Constant Change Brings Excitement to Nursing Working at an academic medical center gives real meaning to the old saying, “You learn something new every day.” That’s what Dan Wagner, BSN, RN, likes about his job as a nurse on the cardiothoracic surgery floor. Caring for cardiac patients, he deals with everything from heart attacks and open heart surgery to congestive heart failure, heart transplants and heart arrhythmias.
Wagner has been a Froedtert Hospital nurse since he graduated from nursing school six years ago. “There’s such a wealth of knowledge here and it’s ever-changing,” he said of his work. “And with new medications, advances in technology, safer procedures and decreasing length of stay, we also attract specialists who bring their knowledge to the hospital.”
“I’ve experienced several ground-breaking advances in the last few years,” Wagner said. A new procedure, Aquapheresis™ is one example. Used to treat heart failure, Aquapheresis removes large amounts of fluid from heart failure patients in a short time. “Advances are piloted on the floor, you get trained and then you teach nursing students and residents. It’s exciting.” For patients, he added, it can mean another treatment option and a way to improve their health.
Wagner takes an active role in improving patient care as a member of the Practice Council, an internal board that uses evidence-based nursing to review and revise clinical policies and procedures. “We look for advancements in patient safety and other improvements,” he explained.
Even with his career constantly changing, Wagner said, “The most important part of my job is the patients. I strive to be a patient advocate, follow up on care and make a patient’s day just a little better. That’s why I enjoy working the night shift — I can spend a lot of time with patients and families. If you know you’ve made a difference in a patient’s life, that’s a reward right there.”
Wagner didn’t start out wanting to be a nurse. In college, he wanted to be a physical therapist, but his older sister was enrolled in nursing school and encouraged him to study nursing instead. “When I started nursing school, I was hooked,” Wagner recalled.
He later chose Froedtert for one of his last clinicals, at his sister’s urging and because of its reputation as a Level I Trauma Center. “I worked in the ICU here for two weeks before I graduated, and it was an excellent experience.”
That’s still the case: Wagner loves working alongside his fellow nurses. “We work as a group and learn a lot that way. I also love the teaching aspect here. That’s the great part of this job: we’re always learning something.”
Source: Froedtert Today
Date: June 2006