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Savannah K., MHA, Director, Heart and Vascular Institute
Savannah K., MHA, Director, Heart and Vascular Institute

Life Changing Is ... Being a Piece of the Puzzle

Savannah K., MHA, Director, Heart and Vascular Institute

"I love all of our teams. They're all so different, each has something special to offer."

Savannah's health care career began in high school, when she volunteered as a candy striper with the hospital's admission and registration team. She grew interested in learning what was happening in other areas nearby.

"When I'd be delivering charts back to the emergency department, they'd always have the curtain pulled and you'd see all these feet underneath the curtain," she says. "And I was so curious. I wondered what they were doing behind that curtain. You see them running in and out with supplies, then you hear all the nursing conversations with the doctors.

"It was like real-life TV."

That curiosity — and having an aunt who was a nurse — eventually led Savannah to pursue nursing herself.

"I thought, 'I want to know how to do this. I want to know what's behind that curtain, and I want to be able to take care of people,’" Savannah says.

Over the years, Savannah worked several different nursing jobs — from high-level care and assisting with ambulance transports and then to administrator on duty. But she found her home when a spot in cardiology opened up.

"Being able to see what that group does and how diversified they are, they're amazing," she says. "I was so impressed with everybody they take care of and how everything is connected.

"I kind of found my niche when I went to cardiology, saw all the other pieces to health care, and realized how important the work that everybody does is. Because if we didn't have one piece of the puzzle, it would all fall apart."

When UPMC Western Maryland integrated into the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, Savannah took on the position of director. It was a natural fit for Savannah, who describes herself as both organized and a people-loving person.

The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute connection allows for better resources, training, and care opportunities for UPMC Western Maryland staff and patients. And the connections she developed throughout her career help her now.

Savannah doesn't get to work at the bedside now as much as she did in her earlier nursing days, which she says she misses.

But she feels fulfilled by her work doing rounding in all the HVI areas with the staff and providers, meeting patients, and talking to them. And although her work is more administrative now, she is proud of the work her teams do.

"I love all of our teams," she says. "They're all so different, but each has something special to offer.

"The environment in each area is just a good place to work. It's contagious – everyone takes pride in their part of our patients’ cardiac care and knows they make a difference in the lives of so many.”

At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means doing your part to provide great care.

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