Mercy Hospital Nurse Looks Back on 34-Year Career

Reviewed by Abbie Jacobs, RN, BSN

For more than 34 years Theresa Witt has provided care to thousands of patients in the Missouri area. She began her extensive career in 1982 as an R.N. at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Springfield and over the next three decades she held various nursing positions in the Springfield area.

In 2004 Witt took a position as a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Mercy Hospital where she would later be named as the ventricular assist device coordinator. “There are less than 50 health centers in the United States that provides destination therapy for patients with left ventricular assist devices, and Mercy is one of them,” said Witt.

Witt explained the importance of destination therapy for VAD patients, calling the therapy the last-resort to survive heart failure. Her role as VAD coordinator is to educate patients and their caregivers on how to live with the heart pump which is partially implanted. She called the VAD technology cutting-edge and stressed the importance of providing proper training to health care professionals charged with caring for these patients.

Trust is the cornerstone of her job which Witt said is earned by showing that she cares. She shared stories of carrying a mother from her dead son’s bedside and lifting patients twice as big as her, calling those moments bittersweet.

Witt’s graduated with a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Avila College and completed her Masters of Nursing at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 1994. She was designated as a board certified clinical nurse specialist in 1995 from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The Missouri State Board of Nursing has recognized her as an advanced practice nurse every year since 1995.

Witt measures her success in many ways. One of her favorites is when one of her heart patients celebrates another birthday, saying that those moments recharge her batteries and keeps her coming back.