Striving to make patients feel safe, understood and valued
The UC Davis Heart Center is a busy facility that accommodates thousands of patient visits each year. Thanks to efficient organization and a highly attentive staff, each patient who enters the clinic – whether for an immediate problem or for ongoing care – receives high quality, comprehensive care.
The many people responsible for the smooth-running, systematic response include Beverly Schacherbauer, a clinical resource nurse who oversees numerous critically important functions. Working closely with the nurse manager, she supervises the nursing staff, maintains and adjusts the daily and monthly staff schedule, and supports the clinic staff and physicians.
She also is directly involved in the care of cardiac patients – the compelling interest that launched her nursing career 16 years ago. When she is with a patient, nothing matters more to her.
“It is important to focus on what the patient’s needs are in that particular moment. You have to sit down, at the patient’s eye level and really take the time necessary with him or her,” Schacherbauer said. “The clinic can be extremely busy, but at that particular moment it is my job to make that patient feel safe, understood and valued.”
Schacherbauer’s schedule and duties vary widely, depending on clinic staffing needs. One day, she might fill in for a registered nurse or review medical charts to assure that they are complete and meet quality assurance standards; on other days, she might have to stop what she is doing to monitor a patient, assist in preparing a patient for admission to the hospital or attend to a patient who has abnormal vital signs.
Schacherbauer first became intrigued by cardiovascular health during a clinical rotation in nursing school.
“Cardiovascular medicine offers the opportunity to rectify immediate problems with intervention, as well as to teach patients how to make changes that can improve their overall health,” Schacherbauer said. “I find that very appealing.”
“The clinic can be extremely busy, but at that particular moment it is my job to make that patient feel safe, understood and valued.”
Shortly after she began her first nursing job in 1994, her stepfather experienced a heart attack and was placed in the care of interventional cardiologist Reginald Low, who is now chief of cardiovascular medicine at UC Davis. She appreciated his decisive, life-saving skills, including using rotational atherectomy – a treatment for calcified lesions – to open one of her stepfather’s blocked arteries.
“After the procedure, he took the time to invite me to the catheterization lab and showed me the films of the procedure,” Schacherbauer recalled.
Schacherbauer was so impressed, that when she heard about an opening for a registered nurse in the UC Davis Cardiology and Nephrology Clinic in 2008, she enthusiastically applied and was hired for the position.
“I was drawn to UC Davis because Dr. Low was the chief of cardiology,” she explained. “I knew that he was a pioneer and an extraordinary practitioner who is committed to teaching and exceptional customer service. So I knew that I would be proud to be associated with the cardiovascular program at UC Davis.”
Schacherbauer fit in well at UC Davis. She developed a Cardiology Clinic Survival Guide for medical fellows undergoing training at UC Davis. In addition, her work in developing standardized nursing charting for the electronic medical records system was recognized with the health system’s 2009–10 Vice Chancellor/Chief Executive Officer Award.
“I am most gratified by knowing that I can make a positive difference in a patient’s life. I have a great passion for helping patients and families navigate through the health system as easily as possible,” Schacherbauer said. “I know how frustrating and difficult it can be when your loved one is sick or in pain. I do my utmost to reassure patients that I will go above and beyond what is expected to help them in any way possible.”