For today’s Heart Month profile, we caught up with Kelli Gerry, a Registered Nurse in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab (or ‘Cath Lab’).
What does it take to be a nurse in the Cath lab?
It takes dedication, understanding, hard work and passion. We play a vital role in saving patient’s lives while they are having a heart attack. As they say, ‘time is muscle’, so we always do our best to act quickly to provide the best care that we can.
What is unique about your role?
I am part of a specialized team that is on call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. As a member of this team, I need to be available to come into the hospital and aide in opening blockages of someone who is having a heart attack. I also take a lead role in the orientation of new staff into our department and I work closely with Purchasing to ensure that we always have the necessary equipment and supplies on hand.
What inspired you to work in the Cath Lab and in cardiac care?
I have always had an interest in cardiology during my time as an Intensive Care RN. After I had my children, I decided to make the move and challenge myself by trying something new.
How does your role impact patient care?
The Cath Lab nurse plays as essential role in cardiovascular patient care. We escort our patients from their unit in the Hospital and bring them back to our area. In addition to preparing the patient for the procedure, we also play a vital role in the procedures themselves. We perform several different procedures in the Cath Lab, not just angiograms and angioplasties. When we are performing procedures such as angioplasties or pacemaker insertions, we get to see instant improvements in the patient’s condition.
On the concept of practice what you preach, do you have any personal tips on how to stay heart healthy?
Don’t smoke, stay healthy with a well-balanced diet and exercise, and keep your blood pressure in check.
Any final thoughts?
I am honored to have been recognized by my colleagues for the hard work that I do. I really appreciate the acknowledgement.