Cath Lab Nurse Recognized for Heartfelt Care

Monica Buskey, BSN, RN Makes a Difference With Her Patients

A CVPH Cath Lab nurse has been honored for a second time with a Leadership Excellence and Development (LEAD) award for the difference she makes every day with her patients.

From a young age, Monica Buskey, BSN, RN, CV-BC, CSRN, TNS felt a sense of compassion for others and knew she wanted to help people. Those feelings were solidified while growing up in Churubusco, as she saw the tremendous care provided by nursing staff at the assisted living facility her grandparents stayed at.

“I realized how much care they needed and how much I depended on the nurses to provide that care for them,” Monica remembered. “Seeing that made me want to be that person for other families. I love to help people.”


The mother of two, now living in Saranac, initially came to CVPH as a Progressive Care nurse, and as part of her work with that team, she cared for patients coping with heart issues.

“Caring for the cardiac patients really sparked my interest (in that profession). So, I felt like that was probably the best fit for me after I realized how much I enjoyed that aspect of health care. I applied to the Cath Lab, got the position, and I haven’t looked back.”

As a nurse in the hospital’s Cath Lab, Monica sees a wide variety of patients, from life-threatening situations to those hoping to tackle troubling symptoms and improve their quality of life.

“When you really see that you saved someone’s life or you’ve made a difference, it’s a huge deal. It’s incredible to see somebody who’s received CPR come through the door, and we give them life-saving measures, and they pull through. The interventional cardiologists that we work with are just amazing, coming in all hours of the night and just saving lives,” she said.


One patient who stands out for her did not need life-saving intervention. However, his quality of life was suffering dramatically due to the heart-related symptoms he was experiencing. Monica remembered the patient, who had talked about being an avid hiker and regularly active, had a hard time walking from a waiting room to an exam room. He was sent to the Cath Lab to see if there were any blocked arteries or other heart-related issues. Monica assisted with the procedure, and the patient’s arteries were found to be clear.

She noticed his heart beat was low, and after talking with him further, he admitted that while his heart beat tended to be a bit low due to his physical activity in the past, it was indeed significantly lower than usual. Knowing that the slow heart beat could cause the symptoms he was experiencing, including shortness of breath and exhaustion, Monica began to suspect the patient may simply be suffering from bradycardia, which is a heart rate lower than 60 beats per minute. She discussed her suspicion with Nicolas Karam, MD, an Electrophysiologist at the hospital, and Cardiologist Roger Ishac, MD, and they agreed the patient could be a candidate for a pacemaker.

“We were able to set the gentleman up with a formal appointment so that he could finally get some answers that could improve his quality of life and get him moving again. It was incredible to make that kind of a difference,” Monica noted.

It was so impactful that she included it in her application for the LEAD award, which recognizes CVPH nurses like Monica who demonstrate an intuition for making clinical judgements and share expert knowledge.

The Cath Lab team celebrates LEAD II designation for Monica Buskey, BSN, RN


LEAD nurses also take time and initiative to advance the nursing practice and patient care at CVPH. One example of this involves Monica’s work updating the protocol for same-day discharge of patients undergoing a Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI). This procedure uses a thin, flexible tube to place a stent that opens up blood vessels in the heart.

Patients requiring this procedure who live relatively close to CVPH are usually able to go home that same day. However, patients living more than 60 miles away were typically required to stay overnight for observation due to concerns about distance from the hospital should a significant issue arise. Last summer, Monica researched and confirmed the safety of discharging long-distance patients to a location close to the hospital. From there, she worked with The Foundation of CVPH to establish a process of booking hotel rooms for eligible patients which would also be paid for by the non-profit. Monica and her team also built plans to communicate with patients and ensure they have everything they need at the hotel after the procedure, from medications to clothes and discharge information. A phone call follow up the next morning was included in the process, and the patient could head home right from the hotel. The new protocols went into place in October 2021 and were considered wildly successful.

“Patient after patient told us how appreciative they were of the hotel stay. And it’s been great for the hospital, because that freed up beds at a time when we were dealing with a surge of patients needing higher levels of care,” Monica pointed out.

She added that since these plans went into place, 90 percent of their PCI patients are discharged the same day as their procedure.


While Monica appreciates the recognition she has received from her colleagues, she has found that becoming a LEAD II nurse is rewarding for many other reasons.

“I’ve always tried to make everywhere I work a better place, even with little things that can still make a huge impact for our patients. Compiling and documenting all of my efforts is very rewarding to see. I enjoy comparing what I did for this LEAD compared to the first one. I can see how I’ve grown, what I’ve learned and the changes I’ve made,” she commented.

Monica encourages all of her nursing colleagues to consider applying for the LEAD award, pointing to a sense of pride she believes they will feel.

“It’s such a reward to be considered an expert in your field through this process. And this is all stuff that you’re doing on a daily basis, it’s just a matter of keeping track of it all. And the impact you have on your patients will be right there for you to look back on any time you want or need to.”