April 12, 2019 — Today I had the pleasure of making two visits with members of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) team during their skills fair, which is held every year in the spring. This is when staff have the opportunity to test their knowledge and practice life-saving skills such as CPR, suctioning and reviving a patient during a mock code.

Testing my knowledge with CVICU “Jeopardy”

Observing a mock code

As a pediatric cardiologist in my past life, the subject matter is near and dear to my heart (no pun intended). We started the visit playing a “Jeopardy”-style quiz with questions including “What is the correct route to administer Tacrolimus?” (orally) and “What genetic disorder is commonly associated with the defect CAVC?” (Down syndrome). It was a lot of fun!

I then toured some of the skills stations, where we learned things such as the best way to place an infant in a Z-Flo (fluidized infant positioner) and important tips on managing umbilical lines and chest tubes. During the second session, I watched as a team jumped into action to handle a mock code using a simulation doll. After the exercise, the team debriefed on what went well and what could have been handled differently. These simulations are so important in ensuring staff will be expertly prepared when a real code happens.

Before I left the first visit, CVICU Director Cheryl Pillow presented me with an awesome T-shirt that said, “Prolonged Cuties,” which is a play on words for Long QT syndrome, a congenital heart rhythm condition that I cared for in my life as an electrophysiologist. I liked it so much I wore it to the second visit!

Love the T-shirt!

Passport stamped and ready for the next visit

There’s no question that working in the CVICU can be stressful. This team takes care of some of the sickest of the sick kids, and high-risk procedures are sometimes necessary. Having been part of this environment many moons ago, I truly value all that they do for our patients and families. Thanks again for your compassion and dedication.