Department Spotlight: Interventional Radiology
October 31, 2023
National Radiologic Technology Week is from Nov. 5-11, 2023. Join us in celebrating Renown's Interventional Radiology department!
Try to put yourself in the shoes of someone who is told that they have a massive blood clot in their lung, someone who needs a biopsy to determine the next steps of their care, someone facing a stroke or brain aneurysm or someone who needs a catheter to receive treatment such as chemotherapy. You may immediately think that an intense and intimidating surgery is on the horizon. What if, instead of surgery, your care teams were able to use the necessary tools to treat your blockage or administer your medicine with an image-guided procedure?
That’s precisely what the Interventional Radiology (IR) team at Renown Health does. Behind the doors of this department is where you’ll find a team of highly skilled individuals who operate like a well-oiled machine, ensuring that each procedure is executed with precision and care. Their commitment to excellence knows no bounds as they provide essential interventions to patients of all ages, from the tiniest newborns to the elderly. Their mission extends beyond diagnostic and therapeutic procedures; they are experts in understanding and serving the ever-evolving needs of their patients.
Minimally Invasive, Maximally ImpactfulWith their advanced expertise, our IR teams at both Renown Regional Medical Center and Renown South Meadows Medical Center harness the power of X-ray, CT and ultrasound technologies to navigate their way through life-saving minimally invasive procedures, such as thrombectomies, angioplasties, stent placements, embolizations, catheter and drain insertions and needle biopsies. In the world of medicine, Interventional Radiology often offers an alternative to traditional surgical methods, reducing the risk of hospitalization and helping patients embrace recovery more quickly.
Our IR teams have a diverse and busy daily work life in order to make these complex and life-saving interventions happen – and they all have each other’s backs to ensure that every patient gets the care they deserve.
“Every day is different, and no two days are alike,” said Ryan Nunes, Specialty Procedure IR Technologist at Renown Regional. “The day can start off first thing in the morning with several emergent cases, such as ruptured brain aneurysms to brain blockages. We all work really well together; we help each other out and come together to do things as a team.”
Like every other team at Renown, patient well-being is always a number one priority. The IR department takes this commitment seriously, upholding the highest standards of ethics and safety.
“We start the day by preparing rooms and making sure they are well-stocked, checking that all devices are working, performing safety checks and making sure the entire team is well-prepared for whatever cases come through the door,” said Aubrey Goldsmith, Supervisor of Clinical Nursing in IR at Renown Regional. “We have routine cases like drain placements, biopsies, line placements and more, and we also have life-threatening cases that come at a moment’s notice. Our nurses are responsible for monitoring patients throughout the procedure to make sure they are doing well the entire time and are there to respond if the patient has a decline.”
"After completing the prior assessment of each patient, we look for any medical problems the patient may have before confirming it is safe for the patient to have procedure done,” said Brandon Hartwig, Interventional Radiology RN at Renown South Meadows. “We work closely with the physicians on all our cases while assessing each patient, going through labs and vitals and personalizing the procedure for each patient.”
Even though the procedures they oversee are minimally invasive, the IR team understands that any procedure, regardless of the severity, can be incredibly frightening for any patient. Their best tool for handling patient anxieties? Communication.
"The best thing we can do to reduce anxieties and fears in patients is to have communication with them to ensure they know what is going on and what to expect,” said Megan Rios, IR Technologist at Renown Regional. "We set clear expectations for the patients and give reassurance throughout the entire procedure.”
"All of our team members are very attentive to our patients when it comes to potential fears and anxieties that they may have,” added Jazmynn Kimsey, IR Technologist at Renown Regional. “We always take the extra time to listen to our patients and break things down, explaining every step before, during and after the procedure.”
Knowledge sharing is also a crucial part of the IR process. No patient will ever have to wonder, “what exactly is going on here?”
“We provide each patient with education and advocacy throughout the process,” said Blaire Henderson, Interventional Radiology RN at Renown Regional. “We ensure every patient is as comfortable as possible at all times.”
“When it comes to procedures, patients tend to be scared and nervous,” added Ryan Nunes. “The silver lining to what we do is that it is all done through very small openings of the skin, and we all explain this to patients. Most procedures we do are done under moderate sedation which helps put the patient more at ease.”
In a world where advanced medical care meets the human touch, the IR team exemplifies Renown’s commitment to making a genuine difference in the health and well-being of everyone they serve.
Experienced and Ever-EvolvingAs medicine advances, so does interventional radiology, and therefore, so does the entire IR department. Each team member in this department brings a unique skill set and experiential background to the table, noting that they feel incredibly satisfied in the work they do every day.
"I started out in diagnostic radiology and was there for three years before going into interventional radiology,” said Jazmynn Kimsey. “It’s an ever-changing field – I’m consistently learning new things. There is a lot of satisfaction that comes with what we do."
“I was a travel nurse in the ICU for the past seven years,” added Brandon Hartwig. “I picked Reno as my home and transitioned into Renown’s Interventional Radiology department earlier this month.”
“We take care of the patients at South Meadows that need interventional procedures because it is the right thing to do for patient care,” added Amber Snow, Manager of Imaging at Renown South Meadows.
The technology at this team’s fingertips is unmatched. Having access to emerging technologies transforms the way these professionals provide expert care.
“I love the technology in the field; it’s an area of evolving medicine, and the updated technology helps improve processes,” said Aubrey Goldsmith. “The technology has completely changed the approaches and makes things more efficient. It’s an exciting area to work as a nurse, as I can help with both critical and routine cases and apply my critical care experience."
To keep IR medicine moving and ensure all patients are taken care of, especially with the wide array of conditions that need attention, working together as a cohesive team is crucial. Luckily, our IR teams have this skill down to a science.
“I love the wide variety of procedures that we do, and I find the work we do to be very rewarding,” said Fred Money, Supervisor of Imaging in IR at Renown Regional. “Because of our teamwork, we are able to provide very intricate and delicate care to patients.”
“I am most proud of my team who all make things happen at South Meadows strictly for the patient,” added Amber Snow. “While it is a complicated field to work in, they always do what is best for the patients, even if that means staying after hours.”
As they work together, this high-functioning team understands that in interventional radiology, minutes and seconds matter, especially during a stroke or a trauma. This fact alone is key to this department’s success.
"A good example of our expert teamwork is when we are performing a stroke thrombectomy,” said Aubrey Goldsmith. “During this procedure, our team works together quickly and efficiently to provide the patient with the best outcome, because all hands on deck are needed. Everyone comes together to get this procedure done quickly and efficiently, which we often complete in less than a half hour. It's great to see how everyone knows their own role and each other’s role.”
At the end of the day, the profound bonds within the IR team are likened to a close-knit family, where unwavering support and assistance are fundamental values that they all hold close to the chest.
“Our team really is like a big family – we will always help each other,” said Jazmynn Kimsey.
The Gold StandardThe IR department practices what they preach – not only are they especially dedicated to their work, their patients and each other, but they also have the accolades to prove that they are the best-in-class interventional radiology experts in the region, especially when it comes to stroke care.
“We are very proud to have recently received our Get With The Guidelines – Stroke Gold Plus recognition from the American Heart Association, meaning that we are nationally recognized for our gold standard stroke care,” said Fred Money. “We have maintained our comprehensive stroke center accreditation for several years.”
“Interventional radiology is instrumental to Renown being a Level II trauma center,” added Aubrey Goldsmith. “This is thanks to our high-level functioning team.”
The continual awards and recognition are a true testament to the department this team has continued to build, noting it as one of the best in the business.
“We have built our department into one of the best I have seen in all my years of interventional radiology experience,” said Blaire Henderson.
“The culture of this team has grown a lot,” added Fred Money. “We all collaborate very well, and everyone is very happy with their job. I am very proud to be a part of this team.”
Today, the IR teams at both Renown Regional and Renown South Meadows enjoy a reputation of being a department that both employees and patients admire. Their energy is infectious, and they have every intention of ensuring their internal culture continues to flourish.
“We came together as a collective to promote positivity in our working environment and become a team that everyone wants to be a part of,” said Ryan Nunes.
Ryan is exactly right – and luckily for passionate Interventional Radiology professionals, this department is hiring! Bring your expert skills to the largest not-for-profit integrated health system in Nevada and make a lasting difference in our community. Discover the possibilities at renown.org/careers.
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