By Laura Raines, Pulse editor
Job: Nurse practitioner and clinical coordinator at St. Joseph’s Heart Center for Women in Atlanta
What I do: “Mine is a one-of-a-kind job, since I give physicals and extensive consultation to our patients in what I believe is the only preventative cardiac-screening program for women in Atlanta.
“Women experience symptoms and risk factors for heart disease differently than men. Led by medical director Dr. Gina Lundberg, a preventative cardiologist, our goal is to help women learn how to protect themselves from heart disease, which is the No. 1 killer of women.
“Besides screening and counseling patients individually, we also speak at women’s groups and health fairs to raise community awareness about heart disease in women, and we also contribute to research.”
What got me interested in this: “I spent my first year of nursing on a hospital dialysis floor. It was disheartening to me not to be able to make my patients better.
“When I moved to a cardiovascular intensive care unit, I found it rewarding to help someone through open-heart surgery. Later, working in cardiologists’ offices, I learned that I really enjoyed educating patients.”
Best part of the job: “I went into nursing to help people live better lives. That’s my passion. The fact that we are focusing on prevention makes it a very optimistic practice.
“After we do a physical exam and screenings, we spend two to two-and-a-half hours consulting with each patient. We don’t diagnose or treat patients. We refer them to specialists when appropriate…
“I love the patient contact and knowing that I could be making a difference in the outcomes of these women in the future.”
Most challenging part: “Getting the word out about this program … My biggest frustration is that we aren’t able to connect with all the women we would like to, including more African-American and Hispanic women, who would benefit from learning more about their risks.”
What people don’t know about my job: “There are many facets to being a clinical coordinator. I get to use a varied set of skills, from nursing, to public speaking, to counseling to marketing to administrative.”
What keeps me going: “Being in prevention is so uplifting and I love the proactive positive attitude of my co-workers.”
Preparation needed: To be a nurse practitioner requires a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in nursing. This job requires someone with cardiovascular experience.
Salary range: “It depends on the job … but I believe it averages about $65,000 to $85,000 in Georgia.”
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