Gayleen Stephens is a Cardiac Nurse Practitioner, who started her nursing career in 1995. “Acute care has always been a drawing card for me due to the dynamic environment and the patient acuity. Advancing my knowledge and skills has enabled me to understand the pathophysiological processes behind the patient’s symptomology”.
“Working together within a team to stabilise acutely ill patients, witnessing their recovery and eventual discharge is what I find most rewarding. These experiences motivated me to pursue a career in critical care nursing, specifically cardiology.”
Gayleen proceeded along the path of a Graduate Certificate in Cardiology and worked for 3 years in cardiology/cardiothoracic nursing. After obtaining her post graduate qualifications, she immigrated with her partner to the Netherlands and continued her career in cardiology. “The skills and knowledge I gained in the years working abroad prepared me to progress my career further and led to a trainee NP in 2005. Throughout my career, I have been exposed to many challenges around patient care: how to make care more accessible; adapting care plans to be patient centered and advocating best practice for care delivery for cardiovascular patients.”
Gayleen was fortunate to work with a team of specialists who supported her ideals and worked collaboratively to achieve them, which resulted in;
- The development of a postoperative wound clinic for patients following cardiothoracic surgery;
- A pre-assessment clinic for patients referred to the cardiothoracic team and;
- Implementation of the NP role in the clinical setting.
A number of positive outcomes resulted following the implementation of the wound clinic:
- A decline in postoperative wound infection morbidity and mortality, and
- Earlier diagnosis and commencement of appropriate treatment of surgical site infections.
Gayleen has worked at Lingard Private Hospital since 2018 as an acute care Nurse Practitioner in coronary care. Her services relate to providing care for patients with all forms of cardiovascular disease, including the development of outpatient clinics for atrial fibrillation, heart failure and cardiac health assessment. Patients with new onsets or requiring titration of their medical management plan are reviewed at these clinics.
In the clinical setting, Gayleen is involved with advanced patient assessments, requesting relevant diagnostic tests, developing treatment plans in relation to clinical symptoms and comorbidities, corresponding with other healthcare professionals involved in the patient’s care and coordinating multidisciplinary care. Gayleen is also involved in clinical supervision and education of nursing staff.
What are Nurse Practitioners endorsed to do?
- Diagnose and treat health conditions
- Design and implement therapeutic regimes
- Initiate and receive referrals from other health professionals
- Order and interpret pathology and radiological tests
- Prescribe medications