For Brandy Brown, every workday is serious business in the cardiac catheterization labs of INOVA Fairfax Hospital in Virginia. But some days are more dramatic than others, including one last spring.
“A gentleman was having a cup of coffee in the lobby,” says the Geneva alum. “He suddenly went into cardiac arrest, and I was walking by as he collapsed in his chair.” Brandy pulled him to the floor and began CPR. The man survived — though with a few broken ribs from Brandy’s compressions — and was soon brought into the catheterization lab where the technologists discovered a blockage in one of the vessels feeding his heart.
“We opened the vessel,” she recalls, “and he then recovered just fine from the whole ordeal.”
Brandy provides timely medical care during the more typical days at the hospital, too. Having completed the Geneva-sponsored Cardiovascular Technology program at INOVA a year ago and now a regular employee there, she stents arteries, balloons closed valves and closes holes in hearts on a daily basis.
“I see my work as my ministry,” she says. “I know that most of my patients — from the two-hour-old baby whose heart is malfunctioning to the 100-year-old with peripheral vascular disease — are scared. It’s important to our patients that we fix their hearts, but almost as important is fixing their anxiety and worries and remembering that they are people before they are patients.”
Brandy attributes this approach to several Geneva faculty and staff who deeply impacted her, including Dr. Daryl Sas, professor of biology, Mary and Jim Mason and Tom Magnone.
“They taught me how to work hard and do my job to the best of my abilities,” Brandy says, “while also loving people and helping others whenever and however possible.”
Geneva graduates pass the test for teacher certification in elementary education (Praxis II) at over a 99% rate in the first attempt–one of the highest pass rates in Pennsylvania.