Staff Spotlight

Ashleigh Brabbins, Registered Nurse

Ashleigh Brabbins, RN

Up next on our highlight of National Nursing Week, we catch up with Ashleigh Brabbins, a Critical Care Registered Nurse in the Cardiac Catheter Lab at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH).

Ashleigh tells us that the cardiac program is continually evolving and changing, and the team participates in research that improves patient outcomes and practice changes around the world. “I most enjoy working with our wonderful cardiac team and the cardiac sciences program as a whole!” says Ashleigh. “There are always opportunities for learning and ongoing education. Just when you thought you knew a lot about the heart, something new will come up.”

Employer-sponsored training

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) promotes ongoing professional development and offers employer-sponsored training for registered nurses. Ashleigh joined the team at the Cath Lab through a paid training opportunity for the Critical Care Program at BCIT which is 100% sponsored by VCH.  “Specialty nursing training is just one of the educational benefits of working in the Cath Lab!” she says.

For Ashleigh, one of the most stimulating moments at work is when patients present with a STEMI (ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction patients) which means they are having an active heart attack. “The work is fast-paced and everyone comes together to care for the patient as timely as possible,” she says. “It is incredibly satisfying to receive a patient in need of urgent care, identify the source of the problem and be able to fix it all within a small time frame. It is very bonding within our team of nurses, doctors, and technicians to be able to celebrate our successes.”

Wrap-around support

In the Cath Lab, the team embraces the VCH values of We Care for Everyone, We Are Always Learning, and We Strive for Better Results by treating all patients as equals. Ashleigh works with the mentality of ‘how would I want my loved ones cared for?  “Our role requires active participation in research and education for innovative practices in Interventional Cardiology,” she says. “We are always participating in ways to improve our patient’s experiences and outcomes.”

Operating as a special procedure area within Cardiac Sciences, the work in the Cath Lab is incredibly specific and requires ongoing mentorship and training. “We have a wonderful Clinical Nurse Educator who helps us with procedures we don’t do as often, organizes educational sessions, and keeps us well informed of practice changes. We are all well-supported here.”

Fun fact: Members of the Cath Lab get the opportunity to attend education dinners where presentations are given on special procedures within Interventional Cardiology by our attending physicians. “We get to learn while dining at fancy restaurants!”

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