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Brenda Lambert recalls her first experience with cardiac patients: “It was back in the days when they stayed in the hospital more than a month. Nurses were not even allowed to have a conversation with them and we just had to sit there and watch a monitor. I swore I would never, ever take care of cardiac patients again.”
Lambert admits that was not the most prophetic statement she has ever made. In fact, she has spent the last 38 years caring for cardiac patients.
Lambert is the CEO of South Denver Cardiology Associates (SDCA), a clinic designed to help cardiac patients recover from or prevent serious heart conditions. She started there nearly four decades ago as a nurse while she was still a student at MSU Denver.
“They had me putting patients on bikes,” said Lambert. “I thought they were nuts!”
Lambert started her nursing career through a diploma program in her hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. Marriage brought her to the Mile High City where she discovered that MSU Denver had the only diploma-to-BSN program in the region.
“I felt like Metro had phenomenal instructors,” she said. “They demanded perfection. I thought that was great.”
Lambert also appreciated the liberal arts exposure she gained at MSU Denver. “In my diploma program, we only did nursing. At Metro, I developed an appreciation for a more rounded education.”
Additionally, Lambert says that MSU Denver helped her balance the many roles she had at the time. She was already a mother when she started taking classes.
“I believe that Metro — more than any other institution — understands working parents,” she said. “And they aren’t driven by the almighty dollar but by a passion to deliver a quality education for the masses. I have a lot of respect for the University.”
Dr. Karyl VanBenthuysen, president of SDCA, has worked with Lambert for 28 years and said, “Brenda has emerged as one of the top health care managers in the region. This position has been attained as a result of her broad fund of knowledge encompassing everything from health care law to subspecialty cardiology issues to information technology. She can provide a detailed, multimillion dollar financial analysis and fix a leaky faucet in the employee’s lounge!”
Now running the organization that hired her so long ago, Lambert may have the C-Suite title, but her first love is still patient care.
“When I can help solve a medical issue or talk to a patient, that’s a really good day for me.”