A 10-Minute Interview with Amy A. Ross, RCIS, FSICP

Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Why did you choose to work in the invasive cardiology field? What do you like best about it? During CVT school, I was introduced to the cath lab and I was intrigued by and attracted to the fast pace and technology. I loved the team approach and the working relationship with the physicians. Those are still the very same things that I like best about invasive cardiology. The critical nature of the work we do is definitely motivation to stay involved in this rapidly moving profession. Believe it or not, when I first applied to Sentara’s CVT School, I was most interested in the non-invasive studies. I had never even considered working in a hospital setting and I had never heard of the cath lab. My plan was to get a job in ultrasound in a physician office setting. I have to credit Julie Hillier with introducing me to the invasive world. I’ve never looked back! What is the most bizarre case you have ever been involved in? I was called in one weekend for a cardiologist who does diagnostics only. I was a little surprised to be called in for this physician, who normally would not perform emergency-type cases. But in true cath lab fashion, our team arrived and we quickly prepared the lab for our emergency patient. The only information we had was that the patient was being transported from another facility. As the transport team was wheeling our patient into the lab, we looked up to greet him and who was it but the very same cardiologist the hospital operator had called us in for! Clearly, there had been a little miscommunication! I think we didn’t really know how to react as we were just stunned to see this cardiologist as a patient. He was having some chest pain, so we didn’t have time to let the unique situation delay things. The on-call interventionalist arrived and we proceeded with the case. The findings were multi-vessel disease and he went on to have a bypass operation. That was definitely a memorable case for me. I still work with that cardiologist and thankfully, he is doing fine. Where do you see yourself professionally when it is time to retire? I hope to still be a resource for cardiac education. I think there is something to be said for experience, so offering my time to students would mean a great deal to me. Why did you choose to get involved with the SICP? How did it happen? My involvement with SICP began upon graduation from CVT school. I wanted to be active in my new profession and thought it was the thing to do. I wanted to learn as much as I could about this field, which was brand new to me. It took a few years before I truly understood what SICP was all about and the importance it holds. Can you describe your role with the SICP? Education promotion best describes how I see my role with SICP. I’ve been active with the regional programs sponsored by HMP Communications (publisher of Cath Lab Digest). I feel it’s important to share the knowledge and those meetings are a great way to promote the profession. Currently, I am working with Marsha Holton and Wes Todd on a neat educational venture. It’s an online cath lab orientation for techs just getting started in the cath lab. The need for cath lab training is incredible right now and for facilities without access to CVT schools, this online training will help get techs started and lay the foundation necessary to succeed. Your work for the SICP is volunteer. What motivates you to continue? There’s always a driving force behind any volunteering and for me, it’s a chance to share knowledge and support the growth of our profession. This is such a fun and rewarding job. That’s what makes it so easy for me to want to share my love and passion for invasive cardiology. The relationships that you develop working within the profession make it all worthwhile. What is the biggest challenge you see regarding your role with the SICP? My biggest challenge is time. I wish that I had more time to devote to the society. Just like most of my peers who are pulled in so many directions, I’m left with little time to get involved with all the projects that I would like to do. There is still a lot of work to be done encouraging professionals in our field to commit to the SICP and help our society to grow. If you could send a message back to yourself at the beginning of your cath lab career, what advice would you give? I would probably say something like, Take the time to stop and smell the roses. Cath lab life can be demanding and consuming. It’s almost like an addiction. If you are not careful, the job can cause you to miss out on other important things in your life. What changes do you think will occur in the field of cardiology in the coming decades? The technology today is simply amazing. I can’t imagine what new things will be out there in the future. Who knows, maybe we’ll see X-ray vision come into use in the cath lab! (Just joking!)