The Society for Vascular Nursing (SVN) aims to highlight our members who are making a positive impact in their careers as vascular nurses. SVN members work hard every day advancing the care of individuals living with vascular disease and supporting the mission of the Society. Interested in being part of the member spotlight or nominating a peer? Email Moe at mmalek@vascularsociety.org or complete our survey for inclusion!

Jessica Phair, BSN, RN, FNP-BC

NY Presbyterian, Queens, NY 

SVN Member since August 2016

1. What is your personal background in vascular nursing (how long have you worked in the vascular field, did you practice something before, etc.)?

My name is Jessica Phair. I’ve been a nurse since 2008 and an FNP since 2012. I started working in vascular surgery as an NP at NY Presbyterian Queens in 2016.

Prior to working in vascular, I worked in GI for one year which was a perfect transition after five years in GI as a nurse. I then worked in the Bronx for three years with patients with developmental disabilities incorporating primary care, mental health and seizure management. That job was based on a grant, and when it unfortunately had to end, I was lucky enough to start working in vascular at NYPQ.

2. What is your favorite aspect of vascular nursing?

It’s hard for me to say one favorite thing about vascular nursing. Truth be told, its hard for me to pick one favorite anything. I love how foundational the work we do is. I like that vascular can be described in basic anatomy and physiology but that the treatments are more individual and nuanced when performed. I also, unequivocally, love the people I work with. I have so much love for the staff I work with everyday and equal respect and admiration for the surgeons. I think as an NP, finding both of these to be true, is so fulfilling. It allows you so much confidence in the patient’s care. When you can trust all aspects of your team, you can trust patients are cared for, in all aspects of the word.

3. What is the most challenging part of your job as a vascular nurse?

The most challenging part of my job is also what inspires my goals for the job. As an RN or NP in a specialty of surgical intervention, I think it’s important to find your own role, to find a way to support patients that is unique to the nursing aspect. We most often are introduced to patients when their vascular disease is advanced enough to require intervention. But I do not want to see that as a loss for preventative care. Diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes are just as, likely more important at this point. While we may not be able to avoid intervention, we can use these recommendations to keep those interventions from failing or at minimum extend the time between subsequent interventions.

4. What are your personal goals within the vascular field (implement protocols, increase patient volume, research, societal involvement, etc.)?

Healthcare professionals are great at prescribing diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. But less forthcoming on what that actually entails, or how to slowly introduce steps that make changes feasible. Over the last year, I became certified in integrative nutrition as a health coach. And while I planned to use that as a foundation of knowledge when I pursued a DNP, it’s become a much larger project. I am currently working to create an online membership program to offer to my patients and anyone at risk for/ trying to reduce metabolic syndrome. I want the platform to be a reminder that you are exactly where you need to be to start a wellness journey, a reminder that you are ingesting all that you feed yourself on and off your plate, and that everything you need for health is already within you. It’s my way of offering nuanced intervention as a nurse, to work along side surgical interventions saving limbs and lives in vascular.

5. What is a “fun fact” about yourself that you would like others to know?

I’ve volunteered in Africa twice. In 2006 I spent three months in Ghana after finishing a biology bachelors of science from Iona College. More recently in 2017, I spent two week in Tanzania at Endulen Hospital in Ngorongoro Conservation. Both experiences were so rewarding; the truest form of getting more than you give when you volunteer. It taught me gratitude. It taught me how quickly humans can adapt to their environment and new norms. It taught me to internalize how small the world can be. (Somethings we are all learning well in 2020.)

Then I spent my last week in Tanzania climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. I did not excel at mountain climbing. Despite medicine and all precautions, I suffered from altitude sickness from day 2 onward. I honestly didn’t think on the night of the ascent, that I could make it to the top. But what a lesson in digging deep within and just taking one small step at a time. I mean one REALLY small step at a time. I literally only knew I could take one more step, and wouldn’t give up until I absolutely exhausted any chance of one more. Those small steps got me all the way up that mountain and back down. The porters plan a big celebration at the end. We have so many memories of that climb. And like life, the journey was the lesson.

Health and wellness is a journey of a lifetime of steps. It’s a really great honor to work along side my team as an NP in vascular hoping to encourage each small step for my patients.