Meet Karen - Registered Nurse
In July, we got a chance to catch-up with a long time Heartisans content contributor, Karen Tang. She has been an integral part of Heartisans for over a year and we wanted to take the time to highlight how her expertise helped in the development of the Heartisans Watch.
Could you start by telling us a bit about your background in nursing?
Karen Tang: I did my Bachelor and eventually my masters in Nursing at McGill (Canada), During my studies I just knew I loved cardiology. Whenever the subject matter in physiology class went on to cardiovascular system I knew it was definitely where I wanted to head.
Where did you work after finishing your degree?
KT: I applied to the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) in Montreal. It’s a unique unit - there’s a medical unit side with more stable patients who have chronic diseases like heart failure and then the intensive care unit where people come in post heart attack or in need of valve surgery or a transplant. It was very challenging and exciting starting in this unit because it had a gradual learning curve of getting more and more acute.
What pulled you away from Cardiac nursing to the tech world?
KT: I worked four years in total on that cardiac unit.
While it was rewarding and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything, I didn’t feel it was fulfilling other aspects of a career that I wanted like creativity and innovation. Healthcare and nursing is about following standards and best practices, as it should be, but I wanted to think outside the box. I missed the feeling I had in school when working in a team to create something, a product, anything that could help others.
So, why did you choose Heartisans to be part of this new start?
KT: When I saw what [Heartisans was] doing I immediately recognised the value
A lot of the times, patients don’t understand how they got so sick to find themselves on the unit. Much of the problem has to do with education on the lifestyle factors that can cause heart disease like heart attacks. More often than not, my patients were dealing with high blood pressure, which we would then help them manage with medication. While medication is important for lowering blood pressure, I think just as important is lifestyle modifications and awareness of high blood pressure as a long term and more sustainable treatment. This is where I see the value in Heartisans Watch, it addresses the unawareness problem that can cause some people to be neglectful of their heart health.
Karen is a registered nurse with four years of experience in cardiac intensive care. She completed her master's at McGill and moved to Hong Kong to pursue a career in the field of health technology.
Stay tuned for the next part of this series with Karen where we discuss the importance of blood pressure awareness.