Kymberlee Manni, Ph.D., chief operating officer of UHealth Tower, couldn’t be prouder of Henry Collier, the hospital’s first cardiac electrophysiology technologist to pass the grueling tests to become board-certified.
“He gave up three years of his life to study for the exam,” Dr. Manni said. “Being an academic medical center, having our staff be the highest functioning in their scope of practice enhances the entire operation. It sets us apart as a destination facility.”
Collier shares that pride, and is grateful for the chance to make a difference. “Colleagues have always respected me, but now they look at me different,” he said. “It’s like I was born to do this. I can honestly tell you that I found something that I enjoy doing every day.
“I was told this old saying when I was a kid: If you find a job you love doing, you’ll never work a day in your life. I understand that now.”
Collier, who has worked in the cath lab at UHealth Tower since 1994, earned his credentials as a registered cardiac electrophysiology specialist from Cardiac Credentialing International, and then passed what he calls the “monster” test administered by the International Board of Heart Rhythm Examiners.
It was a long road. “When I would get off work, I would go home and study for 45 minutes, and then in the morning I would get up extremely early and review what I had studied last night,” he said.
He found that many of the questions he had about the subject matter could be answered the following day during a procedure. He had the benefit of being able to ask the experts, his physician colleagues.
“I realized that I’m at the University of Miami, and everything I need for that exam is right here,” Collier said. “It was win-win, and I’m telling you I saw that I’ve got it made.”
Dr. Manni said Collier’s success is definitely a win-win for his colleagues and patients. “It’s a big deal for him personally, and it’s a big deal for the program,” she said. With 200 questions on a five-hour written test, only a small percentage of people who work in a cath lab take the exam and pass. “He’s the gold standard now by which we’ll measure others’ success,” Dr. Manni said.
Raul D. Mitrani, M.D., professor of clinical medicine and director of clinical cardiac electrophysiology, praises Collier’s “tremendous drive and his desire to be the best that he can be. He is an all-star cardiac electrophysiology technician, very well skilled and well versed in running an electrophysiology lab.”
“We’re all very proud of him, and not surprised,” Dr. Mitrani added. “As we all continue to learn and improve, we will continue to optimize the efficiency and the quality of the service we provide for our patients.”
“He set a new bar for all of us to meet,” said Stephanie Moss, DNP, APRN, executive director of clinical operations at the Tower. The importance of finding the origins of atrial fibrillation — the most common of arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats that cause the heart to beat too slowly, too fast or erratically — cannot be overstated, Moss said. Preventing or treating future episodes, which can lead to stroke, heart failure and other complications, is a priority in the cath lab.
“The impact on a patient’s sanity is huge,” Dr. Moss said. “Patients say, ‘I can’t live with this fear, of when the next episode will be.’
“If you can get an answer for a patient, it’s amazing. It’s life-changing.”
Patients come to an academic medical center to get those life-changing answers, Dr. Manni said.
“Henry’s role now is to share this knowledge with all the people in the lab,” she said. “He has to pay it forward by pulling the next ones up.”