To celebrate Nurses Week, this series, “From One Nurse to Another” shares stories from our very own front-line heroes at CipherHealth — our stellar clinical team — about what they’ve seen in the field and what their fellow nurses mean to them. Here, our VP of Clinical Services, Lyndsey Lord, MSN, RN, thanks al Nurse Care Managers working “behind the scenes” to provide a very special form of care.
With Nurses Week upon us amid the chaotic COVID-19 pandemic impacting the entire world, I am feeling extremely proud and humbled to be a part of the nursing profession. Throughout my career, I have worked with too many nurse heroes to list on this page. Anyone who has ever interacted with our healthcare delivery system is keenly aware of the significance of the nursing cog in the healthcare wheel.
Nurses impact patient lives every day. They monitor clinical changes and intervene promptly to ensure the highest quality care possible. They do CPR to save lives, but also hold the hand of a patient taking their last breath. Nurses ensure that patients are cared for with dignity and respect; they educate, inform, and support patients throughout the entire care journey.
Of all of these nurse heroes that nobly and humbly help patients every day, I want to take this opportunity to recognize Nurse Care Managers. These are the nurses working tirelessly behind the scenes supporting a high volume of patients to ensure they remain safe and healthy, are educated on their chronic conditions, and understand all areas of their plan of care.
The Value of Nurse Care Managers
The support and coordination provided by these nurses presents itself in various forms. This is not a role that can be managed within the four walls of a hospital or doctor’s office, but rather is a role that takes place everywhere. Nurse Care Managers help explain medications, coordinate with specialty pharmacies to ensure a rare medication is available, and facilitate with the provider and payer to confirm coverage for the expense.
I once worked with a Care Manager who was helping an elderly patient coordinate an appointment with a specialist. The patient and his wife were very overwhelmed from dealing with an acute medical event, navigating insurance coverage, and physically finding the specialist’s office. When the patient called and was flustered, this angel of a Care Manager told the patient, “Just pull over, I will come and find you.” She then got in her car and drove to where the patient shared he had pulled over, and then escorted the patient and his wife to the specialist’s office.
In addition to navigating pharmacies and specialists, Care Managers are also the nurses who remind patients of the many things they need to do to maintain optimal health. They call to remind all of their patients to get the flu vaccine, and remember when each and every patient they follow is due for a skin check, colonoscopy, mammogram, or other preventive health test. We all live busy lives and these items are easy to forget or push off to a later time, but our Care Managers remind and educate us on the importance of these appointments and screenings. I shudder to think of the patients who would suffer from preventable diseases, or even die, without the dedication and support of Care Managers.
Providing Care During COVID-19
There is a tremendous amount of fear in the community right now. Fear of a disease that we do not fully understand; fear of going to a hospital or physician’s office; even fear of going to the grocery store or pharmacy. Care Managers are working night and day to keep patients safe. They are doing double-duty to monitor symptom changes for patients with chronic diseases, helping to arrange telehealth visits for patients who may have never even used a computer, checking in on patients presenting with COVID-19 symptoms, and through it all providing emotional support and genuine kindness to each and every patient they engage.
Care Management work is tiresome and tedious. There are always more tasks than there are hours in the day. These nurses have vast clinical knowledge, as well as a deep understanding of the operational challenges within our healthcare system. They help patients navigate this with poise and efficiency.
Thank you, Care Management Nurses. Thank you for keeping our families, friends, and neighbors safe in our communities. Happy Nurses Week!
See all of the tributes from the CipherHealth clinical team in honor of Nurses Week, “From One Nurse to Another”.