It’s May 25, so it’s National Tap Dance Day! (Yes, it really exists. It’s official, even. President Bush signed it into law in 2004.)
Which is great fun, but what could it possibly have to do with nurses?
Well, we dug into the YouTube archives and we found a link. It’s quite amusing, and instructive to boot! This is Dr. Kathy McCauley of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, with two of her nursing students, explaining ECG rhythms — through tap dance.
The video is a bit shaky, but these women are awesome! Check it out:
McCauley was associate dean for academic programs at Penn Nursing for ten years, and an accomplished researcher on cardiovascular disease. She’s still mentoring staff nurses at Penn Nursing. But you can see here that she was obviously also a fun teacher, with a knack for creative ways of helping her students!
The two nursing students in the video, Nora Casper and Tacie Reger, were taught well. Nora is now a Registered Nurse at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and it looks like Tacie is now a NICU Nurse at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC.
As McCauley explains in this video, several of her students originally joined her to enter into a Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing contest, creating a video called “Tap Dancing and Electrocardiograms: A Snap to Learn”. You can still see that on YouTube too. And they won! They were awarded the prize at the 2008 Promise of Nursing gala, winning a $5,000 education grant.
McCauley already started using tap dance to help students and nurses learn about ECGs way back in the 1980s, and over the years “developed a tap routine for most cardiac rhythms,” Nurse.com recounted:
Her repertoire has evolved to include even the most complex rhythms, such as Torsades de pointes, a rare variation of ventricular tachycardia. She currently is working out tap routines for atrial fibrillation with Ashmans phenomenon and third-degree complete heart block.
It works. Like one of her students said: “I will never forget what is happening in arrhythmias after learning the tap interpretations”!