Patient Assessment- to include explanation of cardiovascular system, risk factors, diagnostic tests/EKGs, psychosocial, functional capacity. Nutrition Assessment- recommendations for a variety of populations: Diabetes, CHF, CVD, dyslipidemia, hypertension, etc. Weight Management- BMI, risk factor for cardiac disease. Blood Pressure Management- education, guidelines, physiology, etiology, pathophysiology. **Proficiency at taking blood pressures at rest, during exercise and in recovery. Blood Lipid Management- Role in atherosclerotic disease. Diabetes Management. Tobacco Cessation. Psychosocial Management. Physical Activity Counseling. Exercise Training- contraindications, ECG changes, physiologic measures.
My greatest accomplishment from this internship has been how much I have learned and grown over these 10 weeks. I know a whole new world of medications (cardiac related/unrelated), cardiovascular disease risk factor modifications, how to approach tough conversations with patients, and how to read ECG’s way more clearly than before. Basic Introduction to Electrocardiography (KIN 363) did a good job of introducing me to different arrhythmias and reasonings behind them, but experience with live, running ECGs is just something you can’t learn in school. I became very familiar with our patients and what their normal rhythms looked like and could quickly identify dysrhythmias as they were happening.
What advice would you give?
Advice I would give to future students would be to familiarize yourself with medications, drugs, and vitamins that are related to cardiac events and cardiovascular health. You don’t need to memorize anything, but it was surprising when I got here because I had no idea how relevant and important medications were until my first week here. Patient’s medications can change their heart rates, blood pressures, and even their ECG rhythm. One of the questions we always ask our patients every day when we check them in is if they’ve taken their medications, and if they have any medication changes or updates. So it’s important to know how certain medications affect certain physiologic measures so you (and other employees) know the reasoning behind changes seen in their HR, BP, or ECG.