Here, we are proud to have a team of the best and brightest caregivers from all over the world. Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist Akin came to Seattle from Nigeria. Here’s his path to working at Swedish Cherry Hill.
From Nigeria to Seattle
Akin came to Seattle from Nigeria by way of an immigrant visa lottery, sponsored by his uncle who lived in the area. “Seattle reminds me of the place I came from–it’s just so green and tranquil,” Akin remarks.
After Akin graduated from Spokane Community College, he pursued his career with innate tenacity. During a short stint at Highline, he connected with a doctor who encouraged him to work at Swedish. The complexity and volume of cases at Swedish interested Akin. He attributes his success to being inquisitive, having an interest in taking on challenges and staying positive.
Swedish has helped Akin build confidence and he genuinely cares for people and their health.
“Having a one-on-one connection with a patient, being able to understand where they’re coming from, and with the help of a team being able to provide them the answers, and, in some cases, immediate relief of their symptoms. It’s always been rewarding.”
Culture and management
Akin describes the culture at Swedish Cherry Hill as open, friendly and jovial. “When you walk in, you’re greeted by people sitting at the door with a big smile. You just feel like you belong,” says Akin.
In describing the management team, Akin says, “It’s a very, very organized group—supportive and understanding. We can’t afford to make mistakes. We keep the environment relaxed for the patient as well as us, but we still stick to the principles of what we do, and we just make it fun.”
As a Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS), Akin works closely with the team to assist doctors with procedures to revascularize vessels of the heart and peripheral vessels of the body. A typical day starts with a patient coming into the lab for an angiogram to determine if an intervention like a stent or balloon is needed to reperfuse the heart.
Akin describes the comradery with his team as “beyond excellent,” with all roles jumping in to help in whatever way they can. “It’s a very, very supportive crew.”
When COVID-19 initially hit, the hospital implemented safety protocols limiting patient visits to emergent cases. Their case load went from 18 to 20 case a day to just one or two cases in a day. Once they were able to see elective patients again, there was a backlog, yet some patients were still fearful of contracting COVID. While safety protocols are more paramount than ever, it’s “business as usual” for now, according to Akin.
A positive attitude and outlet
“I’m able to get through the day with a positive attitude,” says Akin. On particularly tough days, “I take a breather, go outside, come back in and start back up again.” When you have a job that is as stressful as Akin’s, it’s important to have an outlet. When he’s off the clock, Akin practices a martial art discipline called Krav Maga, an Israeli self-defense form, together with yoga. “That’s how I get through the day.”
Advice for new hires
When asked his best guidance for new hires, Akin says, “Be ready to take positive criticism and don’t take anything personally. Just take notes, watch what people are doing around you, and go home. Most of what we do is in steps, and if you can get those steps down, we build off all those steps into more complex cases. If you get the cadence down, everything else is a breeze.”
Advice for new students graduating
According to Akin, Swedish is the place to be. “If you are a new student graduating from college and want to know the basics of what happens in a Cath Lab, Swedish is where you want to be, because we have the staff to support you. The doctors are friendly and ready to help you with any questions you have. They even show you, not just the practical part of what you’re looking at, but they’re also going to provide you the didactics of what you’ve experienced in the lab.”
“The sky is the limit”
The management at Swedish have encouraged Akin to take advantage of the educational programs they offer and have given him a schedule that is flexible enough to afford time for school. He went back to school in January for a bachelor’s program in Applied Sciences and to possibly pursue a master’s from there. “I want to see where that takes me. At some point, I might like to run a lab. The sky is the limit.”