Danielle LeVeck, RN, BSN, CCRN, and Vic Tackett, RN, BSN, CCRN, couldn’t imagine doing anything different than working as cardiac critical care nurses at Oklahoma Heart Institute. It is a path neither started on, however, as they worked towards their college degrees, but yet it has led them to CV ICU on the third floor at the hospital. Their mutual passion for their careers and continued education earned both a place on the certified nurses’ wall – marking a milestone in their careers.
“Nursing in general has been the best thing to ever happen to me and it was a second career,” admits Danielle. Close to completing her first degree in business and public relations, Danielle chose to finish what she had started, even though her interest in nursing grew. One year after working in public relations, Danielle returned to school to pursue what she knew was her passion.
Meanwhile, Vic found himself in a similar situation, working towards his degree in Business. Instead of finance classes, he realized he would rather be taking courses in science. “Business certainly wasn’t for me,” he says. Working at a nursing home, he realized nursing was the career he needed to pursue.
“Danielle will tell you whatever is on her mind,” Vic says of getting to know Danielle during their 12-hour shifts. “It’s definitely a tight-knit culture and group,” shares Danielle. The day-to-day life of a nurse is something only other nurses will understand. Both Danielle and Vic say that is even more true of CV ICU nurses.
“We work 12 hour shifts and most of us work overtime, so you’re always here,” says Vic. “None of us leave at 7:15. We hang out in the break room until everyone is finished then we all walk out together.”
The camaraderie helps when the days seem long and the gravity of the work wears. “We deal with a lot of hard things,” explains Danielle. “You get patients at their absolute worst times in their life, most of the time. I feel we make a difference every single day.”
Dedicated to patients and their families, Danielle says that is what motivated her to becoming a certified nurse. “It gives me motivation to want to be the best and provide the best care,” she says.
“I am glad I did it,” Vic says of earning his certification. He made the decision last year when setting his goals for the year and thought about the other nurses on the floor he looked up to – especially his nurse educator, Jenny. “I’ve always seen her name up on the wall,” he says. “She’s a role model for me. Getting a CCRN was something I just wanted to do.”
To become certified, Danielle and Vic studied on their own outside of work, preparing for the test that gave them a series of scenarios and asked what decisions they would make in delivering care to the patient. “Call the doctor is never an option on the test,” jokes Vic. Problem solving and applying critical thinking, Vic says, is not only what he loves about his job, but also exactly what the test required.
“It’s hard,” Vic says. “It’s a difficult test. It’s good to know you can set a goal and achieve that goal.”
Danielle hopes that as more names are added to the wall, more nurses will want to pursue their certification. “You motivate each other to go and become certified and it spreads,” she says. To stay certified, Danielle and Vic stay up-to-date through continuing education courses, constantly learning to renew their certification every two years.
Nursing is not just a job for Danielle or Vic. It is the career they can both continue to develop professionally, while making a difference in patients’ lives. “I love the flexibility of nursing,” shares Danielle. “The fact that it is something new every day. I’m continuously learning. It can be tiring - don’t get me wrong. We’re all tired every once in a while, but I pretty much love nearly everything about nursing.”
“It really makes you appreciate life,” Vic adds. “Really makes you want to live your life as well as you can and as healthy as you can.”
Other Oklahoma Heart Institute certified nurses include Beth Serafin, RN, BSN, CCRN, Michelle Modaff, RN, BSN, CCRN, Amber Shipley, RN, BSN, CCRN, Daniel Dunlap, RN, BSN, CCRN, and Elsa Fagbenle, RN, BSN, CCRN.