Campus News - January 28, 2002


HSC's Whalen excels at juggling act

Nancy WhalenBy Veronica Valencia

Nancy Whalen likes to describe her life as jumping from the frying pan and into the fire. And some days, Whalen, who is the division coordinator for the Department of Cardiology at the School of Medicine, is often juggling patients, cardiology fellows and physicians at the same time.

“I like to be challenged,” says Whalen. “I like learning new skills and working in an environment where I am encouraged to grow.”

That’s why working at UNM fits her like a glove. Throughout her 12-year career at UNM, she’s held administrative positions at the Cancer Center and at the Department of OB/GYN. She’s been a special event and conference coordinator for the School of Medicine’s Continuing Medical Education and even took a hiatus to plan an international conference for the Alliance for Transportation Research and Civil Engineering Department. She planned, organized and executed a successful five-day conference with more than 500 participants in attendance.

In the division of cardiology, she has a chance to put all of her problem solving, decision-making, customer service, and attention-to-detail skills to work. Whalen, assistant to the chief of cardiology, is responsible for all division schedules at UNM Hospital and the VA Medical Center. The cardiology division currently has 14 faculty members and nine fellows.

Aside from that, “she coordinates the complex cardiology fellowship program and fellowship applicant recruitment process,” she says.

“The cardiology program at UNM is very well respected and has a great reputation – we bring in nationally-recognized cardiologists and our grand rounds are attended by the Albuquerque cardiology community,” says Whalen.

She also serves as a liaison for the numerous cardiology specialty clinics, resolving many related issues including scheduling overbooks for physicians and patients, which involves a great deal of patient and hospital personnel interactions.

“Customer service is important to me – both to my internal and external customers,” says Whalen. “People rely on me and I have to be resourceful in solving problems.”

Whalen is described as warm, friendly and approachable — a detail-oriented person who likes to throw parties and has a reputation as an excellent and creative cook.

When she’s not busy fighting the proverbial fires during the workday, she enjoys spending time on the slopes and was thrilled to find herself recently skiing at Snowmass, Col. She also likes playing tennis, bird watching, traveling and aspires to get a few more stamps in her passport.

“The only overseas venture I’ve had is to Kyoko, Japan, I have to work on that,” she jokes.

A four-legged feline named Bella has proven to be a newfound friend for Whalen. “We take her for rides in the car – take her to Starbucks, and to visit my friend’s mother. It’s funny, I can’t explain it, but I never thought for an instant that I would have such a tight bond with a cat.”

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