Our nurses amaze us, and we love sharing their inspiring stories in our GIFTED Spotlight series.
We recently met with Mark Hizon, GIFTED Cath Lab Nurse, in honor of American Heart Health Month to learn about everything he does for his Cath Lab.
How it started
Mark was born and raised in the Philippines where he completed nursing school in 2009 at the Far Easter University in Manila, Philippines. His parents encouraged him to study nursing and he later learned to love it. After working on a MedSurg floor in his hometown for 5 years, Mark went back to the classroom to study cardiology in a three-month intensive course training at the Medical City Hospital in Manila. While rotating units, Mark fell in love with the fast-paced adrenaline rush of saving lives in the Cardiac Cath Lab.
“We rotated different cardiology units in the course, and I chose the Cath Lab because it was the most exciting unit to me. I started working in the Cath Lab in 2014 and I have been a Cath Lab nurse ever since,” said Mark
Inside the Cath Lab
Mark and other Cath Lab nurses face a battle with the clock regularly as the patients in their hands are often fighting for their lives. The floor is filled with emergency life-threatening cases and when a patient comes in suffering from a heart attack, nurses have a 90-minute window to open the patient’s blocked vessel and save their life.
“You literally feel like you are saving a life. You see it in front of you. On other floors, you don’t always see patient improvement immediately but being in the lab, you see the patient’s improvement right away,” he said.
After eight years as a Cath Lab Nurse, Mark has had some memorable moments and incredible patients, the most memorable being a patient that came to his unit while on a travel assignment in Iowa. The patient came in with a heart attack and the 90-minute clock started.
“His heart rhythm was very erratic and went into VFIB multiple times,” said Mark. “We had to shock him 14 times in total until we got him out of that rhythm in order to fix the blockage, and that was a new record for me. Shortly after, he was alert and talking to us. He fully recovered and went home the next day. We literally saved his life.”
Mark is currently on his first assignment with GIFTED in New Jersey and has loved his supportive relationship with his GIFTED recruiter. His current hometown is San Antonio, TX and hopes to take his next travel assignment a bit closer to home in Dallas or Houston.
The Ideal Nurse
As we end every interview, we asked Mark what the ideal quality of a nurse is and he had a heart-warming response.
“Number one is compassion. When you’ve been a nurse for a long time everything will feel repetitive. Sometimes there is no emotion or care in repetitive things, but if you are a compassionate nurse, you will deal with every patient as a unique person and you do everything with your heart.”
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