Nursing seemed like a good opportunity. I really liked the educational aspects and the hospital work, but when I started on a medical-surgical floor, I was quickly overwhelmed. I didn’t feel I was making a difference. Rather than selecting another profession, I decided to take a 4-week critical care course. After a short time I knew what to do when a patient was on the brink of death to pull him or her back, and I knew that I wanted to be a critical care nurse.

Every day in the cath lab is a new experience. We may have scheduled heart caths that are normal and uneventful, or we can have one emergency after another with balloon pumps, intubations, cooling catheters, pacemakers, or emergent coronary artery bypass surgery. It’s exciting not to know what will happen. That has sustained me for the past 37 years.

One memorable patient had an...

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