SICP: Professionals Out in Front

The Ten-Minute Interview with…Sebrena Palmer, RN

Sebrena Palmer, RN Clinical Coordinator of the Cardiovascular Lab Baptist Hospital, Pensacola, Florida
Sebrena Palmer, RN Clinical Coordinator of the Cardiovascular Lab Baptist Hospital, Pensacola, Florida
My name is Sebrena Palmer. I live in Gulf Breeze, Florida. I have been an RN for 24 years and will soon celebrate 23 years at Baptist Hospital. Why did you choose to work in the invasive cardiology field? Initially, I was a critical care nurse. I transferred to the cath lab 4 years ago. I had come to the lab to visit one day, and was so impressed with the staff and the work they were doing. It was also how well the team worked together that led me to think that the cath lab was where I belonged. I have never regretted that decision. Can you describe your role in the cardiovascular lab? The clinical coordinator of the cath lab is one role I play in the lab. As the nurse in cases, my role is as a patient advocate. The nurses in our lab administer medication, which includes conscious sedation. We monitor the patient and communicate any changes to the physician in the room, as well as any change in the patient during cases. What is the biggest challenge you see regarding your educational role? The biggest challenge I see is the impact of the bad economy on patients, the hospital and staff. We are finding patients waiting to come to the hospital until they are very ill or they have stopped taking their medication due to financial difficulties. What motivates you to continue your involvement with the cath lab? I enjoy my work and love the instant gratification when an acute myocardial infarction patient comes in and we open that vessel. We have the ability to make a difference in the lives of our patients. When work gets stressful and you experience low moments (as we all do), what do you do to help keep your morale high? We all experience getting discouraged. I always say that a bad day in the cath lab is never as bad as it was in the ICU, and I thank God for the awesome staff here at Baptist Hospital. Are you involved with the SICP or any other cardiovascular societies? Yes. I am one of the founding members and current president of the Emerald Coast Chapter of the SICP. The Emerald Coast Chapter is hosting the SICP Signature RCIS Review Course, April 18-19, 2009 in Pensacola, Florida. Are there websites or texts that you would recommend to other cardiovascular labs? Cath Lab Digest,, and Dr. Morton Kern’s The Cardiac Cath Lab Handbook. Do you remember participating in your first invasive procedure? I don’t remember the specifics of that first case, but I do remember thinking this is where I belong. If you could send a message back to yourself at the beginning of your cardiovascular career, what advice would you give? I would tell myself and anyone to participate in all the educational opportunities you can. Has anyone in particular been helpful to you in your growth as a cardiovascular professional? I am very grateful to my team and the cardiovascular group of physicians. They are eager to teach and participate through educational programs in our professional society. Where do you think the invasive cardiovascular field is headed in the future? Right now I am focused on the future professional requirements of the cardiovascular lab staff. My immediate concern is for the State of Florida, which is regulating the day-to-day work of the cath lab in regard to sedation, licensure and credentialing. The technology is exciting and fun; however, we must remember the patient is a human being. I believe we must police ourselves now and in the future. It is exciting to be able to do the things we are doing. We must know we have the appropriate background, license, credential and skill for the technique, equipment or procedure to be done. I think we are headed for a future explosion of technology and technique. I believe we should prepare ourselves for this, and become armed with the appropriate license and credential according to our state laws. Sebrena Palmer can be contacted at and