first days on the job

by Sarah Luna

have passed smoothly enough. I’m interning with Cardiac Rehab at St. Joseph’s Hospital for the entire summer. This internship is the last leg of my Kinesiology degree that I will receive in August.

Even though I’ve chosen to go to Cornell to pursue a PhD in Nutrition, I can still learn from this cardiac internship. I loved learning about EKGs and how to interpret them as well as all the electrical nuances of the heart. And depending on whom I work with, I might use exercise stress testing in the future for my nutrition work.

The first four weeks I will be assisting with stress testing at Central Texas Heart. This week has been a bit slow due to a shortage of the nuclear isotope used to label the blood. Even so, testing this particular population (elderly and sick) has shown me conditions that had only been theoretical in class. In three days, I have seen PVCs, significant Qs, AV blocks, and severe bradycardia. I’m hoping I don’t ever have to use my CPR training.

Today I saw a 70 year old man do the Bruce protocol. I hope I’m that fit at 70. This particular type of treadmill tests begins at 10% incline at 1.7 mph and increases 2% and 0.8 mph every 3 minutes. This may not sound like much, but it’s designed to take a patient up to 85% of their max heart rate. Once at 85%, the technician injects the isotope and allows it perfuse. After cooling down, she then takes a picture of the heart using the isotope to check for blockages.

I find the stress testing fascinating, but the rest of my day is simply spent pulling charts to give to the nurses. Tedious work, but important. I’m still trying to figure out where I fit in.

*Side note: the roommates are all gone. Makes me sad.

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