When you talk to students in the Cardiovascular Technology program at SCTCC, a theme bubbles to the top: several students have family members who have had heart problems in the past. Three CVT students shared their experience about family members and how it brought them to the program at SCTCC.
Jennifer Hoven had a background in healthcare, which helped cement her decision to get into the cardiovascular field after her husband had a heart attack. After doing some online research, she decided on SCTCC.
“It’s an exciting career field to get into. You’re always going to have a job, and there’s going to be a lot of adrenaline rush,” she said.
Jennifer was a stay-at-home mom for the past eight years, and coming back to school has been a positive experience so far. It’s challenging, but it’s also been a little bit of relief.
“It doesn’t matter your age or where you are in life; as long as you work hard and are dedicated, you can make it through it,” Jennifer said in encouragement.
Melanie McKinstry’s dad has had heart disease for 20 years. In 2001, he had an open quadruple bypass surgery, and in 2017, her family almost lost him due to a flash pulmonary edema. Because of this, she’s been to many of his appointments and aftercare, which contributed to her decision on CVT. Melanie was at SCTCC taking general classes to get back into the groove of college after 20-some years when she ran across the CVT program.
“It got my attention because of what I went through with my dad,” she explained.
It’s been a challenge. Melanie has a son, works a couple jobs, and is back in school.
She said it takes a lot of effort, but it’s doable: “My son is a big inspiration. I wanted to go back to school and get a better job. I felt like it was time to do something different for his sake and mine.”
Melanie plans to work in a hospital setting in a cardiac cath lab after graduating. “It’s my number one goal and I’m looking forward to it,” she said.
When Alexis Zimmer was seven years old, her family learned that parts of her dad’s aorta were weakening. Because of this, she wanted to learn more about the heart and became interested in the health field.
The CVT program was the reason she chose SCTCC, and she started her AA right after graduating from high school before applying to the CVT program.
Now that she’s in the program, she’s enjoying the hands-on learning and working with equipment she’ll use in the field.
“You actually get to experience what you’ll see in the field. I did a little bit of research before applying to the program, but it’s hard to prepare for what you’re actually going to be doing. Hands-on makes learning easier,” Alexis said.
The other themes that are apparent with CVT students is how much they enjoy the hands-on learning and how much they appreciate their classmates.
Alexis explained it: “My classmates…can relate to what I have problems with. They’re my biggest support system; my class is like a close-knit family where we help each other.”
SCTCC grads with a Cardiovascular Technology degree can get started a career in the heart-related field by assisting cardiologists with procedures related to stent placements, pacemaker implants, and other heart or blood vessel conditions.