Independence Blue Cross recognizes the important role nurses play in health care and acknowledges their caring, compassion, and excellence. As part of the Celebrate Caring campaign, we’re highlighting our region’s most outstanding nurses — including those at Independence. We employ nearly 300 nurses in a variety of roles that serve our members. Here is one of their stories.
Do you know a nurse who deserves to be recognized for their tireless dedication? Nominate him or her at ibx.com/nurses by April 3.
Nursing: A Career and a Calling
Trudi Mitana, BSN, RN, OCN, looks back at her early career in nursing 20 years ago as a calling of sorts. After her kids were in school, she wanted to go back to work, but knew it had to be something really “special,” she says. Nursing hit the mark on many levels. She pursued oncology nursing because she’d experienced first-hand the devastation cancer has on patients and their families, having several relatives affected, including her father, sister, grandmother, and nephew.
The work was challenging and extremely rewarding, with no real bad days. “I helped patients through their cancer journey, whether it was cure or comfort. And sure, bad things happen,” she admits, “but at the end of the day, you’re taking care of people who have cancer and you don’t. When you look at it like that, every day’s a blessing.”
She was fortunate in another big way: Her kids never once complained about the time her job kept her away from home. “They knew I was a nurse helping sick people, so they always understood.”
She joined Independence Blue Cross (Independence) in August 2019 as a case management nurse, and works mostly, but not exclusively, with cancer patients. Many of the skills she honed as an oncology nurse navigator and coordinator in radiation oncology are ideal for this job.
Helping Members Through a Cancer Diagnosis
“A new cancer diagnosis is overwhelming. People are emotional, sometimes angry, or in denial. Most people generally retain only about a third of the info they’re getting from their doctors,” she said. “I help walk them through things they may not fully understand, talk to them about treatment, nutrition, surgery, palliative care, if needed, while they are still processing the diagnosis.” Cancer patients often see a lot of different doctors, and Trudi helps coordinate that care.
Repetition is important when it comes to making sure someone is doing everything they need to get well, Trudi explains. Her relationship with members can often span months.
“I follow up and make sure they’re managing their side effects appropriately and getting through their treatments as best they can.” When needed, she’ll reach out to doctors to get additional information the member may not have or remember that can help her do her job better.
Trudi couldn’t be happier at Independence. She loves her job and her team. She says it’s a very positive place to be and that teamwork is ingrained in the Independence culture.
“We’re empowered to be the best we can be every day, but there’s also a mindset of looking for ways we can all be better together.”