Cardiovascular care has long been at the heart of Dr. Deedra Harrington’s practice and research.
She began her nursing career in the cardiovascular unit at Lafayette General Medical Center (LGMC). Today, she maintains her nursing practice as an acute care nurse practitioner through the Heart Hospital of Lafayette’s Weekend Cardiovascular Intensivist program.
Dr. Harrington joined the University of Louisiana at Lafayette College of Nursing and Allied Health as a faculty member in 2005, and currently teaches the three courses that comprise the six-month online Graduate Certificate in Cardiovascular Nursing.
The certificate program prepares nurses who already have a graduate degree for specialized practice.
Dr. Harrington says cardiovascular care can be intimidating for nurse practitioners. One of the goals of the cardiovascular certificate is to help nurse practitioners understand the dynamics of cardiovascular health and disease processes.
It’s just like anything else — caring for diabetes, or hypertension. If you learn and understand the system and the diagnostic tools you have to care for the patients, it doesn’t have to be a scary patient focus group.”
“They can feel comfortable when they go out to practice, or, hopefully, pursue cardiovascular care so that we have nurse practitioners who are skilled and seasoned and have a passion to care for that population,” she says.
With the addition of the specialized graduate certificate, Dr. Harrington says she hopes the University will be able to create additional opportunities for other specializations.
“What I hope is that the cardiovascular certificate will open doors for the department to offer more certificate programs in different specialties — oncology, emergency room nursing — so we can provide that education and students can get clinical experience in those focused populations.”