are credentialed professionals and vital surgical team members.

Guess what? This career field can offer a great job for you, too! In fact, Parkland’s Surgical Technology Program has a 100 % job placement rate. A lot of jobs are out there for these skills, both locally and nationally.

If you would like to learn more about a career as a surgical technologist, just let me know!

Carolyn Ragsdale, Program Director and Faculty
Surgical Technology at Parkland College
cragsdale@parkland.edu
217/373-3746

Mapping the Future: Careers in Transition

It is never easy trying to plan for the unknown. This is especially true in the uncertain times our community and state are currently facing. Will there be funding? Will I have a job? If I change jobs, how long until that position is affected?

Positioning yourself for the next chapter in life can be overwhelming; where do you even start? A road map for success would be helpful, especially during times of unwanted career transitions (i.e. downsizing, layoffs, closings, etc).

Your Future Ahead Road Sign

Looking for a job—a really good job you actually want—will take time and a lot of effort. Changing careers is challenging because rarely will you meet ALL the must-have requirements, but there are things you can do and anticipate in your search that will help you shine.

We welcome you to learn from Rick Galbreath, SPHR, who is a nationally published author, public speaker, trainer, consultant and founder of Performance Growth Partners Inc. with over 25 years of experience. Rick will be at Parkland College Business Training from 8am to noon March 29, 30 and 31, presenting on “Mapping the Future: Career Transition Workshops.”

The Job Search: What I Want Next
Tue Mar 29     8am-noon

The Resume: Showcasing Your Talents
Wed Mar 30     8am-noon

The Interview: Landing the Job
Thu Mar 31     8am-noon

For more information, contact Business Training at 217/351-2235 or businesstraining@parkland.edu.
[Jessie McClusky-Gilbert, CPP, is program manager for Parkland College Business Training.]

Nursing Conference: Continuing the Legacy of Sister Julia

[This post was written by Richard Francis, Regional Director for Clinical Education at Presence Covenant Medical Center.]

What if I told you Parkland’s Nursing program had Catholic roots? 

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Sister Moriarty (News-Gazette photo.)

Sister Julia Moriarty started Parkland’s nursing program in a joint venture between Parkland College and Presence Covenant Medical Center (then known as Mercy Hospital). Sister Julia was a remarkable and accomplished woman, who was first and foremost a servant to others. A member of the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary, Sister Julia first came to Champaign-Urbana in 1942 to finish her nursing training and serve at the local Catholic hospital. She stayed for close to 50 years.

In the late 1960s, Parkland approached Sister Julia about starting a nursing program at the college. Although at the time, Mercy had its own hospital-based nursing program, Sister Julia saw the college program as a way to positively impact not just one hospital, but the community as a whole and nursing as a profession. Sister Julia spent five years living in the convent with the other sisters at the hospital while working with Parkland to establish their nursing program. Colleagues who taught with Sister Julia typically remark that she was well beyond everyone else in her thinking and vision for what nursing should be, and how nursing can positively impact the whole community. She was loved and respected by colleagues, co-workers, and patients. Her kind and warm spirit touched all who knew her.

In the spirit and example of Sister Julia, Parkland College and Presence Covenant are co-sponsoring a nursing conference with a local scope and flavor, The Spirit of Nursing Conference: Emerging Topics in Nursing.  Topics at this conference and future conferences will be kept global to appeal to all types of nurses, not just specific disciplines. Topics at the May 20 conference will include: The Changing Landscape of Healthcare, End of Life Decisions, Generations in the Workplace, and Life Skills for the Nurse.

The conference will begin with a light breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Presentations begin at 9 a.m. and the conference will end at 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided.  Continuing education units (CEUs) available through the conference: 4.

The conference fee is $49, with proceeds supporting the Sister Julia Scholarship Fund at Parkland College.  Advanced registration is required due to limited seating.

To register, or for more information, please click here or call 217/351-2235.

 

Take a Deep Breath, Get a Great Job!

Are you thinking of pursuing a health-related career? Sit back, take a deep breath, and consider respiratory care.

Local starting salaries are upwards of $35,000, and jobs are abundant in our area and nationwide. You can earn your Associate in Applied Science degree in two years; Parkland graduates have achieved 100% job placement. This is a great career for returning adult students; classes and labs offered in a hybrid format means you are only on campus one full day per week.

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Why is respiratory care important? Breathing is so fundamental that most of us do not give it a second thought. Breathing just happens; the magic of the chemistry in our brains takes over, and we breathe. But for the 24 million people in the United States and the 52 million worldwide who live with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), taking a breath can be a struggle. It requires work. Activity often demands planning to accommodate for the time required to “let me catch my breath.”

Respiratory therapists are critical members of the interdisciplinary care team for patients experiencing difficulty breathing. Providing diagnostic testing, treatment, and patient and family education, the respiratory therapist has the knowledge and skills to help patients with chronic lung disease enjoy an improved quality of life. Respiratory therapists provide pulmonary function testing, oxygen and specialty gas therapies, inhaled medications, airway clearance, and mechanical ventilation. In a resuscitation or CPR situation, a respiratory therapist is at the head, providing an airway and breathing for the patient. Respiratory therapists also see patients in neonatal intensive care units that arrive too soon, too small, or too sick to survive without a little help breathing; the chronically ill with complicating acute illnesses; and the critically sick and injured of all ages.

Most respiratory therapists work in acute care hospitals, but therapists are also needed in home care, in out-patient diagnostics, in pulmonary rehabilitation programs, long-term ventilation facilities, and in medical equipment sales and support. 

Applications for fall 2016 admission to the Parkland College Respiratory Care program are due by March 1, 2016. For more information email mseim@parkland.edu or visit http://www.parkland.edu/academics/departments/health/rtt/.

 

[Parkland’s Respiratory Care program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care and prepares you to become an expert in assessing, treating, and educating patients who have acute and/or chronic lung disease.]

Go Ahead, Go Global!

Global Cultural Competence (HCS 236-201) is an exciting new course being offered at Parkland College in the spring! It promises to be a fun course in which to learn about other cultures from around the world.

There is increasing need in the US to develop better global cultural competence so that citizens work and communicate effectively with people from around the world, especially in the workplace.

cherry-blossom-9110754This course will feature interactive learning projects that engage students in learning about global cultures and developing effective cross-cultural communication skills for the workplace.

Course curriculum is designed for Health Professions, Criminal Justice, and Education majors but is open to all students.

The course will be taught by Michele Spading.  It is a two-hour, hybrid, late-start course that meets Mondays, 3-4:50 p.m.

HCS 236-201 is part of a project sponsored by the Center for Global Studies at UIUC, through support of the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI NRC program.

Health Professions Annual Open House

The folks in Parkland Health Professions are getting excited for our annual Open House this Friday!

Since November 13 is only days away, we’ve been checking things twice: Do we have enough flyers? Balloons? Tablecloths?  After all, this is a celebration of sorts, a time to share our excitement and enthusiasm about the great professions we have chosen.

Health Professions’ program directors, faculty, and best of all—our students—will be here Friday ready to greet you and other prospective students wondering if a health career is in their future.

Won’t you join us?

We offer so many options at Parkland—from one-semester programs leading to a career as a Certified Nurse Assistant or Emergency Medical Technician to full two-year Associate degree programs in Dental Hygiene, Massage Therapy, Registered Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assisting, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Therapy, Surgical Technology, Emergency Medical Services–Paramedic, or Veterinary Technician. Does your time and finances only allow a year of schooling to obtain a professional health-career certification? We offer one-year certificate programs in Practical Nursing, Medical Office Assisting, Massage Therapy, and Emergency Medical Services.

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Do you already have a degree or certificate and are just looking for a way to use your current skills and build on them?  We even offer “bridge” opportunities to help you, such as our Paramedic to RN bridge and LPN to RN bridge programs.

Start small, think big! The future is limitless. Our two-year degree programs transfer well to four-year schools for students who want to pursue a baccalaureate degree and beyond. The healthcare industry continues to experience strong employment growth that is anticipated to continue for many more years; our is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the country.

So come as you are, stop in, and find out more at our Open House on November 13 from noon to 3 pm.  We’ll have information at both our main campus and at the H wing on Mattis Avenue.  At H wing, you can watch students working in our simulation lab; meanwhile, at the main campus, you can check out the Surg Tech students practicing in their very own operating room. Ask questions about each program and speak to the faculty and students for firsthand experience!

LPNs in Illinois: Setting the Record Straight

I’ve heard many myths over the years about licensed practical nurses, or LPNs. I’m here to clear up misconceptions about what LPNs do, where they work, and how much money they make. By setting the record straight, I hope to present a more accurate picture about the role of the LPN in our heath care system.

What Do LPNs Do?
LPNs in Illinois are allowed to perform many of the same skills as their registered nursing (RN) coworkers, such as initiating IV starts, administering medications, collecting data on patients, and monitoring for changes in condition. They check vital signs and perform wound care and dressing changes, specimens collection, urinary catheter insertion and care, care of patients with ventilators and tracheostomies, ostomy site care and maintenance, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), finger stick blood sugar testing, and much more. Proper charting and documentation of nursing care is also the LPN’s responsibility.

The LPN works under the supervision of an RN or physician;
however, the LPN is often the only licensed nurse present in many facilities. LPNs also supervise nursing assistants in certain healthcare settings. With the right mix of experience, LPNs can be promoted to administrative positions such as wellness directors, assistant directors of nursing, wound care clinicians, staffing coordinators, and case managers.

Where Do LPNs Work?
nurseOne of the most believed but inaccurate myths is that LPNs can only work in long-term care. While many LPNs do work in long-term care, it is not the only work they can or choose to do. LPNs work in acute care hospitals, and in fact, are increasingly being hired in our local hospitals. LPNs also secure employment in nursing homes, hospices, home health, private duty cases, psychiatric hospitals, prisons/jails, rehabilitation facilities, group homes, clinics, doctors’ offices, assisted living facilities, agencies, military instillations, and schools. I have even had pharmaceutical drug companies call asking for names of graduates for drug rep positions.

How Much Do LPNs Make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses is projected to grow 25 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.” The bureau also states, “the median annual wage for licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses was $41,540 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,970, and the top 10 percent earned more than $57,360.”

What is the Difference between an LPN and an RN?
In the state of Illinois, LPNs can’t give IV push medication, take care of central lines, or hang blood. They do, however, monitor the blood.

A large percentage of LPNs plan to further their career and become RNs. Choosing to become an LPN first has many advantages. It can allow more time for the student to advance and also be able to manage their busy lives, be more involved in family affairs, and gain experience and make more money until they choose to go back to school. Once the decision is made to continue their education, bridging into Parkland’s RN program allows them to start in the 3rd semester of the program. Currently, there are students who came to Parkland and graduated as an LPN, completed the RN Bridge, and are now in BSN programs and master’s degree programs. The biggest difference is just the route the student decides to take.

***Check out LPN offerings for spring NOW in the Parkland College spring 2016 catalog. Night/weekend nursing class options are available in the upcoming semester, making it more convenient to earn your degree!***

[Joanne Heck is director of Parkland’s Practical Nursing program.]

Celebrate Surgical Technology Week with Us!

Happy National Surgical Technology Week!

This week, we celebrate the profession of surgical technology. Do you know what a surgical technologist is or does in surgery?

We serve as an integral part of the surgical team, standing next to and across from the surgeon during all surgical procedures. We’re either

  • handling the instrumentation and the medications for the patient
  • helping handle tissue, or
  • troubleshooting any thing that may arise.

We are credentialed professionals and vital surgical team members.

Mvc-040In 1979, the very first evening I worked at a large hospital in St. Louis, I experienced a procedure where a patient came in with incredible and life-threatening injuries. While I was overwhelmed, I knew that I had chosen the right career field, because we worked as a team, the surgeon, the assistants, and the nurses. With very little verbal communication, everyone knew what to do.

We have to think on our feet everyday and stay focused on the goal. I love the challenge of always trying to anticipate the surgeon’s moves to be the best surgical technologist. I still enjoy the intensity as well as the gentle care we provide patients in order to produce the best outcomes possible.

So, let’s celebrate the hidden health care team member!
Join us for Open House Mock Operating Rooms this week.

Tuesday 1-3 p.m. and Friday 10-noon in Room L143

Questions? C ontact Carolyn Ragsdale, program director, at cragsdale@parkland.edu.

New Technology at Parkland: Part 1

Below, Biology Professor Lori Garrett shares how Parkland’s new Anatomage table, with its high-tech virtual dissection technology, is helping students learn. Plus, check out an exerpt from her upcoming video to be shown during the Pygmalion Tech Fest.
**Parkland is a presenting partner of the Pygmalion Festival, September 23-27, which includes a Tech Festival on Friday, Sept., 25 at Krannert Center in Urbana. The Tech Festival is FREE for all Parkland students with a valid ID.**

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Parkland is amazingly fortunate to have an Anatomage digital dissecton table. These state-of-the-art, high tech tables were developed primarily for the medical field, and there are only about 500 in use worldwide, with only a little over 200 currently in use in the U.S. Those are primarily located in hospitals and medical schools. It’s such a high-tech piece of computerized equipment that I attended a two-day User Group meeting in San Francisco in August for in-depth training, and we’re just starting to really appreciate all we can do with it ourselves.

What the Table Does and What We Can Do With It
The Anatomage is like two giant, touch-screen computer monitors with highly sophisticated software behind them. The image banks were developed at Stanford University and are based off of real human CT scans and anatomical models. It provides us with life-size 3D renderings of three different individuals, and we can dissect through them. We can approach the anatomy from the surface and scroll down through the tissue layers, or isolate individual organs and organ systems. Various icons allow us to cut through, or section, any of the body parts, view X-ray images, isolate organ systems, see soft tissues, and more—and everything’s rendered in three dimensions, rotatable, and zoomable. We can add labels, place pins on structures for examinations, and add our own notes all on screen.

We’re really excited for the promise the software holds for advancing our science and medical instruction. With the Anatomage’s InVivo software program, we can take CT or MRI scans from anyone, anonymize them, and then have them digitized and rendered in 3D. This will let us use real-life case studies in a cross-curricular manner for our students moving into the health professions. We can also use the software to isolate any organs, save the digitized data, and then use 3D printing to develop our own anatomical models.

What Students Think about the Anatomage Table
Our students love the Anatomage table because of its technology. We’re integrating the table in our anatomy classes, where we already use plastic models and human cadavers. The table allows our students to learn anatomy from life-size renderings of real cadavers, which makes their cadaver study much easier. In the cadavers, we can’t isolate whole organ systems or rebuild the body like we can on the Anatomage. Being so tech-savvy, our students embrace it and need little guidance—they are used to touchscreen computers and phones.

We sometimes give tours for high school anatomy classes and let the students try the table after a brief introduction and demonstration. Being digital natives, they take to it with no effort at all.

The Anatomage allows us to bridge the gap between simulators and real people. It lets us visualize organs, vessels, tissues, and more without worrying about torn structures or extra tissues and clutter as we see in the real cadavers. The Anatomage is life-sized like our cadavers, but without the “delightful” aroma of the chemical preservatives, and we know our students really appreciate that!

So You Want to be A Nurse? New, Flexible Options

Have you always wanted to become a nurse but can’t attend classes because you have to work? Parkland’s LPN Program is starting an evening/weekend group!

This group has been created for those interested in nursing who cannot attend day classes. It has been developed for certified medical assistants (CMAs) and anyone who wants to become a licensed practical nurse while taking evening and weekend classes.

That’s right: the LPN Program is now accepting CMAs into the program. Since they have many of the skills certified nursing assistants (CNAs) have, they do not have to take the CNA course. A short assessment and an evaluation of skills are all that is needed!

Lastly, we also have a great bridge program into the RN Program (ADN Nursing) for licensed practical nurses and emergency medical service paramedics. Registered nurses are in high demand locally, so taking advantage of this opportunity could particularly enhance salary/benefits for area residents. For more information on these great nursing career training options, please call Joanne Heck at 217/353-2126 or Michele Spading at 217/351-2468.

 

 

[Joanne Heck is director of Parkland’s LPN Program.]

Surg Tech Program Continues SUCCESS!

The Parkland College Surgical Technology Program is proud to announce that its graduates recently earned a 100% pass rate for the National Certifying Board exam.  Every student who graduates from the program takes the certification exam on the last day of class. The national pass rate is 69.8%, and Parkland’s pass rate is 92% (100% in the last 4 out of 5 years!)

Guess what? This career field offers jobs, too!  Parkland’s Surgical Technology Program has a 92.8 % job placement rate. A lot of jobs are out there for these skills, nationally and locally!

If you want to hear more about being a surgical technologist, contact me:
Carolyn Ragsdale, Program Director and Faculty
Surgical Technology at Parkland College
cragsdale@parkland.edu
217/373-3746

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Everybody Hurts

“Everybody Hurts”…this popular song by R.E.M. echoes the reason most massage therapists have jobs today. Most people have some acute or chronic pain issue during their lifetime which causes them to hurt physically and psychologically.

According to the Center for Disease Control, there are over 27 million people in the United States who have osteoarthritis and 50 million Americans have some form of arthritis that is painful. This pain places limits on daily living and can affect a person’s overall quality of life.

Pain is the body’s main warning symptom of problems within the body. Physical issues are most often the cause, but as holistic practitioners, massage therapists must not neglect the emotional components of a complex pain response. Research shows that people who suffer with chronic pain are also much more likely to be depressed. During massage we can engage the parasympathetic or relaxation response, which will release the neurochemicals serotonin and norepinephrine. The relaxation response initiated by massage can help lessen overall pain.

26965014_mlEssential oils via aromatherapy, music, and meditation have been researched by the National Institute of Health, which show they often provide multiple benefits for short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) pain for many individuals.

Join us on July 18th from 9–4pm for our class Holistic Pain Management.  Holistic modalities are a simple and beneficial way to help support  the body’s  natural healing abilities. Learn about the multiple holistic techniques massage therapists can use to help improve healing and manage pain. This course will give you the tools to prepare natural, plant-based topical therapies, guide your clients through relaxing meditations, and use hands-on techniques for body compresses, acupressure, and other methods that enhance mind/body wellness.

 

 

Health Professions Students: Need CPR?

Most likely, if you are a current or potential Parkland Health Professions student, you will need valid CPR certification. Don’t have it yet? Not a problem; Parkland College Business Training can hook you up!

CPR Class Delivery Options
Choose from either our online CPR class with a hands-on skills assessment or our traditional classroom course. Upon successful completion of either class, you will be issued an American Heart Association BLS-Healthcare Provider course-completion card.

 Option 1— Online and Hands-on Skills Session & Test

  1. Complete the “BLS for Healthcare Providers Online part 1” session here and print your certificate of completion. The fee is $22.00 (to be paid online).
  2. Register for one of our hands-on skills sessions here.

 Option 2— Instructor-led and Hands-on Skills Session & Test
Complete a 4-hour traditional instructor-led class, hands-on skills session and skills test with an American Heart Association Instructor to ensure skills proficiency.

Book Purchase (Option 2)
A book is required if you choose to take the instructor-led, 4-hour course option.  The book is additional and must be purchased prior to attending class. Books are available at Business Training, 1315 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign.

Receiving the CPR Card

Typically it takes about 2 to 3 weeks to process. However, if you need proof ASAP, let your instructor know and s/he can issue you a temporary card upon your successful completion of the course.

Lost Cards
You may request a replacement CPR card from the Carle Education office at 217/383-3022.

Upcoming CPR Classes and Fees
Check out the upcoming classes and fees here.

Cool Cars and Healthy Lungs: RT Had It Covered!

Parkland’s Respiratory Therapy Club showed up in fine fashion at the 16th Annual Car Show Saturday, teaching the public about lung health. The air we breathe is very important; exposing our lungs to noxious materials, chemicals, and gases can cause irreversible damage and may lead to lung disease.

Respiratory Therapy students at the annual car show pose with Cruella Deville and a few dalmatians.
Respiratory Therapy students at the annual car show pose with Cruella Deville and a few dalmatians.

Hundreds of spectators came out to the free Car Show, so it was a great venue to tell people how they can keep their lungs healthy–and we did this in fun ways! One team of students handed out fact sheets at our booth in front of the Parkhill Applied Technology Center. Another team conducted our Peak Flow Contest. Peak flow is a tool to measure how forcefully we can exhale while we’re breathing. Everyone who measured their “windiness” put their name in the drawing for great prizes donated by local businesses. (A third team of RT students had been responsible for finding those sponsors; they did a great job.) Finally, we sold soft drinks at the event to raise funds for the club.

RTserve at Car show
Students serve up soft drinks, snacks, and healthy lung education at Car Show.

Besides having a fun day at the auto show, our students were able to develop leadership and teamwork skills through the process. Most importantly, they learned the importance of service learning; they educated the public about lung disease in general, mostly concentrating on occupational hazards in our lives. These hazards can include exposures in certain workplaces (farming, welding, mining, even some factory workers may be at risk) as well as hobbies that introduce noxious substances into the lungs–hobbies using chemical solvents, different materials, and gases.

Please be aware of the air you’re breathing: Stay in well-ventilated areas, wear masks approved for the type of work that you’re doing (respirators), and stop to get fresh air when you feel lightheaded.

Repiratory Therapy students relax after giving lung health info to car show spectators.
Repiratory Therapy students relax after giving lung health info to car show spectators.

Dental Hygiene “Day of Healthy Smiles”

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Parkland College’s Dental Hygiene Program recently hosted its third annual “Day of Healthy Smiles.” There were plenty of smiles gained from that day, and not just from the patients.

More than 100 volunteers participated in the April 11th event, including dentists, oral surgeons, assistants, SmileHealthy staff, Ragle Dental Labs and Orthotechnologies, and Parkland Dental Hygiene, Surgical Technology, and Nursing program students, graduates, and faculty. One hundred and seven patients received free treatment of extractions, oral surgery, and fillings, and 15 patients received appliances to replace teeth.

Comments from our students confirm the impact this day of service has on their professional growth:

“The clinic day made me feel like I changed someone’s life,” Lauren Hea said. “That’s a big deal, to help people love themselves more and to gain confidence. It gave me the most indescribable feeling of happiness.”

“Today was a blast; everyone did such a wonderful job,” Ashton Rothweil said. “I never wanted it to end! But it really just reassured me that I went into the right profession. I’m so in love and cannot wait to get out there. Everyone I met was so inspiring!”

Lindsay Salinas called the clinic day a “once in a lifetime thing that I won’t ever be able to do again!

“I’m so glad to be a part of clinic day the past two years I’ve been at Parkland and to see how much patients are truly grateful!” Salinas said. “It was priceless and makes the entire day and all the planning worth it! It’s exciting to help be the reason someone is smiling again!”

The Parkland College Dental Hygiene Program is proud of the extra effort faculty, students, and the administrative assistant in the dental hygiene clinic give to prepare for and participate in this day.

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Dental Hygiene students and medical volunteers were hard at work restoring healthy smiles April 11.

 

Local dentist, graduate and dental hygiene student works together to provide care
Local dentist, graduate, and dental hygiene student work together to provide care.

[Peg Boyce is director of the Dental Hygiene Program at Parkland College.]

Breathe in the Exciting Field of Respiratory Therapy

Looking to begin a health career? There’s a special member of the interdisciplinary team of heath care professionals you may not be aware of…until now.

On Friday, April 10, the Parkland Respiratory Therapy Program invites you to discover the exciting and fulfilling field of respiratory care. During their Poster Session, from 9 a.m. to noon in the Flag Lounge, Respiratory Therapy students will showcase their profession and training, with posters focusing on respiratory disease and various treatment modalities.

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Also known as “the lung specialists”,  respiratory therapists are an important part of the team that treats and manages the health of acutely ill patients experiencing breathing problems as well as patients living with chronic lung disease. You will find respiratory therapists working in hospitals as well as outpatient health care settings such as home care, pulmonary clinics, sleep labs, pulmonary rehabs, and extended care facilities.

The job outlook for respiratory therapists is good and is expected to have greater than average growth over the next decade. Visit http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/respiratory-therapists.htm to learn more about the occupational outlook for this valuable field.

Parkland’s Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care and prepares you to become an expert in assessing, treating, and educating patients who have acute and/or chronic lung disease. As a student, you will find our program engages you with classroom, online, lab, and clinical activities.  You will attend hospital clinical rotations that introduce you to the role and duties of the respiratory therapist in areas such as intensive care, neonatal care, and emergency care.

Besides hospitals, you will rotate through several ‘care’ areas of respiratory therapy, including home care, pulmonary rehabilitation, sleep lab, cardiac interventions, pulmonary function testing, and pulmonary physician rotations. You will also earn certificates of completion for Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Life Support while in the program. Upon graduation, you will earn an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) and be registry-eligible to sit for national board exams that authorize you as a certified or registered respiratory therapist.

Drop by our poster presentation; students and instructors of the program will be happy to educate and advise you on this interesting career. Application procedures and up-to-date information are available at here or by contacting Program Director Midge Seim at 217/351-2296 or mseim@parkland.edu.

 

Parkland Nursing: A View from the Top

Hello. While most of you are on Spring Break, I am here, working to finally submit a blog post! I wanted to tell you a bit about the Nursing Program at Parkland College.

First of all, I am a 1984 graduate of Parkland. I continued school to achieve a doctorate in Nursing Practice, and I couldn’t be happier to be the head of the associate-degree nursing program at Parkland!

We have a great program, with a state board pass rate average of 93.8% for the past five years. Nationally, the 2014 pass rate was 82% and it was 84% statewide. This information is publicly available on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) website for all schools.

Obtaining your registered professional nurse degree at Parkland allows you a cost-effective way to begin working as an RN as you pursue your BSN, like I did. If you are interested, please visit our website.

Happy Spring!
Dr. Diane Cousert

Early College & Career Academy Coming Fall 2015

Do you know an area high school student who wants a head start on a new career? Education for Employment System #330, along with Parkland College, is happy to announce the launch of its Early College and Career Academy, or ECCA, beginning fall 2015.

The new academy will allow high school juniors and seniors to enroll in dual credit classes at the Parkland campus. Six programs will be offered in its debut:  automotive technology, computer networking, criminal justice, certified nursing assistant, emergency medical services, and manufacturing.

Of course, Parkland has offered dual credit classes for some time now. However, ECCA students will not only receive dual credit; they will learn valuable hands-on skills to prepare them for the workforce. Several programs are even aligned with Parkland certificates and/or state licenses.

Transportation to and from Parkland, as well as funding provided for the program, will be determined by the students’ home high schools. This is a great opportunity for students in our area to experience higher education while still in high school and get a head start on their career goals.

Students who are interested should contact their high school guidance counselor. Information is also available at www.parkland.edu/ecca. The EFE #330/ECCA office can be reached at 217/355-1382.

 

[Renae Kirkton is the special projects coordinator for EFE System #330.]

Applying for a Health Career Program? Act Fast

March 1 is right around the corner, so if you are interested in applying to one of Parkland’s Health Professions programs, now is the time!

To enter most of our programs, students must go through a “Selective Admissions” process.  What does this mean?  Here are the main points:

  • Each program has specific admission criteria and minimum requirements.
  • A student must specifically “apply” to one particular program.
  • Program-specific classes can only be taken by students admitted to the program.
  • Application deadlines are specific.
  • Admissions are competitive; even though you meet minimum requirements, you may not be accepted.

The best way to learn more about our Selective Admissions process is to visit our website and watch our “Get the Facts” presentation at www.parkland.edu/healthprofessions.

While you’re at the website, take a look around and check out our different Health Professions programs. When you click on a program, it will take you to that program’s website for more information.

So, are there any programs that are not Selective Admissions?  Yes; the Nurse Assistant and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Basic are one-semester courses that will only be available to sign up for during our normal registration periods. However, both of these classes have requirements, so please take the time to visit those websites. The Nurse Assistant program has state requirements that need to be completed before registering.

These are the programs with March 1 deadlines:

Dental Hygiene
Dietary Manager
Emergency Medical Services: Paramedic
Massage Therapy
Medical Assisting
Nursing: ADN – Registered Nursing
Nursing: LPN – Practical Nursing
Nursing: LPN to ADN Bridge
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Radiologic Technology
Respiratory Care
Surgical Technology
Veterinary Technology

Please visit our website for more information and handy  “Are you ready to apply?” checklists for each program: http://www.parkland.edu/healthprofessions

For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact me at mspading@parkland.edu. See you around campus!

Michele Spading
Vice Chair Health Professions Student Affairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health Professions: A Career for You?

Have you ever considered a future in health professions? For that matter, do you even know what we mean by health professions here at Parkland? Sometimes we throw terms around and expect everyone to know what we are talking about—that is especially true in health professions! We offer so many opportunities here at Parkland to work in the health care field. Some programs take only one semester while others offer full two-year degrees.

For example, our Nurse Assistant program and our Emergency Medical Technician Basic program are each only one semester long! Both of these professions provide students a great opportunity to work in a health care field and decide if they want to proceed further or do something different—all while being paid!

Maybe your passion is for animals instead of people? I get phone calls on a regular basis from veterinary clinics asking about our Veterinary Technology students. Our program is nationally known for excellence, and many places want to hire our graduates. When you complete our two-year Vet Tech program, you will have earned an associate degree and be ready to take the national board exam.

Other Health Professions options here at Parkland include one-year certificate programs. So what can you complete in one year? You could become a Medical Office Assistant, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), a Massage Therapist, or a Paramedic.

What about other two-year degrees? We offer degrees in Dental Hygiene, Registered Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assisting, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Therapy, and Surgical Technology. Students may also receive two-year associate degrees in Massage Therapy and in Emergency Medical Services (Paramedic).

The healthcare industry continues to experience employment growth, and this growth is anticipated to continue for many more years. It is one of the fastest growing job sectors in the country. I’d love to tell you more about each of our programs…better yet, come our Open House this Friday, November 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. at our main campus and also at our H wing on Mattis Ave. You can learn more about each program and speak to the faculty and students for firsthand experience!

How to Tell if a College is the Right “Fit”

So, how can you know if a college is the right fit for you?

The first step is often an on-site visit.  Once you start walking around a school, meeting professors, and talking to the staff, you usually get a feeling of what it would be like be a student there.  One of the least stressful times to visit a college is on Open House Day.  This is the day the college opens its doors and puts all its energy toward recruiting new students.  From a student’s perspective, that’s when there will be the most going on, the most people to talk with, and the most tour times.

Parkland is no exception.  On Friday, November 7 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., we will be hosting a campus-wide Open House.  That same day, from 1 to 4 p.m., will be hosting our Health Careers Open House.  It’s one of the few times when  labs for nursing, veterinary technology, occupational therapy assistant, and many others are open for visits.  Additionally, there will be tons of instructors and current students available to answer specific questions.

So whether you know exactly what you want to major in,  you’re deciding among several ideas, or you have no idea what to take in college, Open House is a great time to get to know more about Parkland.  Come check us out on Friday, November 7.  No RSVP required!

What Makes “SADHA” So Special?

[SADHA President Mary Liesse and members of the Parkland Dental Hygiene program would like to share with you a little about what they do at Parkland and for its communities.]

We love SADHA!

SADHA stands for the Student American Dental Hygiene Association. As Parkland College Dental Hygiene students and proud members of SADHA, we try to have active community involvement by volunteering with the Smile Healthy organization and Frances Nelson Dental Center and participating in community activities. What we do to help others is pretty rewarding.

SADHA raises money every year to host a free clinic day. This year, we raced in the Car X Crazy K, which consisted of a 5K obstacle course; we raised $6,300 and donated more than half of it to our charity of choice, the Smile Healthy/Frances Nelson Dental Center. Our next free clinic day will be held April 11, 2015, and treatment we offer to our Parkland patients includes, fillings, extractions, and some tooth replacement with mouth flippers. Many dentists, Carle Oral Surgery employees, nurses, Regal Dental Laboratory technicians, students, and dental hygienists also volunteer their time and skills to help during this event.

SADHA also sponsors a local family in need for Christmas. We help make their Christmas wishes come true by filling their Christmas list!

Our community involvement is just one real-world component in Parkland’s two-year Dental Hygiene program. The program also features a clinic on campus, where Dental Hygiene students fully assess and clean a patient’s mouth.  Cleanings are $10 and include an oral cancer screening, blood pressure screening, medical history review, full intra-oral and extra-oral assessment, caries detection, nutritional counseling, X-rays, deep and regular cleanings, and an exam by our dentist. We also sell professional strength Crest White Strips for $35 and electric toothbrushes ranging in price from $20 to $85. 

We are looking for patients who haven’t had their teeth cleaned in five years or more. Appointments are about three hours long, and some patients may require more than one appointment.  Our clinic phone number is 217/351-2221 to make an appointment for a cleaning.