South Florida Hospital News
Sunday August 25, 2019
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May 2008 - Volume 4 - Issue 11

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Thank You May Not be Enough

As a former cardiac surgeon and current Director of Research at the Florida Heart Research Institute, I salute South Florida Hospital News for making an Annual Salute to Nurses. Any hospital administrator will readily admit that there is a national crisis in nursing. The reasons are multiple and complex, but the unfortunate bottom line is that the profession is generally undervalued and underpaid. With multiple attractive career opportunities now available, the entry-level positions in clinical nursing – vital links in patient care – are going unfilled. It is clear that somewhere in the increasingly complex proposals to rescue the viability of the American health care system, increased and adequate funding for nursing will emerge as a compelling priority.

Surgical training is notoriously long and rigorous. However, the first lesson any wise intern learns on a surgical ward is that the nurses can "make or break" you. Not only are they the essential patient caretakers, but, despite a young doctor’s prodigious book knowledge from medical school, the nurses know considerably more than the newly licensed physicians about actually taking care of these patients. The more sage amongst the young doctors rapidly learn to respect and work collaboratively with the nurses taking care of their patients. Over the years I have been privileged to work with nurses of the highest quality in every setting from the ward to the ICU to the operating room, and recognize that whatever small measure of success or accomplishment I may have been able to achieve in the clinical arena was due, in no small measure, to the nurse with whom I have worked.

Now that my career has focused on research, it is no surprise to me that I once again find nurses to be the ones who create the essential environment in which research can productively proceed. Armed with clinical knowledge and commitment, nurses frequently serve as research coordinators – the core "operating system" of any productive research organization. Here at the Florida Heart Research Institute we have been extremely fortunate over the years to enjoy the services of Connie Ingram, R.N. After a distinguished career as an outstanding clinical nurse, team leader and nursing supervisor at St Francis Hospital and subsequently at the Miami Heart Institute, Connie joined our team at the then Miami Heart Research Institute (which has evolved into the current day Florida Heart Research Institute). In the eleven years of service here at the Research Institute, Connie has advanced her education and training and distinguished herself as a clear team leader. She serves as the study coordinator for all of our research protocols, supervises and advises all of our research personnel and works closely with the medical staff on the development and execution of new protocols. Connie is an essential part our organization; we are most fortunate to work with her and take pride in saluting her efforts on behalf of research, education and prevention of heart disease.

Dr. Paul Kurlansky, board certified cardiothoracic surgeon, Director of Research at the Florida Heart Research Institute, can be reached at (305) 674-3154 or pak@floridaheart.org.
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