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Cardiac Rehab Nurse Puts her Heart in Health Care

Shirley Doolen, RN has been with CVPH for more than three decades, including the last 20 years in Cardiac Rehabilitation. She works with patients who have had a cardiac event, ranging from a heart attack to bypass surgery and valve repair or replacement. Each patient typically spends about 12 weeks with Shirley and her team, learning about exercise, diet modifications and medications.

“The job here isn’t to make people physically fit,” Shirley explained. “The job here is to educate them about heart disease and how we can prevent another cardiac event. We try to talk to patients about the importance of changing risk factors they have control over, such as quitting smoking.”

Shirley continues to remind patients every session about the best things they can do to prevent further problems down the road and achieve the goals they set the first time they meet.

“We try to make this as fun as possible. When we’re joking, we’re joking. But they also know when we’re serious and that it’s important to listen to what we’re telling them. We do a lot of tough love here. You know, my nickname is Sarge. One patient promoted me to General. I felt very honored.”

She has never lost sight of why she became a nurse, getting emotional when she described what drives her to do all she can for her patients every day.

"I like to tell everybody that I have the best job in the hospital. I see people when they're down and out, and then I get to see them when they're at their best." - Shirley Doolen, RN

“I have a strong family history of heart disease. I’ve lost two family members (because of it). I don’t want others to suffer that kind of pain. And I like to tell everybody that I have the best job in the hospital. I see people when they’re down and out, and then I get to see them when they’re at their best. I wouldn’t trade what I do for the world.”

North Country Residents Take Heart

Advanced heart care is closer than you think. Expert consultations, non-invasive testing and cardiac rehab are all available at CVPH. Learn more about our heart program, the services we provide and the team of specialists ready to care for you by visiting the CVPH Heart & Vascular page.