In celebration of Cardiovascular Professionals Week, we interviewed LaToya Payton, the Program & Clinical Coordinator for Dallas College’s School of Health Sciences, to understand what she and her colleagues at Dallas College have done over the past several months to continue delivering cardiovascular education during COVID-19.
Her responses perfectly illustrate our theme for CVP Week 2021—cardiovascular professionals (and educators!) don't miss a beat.
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the healthcare community in innumerable ways, from the “big picture” structure and function of our organizations, down to the minutiae of individual roles, responsibilities, and expectations within our institutions.
As we continue to conquer the hurdles set before us by COVID-19, taking note of what works and what doesn’t along the way, it is important that we consider the lessons and impact of the pandemic not only on our current practice, but in terms of how this period will inform our work in the years to come.
It is no surprise that in addition to care-delivering organizations, educational institutions have had an extremely difficult time adjusting to the pandemic, as physical distancing and other safety requirements have thrown a wrench into the scheduling of clinical learning opportunities, and the in-person instruction that is so critical to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals.
LaToya Payton’s responses were instructive for a number of reasons, not least of which is that they emphasized the centrality of information-sharing as we continue our fight against the SARS-COV-2 virus, and the importance of taking a flexible, collaborative approach to our shared challenges and to cardiovascular education during COVID-19.
Interview: Cardiovascular Education during COVID-19
Below you can find a written record of our conversation with LaToya Payton, along with some additional notes and resources, which might be useful to professional educators, students, and also those currently working in the field.
We have taken the liberty of expounding on the topics, ideas, and potential solutions she points to for finding new ways to deliver necessary knowledge and pursue team-based collaboration amidst the pandemic. Our notes/resources are added in the bullet points below each of LaToya Payton’s answers.
For nearly the past 400 days, healthcare workers across the world have been contending with the biggest global health crisis in over a century.
It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has strained our health systems, tested the resilience of healthcare team members, and caused suffering for individuals and families the world over. The ordeals of the past year have been difficult, to say the least, but there is both solace and obligation shrouded beneath the struggles of the SARS-COV-2 virus and the efforts those who have worked so diligently over the past 400 days to meet the occasion set before us.
The solace we might find in the pandemic is not in the virus itself, but in the ways in which it has enhanced our perspective and confirmed the tenacity and courage of the health professionals serving the public good.
The obligation it requires of us is to those very same professionals – that we must vocally and continuously show our gratitude for their arduous labor, trust in their judgments, and support their efforts in any and every way possible.
Our perspective of both the strengths and shortcomings of our healthcare system is clearer than ever before.
In addition to highlighting the immeasurable fortitude of healthcare professionals, the pandemic has shed light on many gaps and inequities in the delivery of health services. These gaps and inequities chart our path forward on the journey of constant improvement. Certainly, addressing our present concerns around Covid-19 must take first priority, but our ability to understand and articulate where we fall short is a necessary step towards the next iteration of our healthcare system.
Make no mistake, we are on the precipice of far-reaching change, and the medical professionals currently serving our societies are the stewards of current lessons for the next generation of the healthcare workforce. They are the frontline, the vanguard – agents of the critical progress ahead.
Celebrating CVP Week 2021 in your honor
We are indebted to these professionals always, but now more than ever, and it is all of our duty to celebrate their efforts and successes.
To celebrate health professionals appropriately, it is helpful to look back at our roots as a medical community and understand where we came from. Clarifying mission is a powerful exercise when determining “next steps,” and there are four lines from the modern Hippocratic Oath (rewritten in 1964 by Louis Lasagna), which have amplified relevance amidst the Covid-19 pandemic:
“I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
"I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.
"I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.
"I will not be ashamed to say ‘I know not,’ nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.”
Information-sharing has been demonstrated to be essential every one of the past 400 days. This is a “world-building” exercise at its core, and allows us to work more efficiently and effectively.
The avoidance of “therapeutic nihilism” is a radical act against such heavy odds. But we must never fall prey to apathy and dejection in our pursuits lest we allow ourselves to fail.
Medicine is as much a human pursuit as it is a scientific pursuit, and we must treat it as such by operationalizing our compassion among our teams, within our communities, and between individuals.
Finally, ego has no place in medicine, and mission-focused collaboration holds the keys to our ultimate success.
Cardiovascular Professionals Week (CVP Week 2021) is a valuable platform to share information, reinforce community, fight apathy, recognize greatness, and fortify our incredible teams.
This year, celebration and recognition are not “extra” to the work of healing patients and saving lives – it is an integral part of those efforts. We urge you to take the opportunity to recognize your colleagues this February 14 – 20, 2021, and to do so knowing that you are making a tangible difference in the effectiveness of your team.
We are here to help you in any way possible. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for suggestions, assistance, and support. Our CVP Week Planning Document is freely available to assist you as well.
Thank you for all that you do, now and every day.
Zach McElgunn Education Director Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals
What are the benefits of virtual continuing education for cardiac RNs and technologists? They're far greater than simply getting necessary CEUs from the comfort of your own home (though, that's great too). We've already seen the energy and activity our first virtual conference generated, and we're excited for the next. ACVP's next virtual CE festival will be Saturday, November 14—we hope you'll join us!
Eighty-two hours per week… That’s the amount of time an average global consumer spent absorbing information—from television, computers, phones, radio, etc.—two years ago in 2018. No doubt that number has since grown, and with the changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, we can expect it to continue to grow as we navigate the necessary physical distance of an increasingly socially connected world.
Now, we have a tendency to paint seemingly excessive figures of screen time and digital connectivity in a negative light – paradoxically decrying the increased isolation of a population lost in its screens, while simultaneously decrying the incessant connectivity of a world where anyone is only a few clicks away.
But as is true of most societal transformations, our current information age has both positive and negative aspects, and as is true of all eras, it will eventually end and be replaced by the next iteration of society – whatever that may be.
Many have speculated that the next iteration will revolve more around experience and automation, and we can already see this starting to happen with the proliferation of apps, platforms, and services which prioritize the interaction of and between users and consumers, over the collection and analysis of data and information as a goal unto itself.
This is especially true in the world of education. From primary school to highly specialized technical programs in healthcare, we are seeing more immersive, synchronous, virtual experiences offering students a chance to learn “hands-on” while remaining physically distant from instructors and peers.
The fact is, we are living in an era of yet-untapped potential. As we continue to navigate uncharted virtual waters there is no doubt that many obstacles will be revealed, but so will new solutions, opportunities, and efficiencies.
Our ability to create communities of thought has never been greater.
Our ability to access those communities has never been greater.
Our ability to generate and absorb new information has never been greater.
Our ability to learn from the experiences of others has never been greater.
Our ability to effectively re-tool learning environments to meet the needs of both students and instructors has never been greater.
Our ability to collaborate across cultural, physical, and ideological boundaries has never been greater.
In the whole of human history, our collective potential has never been greater.
So, while it is natural to think about virtual education in terms of screen fatigue, sedentary lifestyles, and physical separation, perhaps a more purposeful view of virtual communication will look at our need, our capabilities, and our goals to understand and act on our potential.
The Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals is committed to seeing that potential realized each and every day, as we connect students, educators, and professionals across the country with the most up-to-date, relevant, clinical information and education.
Cardiovascular Professionals Week 2020 Begins Feb 9!
Cardiovascular Professionals Week 2020 is next week, February 9-15! This year, the theme is Wholehearted Professionals, Wholehearted Care, in an effort to emphasize how the hard work and commitment of non-physician cardiovascular professionals produces excellent patient care—from patient advocacy to innovations impacting quality.
From the direct patient care to the work that goes on behind the scenes to bring new technological innovations, new perspectives, and improved team structures to cardiology: non-physician professionals are the foundation upon which quality care is built.
In recent years, there has been a push to improve the diversity of the cardiovascular workforce, as there have been direct links demonstrated between the diversity of care teams, and the quality of care—and even financial stability—of care-providing institutions. The ethos of teamwork and collaboration that defines cardiovascular work makes it an ideal platform for the improvement of diversityacross the spectrum of care delivery.
As the need for, and accessibility of, cardiovascular care is expected to grow in the coming years and decades, the importance of multidisciplinary teams, diverse perspectives, and increased partnership between professionals is only going to become more pronounced. Non-physician cardiovascular professionals are the keystone that will ultimately bring cardiovascular care completely into the 21st century, as healthcare transitions from a “procedural” perspective to a more “programmatic” focus.