A nurse and team leader in the Carroll Hospital cardiovascular lab, Ashley Keating is known among her colleagues for having a calm demeanor even in urgent or emergency situations and passion for a patient care.
“Ashley is a phenomenal nurse,” Stephanie Reid, chief nursing officer at Carroll Hospital, is quoted as having said in a media release. “Her compassion, hard work and expert knowledge make her a nurse whom all patients trust and a co-worker whom all colleagues admire.”
At the May 8 Best of the Best Banquent at the hospital, Keating was named the 2019 Nurse of the Year. The Times recently caught up with her to ask her how it feels to be honored and the challenges and rewards of her work
Q: You were recently named Carroll Hospital’s Nurse of the Year for 2019. How did you find out and how did you feel when you learned you were being recognized this way?
A: Many other nurses were nominated for this award and we all attended the Best of the Best Awards Banquet provided for the nominees during Nurses Week. At the end of dinner, the winner was announced and I had absolutely no idea I was nominated by so many people and no idea I was going to win. I was shocked and surprised that I won and felt greatly appreciated by my peers. Such an honor.
Q: What brought you to Carroll Hospital initially, and what was your education and career path that led you here?
A: I had a few years of experience in the emergency department and recovering catheterization laboratory patients on a telemetry floor at Saint Agnes Hospital where I started my nursing career in 2008. That job is where I fell in love with cardiology and I knew I wanted to expand my knowledge and experience within the field.
I always wanted to work in the cath lab and by luck, a full-time position opened up a few months after I moved to Carroll County in 2014.
Q: Tell us about your role at Carroll Hospital: How long have you been with the team and what does your job entail?
A: I took a full-time position as a staff nurse in May of 2014 and I became the Team Leader in the department in April of 2016. My job entails many different responsibilities.
First and foremost, being at the bedside with our patients is where I get the most satisfaction and where my passion as a nurse will remain. Typical day-to-day responsibilities include making the daily patient/staff assignment, and filling in during cases and procedures when needed.
I help facilitate admissions and the daily patient flow within the entire department (inpatients and outpatients). I work with the scheduling department to organize our schedule. I obtain all necessary documentation for patient charts for all outpatient cases and perform pre-op chart reviews and patient phone calls.
I do not, and could not, do any of this without the help of my absolutely amazing team!
I also order/help manage supplies. I make the team’s schedule (daily and call schedule) and I take calls as well. I am a champion on the hospital’s Best Practice, Evidence-Based Practice, and Patient Care Guidelines committees. I am a level 3 on the hospital’s clinical ladder and a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN).
Q: Some of your colleagues have described you as particularly calm and collected in the types of urgent situations that can arise in a cardiovascular lab setting. What are the challenges unique to a nursing role in that environment? Are there uniquely rewarding elements too?
A: The first unique challenge to a nursing role in this environment is the vast amount of procedures you must be proficient in and the knowledge you are expected to have to function independently.
Not only do we do interventional cardiac procedures (e.g., cardiac stents and balloons) in the cardiovascular lab, but we also do interventional radiology. We also do many other types of procedures including peripheral vascular diagnostic and interventional procedures, transesophageal echocardiograms, pacemaker and defibrillator implants, cardioversions, blood product infusions and other infusion overflow from the cancer center. We prep, recover and sedate patients for CT-guided biopsies.
The second challenge is being able to react quickly and efficiently in an emergency situation. Often times our patients can be in critical condition and in desperate need of whatever procedure we are about to perform, so to be able to act quickly in a high stakes situation is a skill that the nurses here in this department must have.
I'm betting the rest of my team would agree, nurses and techs, that everything we do is rewarding! The most rewarding to me, personally, is a STEMI [ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction] when a patient is having a heart attack. We have 90 minutes, per the national standards to have a STEMI program at Carroll Hospital, from the time a patient comes through the hospital doors to get a stent or balloon in someone's artery that is blocked when they are having a heart attack. To see a patient in agonizing chest discomfort, pale and sweating, scared to death, who may actually feel like they are going to die, feel better in the matter of inflating a balloon is pretty amazing. We are under the pressure of time, and time is cardiac muscle!
Q: Do you have a favorite aspect of practicing here in Carroll County? Living here?