It’s Heart Month, and we’re highlighting staff and departments at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre who play a vital role in cardiovascular care. Today, we’re sharing some Q&A with Lauri Fieldhouse, a Registered Nurse with the Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Program (Cardiac Rehab).
What does it take to be a Registered Nurse in the Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Program (Cardiac Rehab)?
The Registered Nurse (RN) role in Cardiac Rehab works as a case manager for the more medically complex clients, along with providing medical treatment when required in the gym for all participants. We meet with all clients before starting them in the Cardiac Rehab program and do a complex nursing assessment. Strong assessment skills and nursing intuition are important skills in working with our client population. Many cardiac clients are fearful of what lies ahead following a cardiac event and we play a large role in helping them regain a sense of control over their lives and confidence in their abilities.
What is unique about the role?
A unique aspect of working in Cardiac Rehab is our outpatient population. We work with clients with heart disease and those that have had cardiac interventions in an inpatient or outpatient settings. We work with clients over a prolonged period of time and are able to observe progress in their abilities and recovery.
What inspired you to work in the Cardiac Rehab Program and in cardiac care?
I was working on the cardiovascular unit at McKellar Hospital and was approached by my manager at the time to fill in for a few shifts in Cardiac Rehab. I found the work very fulfilling. When an opportunity for a permanent position came up, I took it. The work fit well with my lifestyle at the time being a mother to three children, with two under the age of four. I have come to like it so much that I stayed.
How does your role impact patient care?
The RN role prepares client charts, performs nursing assessments for new clients, provides education virtually on cardiac medications and is a resource person for other staff. This role brings interesting opportunities to provide very comprehensive care and advocate for the best possible care for our clients, something that requires diligent attention, but is very rewarding as a nurse.
On the concept of practice what you preach, do you have any personal tips on how to stay heart healthy
I eat a balanced diet along with an adequate daily fluid intake (aiming for 8 glasses of water). I maintain a healthy weight and check my blood pressure 4-6x/year to make sure it is in normal range.
I walk daily for 30-60 minutes along with accessing yoga/stretching videos on YouTube to do in the evening 2-3x/week. I access friends virtually to be my regular sounding boards when I need to de-stress. My faith is also important to me and helps me stay focused and grounded during these uncertain times.
Any final thoughts?
Working in Cardiac Rehab for the last 20 years has been so rewarding. I have touched the hearts of so many clients in that time and it has been a privilege to help in some way in their cardiac recovery journey. Thunder Bay has a small town feel and I often find myself running into Cardiac Rehab participants in one way or another. That’s something I have really enjoyed. Our wonderful team at Cardiac Rehab has become my second family and are a great support system during trying times.