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Teresa McLean, BSN, RN, PCCN, is a nurse who cares for WakeMed Heart & Vascular patients before and after their cardiovascular procedures. Here, we’ll get to know Teresa and her commitment to bedside nursing, how the pandemic has affected her and other frontline caregivers, and some of her fall favorites.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a North Carolina native and was born and raised in the New Bern area. I’ve been a nurse since I graduated from Wake Tech in 1993, and for the past 30+ years, I’ve spent my career caring for heart and vascular patients. When I was in high school, I wanted to go to the Navy to become a nurse, but my dad didn’t want me going away on a ship. So, I went to East Carolina University

and majored in economics. After a few years working in administrative roles, I got married, had children and finally followed my calling to be a nurse.

Q: What do you love most about being a frontline nurse?

My patients! I love people, and caring for patients is such a gift to me. Taking the time to get to know each patient, connecting with them and their families, and pampering those who will let me is very rewarding. In the Heart Center, we see patients with a variety of diagnoses, so I learn something new every day. As a preceptor (trainer) for new graduates and new hires, I get to work with the next generation of nurses while staying on top of what’s new in the field.

Q: What unique experiences have you had as a nurse since the pandemic began?

At the start of the pandemic, I saw the many urgent needs placed on our organization – from implementing new protocols, to visitor restrictions, to COVID-19 testing and screening, and I knew I had to help as much as I could. Initially, the Heart Center was closed to outpatient procedures, so I offered to assist anywhere I was needed. My first assignment was in Nursing Administration helping a larger group develop the protocol and process for decontamination of N95 masks. I also helped fit employees with duckbill face shields. I was very proud of this important work – it helped us manage our colleagues’ fears and safety concerns. Once hospital volumes started increasing, I returned to my home unit, plus picked up additional shifts in other clinical areas as much as I could. It has been a very stressful 18 months, but I’ve trusted WakeMed to take care of its staff and they have. Our team has come together in incredible ways, and the support and encouragement from our leadership and community has been outstanding.

Q: In your free time, you volunteer for the WakeMed Foundation. Why is this work important to you?

I love WakeMed – between my love for NCSU and WakeMed, I bleed red through and through. The WakeMed Foundation does so much great work – they fund educational and training opportunities for staff, help finance areas such as the Children’s Hospital, offer support to WakeMed employees facing personal hardship, and so much more. Volunteering with the WakeMed Foundation fills many buckets for me, and I will always be a participant.

Learn more about Teresa in the latest edition of Heart to Heart magazine.

Read more about Teresa and enjoy other heart and vascular stories of interest in our latest edition of Heart to Heart magazine.

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WakeMed Heart & Vascular