SpecialtyCardiac Care Nurse
I have always been interested in research. When I was about nine, I set up a laboratory with a microscope to study specimens my dad brought home from work at a meat packing plant. Then, when my dad became ill, I helped with his daily care and found I liked caring for people. My mom said I had a knack for it and encouraged me to enter nursing. I've stayed in clinical nursing my whole career. After 18 months in pediatrics, I switched to adult cardiac critical care. I've seen many changes in cardiovascular nursing. In the early days, patients in heart failure were prescribed a nitroglycerin tablet to "unload" the heart. Then, IV nipride, nitroglycerin and dobutamine became available. Today, in addition, patients can be placed on intra-aortic balloon pumps. I've learned all I can about each new technology, and I'm proud that I've developed a level of expertise that allows me to serve as a resource for colleagues. I also use my nursing skills when "signing" for the deaf in their interactions with medical and legal personnel. Of my 24 years at the Western Pennsylvania Hospital, all but five--spent in the catheterization lab, emergency department, or medical ICU--have been in the cardiovascular ICU. And I still look forward to every workday.