Category Archives: Health Care

What is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear medicine refers to medications that are attached to a radioisotope (radioactive material); the drug is called a radiopharmaceutical. Several different radiopharmaceuticals are available today to study various parts of the body and treat some conditions and diseases.

The radioisotope which is attached to the drug is usually called a “tracer”. The most common tracers used in nuclear medicine are thallium-201 and fludeoxyglucose (18F) (18F-FDG), gallium-67, indium-111), iodine-131, iodine-123, and technetium-99m.

The radiopharmaceutical is administered either by injection, orally (swallowing) or as an inhalation. It is designed to target a specific part of the body where there might be some abnormality or disease. The radioactive part of the drug emits gamma rays which are detected using a gamma camera. The doctor can then see what is happening inside the body.

Nuclear medicine is commonly used to evaluate the gallbladder, liver, thyroid, lungs and heart. Physiological function can be determined well using nuclear medicine, rather than anatomical detail.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Nuclear medicine can, for example, be used to identify lesions deep inside the body without having to open up with patient (surgery). It can also determine whether certain organs are working properly; it can determine whether the heart is pumping blood adequately, or whether the brain is getting enough blood, and whether the brain cells are functioning properly.

After having a heart attack, nuclear medicine procedures can help accurately assess the damage to the patient’s heart.

Nuclear medicine is useful in locating the brain sites of seizures (epilepsy), Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Nuclear medicine can also be used to treat patients. Thousands of people with hyperthyroidism are treated every year using radioactive iodine. Certain types of cancers, as well as bone pain resulting from cancer can also be treated.

With the most advanced equipment, nuclear medicine images can be used almost simultaneously with CT scans, making detailed anatomical studies possible.

Stronger economy drives more nursing turnover, higher wages

A stronger economy is increasing employee turnover rates at hospitals, particularly among nurses, and putting additional pressure on wages that are already straining hospital balance sheets.

Hospital operators around the country have been reporting increases in staffing costs, including contract labor, in the third quarter of 2015. Nursing positions have been most in demand, and the need is compounded by the increased patient volume that many health systems are seeing under the Affordable Care Act.

HCA, the largest hospital operator by revenue, last month attributed a year-over-year drop in third-quarter net income in part to increased labor costs.

“We do have an improving economy across most of HCA’s markets and we think that is having some effect on our overall labor equation,” Samuel Hazen, president of operations for the Nashville-based chain, said on an earnings call.

The company said its nursing turnover has increased to 19%, up from 17.5% in 2014. Contract labor has been used to fill the gaps.

Providence Health & Services, a Renton, Wash.-based system, similarly reported last week that it spent $85 million more than it expected on labor costs and purchased services. Contract labor was used to fill open positions at its hospitals.

Labor costs in the third quarter pressured not only acute-care hospital groups but also post-acute care operators like Kindred Healthcare, which blamed “a tightening labor market in certain regions” for driving up its third-quarter expenses.

The rising costs have come amid a hiring boom in the healthcare industry, which has added 407,000 jobs during the first 10 months of 2015. Healthcare companies shed jobs during the uncertainty in the lead-up to the Affordable Care Act, but as patient volume has returned, they’re now rushing to meet the demand.

Hospital System

The latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that average weekly earnings across all industries have increased to $869.40, up 2.2% from $850.81 during October 2014. Nurses who work in operating rooms have the highest average age, but the impact is likely to be felt across the board.

“The improved economy … is leading clinicians that postponed retirement following the credit crisis to retire and reduce shifts,” A.J. Rice, an analyst at UBS, wrote in a research note. “This is leading to gradually increasing open positions at hospitals and the willingness for more nurses to take temporary staffing assignments.”

Adapted from Original Source

New vital sign monitoring system

New Vital Sign Monitoring System may improve the care for hospitalized patients

A recent study indicated that a newly designed Vital Sign Monitoring System can improve patient safety in medical and surgical units without an abundance of unnecessary alarms.

When the system was installed for four weeks in two medical/surgical units, one in Utah and one in Alabama, 92% of the nurses agreed that the number of alarms and alerts were appropriate and 100% agreed that the monitor provided valuable patient data that increased patient safety. On average, both units experienced 10.8 alarms per patient, per day. The system continuously monitors patients’ oxygen saturation levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate.


“We are very excited to be using this advanced technology. Continuous monitoring of our patients is revolutionizing the way we care for our patients,” said Pam Booker, senior author of the Journal of Clinical Nursing study. “Our nurses love the ability to keep a closer eye on their patients, and this system has the ability to notify the nurses when vital signs change, no matter where they are in the hospital.”

Eight vital signs:
1. Temperature. Physiology: Controlled by AgeCore temperature differsthe hypothalamus.
2. Pulse. Physiology: Reflects circulating volume and strength of contractility.
3. Blood pressure. Physiology: Regulated by vasomotor centre in the medulla.
4. Respiratory rate. Physiology: Controlled by the respiratory centres in the medulla and pons.
5. SpO2. Physiology: Reflects the peripheral saturation of haemoglobin by O2.
6. Pain. Physiology: Detected by peripheral nerve fibers; interpreted by thalamus and cerebral cortex.
7. Level of consciousness. Physiology: Controlled by reticular activating system in the brain stem.
8. Urine output. Physiology: Produced by kidneys.

Journal reference: Journal of Clinical Nursing

Gurnick Academy – Concord Campus New Flash!

The Mount Diablo Unified School District ‘s 3rd Annual College Fair was in full force on Monday night October 26, 2015 at Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord California.

The event was geared for all High School students and parents in the Contra Costa County with 106 colleges and institutions present. The college fair had over 800 curious students and parents walking through the maze of booths presented by various colleges and institutions. Parents took the lead, if there student wasn’t able to attend, to gather as much information possible about the schools there child might attend. Such dedication and interest these parents and grandparents displayed!

Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts located in Concord California brought great awareness to many students and parents, that there were alternatives to attending a four year University. A medical vocational school that offers Nursing, Medical Assisting, Radiologic Technology, Psychiatric Technician, Phlebotomy and Registered Nurse to a Bachelor of Science in nursing programs.

With well over 60 interactions with parents and students, Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts brought a lot of interest. Showcasing our Vocational MedicalPrograms of which some could be completed in less than a year. A jump start into their career in the Medical Field with hands on training, preparing each and every student to become as successful as can be.

Blogger – Steven Brown

Sacramento Career GPS – Navigate Your Future

In the early morning of any ordinary Wednesday, warning bells were more silent than usual as students gathered for a different type of school day.  Not just one that is as routine as every other day, but one that gathers the strength of multiple schools to learn more about life after it.

Held at the CalExpo in Sacramento, schools from far and wide combine as more than 8,000 students roam career  specific buildings that hold information on their future endeavors. From Information Technology, to Entrepreneurship & Finance, to building 4 where you’ll find a booth held by Sutter Health & Gurnick Academy – where you find us.IMG_0433

Students roamed through our station to learn more about the possibilities of the medical field and it’s many opportune careers. Ranging from Medical Assistants and Nurse Assistants to the more popular Vocational Nurses and Radiology Technologists, students gathered to learn more about what we offer and how we partner with community hospitals to ensure proper training in their respective chosen field.
IMG_0441The medical field isn’t meant for everyone and you must hold the ability to care for others to ensure not only their safety but their wellness long after they have left your care. Granted, every job has there ups and downs, but the ups of someone in the medical field can be life changing. In the end, the students go about their days knowing that there’s a career field specifically geared for the better liveliness and quality life of each other.