Joy Cooper RN – Cardiac Rehab Rockstars: A Nurse’s Perspective
Joy is a register nurse at University Hospital in Augusta, Georgia. She writes about her experience leading patients through cardiac rehab as part of our series on Cardiac Rehab Rockstars.
As a registered nurse that works in the Cardiopulmonary Rehab department at University Hospital in Augusta, Georgia, I have the privilege of guiding and educating patients who have experienced a life-changing heart event. From the physical aspect, we have cared for patients who can barely walk when they first begin their exercise sessions. As the sessions and weeks go by, we have seen these patients become stronger and stronger. By our program’s graduation day, these patients are able to walk on their own with very little help, if any at all. Some patients have never exercised or never been to a gym and these patients actually start to enjoy their exercise sessions and continue to exercise after completion of our program, which is one of our main goals for them after they graduate.
Not only do we see physical changes with our patients, we also see mental and emotional changes. Many patients have anxiety and/or depression about their health status. Others are afraid to do anything because they feel it may cause another cardiac event. It is amazing to see the comradery that the patients develop with each other. They understand each other - sharing the feelings, thoughts and experiences since they have had their cardiac event. Throughout the exercise sessions, we see patients become confident, less anxious, less depressed, and overall felling much better about themselves than when they first began their cardiac rehab exercise sessions.
It is truly and honor and a blessing for me to be a part of our patients’ journeys. The positive changes I have seen in our patients and their positive comments about our program and staff affirms to me that our program is very beneficial for our patients’ health. Between our exercise sessions, education classes, dietary consults, counseling, and our health care professional - patient relationships, I believe and witness our patients gaining increased confidence, physical strength, perseverance and emotional health improve throughout their exercise sessions.
TELL US: How did you feel after cardiac rehab?