Helping Members Get on a Path to Wellness: A Day in the Life of an Independence Nurse Health Coach

Independence nurse Health Coach George Barrett

Independence nurse Health Coach George Barrett

Independence Blue Cross (Independence) is recognizing nurses who carry on the proud tradition of providing compassionate care, comfort, and security to all of us. As part of the Celebrate Caring campaign, we’re highlighting some of our nurses and how they help enhance the health and well-being of our members and communities — beyond the beside — in their roles at Independence.

We also invited the community to nominate outstanding nurses who are making a difference in people’s lives. We will honor three exceptional nurses during National Nurses Week, May 6 to 12, and throughout the month of May.

As a registered nurse Health Coach at Independence, I speak with members over the phone, addressing their health concerns and answering any health-related questions they may have. This is obviously different than being an acute care nurse, where you are face-to-face with a patient. Since I cannot visually assess members, it takes good listening skills and an attentive ear to assess what a member’s specific needs might be when they call.

Outreach to Members

One of the main parts of my job is to make outreach calls to members to see how they’re managing their health. I provide case and care management, disease management, or transition of care from the hospital or rehab setting, back to the home. I also provide education and resources to our members so they can better manage their health and disease processes.

I know firsthand that many of our members aren’t aware of the health coaching benefit that is available to them through their health plans until they receive an outreach call from one of our nurse Health Coaches. Most people are very surprised, and very appreciative that someone cares enough to check in to see how they are doing.

Helping Members Navigate Their Diagnoses

Recently, I spoke with a member who is trying to manage her diabetes. She admitted that she isn’t doing a very good job of complying with her diabetes plan of care. Her profession requires her to taste-test everything being made in her kitchen, so it’s difficult for her to limit her sugar intake. In light of these challenges, I was able to point her in the right direction. I let her know about our nutritional counseling and diabetic education benefits, and I am helping her set small, attainable goals as we work together towards compliance with her disease management.

A Family Affair

After speaking with this member for a little while, she asked if the health coaching benefit is available to one of her children. I told her that everyone on the insurance plan has access to the health coaching benefit. The member told me that her child has a new medical diagnosis and is looking for some help in managing a diagnosis. I informed her that we have pediatric nurse Health Coaches here at Independence, and that I’d be more than happy to make a referral for her child. The member was very thankful and informed me that she was going to pass my contact information onto another relative who needed some help finding a new primary care provider.

The next day, I received a call from this member’s relative who had recently moved to a new area and needed some help finding a new primary care provider and managing behavioral health issues. So, I walked her through our Find a Doctor tool at ibx.com and referred her to our behavioral health provider.

One Phone, Three People

With one outreach call, I was able to help three members of one family. As a Health Coach, these are the types of calls that are most rewarding to me. It’s very gratifying to help our members get on a path to wellness.

 

George Barrett

About George Barrett

I am a native Philadelphian, born and raised. My friends and family would describe me as very caring and compassionate, so choosing nursing as a second career was very easy for me. I graduated from Penn State Abington with my BSN and have been at Independence Blue Cross almost two years now. I enjoy traveling, spending time with family and friends, and cheering on all of our beloved Philadelphia sports teams!