Independence Blue Cross (Independence) wants to Celebrate Caring by recognizing nurses who carry on the proud tradition of providing compassionate care, comfort, and security to all of us. Do you know a nurse who delivers exceptional care and compassion every day? We want to hear about it. Submit your story by April 5 and Independence may reward that nurse through our Celebrate Caring campaign. As part of the Celebrate Caring campaign, we’re also 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.
Charron Smith-Marsh always wanted to be a nurse. She came from a long line of nurses, including her grandmother and several aunts, and was raised in a neighborhood that was home to many nurses.
Growing up, she admired nurses for their commitment to helping others. She witnessed how the nurses in her neighborhood would compassionately care for everyone’s kids when they fell or got sick, and it rubbed off on her. She has embraced any opportunity to care for others since she was a little girl, whether it was helping the school nurse or triaging her cousins during pretend check-ups, using a popsicle stick as a tongue depressor.
Always Show Compassion
Years later, Charron finally realized her dream of becoming a nurse and went on to work in a variety of health care settings, including clinics, skilled nursing facilities, and doctor’s offices. She never forgot the most important lesson she learned from the nurses she grew up around — always show compassion — and she practices that each day at work.
“We’re all fighting battles that others know nothing about. You just don’t know what situation or choices someone is facing,” Charron said. “So, it’s important to be empathetic and show them that you care.”
Throughout her career, compassion has proven to be an important part of Charron’s job. It has helped her care for and bond with many of her patients. In fact, she recalls one patient in a skilled nursing facility who was greatly affected by the compassion of the nurses who were taking care of him.
“I never knew what his family situation was like, but they rarely visited,” Charron said. “The nurses on the floor adopted him. We’d bring him clothes and cookies. We wanted him to know that we cared.”
Before he passed, he told them that they weren’t just nurses, he considered them his family. That meant a lot to the team of nurses who helped care for him.
Ready for Change
Although Charron found bedside nursing to be very rewarding, she was ready for a change. So, when she learned about the opportunity to work as a Health Coach at Independence, she made the move.
As a Health Coach, Charron helps members understand their condition and medical benefits, assists with coordination of care, and provides support on medical and social resources.
A Day in the Life of a Health Coach
“Each day is different. We get a lot of different calls,” said Charron. “I feel like we have good health care here in Philadelphia, but people don’t know how to access it. One minute, I may be helping a member navigate our website to help find a primary care physician, and then the next, I will be preparing another member for a doctor’s visit. We also get a lot of calls from members that don’t understand their benefits. We help interpret it for them.”
While Charron may not see patients face-to-face anymore in her role as a health coach, one thing remains the same: she gets to help people each day with compassionate care.
“As a Health Coach, I am the point person for many members,” she said. “Many people can get overwhelmed with the health insurance process, but when they know who their Health Coach is and can reach you directly, it’s a huge relief for them. They want to know that someone is listening and helping them maximize their benefits.”
Nurses are Everywhere
As Charron looks back at her 20-plus-year nursing career, she is thankful for all the nurses and instructors who motivated her to succeed and taught her the importance of compassion. She is also grateful for the opportunity to have made a difference in the lives of others. Most of all, she looks forward to the future of nursing.
“Nursing has been a very rewarding career. It’s always evolving. In the time that I’ve been a nurse, we have come so far,” Charron said. “We are in so many different places. When people think of nurses, they want to keep us in places like doctor’s offices, hospitals, and nursing homes. But we’re in research, corporate America, politics, and insurance companies. Wherever there’s health care, there’s always going to be a nurse there. So, I’m excited to see where nursing will take us next.”