Alumna heals hearts at nation’s top heart clinic

November 21, 2011

By Tim Belter ’13

Nothing warms the heart of nursing alumna Melissa Cribbs ’03 more than helping to heal those of her patients. Cribbs is a nurse practitioner in cardiac electrophysiology at the Cleveland Clinic, which has been ranked the nation’s top cardiology hospital by “U.S.News and World Report” for 17 straight years. For her, saving lives is part of every day.

“People are concerned about any issues with their heart,” she said. “Being able to see patients through the entire healing process and hearing them say ‘I feel so much better’ is very rewarding.”

Cribbs has long had an interest in cardiology and she credits her Bradley education with helping her foster that interest and pursue it as a career.

“My favorite professor, Liz Cram, and I both had a passion for cardiology,” she said. “I was very interested in her career path, and she was able to help me with mine.”

After graduating from Bradley, she worked as a nurse for a few years before attending Ohio State University for a master’s degree. In 2010, she became a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat many patients, and give them additional personal attention and care.

“I had the opportunity to spend time with some great nurse practitioners as a nurse and as a Bradley student, and I knew I wanted to do what they did,” she said. “It’s a really good opportunity to educate patients and spend time with them.”

Not long after receiving her master’s, she began to work in electrophysiology in the Cleveland Clinic. Electrophysiology is a relatively new branch of cardiology that focuses on the electrical impulses and rhythms of the heart.

“It’s an area where you use quite a few different diagnostic tests and types of technology,” she said. “There’s a lot of new research to help us treat our patients the best that we can.”

Working at the nation’s top cardiology hospital is a source of pride for Cribbs, and she’s proud of the Bradley education that helped put her there.

“I’m proud to be an alumna of Bradley,” she said. “Without Bradley, I wouldn’t have the professional career that I have.”