Jaclyn Bridges is a cardiopulmonary rehabilitation nurse at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville.
Q: Why did you go into this career?
A: While in the medical program in high school I realized how much I enjoyed caring for people. I knew nursing would be a fulfilling career that had many different specialties, opportunities and the chance to make a difference in people’s lives.
Q: What services do you provide?
A: Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.
Q: What makes this area of medicine fulfilling for you?
A: After working on a telemetry unit for 10 years I developed a love for the cardiac specialty. I enjoy seeing the outcomes of care and educating patients on how to achieve their best health. We develop relationships with patients. Through education and monitored exercise I get to witness patients reach goals and better their health.
Q: When did you realize this was the right medical career path for you?
A: When I first started working in cardiopulmonary rehab and realized how much I enjoyed teaching. I get to assist patients in making a complete recovery both physically and emotionally.
Q: What’s the latest advancement in your field that will benefit patients?
A: Cardiac rehabilitation helps patients return to an active lifestyle through medically supervised education, exercise training and psychological support.
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However, we know that only 20 percent of the nearly one million Americans who experience a qualifying event each year participate in cardiac rehabilitation despite evidence that doing so saves lives.
To address this we added more opportunities for our patients to participate in cardiac rehab and we meet with inpatients at the bedside to educate them on the benefits of engaging in cardiac rehab services.
This introduction gives patients hope and expedites the consult and referral process so we can enroll them quicker.
Providing this education in advance puts patients at ease and leaves them encouraged and prepared to begin their recovery.
Q: Best advice for current and potential patients?
A: It is never too late to make changes to your lifestyle. Try not to get discouraged, you are not alone. Cardiopulmonary rehab can help guide you in the right direction and give you the motivation and confidence to achieve your best health.
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Name: Jaclyn Bridges RN
Where are you based: Parrish Medical Center, 951 North Washington Ave. Titusville, FL 32796
Education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Central Florida.
On the Web: parrishhealthcare.com
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Health pro: Heart nurse: ‘Never too late’ to change lifestyle