My role at VUMC is unique. I am fortunate to work in two areas: Cardiac Surgery as a First Assistant and in Critical Care in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) as a Physician’s Assistant (PA). It is very rewarding to operate on a patient and follow them as they recover.
In the OR, my jobs are to harvest veins and first-assist with by-pass surgeries, valves and other cardiac cases. I also assist with cutting edge cardiac surgical procedures such as Total Aortic Valve Replacements (TAVRs) and off pump Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) placements.
In the CVICU, my role is to work as part of a multiple disciplinary team taking care of the sickest cardiac, vascular, and lung transplant patients. My day usually flows like this. First I take report from the night shift and then there is a review of patient histories, X-rays, labs and charts. After seeing the patients and conducting a physical assessment plus discussing the patient needs with the bedside nurse, I formulate a plan of care for the day that is presented to the team on our Multi-disciplinary Rounds. Orders are then placed, taking time to explain them to the patient and family and confirming them with the bedside nurse. If needed, I follow with procedures such as pulling or putting in chest tubes, pulling pacing wires, sheaths or Intraortic Balloon Pumps (IABP). I may also place central or arterial lines if the Fellow is unavailable. Throughout the day, the bedside nurse and I work together to manage the patient’s care.
My main professional accomplishments, both formal and informal, would be teaching and mentoring. Formal teaching roles have included serving as an Instructor in VUMC ACNP/PA Critical Care Boot Camp, FCC, and the CVICU Nurse Internship Program. Many students have asked to shadow me to explore the profession of being an Advanced Practice Professional. I have functioned as a Preceptor for PA and NP students for many years as well as a mentor and trainer for newer team members in the Unit and OR. By working on several VUMC committees, I helped to establish standardized care across the spectrum of Cardiac Surgery and the CVICU.
My most rewarding professional experiences are related to patient care. An example is a recent transplant patient I was following in the ICU who was not doing well. She had an atypical presentation of cardiac tamponade. Because of my unique position, I could help take the patient back to the OR and assist with the surgery. On meeting her husband in the hallway of the hospital a month later, he was very kind in his thanks. It is always good news when a patient is doing well and you can contribute.
My interests include hiking, biking, volunteering, playing racquetball and beekeeping. I enjoy spending time with my wife, family, and especially my six-month-old grandson.