Pinneo-and-MelzerNurses return to PPMC to celebrate the country’sfirst CCU

In the 1960s, as the knowledge of cardiology expanded, sodid the skills needed to care for these patients.  During thistime, with the inception of the CCU, nursing had to assume the skillsneeded for cardiac monitoring and defibrillation, breaking down the barriersbetween the scope of nursing and physicians. Having a nurse recognize a fatalarrhythmia and saving a patient’s life by defibrillation without the guidanceof a physician was the first step in advancing and expanding the role of theCCU nurse. This was done the very first time at Penn Presbyterian MedicalCenter. 

In1963, Dr. Lawrence E. Meltzer and the chief of cardiology, Dr. J. RoderickKitchell  proposed a research plan for a new two bed cardiac unit atPresbyterian.  It was a nurse-focused study investigating if 24-hour nursemonitoring and intervention could reduce mortality in patients with acutemyocardial infarction. This research study was as much a nursing experiment tosee if they could handle the increased responsibility and role change as it wasabout the mortality rate of the patients.  The experiment was a hugesuccess as the nurses role expanded beyond just caring for patients and wouldnow include curing them as well.  Earlier this month, Presby faculty andstaff came together with honored guests to celebrate the 50th anniversary ofthis great “experiment” and how it became the platform for a continuedexpansion of the role of nursing.

Please see the photos below for a slideshow of the celebration and a collection of photo examples of CCU nursing, then and now.

Share This Page: