Cardiac cath lab observation

One of the more embarrassing moments I've had in nursing school was taking the gross anatomy portion of the cardiac unit exam in A&P. I didn't study much (i.e., at all), and when it came time to name the arteries, I drew a complete blank. All of a sudden the surface of the heart model appeared to be just a confusing jumble of serpentine lines. I made up some names like "posterior cardiac artery," but they weren't up to the job.

That was a very shame-faced experience for someone who had been working in a cardiac/progressive unit, even as a ward clerk. Ever since then, in my mind, the heart has been a complexity too much for me. So I was very surprised when I reviewed the arteries this morning to find how straight-forward it all seemed. In a few moments, I had identified and memorized almost all the vessels in my current anatomy book (I borrowed a text for A&P).

The review was in preparation for observing a cardiac catheterization today. I requested an opportunity to see the entire interventional procedure, including the pre- and post-procedure nursing care. The interventionalists were very accommodating, but unfortunately there was only one case today and no opportunity to see stenting. All in all, a rather unimpressive time. Frankly, I don't see why an MD is needed for a diagnostic cath. I, myself, was able to identify the blockages. I think the procedure could be performed adequately by people with master's degrees (and I bet they will be in the future). I can't speak to the stenting, though.

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