CV Team Spotlight | Chris Steelman, MS, RT(R)(CI), RCIS

Each month, the CV Team Section newsletter highlights the achievements of one CV Team member. This month features Chris Steelman, MS, RT (R)(CI), RCIS, program director at the School of Invasive Cardiovascular Technology at the Hoffman Heart and Vascular Institute of Connecticut in Hartford.

1. What cardiology specialty do you practice in and what patient population do you serve?

I am a Radiologic Technologist RT(R) and Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist with a specialty in adult and pediatric procedural assistance. Today, I combine that experience with a master's degree in Instructional Technology to create engaging learning experiences as the program director of the School of Invasive Cardiovascular Technology at The Hoffman Heart and Vascular Institute of Connecticut.

2. How did you get started in health care?

My health care career started when I decided to attend college to become an exercise physiologist. After years of training some of the most popular athletes and entertainers in the world, I was attracted to the business side of the health care arena. I found that I missed patient care and returned to school to become a radiologic technologist.

3. Where did your career in cardiology begin?

During my education as a RT, we were given the opportunity to spend several days in areas of the hospital which used medical imaging. I chose the cardiac cath lab. Upon my arrival in the lab, I immediately became confused and thought I was in the wrong area. I saw no one in the lab who looked like an RT! When I asked where the RTs were, a nurse pointed to the person standing assisting the cardiologist with a procedure. There was an RT, gowned and gloved, confidently managing what I soon learned were catheters, wires, balloons and stents. Then, without warning, an image appeared on the monitor. A beating heart! My own heart started to race and I knew what I wanted to dedicate my life to.

4. How long have you been a member of the ACC?

I have been a member of the ACC's CV Team since 2015.

5. What has been your involvement with the ACC and/or the CVT Member Section?

As a member of the CV Team Communication Committee, I focus on raising awareness of the benefits of ACC as a CV Team member and the opportunities for cardiac cath lab professionals to become involved in this organization.

6. Are you currently active on any committees or hold any leadership positions at the ACC or in other professional organizations?

I currently represent invasive/interventional cardiovascular medicine professionals as a member of the Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) Board of Advisors. I recently finished two terms as the chair of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) Cardiac Interventional and Vascular Interventional Chapter and participated in the Cardiovascular Interventional Curriculum Workgroup. I am a regional coordinator of professional practice for the International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists and a trustee of the World Radiography Educational Trust Foundation.

7. What are your thoughts regarding the impact of the CV Team on the practice of cardiology?

Since the emergence of the cath lab in the 1980s, the use of percutaneous intervention has grown exponentially to treat millions with life and limb threatening diseases. This would simply not be possible without the coordinated efforts of the cardiovascular team. The cath lab is a multidisciplinary team contributing far more than their credentials would indicate. Cardiologists, nurses, radiologic technologists and sonographers are all dedicated to meeting the challenges of rapidly evolving procedures and technology. Although each cath lab-based professional's success is dependent upon a broad knowledge base and refined skills, it is not until we come together as a team that we can realize the full potential of the cath lab.

8. Do you have any recommendations on how other CV Team members can become more involved in the College?

The leadership of the ACC is being attentive and responsive to the members of the CV Team and we must take advantage of that opportunity. I think it is critical that CV Team members reach out to their fellow professionals, seek common goals and then approach ACC leadership with ideas for increased involvement.