Local nurse encourages camaraderie in her field

By Julia Griffin

“To continuously improve the health and well-being of the people we serve” is Willis-Knighton’s mission statement.

Brandi Burnham at Willis-Knighton Cardiology Ruston makes sure to emulate this statement every day at work and has been doing so alongside Dr. Michael Langiulli for 11 years. Burnham has been the practice manager since 2019.

Burnham’s story started at Louisiana Tech, where she majored in sociology and loved it — except the problem was she didn’t know exactly what career she was going to have after college, so a friend mentioned nursing school. Burnham liked the idea of being a nurse and getting to work with people and having definite career. 

“In nursing there are so many different directions you can go and now that I am manager, I get to do even more things like finances and PR,” Burnham said. 

Burnham said being a clinical nurse before becoming practice manager prepared her to handle the job.

“Becoming manager has really humbled me and showed me that everyone in the office plays such an important role,” Burnham said. 

Burnham explained that everyone in the office wants the same thing, and the current crew is amazing. The clinic runs noticeably different even if one person is missing. 

“I was here when my husband passed away in 2018,” Burnham said. “I went through the hardest time of my life with these people; I took a week off and they pushed me because they needed me.”

She expressed how she always imagined the office running smoothly when she wasn’t there, but everyone is equally important and plays a huge role. 

Kimberley Pierce has worked at WK Cardiology for four years. She started as a receptionist and is currently a medical assistant. 

“Brandi is great because she started as a nurse and moving from nursing really helped her have a good perspective of all the work that goes in throughout the office and what everyone needs,” Pierce said.

Pierce said that Burnham always takes care of her crew and patients and gives good criticism.

Burnham said she likes to keep up with her employees, make sure they are doing well outside of work and wants her employees to know that she really cares. 

“If someone is having a rough week, I want them to feel comfortable enough to tell me so we can work past it together,” Burnham said.

Toni Spillman, the head nurse at WK Cardiology, worked under Burnham when she was head nurse.

“We have always worked well together because we work very similar; we want to get stuff done,” Spillman said.

Spillman was trained by Burnham to be head nurse, and she does it the exact same way that Burnham used to do it three years ago when she was head nurse. 

“If we can’t find the answer to something Brandi goes above and beyond to find the answer for us,” Spillman said.

Burnham said she likes to fix things, so when employees or patients come to her with something she will find a way to give them an answer. 

“When someone gets my care, I want them to feel seen, and knowing that I’ve answered all their questions shows that I want them to get the best care possible, same with my employees,” she said. 

Burnham describes herself as a “fixer,” and said they call her “Handy Brandi” around the clinic. 

Even the little things she said, perhaps a patient has not been enjoying their meals she said she will make sure they get something that they enjoy just to make their stay a little better. 

“I like a challenge and to go the extra mile to help someone,” Burnham said.