From lifting weights to lifting spirits

When Angela Kipp, RN, was winding down at the gym one evening this past August, she received a text saying that one of the her patients was in the Emergency Department (ED), and she sprang back into action.

“She was having worsening shortness of breath, chest pain, and changes in her heart rhythm,” says Kipp, a nurse clinician at UI Hospitals & Clinics’ Heart and Vascular Center. “It was apparent that her condition was deteriorating and that it would have been lethal if it had continued for a long time.”

Angela Kipp, RN

Kipp was a welcome face when she arrived in the patient’s ED room, something she always strives to be.

“We’re the people she and her daughter had been talking to on the phone for the day leading up to her ED visit and multiple times before that, so they knew who we were,” Kipp says, referring to the team at the Heart and Vascular Center. “It gave them reassurance that her cardiologist Dr. Panaich knew everything that was going on and that we were working on things behind the scenes to make sure everything was lined up for the procedure the following day.”

Putting the plan into motion

From there, Kipp had a long list of boxes to check. She started by dashing to radiology to collect images from previous tests on the patient so that they could be sent to the vendor that was supplying the MitraClip—a transcatheter mitral valve used to treat the patient’s condition without the need for open-heart surgery.

“They had to do their evaluation to make sure the implant would be suitable for the patient,” says Kipp. “That was the piece we were mostly in need of.”

She then put the patient on the schedule in the cath lab where the procedure would take place; kept her team’s cardiology fellows updated on the patient’s condition; and made sure the reams of related paperwork were in order, including securing the necessary releases. Not until the last of the images were successfully uploaded to the MitraClip vendor did she finally go home for the night.

It was a whirlwind of activity. True to form, however, Kipp is modest about her contributions, simply saying, “There were just a lot of puzzle pieces to put together.”

The ultimate reward

The results of Kipp’s prep work have been evident: the procedure went flawlessly, and the patient continues to do well. Those are the only rewards Kipp feels she needs for her extra efforts.

“It fills my bucket as a nurse to know that I can be a resource and someone to rely on,” she says. “I felt that way in the Intensive Care Unit, but working in an outpatient setting, I feel it even more. Someone can call me and say, ‘I’m calling you because you always answer.’ Or, ‘I’m calling you because no matter what the problem is, you figure it out. You follow up. And if you don’t know the answer, you figure it out.’ That’s what continues to drive me.”


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