Someone wise once said…
“Not all heroes wear capes”
Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were the heroes we learned to admire while growing up. It was, and still is, a dream to acquire a superpower that could be used to fight off evil and make this world a better place. According to the Oxford dictionary, a hero is defined as “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities” notice how superpowers were not part of that definition. With everything going on pertaining to COVID-19, we’ve all learned to come together as a community and learn the true meaning of a hero.
When quarantine began, and we all searched for ways of entertainment, people went out to their balconies and windows to applaud those who are our heroes. Essential workers who couldn’t just stay home and practice social distancing. In some neighborhoods, the applauds became an everyday thing, but I’ve noticed that lately as things seem to be returning to a new normal those applauds have gotten quieter. Although some may still be praising essential workers, I too wanted to shine some light on someone I considered a hero. Like many, my hero doesn’t wear a cape, she wears scrubs. Meet Heidy Reynolds, an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami, FL. I met Heidy through a very special someone, and her kind and loving qualities never cease amazing me.
I decided to write Heidy a text and ask her if I could maybe talk about her on my upcoming post. With, what felt like a big smile on her face, she responded with a yes! I, therefore, shoot her some interview questions through email and became shocked when I received her responses.
Q: What is your name, work title, and description?
Heidy S Reynolds, APRN
Vascular Interventional Radiology
Vascular Interventional Radiology is a sub-specialty of Radiology where specially trained physicians use image guidance to perform minimally invasive procedures throughout the body. My role as an APRN at Mount Sinai Medical Center is to oversee our clinical service by providing evidenced based patient care while managing new consults and continuous follow up care for patients throughout their hospitalization, including rounding, surveillance, management of complications and discharge planning. This also includes pre/post procedural management of all IVR patients as well as asistance intra-operatively in cath lab suite. I also perform minor procedures including thoracentesis, paracentesis and pleural catheter placement using image guidance and I serve as an educator for rotating Diagnostic Radiology and Internal Medicine residents.
Q: How long have you been working in the medical industry? What interested you in the industry, to begin with?
I began working as an RN in 2010 in the pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant unit at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. I graduated in 2016 with a Master’s of Science in Nursing and became a certified Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and began my work at Mount Sinai Medical Center. I have always been curious about medicine but after I took an Anatomy and Physiology class my sophomore year in high school, I became fascinated by the complexity of the human organ systems and I desired to know more. Of all the different fields in medicine, I chose nursing because I wanted a closer and more direct relationship with patients. I enjoyed the feeling of being connected with them by being very present in their care, this including administering medications, offering a hand to hold and an ear for listening. Their physical and psychological wellbeing in its totality has always been my priority. I went from orchestrating tea parties with my pediatric patients to now listening to wise tales by my geriatric patients.
Q: What is your favorite part about working in the industry? Your least favorite?
My favorite part is watching patients recover from our interventions. Knowing we have made an impact in their lives by aiding in the improvement of their health and quality of life. Least favorite is probably coping with those who don’t do well, have chronic pain or who are terminally ill with limited options of therapy.
Q: How has the situation with COVID-19 affected your everyday work? What has changed, what has stayed the same, how do you feel about it?
COVID-19 changed the way we practiced medicine on an everyday basis. Our practice transitioned from office visits to telehealth visits, which is essentially a visit over Facetime. Given we are a procedural service, our “elective” outpatient procedures were postponed to limit exposure to patients. This meant delaying procedures like biopsies, which are required for definitive diagnosis in order to commence treatments. We also do a lot of work in the peripheral vascular space for patients who have critical limb ischemia and may develop wounds. It was very concerning that our patients were at risk for poor wound healing and rapidly progressing disease that would ultimately lead to amputation if not treated promptly. We are now on the road to establish more normalcies within the hospital, gradually we are bringing our elective procedures back.
Q: Throughout your career, you have been through unimaginable experiences. What is one experience you vividly remember that has impacted your career? (include pics if possible)
I was impacted very early in my career. Pediatric cancer is an indiscriminate disease and takes a toll on the entire family system. It was very difficult for me to watch my patients fight to be five. I will not describe the saddening details of what it feels like to complete postmortem care on a 2 year old or how to find consoling words for a parent who has lost their child. But it does put things in perspective, in regards to your own life. Suddenly my problems seemed very small and I developed a new appreciation for all things around me. It helped to sculpture the core foundation of my being and cemented values like compassion, empathy, generosity, patience, kindness and an optimistic view of the world. I concluded, if these families can get through the most difficult thing imaginable, then I probably can get the through anything.
Q: What do you project your career to look like in 10 years? What are some goals you would like to accomplish by then?
Difficult question to answer but I probably would like to become more autonomous within my area of practice. I would also like to contribute to the nursing profession as a whole by joining nursing organizations and aid in shaping new health policies. Was also considering serving as educator for future nurses. Perhaps expand my knowledge base by returning to school and attaining a Doctorate Degree in Nursing. I am currently involved with a lot of research within my institution that will revolutionize the way we treat different diseases and impact care in the future. Therefore I will continue to pursue that.
Q: As a hero, is there anything you would like to add or say to our readers at home who are also living through such vulnerable times?
We are all heroes. It is amazing to watch human kind come together and support each other. Would definitely remind them that although it is difficult to be confined at home, this is an impermanent situation and it is important to remain hopeful that things will change for the better and what is separating us now, is paradoxically uniting us.
As Heidy very well said, we are all heroes and no cape or scrub will ever be able to define that well enough. I was shocked after reading Heidy’s answers because although I know her on a personal level, I was amazed to learn so much more about her through her work. Although I already knew Heidy was a kind and noble person, reading her experiences and vocation to her job definitely reinforced that thought. I would like to thank Heidy for allowing me to not only write about her on this post but also for her hard work during these uncertain times. To my readers, remember to shine a light on someone you consider a hero, let’s keep coming together as a community for the greater good.