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Ventricular Assist Device Mentorships

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Rebecca Lewis, RN, MN
Providence St. Vincent Medical Center
Portland, OR, USA

Mentoring is a crucial step in a new nurse becoming a competent nurse. It takes months to learn the many tasks and processes within a hospital, much less master them. The mentoring process nurtures the nurse during a crucial time, establishing habits that could extend through the nurses career. This highly sensitive time is crucial in developing successful nurses! It is no different as a ventricular assist device (VAD) coordinator.

Whether a coordinator has moved from the bedside or another type of role, the transition to becoming a VAD coordinator takes time and patience to master the multitude of skills required. One must learn how to manage the patients on device and the devices themselves, how to triage call, the intricacies of program management such as a staff education and regulatory requirements, how to manage emergencies in the community, how to run clinic, manage patients in a myriad of non-cardiac procedures, etc. The VAD coordinator role description demands fluidity as the challenges that present to programs and patients are continually changing.

There are many challenges a VAD coordinator faces on a day to day basis, so how can one master all necessary skills and foster the transition from novice to expert? Aside from the months of training into one's particular program, finding a mentor within the larger mechanical circulatory support (MCS) community can be hugely beneficial in providing new insights, broadening perspective, and learning new and valuable skills.

There are mentorship opportunities through ISHLT [1]. In addition, the International Consortium of Circulatory Assist Clinicians (ICCAC) [2] offers a VAD coordinator mentorship. Mentors can offer recommendations on literature to read, perspectives on how a different program is run, answer questions one may have, and offer resources for getting more involved in the MCS community.

It is never too late to learn something new as a VAD coordinator. Become a mentor or mentee today! ■

Disclosure Statement: The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.


  1. International Society of Heart and Lung Transplant, (n.d.). ISHLT connect member engagement community. Retrieved from http://community.ishlt.org/mentoringredirect/mentoring
  2. International Consortium of Circulatory Assist Clinicians, (n.d.). Mentorship Program. Retrieved from: http://www.mylvad.com/iccac/mentorship-program

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