The Ten-Minute Interview with: Jason Wilson, RCIS

Ellis Hospital Clinical Instructor, Schenectady, New York
Ellis Hospital Clinical Instructor, Schenectady, New York
Why did you choose to work in the invasive cardiology field? I like the challenge and the responsibility that comes with treating cardiac patients. I first saw a cath lab as an EMT when I had to bring my patients. I saw what went on and I was hooked immediately. The knowledge, professionalism and critical thinking skills displayed by the cath team members made me want to do more with my healthcare career. Can you describe your role in the cardiovascular (CV) lab? My title is what Ellis Hospital classifies as an RCIS III. I monitor and scrub both diagnostic and interventional cases. I scrub in for pacemaker, defibrillator and bi-ventricular pacing procedures. I hope to continue learning electrophysiology procedures in order to be as well-rounded as possible while continuing to scrub in the cath lab. What is the biggest challenge you see regarding your role in the CV lab? It would have to be the scope of practice. New York has a lot of restrictions on what an RCIS can and cannot do. We are not allowed to give conscious sedation. We are not allowed to give ACLS meds, even if we have a current ACLS card. The RCIS role is very separate from the nursing role. While nurses may cross over into the CVT role, CVT/RCISs may not cross over into certain aspects of the nursing role without a nursing license. What motivates you to continue working in the CV lab? Seeing the patients and their family members who are so thankful to have another day with their loved one. I love using what God has enabled me to do to take care of these people. We get to see people when they are probably the most scared they have ever been, including their family members. We have a great opportunity to be compassionate and walk them through one of the most difficult times in their lives. It’s a huge responsibility. What is the most bizarre case you have ever been involved in? It was a right coronary intervention. During the intervention, the right dissected. We were unable to get a wire across the dissection and the patient quickly went downhill. To make a long story short, the bizarre part was defibrillating 47 times and peforming CPR for 45 minutes. The patient walked out of the hospital the next week under his own power. We had great help from the code team and other cath team members. When work gets stressful and you experience low moments (as we all do), what do you do to help keep your morale high? I have to remind myself that life is not about me. I am not in the lab for me, I am there for the patients and their families. I find my morale getting low when I have been working a lot or late frequently and I don't get to see my family. It is especially hard for me because my kids are still so little, with the eldest going into kindergarten this fall. I don't want to miss anything because I can't get that time back. Then I think about the patients, and what they must be going through. That quickly re-centers my life on my faith and my patients. Life is not about me. Are you involved with the SICP or other cardiovascular societies? I am about to apply for Fellowship in the SICP. To be the best we can be, I think we have to get involved and support the things we like and do the diligence to change what we think could improve. We can’t wait for someone else to do it; it must start with us. Are there websites or texts that you would recommend to other CV labs? Cardiovascular Credentialing Inc.’s (CCI’s) webpage is a huge help (www.cci-online.org). When it is time for my students to study, using the [test] matrix is always a help. I also like cathlab.com. I check in occasionally to see what people are saying, how things are where they work, etc. There are a lot of interesting things out there. Do you remember participating in your first invasive procedure? My first invasive procedure was very scary. It probably should be for most of us. We should have a respect, or a healthy fear of what we are doing. Watching the physician inject lidocaine and then the percutaneous stick was a little unnerving. Really, being a part of a cath was a scary thing, knowing I was sharing responsibility for what was happening in front of me. I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I can remember in my early days, going home thinking about the day’s cases over and over again, making sure I did everything right, or thinking about things I could have done better. If you could send a message back to yourself at the beginning of your CV lab career, what advice would you give? Learn from everyone. Hang out with people who are better than you and copy them as best you can. Copy their attitude, their work ethic, and their professionalism. Stay away from people who are there because it’s a job and a paycheck, but learn from them too learn what not to do. See what they do that upsets patients and physicians, and avoid those things. Look at their sloppy setups and make yours as clean as possible. Never settle for less than you are capable of. Where do you hope to be in your career when it is time to retire? I hope to be a Cardiology PA. I will keep up my RCIS credential, but I hope to be working for a cardiology group as a PA. I enjoy what I do now, but I would like a little more autonomy. Has anyone in particular been helpful to you in your growth as a cardiovascular professional? I couldn’t give credit to just one person. The group that has provided the greatest support and that has helped my growth the most, has been Sentara Norfolk General Hospital (SNGH). I was there for only a year, but the volume they have and the number of critically ill patients they get made me grow up in a hurry as a cath lab technologist. Thank you, SNGH! Where do you think the invasive cardiology field is headed in the future? I think we are headed upward in a hurry. We are still so young as far as medicine and technology goes. As most of us know, just when you think you have things figured out, something changes. It keeps you humble. Technology changes so fast and the needs of patients change so fast that there will always be a place for cardiovascular professionals. Jason Wilson, RCIS, also writes the Ask the Clinical Instructor column for Cath Lab Digest. You can contact him with your question about the cath lab at hrtfixr7 @ yahoo. com