Evan Kansorka RN

Five Questions for a Pediatric Critical Care Nurse

National Nurses Week is recognized each year on May 6th–12th to illuminate nurses’ critically important role in our communities. 

Evan Kansorka, R.N., is a dedicated clinical team leader in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. He leads the nursing team in the daily operations of the CVICU, providing care to patients and serving as a teacher, mentor and resource for other nurses.

Why did you want to become a nurse?

From an early age, I would say 13 or 14, becoming a nurse was the only thing I truly considered doing. My mom has always worked in healthcare and she consistently spoke highly of nursing and medicine. I have a twin brother who is also a nurse.

What do nurses do in the CVICU?

Most of our patients were either born with a heart defect or have acquired cardiac disease. The heart is such a vital organ as it delivers blood flow to the entire body, and our patients often have a compromised ability to do that. As nurses, we’re constantly monitoring the patients’ ability to deliver that oxygenated blood, helping to make sure they are well-supported as they heal or recover.

What makes a great nurse?

Beyond strong skills and attention to nuance, I think you need to have a true desire or “calling” to the profession. You have to want to be there for these patients and their families to do this kind of work well. Good communication skills are important, as well as the ability to adapt to changing needs. Kindness and compassion are essential and are among the best ways to help people heal.

What is most rewarding about being a nurse?

Seeing these babies and children come to us on the edge, just struggling, then providing the kind of care that helps them turn a corner and recover is so powerful. There are special moments, such as when a baby has been intubated for days or weeks and then they are finally able to have their breathing tube removed. Or maybe a parent can hold their baby for the first time. You see their eyes light up as they sense that, “Hey, my baby is going to pull through this.” These moments are huge motivators for us as nurses.

The CVICU was recently honored with the Beacon Award by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) – can you tell us about that?

The Beacon Award is a designation for nursing excellence in a healthy work environment. The CVICU was awarded a gold-level distinction, the highest designation. It’s a testament to the quality of nursing care that we provide. I’m so proud to work at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Our ability to take these complex patients and care for them in a way that allows them to go home and to grow up and to thrive—it’s quite amazing.

For more information about the cardiovascular intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, visit the Heart Institute page.

*Presented by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital