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Faith is an intrinsic quality of nursing, says Sue Gibson, RN, nurse manager of Mercy Home Health, Oklahoma City and Midwest City.

by James Coburn

Faith is an intrinsic quality of nursing, says Sue Gibson, RN, nurse manager of Mercy Home Health, Oklahoma City and Midwest City.
Faith is an intrinsic quality of nursing, says Sue Gibson, RN, nurse manager of Mercy Home Health, Oklahoma City and Midwest City.

Staff Writer


Sue Gibson was ready for a change in her nursing career before she found her niche with Mercy.
“Fate brought me here. This is where I was meant to be,” said Gibson, RN, nurse manager of Mercy Home Health, Oklahoma City and Midwest City.
She discovered that Mercy shares her values when she first interviewed at Mercy with one of the hospital’s vice presidents, she said.
“He opened the interview with a prayer,” Gibson said. “At that point, I knew I was home. They really focus on the patient. That’s the most important thing. We’ve lost that a little bit in corporate America. It boils down to money sometimes and Mercy has made it all about the patient.”
Gibson has seen how faith can reinforce a person’s resilience in life, adding to its texture and quality.
Gibson was a licensed practical nurse in 1978 when she decided to go back to school to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in California. Her husband was in the military, which brought her nursing career to many places.
“I’ve worked med-surg, orthopedic. In Germany I worked in the emergency room there for three years,” Gibson said. “I flew with the Medevac crew and went out with the ambulance crew.”
Gibson worked in home health in California twice, serving the farmlands and diverse metropolitan areas. She has worked in home health for 21 years in Oklahoma, where she has encountered a diversity of weather conditions.
“Even this week when you have ice, or when you’re having tornadoes, they’re out in this all the time,” Gibson continued. “They’re so committed. No matter what’s going on — no matter the environment — it’s not like working in the hospital where everything is clean and everything is a certain temperature.”
“Home health is not for everyone,” she said. “It’s difficult sometimes. You’re driving in weather, getting bit by dogs and things — things of that nature, and you have to love what you do by having that faith and being able to pray with your patients.”
Mercy Home Health pays close attention to the weather forecast, sometimes five days before  turbulence arrives in Oklahoma. They begin to prepare the patients to have enough medicine and food in the house. This is to ensure the patients will be alright if an ice storm prohibits travel or delays a visit, she said.
“Some of them are on oxygen and they have to have extra oxygen bottles. We have to make sure the company that provides that — we would contact them and make sure they can provide that.”
If a patient is in a place where there is a prolonged black-out of electricity, the nurses make sure the patient can stay with a family member or go to a community center, Gibson said.
This commitment to outstanding patient care is reassuring to Mercy’s home health patients. Some patients that she has gotten to know do not have anyone else in their lives but themselves and a friendly home health nurse bringing some home and cheer into their lives.
“The only person they may see that week is the home health people,” Gibson said. “So you really play such an important role in their well-being and their recovery.”
Mercy Home Health nurses share a common thread of faith in what they are doing, she said. Her confidence was instilled long ago when she considered a nursing career.
“I guess I don’t remember not wanting to be a nurse. I grew up around my grandparents. You know care giving was just what you did,” she explained.
Being a nurse is a calling and those who think of it as merely a job are in the wrong business, Gibson continued. What keeps her dedication primed in home health is a continuity of care, not a snap-shot of a patients life that comes with working in a hospital, she said.
“When they’re home, they’re in their own environment,” Gibson noted. “And that’s where the healing kind of takes place.”
Home is a place where nurses can offer one-on-one care and witness a difference in a patients recovery. Sometimes there are patients who do not get better, who can be offered palliative care and comfort measures as they transition, Gibson said. Mercy Home Health has a seamless relationship with Mercy Hospice when a terminal illness presents itself.
“It makes it an easier transition for the patient,” she said.
Gibson also brings her caring spirit to the love of leading a full life.
“You know I’m kind of an outdoors person,” she said. “I hunt. We have property in southwestern Oklahoma where I hunt with my husband and my son.”
It’s not the act of hunting that she enjoys. It’s being on a deer stand before daylight, watching the sunrise beckoning a new day of possibilities, Gibson said.
“It’s just a calm, quiet time with all the animals coming out,” she said.

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Pam Spanbauer, RN, serves on the Physician Manpower & Training Commission.

by Mike Lee
Staff Write

Pam Spanbauer, RN, BSN, MEd, may be retired from her nursing practice but her impact on healthcare in Oklahoma will be felt for generations to come.
As the governor’s appointee to the Physician Manpower & Training Commission, Spanbauer is the only nurse on the board that helps ensure healthcare for thousands of rural Oklahomans.
Now the board chair, Spanbauer helps make sure that small communities in Oklahoma get the competent and professional physicians they so desperately need.
Spanbauer also currently serves as the vice president of the Oklahoma Nurses Association.
The commission is a task-force established in the 1970s.
“They have funding to help fund physicians in training to go out into the rural areas in Oklahoma,” Spanbauer said. “In Oklahoma we have so much rural area. In these farming communities the last thing they can do is take a day and drive to the city to get healthcare and drive back.
“It’s really important especially with the fact we don’t have many hospitals in the rural area.”
Spanbauer was raised in a small town in North Carolina. She had a single doctor growing up who took care of her entire family.
“If we had to have gone to the city we probably wouldn’t have gotten healthcare,” said Spanbauer, whose family lived 50 miles from the nearest hospital. “I’ve always had that small-town respect.”
She says the reality is that most doctors are going into specialty practices. Those who head to family medicine will stick closer to more populated areas.
The commission will cover a significant portion of a doctor’s tuition for a commitment to be the physician in a rural area.
“Many of the physicians actually wind up staying in that area after their commitment is done,” Spanbauer said. “If it weren’t for that a lot of doctors wouldn’t even know there are these opportunities and how great healthcare can be in a small community.”
Spanbauer and the commission review each applicant and decide the best place to match each doctor. Communities routinely send in requests for physicians to cover their population.
The mission of the Physician Manpower Training Commission is to enhance medical care in rural and underserved areas of the state by administering residency, internship and scholarship incentive programs that encourage medical and nursing personnel to practice in rural and underserved areas. Further, PMTC is to upgrade the availability of health care services by increasing the number of practicing physicians, nurses and physician assistants in rural and underserved areas of Oklahoma.
Subsequently the Oklahoma Legislature has added the responsibility of a Physician Placement Program, Nursing Student Assistance Program, the FP Resident Rural Program, the Physician Community Match Program and the Physician Assistant Scholarship Program. Spanbauer says the commission is guided in all the programs by a sense of stewardship which requires that maximum effort, both individual and organizational, be utilized to increase the number of practicing physicians, nurses and physician assistants in Oklahoma and, particularly, in rural and underserved areas of the state.
“I’ve always had a strong desire to give back in some way which is why I love being retired,” Spanbauer said. “I loved what I did when I was working but now it’s like I can give back. When I was working I didn’t have as much time.”
During her career, Spanbauer served as an EMT and drove an ambulance for Children’s Hospital. She also helped start the MediFlight program and later spent nearly her entire nursing career at Mercy.
“I had an opportunity at that time to see how spread out everything in Oklahoma is,” she said. “We would drive to pick up a baby and see how some of those hospitals barely had enough to get by. They didn’t have all the equipment we had in the city to take care of these premature babies.
“I’ve always been very passionate about wanting everybody to be able to have access to care. It’s a fact that people don’t.”
Spanbauer says the commission is charged with five high-priority goals:
1. Work to improve the balance of physician manpower distribution in the State of Oklahoma, both by type of practice and by geographic location;
2. Aid accredited physician training facilities in the establishment of additional primary medical care and family practice internship and residency training programs by sharing in the cost of these programs;
3. Assist Oklahoma communities in selecting and financing qualified medical and osteopathic interns/residents to participate in the Physician Community Match Program;
4. Assist Oklahoma communities, in any manner possible, in contacting medical and osteopathic students, interns and residents, or other physicians (inside and outside Oklahoma) who might wish to practice in Oklahoma;
5. Work with Oklahoma communities and the leadership of Oklahoma’s nurse training institutions to provide nurses for underserved areas of the state.
“It gets back to what medicine is all about and that’s the relationship the doctor has with the patient and the community,” Spanbauer said.
And that’s how Spanbauer makes a difference for future generations to come.

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John Murgai and Lee Rose have helped Brookhaven Administrator Mollie Wooldridge (left) and Director of Nursing Dustin Schuler, RN, (third from left) keep residents healthier.

by Mike Lee, Staff Writer

Like any good administrator, Brookhaven Extensive Care’s Mollie Woolridge is constantly looking for better ways to help her residents.
So when she heard about the Prevent Clinic and what it could do she was sold.
“We always want to give the best care for our residents so anything that’s new and can make their lives better or easier we want to try,” Wooldridge said. “What they pitched to us was what we needed because readmissions are an issue and these can prevent some. It can at least let us know when someone is declining.”
Enter John Murgai and Lee Rose with Prevent Clinic – an on-site health monitoring and management firm that specializes in identifying patients who are at-risk for hospital readmission.
Once those patients are identified, Prevent Clinic focuses on continued monitoring until the patient’s prognosis improves.
Patients in the Prevent Clinic – largely those with congestive heart failure – are examined once they begin the program and are then seen weekly.
“We know from the start if they are at risk and what to look for and they are monitored regularly by additional people,” Wooldridge said. “And it’s people that learn to know them.”
Brookhaven specializes in nursing care. And Dustin Schuler is the Director of Nursing.
From a clinical standpoint, he was all for using Prevent Clinic.
“It was just giving us an extra tool to care for the residents,” he said. “For a long time with skilled care you had to send them out to the hospital to get any kind of testing done. It was just a great option to help the residents.”
Wooldridge monitored the numbers and liked what she saw.
“When did this work? From the very beginning,” she said.
Prevent Clinic’s ultrasounds and dopplers are also at Schuler and his staff’s disposal.
“The technology the mobile x-ray has is pretty high-end,” he said.
“Once I got the nurses on board 100 percent it was definitely additional peace of mind,” he continued.
“I think they like it, knowing there’s another test they could run. It gives them something else we can go to. They realize sending the resident to the hospital isn’t good for them and it isn’t good for the family.”
Health care reform has pinpointed hospital readmissions as a key area for improving care coordination and achieving potential savings.  Medicare patients have the largest share of total readmissions and the highest associated costs for readmission.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there were approximately 3.3 million adult hospital readmissions in the U.S. in 2011. That resulted in $41.3 billion in additional hospital costs.
For Medicare patients, the No. 1 condition resulting in readmission was congestive heart failure which was responsible for 134,500 readmissions. Septicemia and pneumonia were the next two conditions responsible for the majority of readmissions. These three conditions alone resulted in $4.3 billion in hospital costs.
At a time when hospitals are trying to lower a patient’s length of stay, patients are unfortunately coming home sicker than before.
The thinking is that objective hemodynamic data can lead to better outcomes and ultimately a lower cost of care.
“It’s an added plus on our side because we do something nobody else does,” Wooldridge said.
Initially, Wooldridge admits her staff was leary of taking on a new process. But Murgai quickly won them over.
“Trying new things is always difficult because you don’t want to add more work to already overworked people,” Wooldridge said. “But I think this helps them in so many different ways. It’s not additional work it’s additional eyes on our residents. More people can see a decline or an improvement.”
Murgai said Brookhaven is the first facility to use Prevent Clinic’s optimized program.
“We test every patient here,” Murgai said. “Every patient gets tested … that way nothing falls through the cracks for them.”
And the cracks are where patients can slip through, leading them back to the hospital.
“Hospitals are where sick people are and people get sicker sometimes when they go there,” Rose said.
That’s why keeping them out of the hospital is the best prescription.

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Trisha Brown, RN lives by the philosophy: ‘I strive to be the best I can be.’


by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer

It is easy to see why Trisha Brown loves her job.  She is the manager of the Birth, Labor and Delivery Center and NICU at Deaconess Hospital.  She has been a nurse for 20 years but here at Deaconess for 3 years.
Brown  became a nurse with the help of her mother’s influence.  “My mother was a nurse and when I was a teenager, I spend my summers going to work with her, volunteering at the hospital.  I fell in love with it and it was contagious.  She was a geriatric nurse and I went to the other end of the spectrum, working with babies.  I worked in McAlester, OK, Texas, Edmond Renaissance and Moore Medical Center.  I’ve always worked in labor and delivery.  I worked in McAlester in 1995 because there was a hiring freeze here.  If you weren’t a nurse or a tech in a hospital here, you couldn’t get a job.  I moved to McAlester and lived there about 6 years.”
“What do you consider your best quality as a nurse?” I ask.  “I would have to say being compassionate to the patients, no matter what the situation might be.”  Brown went to school at Redlands Community College in El Reno and is graduating in May from Southwestern with a Bachelor’s degree.  This week, she is taking the National Certification exam on Inpatient Obstetrics.  Asking Brown her opinion on what makes a good nurse, she is quick to reply. “Patient compassion and having a passion for what you are doing.”  “How would others describe you?”  “I am very responsive in emergency situations.  I am a leader and an advocate for the medical field and nurses and patients,” she replies with a bit pride in her voice.
Brown reflects on what inspires her every day.  “Seeing the process of implementing the changes that directly affect the patient care is important to me. With the improved results, we have satisfied patients, having good outcome, updating changed products; therefore, mindful of positive outlooks.”
“What advice would you give someone that was going into the medical field?” I ask Brown.  “The medical field has lots of different areas and it is very versatile.  There are so many areas you can choose from.  Put your heart into it and go where you heart is invested,” she replies. “Follow your heart,” she adds.
“Describe yourself in 3 words,” I tell Brown.  “I guess you could say the 3R’s,” she laughs.  “Responsive, Reliable and Responsible,” she says.  “Do you have any hobbies?” I ask Brown.  “I have 4 kids so my hobby is my kids,” she says with a smile.  “I have always enjoyed running but last year, I had some medical problems so I am just now getting back into running.  It’s great exercise and it is a good release for me,” she replies.  “It’s my quiet time too,” she adds.  “What do you do for fun?” I ask. “I have a lot of great friends.  I like to spend time with my family and my friends.  Most of my family lives in Illinois so I usually travel to go see them.”
Asking Brown what her favorite thing about her job is, she replies,  “I enjoy seeing my patients every day.  I like the leadership rounds and I get to hear about how great the staff is and how skilled the nurses are.  We hear positive feedback from our patients all the time.  I work with some great people.”
“What is your typical day?” I ask Brown.  “I get here pretty early.  I make rounds, check on staff, take care of their needs, check with floor supervisor, check calendar, and do a lot of follow up.  In fact, most of my time is spent doing follow up.  We just got a new security system for our nursery unit.  It is very nice, a state-of-the-art system.  It’s called Hugs and Kisses and it features the safety between the mother and the  baby. It bonds the mother and baby with a special relationship.  Here at the NICU, we are constantly looking for new ways to improve our hospital to help our community.”
Brown ends with these words that she seems to live by, “My  philosophy is that whether it be your first baby or your tenth baby, the mother has to have a good experience.  It is a day that that a mother will remember for the rest of her life.  I strive to be the best I can be.”

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Nurses in the NICU show the Sleep Sack Swaddle that is given to each baby born in the nursery at Deaconess Hospital.

by Vickie Jenkins

The Birth Center at Deaconess hospital features eighteen elegantly appointed single-room maternity suites that allow mothers to share the birth experience with family in a beautiful, home-like atmosphere by staying in the same room for labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum care.  Nine-bed level-II NICU provides excellent care for babies who need additional medical attention. The NICU is staffed by registered nurses and board-certified neonatologists.  One-on-one nurse to patient ratio throughout the entire labor and delivery process.
Deaconess Hospital in Oklahoma City is known for their outstanding doctors and nurses. Picture: From L-R: Tanya Bogan, RN,  Yvonne Silberman RNC-OB,  Jonna Criscuoli, RN and Supervisor Trisha Brown, RNC-OB show the Sleep Sack Swaddle that each newborn receives at Deaconess.  The Sleep Sack is a Safe Sleep Initiative that was introduced February 14, 2014.
Here are some Safe Sleep Swaddle Tips to ensure a safe sleep for your baby. Always place baby to sleep on his or her back at naptime and night time.  Use a crib that meets current safety standards with a firm mattress that fits snugly and is covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet.  Remove all blankets, comforters and toys from your baby’s sleep area (this includes loose blankets, bumpers, pillows and positioners).  The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using a wearable blanket instead of loose blankets to keep your baby warm.  Offer a pacifier when putting baby to sleep. If breastfeeding, introduce pacifier after one month or after breastfeeding has been established.  Breastfeed, if possible, but when finished, put your baby back to sleep in his or her separate safe sleep area alongside your bed.  Room share, but don’t bed share.  Bed sharing can put a child at risk of suffocation.  Never  put your baby to sleep on any soft surface (adult beds, sofas, chairs, water beds, quilts, sheep skins etc.)  Never dress your baby too warmly for sleep.  Never allow anyone to smoke around your baby.
Deaconess Hospital is proud of their new Hugs and Kisses Security System as of January 2015.  The Hugs system offers the reliability that you and your staff can depend on every day to keep your infants safe.  The Hugs tag attaches in seconds and is automatically enrolled in the software.  Protection can start right in the delivery room.  The Hugs system requires no manual checks of infant tags or other devices to make sure they’re working. The Hugs system software -continually monitors the status of all devices, and will generate an alarm if something goes wrong.  There is an automatic mother/infant matching.  With the Kisses® option, the Hugs system automatically confirms that the right baby is with the right mother. There are no buttons to push and no numbers to match.
Deaconess Hospital offers Certified Lactation Consultants that round on all post-partum and NICU mothers.  Here you will find Neonatologists and Neonatal Nurse Practitioners on call 24/7 for high risk deliveries.

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If you were an animal, what would it be and why? Oklahoma City Indian Clinic

“I would be a gorilla or an ape.  They are similar to human form which is interesting.  They climb, swing, lounge and relax.” Carrie Barringer, LPN OKC Indian Clinic

“I would be a bear-I am very protective of my patients and I am very protective of children.” Wanda Green, LPN OKC Indian Clinic

“The animal I choose is an eagle so I could travel the world without buying an airline ticket” James Foreman, LPN OKC Indian Clinic

“I would  be a lioness.  They are very protective and have a lot of pride.” Lynn Morrison, LPN
OKC Indian Clinic

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From left to right: Kathy McCracken, executive director, Children’s Hospital Foundation; Terrence Stull, Scientific Director, Children’s Hospital Foundation; Speaker of the House, Rep. Jeff Hickman.

Children’s Hospital Foundation (CHF) was the designated charity for the 2015 Oklahoma Speaker’s Ball. Speaker of the House, Rep. Jeff Hickman, presented proceeds from the event, totaling $25,000, to the foundation during Sunday’s event.
“We are deeply humbled and so excited to have been selected as the 2015 Speaker’s Ball charity of choice,” said Kathy McCracken, executive director, Children’s Hospital Foundation. “We believe that by partnering with Oklahoma’s legislators, we can truly make a difference in the future of health care for Oklahoma’s children.”
The Speaker’s Ball is an annual event designed to build camaraderie among the members of the legislature. This year’s event was held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

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Q. Why is it that I can’t express what i am thinking for fear I will hurt someone’s feelings? I have been dating Ben for 3 months and freeze when I need to communicate honestly. I can think it but can’t say it. I do it with other people too. How can I learn to “just say it?”


A. The art of communication is filled with mixed messages, one word responses and games without defined rules. Is it any wonder that we have problems having discussions that lead to meaningful resolutions? Communicating clearly, specifically and authentically would decrease some of the confusion.
Comedian Zach Galifianakis has provided us with a  list of The Things Men Do That Upset Women. (Notice how bad communication messes things up)
1. Lie
2. Be honest.
3. Not talking to them.
4. Talking to much to them.
5. Not showing any emotions.
6. Being too emotional.
7. Breathing.
So what are The Things Women Do That Upset Men?
1. Showing emotion but saying “nothing is wrong.”
2. Saying tonight “will be the night” and then totally forgetting she said it.
3. Thinking I can read her mind, expecting me to know what I she is thinking.
4. Trying to have a conversation while I am watching football.
5. When she says, “we need to talk.”
6. When she talks to her girlfriend about me while I am sitting in the room, “hello, I can hear you.”
7. When she asks me if her thighs look fat in those pants.

The best you can do is try to communicate about what is going on with you and not stuff it and bring it out when you have a fight. If you are angry, say you are angry. Try to do it from your head and not your heart. When you are communicating  with men, they will pay more attention if you talk about what is going on, rather than cry or yell about it.
And don’t be so concerned about every one’s feelings. There is a difference in speaking your truth and being mean. If something continues to bother you, you just can’t let it go, you really need to deal with it. Or it will affect your relationships and your health.

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Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper

Oklahoma City University will host preventive medicine pioneer Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper for a presentation, open to the public, at 3 p.m. March 26 in the Kerr McGee Auditorium in Meinders School of Business. Following his presentation, the university will bestow Cooper with an honorary Doctor of Science degree.
Cooper, the founder and chairman of Cooper Aerobics in Dallas and an Oklahoma native, is credited with starting the international fitness movement following the release of his best-selling book, “Aerobics,” in 1968. This year marks the 45th anniversary of Cooper Aerobics inspiring millions of people to live healthier, longer lives.
He has lectured in more than 50 countries and is most famous in Brazil, having trained the 1970 Brazilian soccer team to a World Cup victory. As a result, jogging is translated as “coopering” in Portuguese.
Cooper’s efforts have also impacted the American diet. His collaboration with PepsiCo to eliminate trans fats from its Frito-Lay snack line encouraged other companies to follow suit.
Cooper was born in Oklahoma City in 1931. During his 13 years of service in the U.S. Army and Air Force, he served as a flight surgeon and director of the Aerospace Medical Laboratory. He developed the 12-minute and 1.5-mile fitness tests and the Aerobics Point System still used today by branches of the military, schools and organizations worldwide.
In 1970 Cooper resigned from the military and founded Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas with the mission to explore the relationship between cardiovascular fitness and health and longevity. With the popularity of his book “Aerobics,” which has been translated into 41 languages and Braille, he also coined the term “aerobics” and submitted the official definition to the Oxford English Dictionary. He has authored 18 additional books, which combined have sold more than 30 million copies.
Cooper’s mission is for people of all ages to Get Cooperized™. As a leading pioneer of preventive medicine, he is challenging the world to follow his “8 Healthy Steps” to live better: maintain a healthy weight; eat healthy most of the time; exercise most days of the week; take the right supplements for you; stop smoking; control alcohol; manage stress; and get a regular, comprehensive physical exam. Founder and Chairman of Cooper Aerobics, Dr. Kenneth Cooper continues to lead the organization alongside his son, Dr. Tyler Cooper, president and CEO.

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INTEGRIS Heart Hospital is the first hospital in Oklahoma to participate in the Abiomed Mobile Learning Lab program.
The Abiomed Mobile Learning Lab is a highly interactive, facilitated learning experience that is brought directly to the hospital, training the hospital staff on the Impella® heart pump, one of the newest minimally invasive heart technologies.
Impella 2.5, the world’s smallest heart pump manufactured by Abiomed, is a percutaneous (through the skin) heart pump that offers hemodynamic support for patients who  have been turned down for bypass surgery or are at high risk for percutaneous coronary intervention; patients in cardiogenic shock; and to stabilize patients before surgery or transplant.
The Mobile Learning Lab offers cardiologists, nurses and cath lab staff at INTEGRIS Heart Hospital a convenient opportunity to learn about the Impella platform. The Mobile Learning Lab contains various Impella simulators, animations and key information, which are all presented by a team of Abiomed trainers.
“Our community of patients and partners deserve the best therapies available. Our participation with the mobile learning lab will ensure that our staff is highly trained to effectively utilize the most innovative health care technology solutions available for our patients,” said George Chrysant, M.D., an interventional cardiologist with INTEGRIS Heart Hospital.
Abiomed’s portfolio of heart support and recovery products and services offer health care professionals an array of choices across a broad clinical spectrum. The Impella heart pump family has supported more than 25,000 patients in the United States.