Category Archives: Health Professions

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!