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.
In my family, we’ve been nurses for three generations. For my grandmother, nursing was hard, but had no nuances: a nurse did bedside care in a hospital. My mom had many more choices. She worked in the emergency department, in home care, in public health, in schools, and at Independence (like me). And for my generation, the world is full of even more nursing opportunities.
Redefining What it Means to be a Nurse
As a West Chester University student, I embarked on a Global Health nursing trip to India. There, I was inspired by a woman my own age who was very sick from HIV, but also still full of joy anticipating her remarriage in a month.
As an intern for the IBC Foundation Nurse Internship Program, I was exposed to nurses working in policy development, auditing, medical claims, medical appeals, utilization review, health coaching, case management, discharge planning, sales, health education, and informatics.
In my first job as a psychiatric nurse in an eating disorders clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, I was challenged by the tragedy of well-off Americans literally starving themselves to death. Our unit focused on adolescent and young adult mental health disorders, including eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.
Working on this unit, I was able to see how nurses held patients’ hands and were there for them as they were going through a rough patch. I also saw the affect nurses had using mindfulness techniques and coping strategies to teach patients how to get through these tough times. All of these were invaluable experiences.
Helping Others Navigate the Modern Health Care Experience
Currently, as a care coordinator in the precertification department at Independence, I spend my days helping other health care professionals and their patients navigate the complexities of the modern health care experience.
My daily job activities include helping members achieve prior authorization for infusions and chemotherapy services. Navigating the health care system can often be a scary, confusing, and frustrating time for those who are already dealing with a health crisis.
In my role, I spend a lot of time reviewing cases to ensure that they conform to therapeutic and plan guidelines. I also help members to decipher and understand their medical policies and help to arrange member services in the most accessible settings. Frequently, that is in their home or in an office or stand-alone clinic.
Using Technology to Improve Our Health System
While working in mental health at Johns Hopkins Hospital and in care coordination at Independence, I became increasingly aware of how technology can improve our health system. I am interested in increasing access to mental health resources through phone applications, telemedicine, remote monitoring of patients, and data mining. While I was in Baltimore, I started pursuing my MSN in Nursing Informatics from the University of Maryland. The program is entirely online, so with some help from Independence — for which I’m very grateful — I’ve been able to work while I continue the program in Philadelphia. And I’m happy to say I’m already halfway finished!
In the future, I hope to use my experiences and education to motivate individuals to pursue healthier behaviors, including selecting healthier foods, making more active lifestyle choices, embracing better sleep behavior, and adopting positive socialization.