American Heart Month: What it’s like to be a CVT

HealthcareFebruary 02, 2022

Fortis graduate Rachana Amin worked as a medical assistant for six years, and she eventually started working in a cardiology practice. When she learned about a procedure called cardiac catheterization, her interest was piqued and it led her to enroll in the cardiovascular technologist (CVT) training at Fortis Institute in Nashville, Tenn.

During the 18-month accelerated program, Amin gained critical knowledge in classes and labs. She did her clinicals at TriStar Southern Hills Hospital in Nashville, where she was hired once she graduated. As a CVT, Amin spends time with patients, interviewing them about their medical history, preparing them for their procedure, and connecting them to the monitoring equipment. She also assists the doctor during procedures.

“You want to develop a relationship with the patient, so they seek comfort in you and trust you,” she says. “We may also take emergency calls. During those events, somebody is actively having a heart attack. In an emergency, you don't have the time to get to know your patient. If they are intubated or coding, you just do everything in your power to save someone.” 

An Important Part of the Team 

Amin works with a team which includes a cardiologist, a person who assists the cardiologist, and a circulating nurse who watches over the patient, checking their EKG, monitoring their vitals, and recording everything that is happening during the procedure.

“We perform what we call a ‘cardiac cath’ on a patient to see if they have any blockages,” Amin explains. “We put in a stent if we have to as well as pacemakers and ICDs.”

Since the job of a cardiovascular technologist involves life and death situations, Amin says you need to be able to handle the stress and adrenaline that comes with the job. She says it helps to be good at multitasking, thinking outside of the box, and being quick on your feet. 

“It’s not easy,” she says. “The Fortis program is designed to help you learn the vital information that you need, but you have to put forth the extra effort and hard work, expecting the unexpected. You have to almost have a certain personality type to be in the cath lab.”

Now Amin serves as a preceptor (mentor) for students from Fortis when they come in for their clinicals. “I teach them the basics of scrubbing and getting them to where they can independently do a simple case,” she says. “What I always tell them is, it's good to be confident, but not overconfident. You want to always be able and willing to learn. But if you don't have a little bit of nervousness, you don't belong in the room.” 

Amin says her job is very rewarding. “We’re able to save a patient whose life is literally in our hands,” she says. “You may see them so sick, and then the next day they're walking and talking and able to be with their family. You start to feel a connection with them, and you really do care about them. That is the most gratifying thing about my job.”

If the role of CVT sounds interesting to you, you can earn your Associate Degree and prepare for certification by enrolling in the Cardiovascular Technologist Program at Fortis Institute Nashville campus. Click here to request more information, or call (855) 436-7847 for more information.