Society of Invasive Cardiovascular Professionals

The Ten-Minute Interview with: Angie Bowles, RN, CCRN

President, Emerald Coast Chapter of the Society of Invasive Cardiovascular Professionals; Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola, Florida
President, Emerald Coast Chapter of the Society of Invasive Cardiovascular Professionals; Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola, Florida
Why did you choose to work in the invasive cardiology field? For me, the cath lab is the best place to work. Where else in life can you get instant gratification and patient satisfaction? Can you describe your role in the cath lab? I have had a few roles in the cath lab. I started in the room as an RN. I soon learned how to pan and drive the c-arm and table. These were the days of chasing 35mm film through stinky solutions in the dark! After becoming pregnant, I learned to record/monitor the cases, as our station was outside the room. I was the flow coordinator for CVL/interventional radiology for a few years. Today, I am a happy PRN float in the invasive and diagnostic cath labs. What is the biggest challenge you see regarding your role in the lab? The biggest challenge is to remember the patient. As we move to more complex procedures, it is easy to get caught up in the whole technology chase and forget that here is a scared individual wondering what is happening to them. We have a cold room, hard table and sometimes, foreign noises and conversations revolving around our patients. Always ask the patient what they might want to hear. Remember it’s their dollar. What motivates you to continue working in the cath lab? Well, the mortgage does need to be paid! But this is an exciting place to work. Every day there is something new to learn. If you are looking for a place to vegetate, the cath lab is not it. Is there an unusual case you have been involved with? I would have to answer not the case, but the place. We had a unique situation when I first entered the cath lab. We shared call with another hospital in our city. So when it was 3am and the beeper went off, not only did you need to know what patient you were picking up, but, you had to know what hospital to go to. Actually, it was really a great situation. We had comrades and not competitors at another hospital. That was a real plus for the society of cath lab professionals for us all to get along so well while working in each other’s labs. When work gets stressful and you experience low moments (as we all do), what do you do to keep your morale high? Honestly, chocolate always works best in this situation! The next best thing is communication. Whether it is over a potluck lunch, a night out, or just a powwow in the back room, matters need to be aired so that everyone is happy again. I try to show all my cards in a kind and loving manner so everyone knows where they stand. Friends make the best call-team members. Are you involved with the Society of Invasive Cardiovascular Professionals (SICP) or other cardiovascular societies? Yes, I am one of three officers and a founding member of our local Emerald Coast Chapter SICP. This year I am privileged to be the President. We have annually brought in Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) review courses along with monthly CEU programs. Our local hospitals, physicians, and wonderful company representatives have made all these functions possible. Are there websites or texts that you would recommend to other CV labs? There are many heart sound audibles out there. We particularly enjoyed using one in a recent SICP chapter presentation given by Dr. Langhorne III on atrial myxomas. It is rewarding to see and hear what is going on. Do you remember participating in your first invasive procedure? We were pretty scared. It was 1991, when Anne Bailey, Mark (Bowles) and I came in as a group of three out of critical care to the cath lab. Directional atherectomy was in its infancy. One of us had to scrub in. The tables were long to accommodate the cutter’s length. With an unstable table full of equipment, we did not know whether to laugh or cry. Well, you might guess what would happen with us newbies. The table crashed to the floor! We promptly got new equipment, secured the table and went on. Do you remember how many times you had to tap the balloon in those days to clear the bubbles? If you could send a message back to yourself at the beginning of your cardiovascular lab career, what advice would you give? Spend time with your patient. They have such amazing history to tell. Over the past month, I have met a patient who was on the Bataan Death March, on the Burma Road, and a gentleman who flew planes out of Christchurch, New Zealand to Antarctica to deliver supplies in 1957. Remember these are the benefits of just another day at work. Where do you hope to be in your career when it is time to retire? At the lotto office in Tallahassee, Florida, collecting my check! Truly, I am very blessed. I hope to end my nursing career doing just what I am doing now. It really is a great job! Has anyone in particular been helpful to you in your growth as a cardiovascular professional? Yes. First, my husband, Mark, who has the long-term memory for both of us, and the skill, sense of fairness and humor that give me something by which to judge my nursing career. Nancy Ridlehoover, who gave me my first start in 1980 and who gave me a new start in 2005. The 25 cardiologists in Cardiology Consultants of Pensacola, from whom I have had the pleasure of learning for 27 years. Finally, and specially, the friends who work the cath/interventional radiology labs in the Pensacola area and create a fun working atmosphere. Where do you think the invasive cardiology field is headed in the future? I believe the trend will continue to be toward more complex procedures. I have always hoped we could drive a wire with a magnet and get where we needed to be in a fraction of the time. Or dissolve plaques with an injection. It’s coming I just may be at the lotto office first. Angie Bowles can be contacted at