Sharon Holmes, a catheterization laboratory — cath lab — nurse at Sinai Hospital, has been in the profession for 18 years.
What does your job entail?
All aspects of diagnostic and interventional procedures (stent placement), pacemaker insertions, peripheral procedures, circulating ablations and balloon pump insertion. I also help with moderate sedation and preparing the patients prior to procedure in CDCR (prep and recovery).
What type of schooling or training did you go through?
I graduated from an accredited nursing school and started my career in a heart transplant unit, then transferred to the cath lab. To be a cath lab nurse you really need to have a critical-care background. Training for nurses who transfer to the cath lab is really in the lab itself, there is no special school to go to — it is hands-on training.
What inspired you to do this career?
When I was in nursing school I had an instructor named Janice, and she was the hardest instructor we had; however she was so passionate about being a cardiac nurse. I requested her for my last semester, everyone thought I was crazy, but I wanted what she had and it rubbed off on me and I can't imagine doing anything else!
What do you like best about your job?
I love caring for my patients and their families. I love being able to put someone at ease when they come through those doors and may feel nervous or even scared. This is not just a job for me, this is a privilege to be able to care for these patients! Secondly, I adore the staff that I work with. I've worked in other hospitals and the people I work with at Sinai Hospital are some of the best nurses and techs I have ever worked with.
What are some of the challenges?
Sometimes it's very busy and you may eat on the run. The work can be intense, you always remember that what you are doing can be a matter of life or death. Working in the cath lab you have to learn to speak up if you think something is not right, you need to say it, even if it's to the physician. Most people who work in the lab are very outspoken. Other challenges include being on call and working long hours.