North to Alaska!
To the east and south, the city of Anchorage is bordered by Chugach State Park and an arc of mountains carved into sharp knife points. To the west is the mighty Turnagain Arm, where 20-foot tidal exchanges can be big enough to surf. In the center of all this wild beauty is Alaska Regional Hospital, the host of the most recent Cath Lab Digest 2005 Regional Symposium.
Alaska Regional Hospital is one of only two statewide providers of full-service cardiac care. In most cases, patients must travel to Anchorage, the state's largest city, to access services. Even though the state of Alaska is more than twice the size of Texas, the population does not presently support cardiac services outside of Anchorage. As a result, arrangements are made for patients to travel to Anchorage when specialty services or procedures are required. As the only non-military facility in the state with its own landing strip, Alaska Regional provides LifeFlight air ambulance services to rural communities.
Alaska Regional currently employs a team of fifteen cath lab staff members. Living in Alaska means being separated from the rest of the United States, and this can make it difficult and expensive for our staff to attend the major seminars that are presented across the nation. In an effort to overcome this challenge, Larry Strom, a graduate of the Invasive Cardiovascular Technology program at Spokane Community College in Spokane, Washington, introduced department manager Kaycee Hammond to Darren Powell, RCIS, FSCIP, the program chairman for the Cath Lab Digest Symposia. Darren and his speaking partner Mike Tibbals, RCIS, enthusiastically agreed to come to Anchorage despite nasty and untrue rumors of utter darkness 24 hours a day and 20 feet of snow.
On Saturday, November 5th, 2005, close to 50 healthcare professionals gathered at Alaska Regional for a day of entertaining lectures, good food and great company. The audience included cath lab staff from the three local hospitals, critical care and cardiac services nurses, and clinic staff from the state’s only cardiology practice. The lecture topics appealed to the broad spectrum of participants, especially the recurring theme of Why women live longer than men.
Several vendors supported the symposia and contributed to its success by adding additional educational opportunities in a nearby exhibit hall. Thank you to Boston Scientific, Cook Inc., Vascular Solutions, Possis Medical, Medtronic, The Medicines Company, St. Jude Medical and CryoCath for making the idea a reality. Thanks are also due to Darren Powell, Mike Tibbals and the event attendees, as well as HMP Communications for their management of the show in the lower 48 states.
Alaska Regional Hospital offers diagnostic and interventional cardiology procedures, peripheral angiography and interventions. We also perform EP studies, including atrial fibrillation, and biventricular ICDs and PPMs.
Alaska is an adventurous place to live with new opportunities around every corner. If you are looking for a new opportunity or adventure, please contact Patty Harrison in Human Resources at (907) 264-1777 or Kaycee Hammond in the cath lab at (907) 264-1620. We’d love to have you join our team!