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!

Estela Aquino-Woych, RN-BC, BSN, MA, CRNI, ONC

Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley

SVN Member since March 2016

My name is Estela Aquino-Woych, RN-BC. I’ve been a nurse for 36 years. My first encounters with Vascular Nursing back in the Philippines during those earlier years of local war forged a solid foundation in my career training that has served me, in the service of others, very well. I arrived in New York in the early 1990s.

Critical assessment and appropriate nursing interventions that may save a limb is the heart of Vascular Nursing. My department, 3 Spellman a Medical Surgical unit at Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley (HAHV) in Kingston, New York . For some 30 years I have advanced my knowledge and training in collaboration with many wonderful and experienced nurses that I worked with over that span of time. We have an outstanding Vascular Unit at HAHV with excellent communication protocol in place. Over these thirty years of my working experiences in our Unit these capable, dedicated and knowledgeable surgeons will even leave their cell phone numbers in case we have an unexpected emergency. Standing instructions permit us to contact them anytime day or night for the safety of our patients.

Being able to intervene and save a life is by far the greatest satisfaction that a Nurse can experience. My favorite aspect
of Vascular Nursing is the fact that with critical assessments and timing we can potentially reestablish circulation in a limb, save that limb for the patients  (or their heart for that matter from the dangers involved), and save that patient’s life along with possibly returning them to their family and loved ones.

But while that is an ideal situation, even interventions have provided new ways to help save a patient from a worse case outcome. There are now life saving devices, such as prosthesis that can help with mobility and ambulation again.
The new development of technological sophisticated hardware, software and other intervention equipment are amazing during this twenty first  century, and there seems to be no end in sight for what can be accomplished.

Practically speaking, however, the more sustaining challenges  in Vascular Nursing, is trying to change contraindicated  behaviors.  Many of the problems that could be avoided are actually those that derive from bad habits such as smoking, excessive drinking or poor dietary nutritional practices that simply can not be tolerated. With compromised circulation, quitting smoking is essential to save a limb and that may also include changing one’s lifestyle. Taking care of other co-morbidities such as diabetes, that can impact the healing process is also very important. It is very hard to engage a patient, who can refuse to change despite the fact, that these changes are imperative for their health.

I would like to implement a new protocol to our Unit. Preventive medicine has always been the best medicine. In that regard it would make sense to swab all pre-op patients before surgery for MRSA, VRE and Covid 19 prior to surgery, (if it is not an emergency situation). This type of infection could and should be treated prior to having their procedure done.

I would also like to participate in educational research into nurse-to-patient communication , ongoing personal assessment, and the facilitation towards the more traditional application of nursing continuity of care advocacy being prioritized in the interest of the health of patients as a whole person, not simply a subject under clinical care alone.

I like to think of the fun part of myself as part of the fact that I am an avid people person with a smile in my heart for all. I enjoy a laugh or even an open smile around people in return, and that makes me feel more completed. It’s like the song says: “People that need people are the luckiest people in the world…” And have always felt so lucky to have so many good people in my life. Today my life is full and the fun comes after hours playing ‘pickleball’ with many retired professionals, teachers and even physicians and nurses. Great fun as well as exercise for circulation and the prevention of vascular aging problems, and it is good for eye and hand coordination. But just as importantly we laugh and smile together and enjoy each others company.  That’s my ideal of healthy fun. And I guess that’s surely what I think is most fun about myself.