I have been a nurse at St.Luke's Medical Center for 17 years . I began as a Graduate Nurse on the Neuro surgical floor and then became an RN for 3 more years before transferring to the Cardiac Surgical Floor. We are a specialty floor in which after a few years and taking certain classes/certifications we become trained to take heart transplants and pts with ventricular assist devices. I am both BLS and ACLS certified and also have my cardiac certification. Over the course of the many years on my unit I have precepted many new nurses, and am a charge nurse who handles staffing as well as a patient assignment .
I would say my being a nurse was a calling from God. Every patient is different and has different standards that define their quality and longevity of life. We have patients that are on our unit and it becomes their home. If they are too sick to go home without a transplant or other medical conditions they stay. We have to adapt to their way of life. We currently have a patient who has been on out unit for just over a year.
Education is a huge component of my job. We educate patients with new onset heart failure , diabetes , thoracic and cardiothroacic after care , atrial fibrillation, medication management (especially in new transplant patients), dietary and lifestyle changes, and pain management.
A recent challenge we face today is the use of heroin, which presents patients with endocarditis leading them to need a new heart valve. The heart valve cannot fix the addiction ,so through alot of collaboration between psychiatry, pain management, and the surgical team we have to work very hard to handle psychosocial issues. Patience and being non judgemental are key.
One of our large populations to date is our TAVR program (transaortic valve repair) The outcomes and positivity we see with patients having surgery and going home within 2 days is wonderful.
Above all these 'things' that we do on the unit what I would say sums up my nursing care is that I am the strongest advocate for my patients at whatever cost . Often times that means staying late because my patient is just not doing well, other times it means calling 5 doctors because every consult needs to know what is going on in the big picture , and other times it means sitting at the bedside and praying with them because that is what THEY need more than anything else at that moment.
Nursing has been the most challenging yet rewarding careers I could have ever asked for.
The waters of Westmoreland was a nursing home in which I became a CNA and then a medical technician. Being a CNA prepared me for the job of helping the CNAs I would then be working with once I was a nurse. I strongly believe nurses should be a CNA prior to being a nurse so that they understand how hard of a job it is and how much help they need. I am grateful for my couple of years working there
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