Vail Health Magazine 2013 - page 43

Andy Burke
Patient Care Nurse
Seen on the cover, Andy Burke, a patient care
nurse, usually attends to patients’ post-sur-
gical needs. He teaches people how to stand
up, get around on crutches or work with knee
braces, while at the same time helping them
understand their injury and recovery process.
But he’s also trained to “float around”
the hospital; on any given day, he could
be working with a 3-month old infant,
taking care of an 80-year-old heart
patient or even working in the women
and children’s department.
“We have to be diverse in that there’s not
as many staff as a city hospital with 350
beds,” Burke says. “In another hospital, you
work with one group of people, but floating
keeps you on your toes. You have to be
confident with your nursing skills to take
literally whatever patient issue that pres-
ents itself. It’s nice in that way … because it
gives you so much broader of a patient list.”
Burke became a nurse about six years ago,
after owning a landscaping business, which
put him through college. Science, particu-
larly human biology, always fascinated him.
Nursing was a perfect fit, since it combines
his love for anatomy and physiology with “a
cool opportunity to talk with people all day.”
Plus his 12-hour shifts, three days a week,
allow him to enjoy Vail’s recreation.
As a skier, snowboarder, alpine touring
enthusiast, snowmobiler, hiker, fisherman,
rafter, mountain biker, dirt biker and hunt-
er, Burke has had plenty of opportunities
to hurt himself — so he relates well to his
orthopaedic patients.
“I’ve been in their shoes. I know what it’s
like to be broken and debilitated,” he said.
He also knows what it takes to heal; he
actively educates his patients to help them
build confidence about using their injured
limbs to full capacity.
Even amongst health care professionals, the decision to live in Vail is a choice about
lifestyle and values. Metropolitan areas have higher numbers of patients with a plethora
of ailments, but a resort town offers a different type of professional stimulation and sat-
isfaction. Like the doctors, surgeons, lab technicians and other medical staff they work
alongside, these nurses decided to forgo the excitement of bustling, big-city emergency
rooms in favor of the high-quality, personalized care that VVMC offers. It’s a decision
that allows them to live in one of the most scenic and active communities in the country.
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