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Cardiac certification program brings empowerment to nurses

Media contact: Lisa Parro, senior public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,

Glendale Heights – In order to more effectively treat an increasing number of heart patients, more than 40 Adventist GlenOaks Hospital nurses underwent intense training to achieve certification as cardiovascular registered nurses (CVRN).


This was the first time Adventist GlenOaks Hospital hosted such a class. Jackie Conrad, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services, said she and other leaders were pleased at the overwhelming response to the course offering.


“The remarkable turnout underscores our nurses’ commitment to continuing education and providing the best quality care to our heart patients,” Conrad said. “Because the clinical complexity of our patients is increasing, we saw this course offering as a way we could dramatically improve the clinical competency of our nurses.”


Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain.

Forty-four Adventist GlenOaks Hospital nurses underwent 11 weeks of training – more than 40 hours of class time. The program was sponsored by the American College of Cardiovascular Nurses and was designed to educate the nurses in seven different areas of advanced cardiology nursing care.   


“Research shows that employing a high percentage of both certified nurses and nurses with advanced degrees is directly correlated with positive patient outcomes,” Conrad said.


Nurses from various departments participated and passed the certification exam: 100 percent of the nurses working in the hospital’s cardiology department, 100 percent of the nurses working in the cardiac catheterization laboratory, 88 percent of the nurses working in the intensive care unit, 41 percent of the nurses working in the medical-surgical unit, 40 percent of the nurses working in surgical services, and 25 percent of the nurses working in the emergency department are now CVRN certified. Nurses from the telemetry unit and operating room also achieved certification, assuring that all Adventist GlenOaks patients will receive outstanding cardiac care regardless of where they are treated. 


“Since becoming an accredited chest pain center, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital has treated an increasing number of cardiovascular patients,” said clinical nurse educator Maria Suvacarov, RN, MSN, CCRN, CVRN.  “Because all of our nurses take care of some sort of cardiac component of every heart patient, we wanted them to have the latest and best training in this crucial area of care.”


In 2009 Adventist GlenOaks Hospital was accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. This recognition ensures that patients receive specialized care during the critical early stages of a heart attack when treatments are most effective and are monitored throughout their stay to ensure proper care. Such observation helps ensure that a patient is neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted.

Adventist GlenOaks Hospital is home to one of just two accredited chest pain centers in DuPage County. The hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute offers the experience of interventional cardiologists, electrophysiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and interventional radiologists in one convenient location. Patients with life-threatening heart blockages or those who need pacemakers or implantable defibrillators can now be treated closer to home.

The course covered different areas including cardiac pacing and ICD therapy, interventional cardiology and cardiovascular pharmacology. Instructors included officials from the American College of Cardiovascular Nurses and physicians who treat patients at Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, including Dr. Aziz Ahmed, Dr. Vijay Kumar, Dr. John Beshai and Dr. Rohit Bhuriya.  The program cost $9,500 and was funded through the medical executive committee and the GlenOaks Hospital Foundation.


“I was really interested in being certified because I want to better treat my patients,” said Carol Rohrsen, RN, ACLS, CVRN, of Carol Stream, a nurse in cardiology stress testing.  “It was extremely rewarding to be a part of such an extensive and worthwhile course.  While it was challenging, I’m thankful for the opportunity.”


Adventist GlenOaks Hospital hosted a celebration June 2 to recognize the nurses who participated in the course. The nurses took the certification exam May 25. Cindy Aguinaga, an emergency room nurse and U.S. Army Reserve officer, was called into active duty halfway through the course but still was able to complete her coursework and take the certification exam with the rest of the group.


“Achieving this certification was a team effort of both our nurses and our medical executive committee,” Conrad said.


The following nurses passed the certification exam:

  1. Aberash Beyene, medical-surgical unit     
  2. Shani Bhalla, medical-surgical unit
  3. Cristina Genolos, medical-surgical unit    
  4. Char Kaczkowski, medical-surgical unit  
  5. Pardeep Kaur, medical-surgical unit       
  6. Kathy Kruse, medical-surgical unit          
  7. Maria Medina, medical-surgical unit       
  8. Laura Morris, medical-surgical unit        
  9. Cimona Prakash, medical-surgical unit     
  10. Katie Smith, medical-surgical unit           
  11. Judith Sulit, medical-surgical unit
  12. Mercedes Bentley, intensive care unit   
  13. Tammy Del Valle, intensive care unit     
  14. Mario Fabian, intensive care unit             
  15. Roshini George, intensive care unit        
  16. Gemma Jose, intensive care unit             
  17. Monica Koder, intensive care unit          
  18. Anna Koziol, intensive care unit              
  19. Doris Overman, intensive care unit         
  20. Emilia Pietruczyk, intensive care unit   
  21. Teresa Saavedra, intensive care unit      
  22. Anu Simon, intensive care unit
  23. Biby Thorakkal, intensive care unit         
  24. Sinol Thorakkal, intensive care unit      
  25. Lilia Tumolva, intensive care unit           
  26. Jay Zachariah, intensive care unit             
  27. Cheryl Zangel, intensive care unit
  28. Cindy Aguinaga, emergency department      
  29. Phil Kaiser, emergency department
  30. Elizabeth Bunag, operating room
  31. Margaret Burke, post-anasthesia care unit
  32. Jasmin Cabochan, same-day surgery
  33. Bandna Menon, same-day surgery   
  34. Suzanne Manisack, same-day surgery  (ADD)
  35. Angela Jacobsen, cardiac catheterization laboratory
  36. Geri Mejia, cardiac catheterization laboratory
  37. Barb Warrington, house director
  38. Carol Rohrsen, cardiology    
  39. Cathy Rothblum, cardiology



Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.  To find a physician, visit