Carol Gilbert has been with the Society for more than 27 years!
How long have you been a member of the Heart Rhythm Society?
My Society is...
A source of strength. Communication fosters excellence in patient care through the encouragement of innovation and quality and leads to solutions with not only new products and techniques, but also new ways to collaboratively influence change in credentialing, procedures, revenue cycles and public opinion. The Society has been a primary resource for communication in the field since its inception. For example, the Society is making a difference in the care of patients with arrhythmias by increasing public awareness and by exerting the influence of experts in governmental affairs.
Why did you choose the field of electrophysiology?
I have always wanted to know the “why” and “how." For example, I was never satisfied with pattern recognition as a way to read rhythms or 12 lead ECGs and thanks to Dr. Emmanuel Stein at the Public Health Service Hospital (U.S.P.H.S.) on Staten Island, New York, I learned so much about both. At the time, I became intrigued by what seemed to be daily discoveries made in the electrophysiology lab at U.S.P.H.S. Hospital on Staten Island. The physicians, including Drs. John Gallagher, Mark Josephson, Jeremy Ruskin, and Masood Akhtar brought electrograms from the lab back to the CCU to show us what they had found during EP studies. As part of that team, I ran the fluoro, the Bloom and the “EforM” so they could measure electrograms and write papers. Soon, I was expected to label all the EGMs andI asked to be taught the physiology to help me do so. This new EP field was fun, the team was intelligent and bravely initiating arrhythmias!
We all appreciate the advances made in the field over the last 30 years. Being on the edge of these changes makes one challenged to learn and transform. It is an irresistible field.
How has membership in the Society been of value to you and your practice?
Electrophysiology was so new in the early 1970s that the few nurses involved in the electrophysiology lab or the pacemaker service were isolated from each other and were each inventing policies and procedures along with the physicians. The North American Society for Pacing and Electrophysiology (NASPE) was very needed. The organization linked together associated professionals in a supportive network that was our main resource at the time. Now, as the Heart Rhythm Society, it is still allowing me to meet incredibly creative people. Together we have found solutions to common problems, gained education and developed important friendships.
Please list a few of your most recent accomplishments.
In the past two years I have been concentrating on atrial fibrillation ablation. Everyone in the Society knows about the burden of AF on the healthcare systems and the current literature reflects this awareness. On the other hand, patients with AF continue to be frustrated by barriers to care including a variety of gate keepers, and insufficient, unclear or unavailable information. In my role as Coordinator of the AF Ablation Center, I have managed a website, answered hundreds of inquiries and have had the opportunity to create a database to begin tracking ablation procedures for outcomes. While I am not directly associated with the EP lab, I hope to continue to work closely with staff development, collaborating with our physicians to write a full curriculum for education and training.
More About Carol J. Gilbert, RN, BSN, MBA, FHRS, CCDS, CEPS
Carol Gilbert's career began as a Diploma nurse (St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing, New York) with a job at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital on Staten Island, N.Y. where in 1974, she was fortunate work with Anthony Damato and his team in the EP lab. In 1977, she moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to start an EP service for Dr. Masood Akhtar and has had various roles from EP lab and pacemaker nurse to the Regional Supervisor of the Arrhythmia Services. Currently, she works with Aurora Medical Group in Milwaukee.
Ms. Gilbert helped build the first EP lab in Milwaukee and has been a very active member of the Heart Rhythm Society, serving on many committees, Chairing the Council of Associated Professionals in 1996, as well as being part of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors. She has also participated as writer for the International Board of Heart Rhythm Examiners (IBHRE) Electrophysiology Specialist Certification since 1997.