“An option for people who have no other option”
That was Aaron Harris’s first run as an ECMO Transport nurse at UK HealthCare’s Gill Heart & Vascular Institute, heading out to a distant hospital in the middle of the night to help a patient who wouldn’t otherwise survive. ECMO—extracorporeal membrane oxygenation—is a specialized form of advanced life support that buys time for the sickest of the sick, functioning as an artificial set of heart and lungs.
ECMO is exceedingly complex and resource-intensive, requiring constant monitoring by a team of highly-trained specialists like Aaron. Due to how much work ECMO requires, the most effective way to offer the therapy is through a single specialized hub that can collect and care for patients in outlying facilities. In Central Kentucky and the surrounding region, that hub is at UK HealthCare.
Dedicated, hardworking and passionate, being an ECMO specialist is just part of Aaron’s multi-faceted nursing career. He’s a longtime member of the cardiac ICU staff at Gill Heart & Vascular Institute, as well as being a superuser for a program piloting the use of aromatherapy for his patients. And on top of all that, he’s a student in UK’s doctoral program for nurse practitioners.
“It’s a lot of work,” Aaron acknowledged. “But what’s particularly great about the work here is that the management believes in promoting our people and helping them achieve their goals.”
Aaron’s nursing toolbox includes a wide variety of therapies. Along with several colleagues, he’s piloting the use of aromatherapy to help patients manage pain, nausea and anxiety. He’s worked to implement educational and entertaining content on UK HealthCare’s in-room TV network. Above all, he’s always looking for new ways to better serve his patients.