Senior Clinical Consultant
Clinical and support staff are the backbone of the healthcare industry. Often asked to work with few resources to deliver care at the most important times in a patient’s care journey, clinicians deserve recognition and appreciation for all they do.
Faced with a workforce crisis like never before, health systems and hospitals need someone who understands these challenges — and at Get Well, we do understand. And we certainly appreciate those on our staff who have spent time as clinicians. That’s why we’re launching the Get Well Clinician Spotlight series — an opportunity to give the clinicians who work for Get Well the recognition they deserve and the space to share their stories and thoughts about the biggest challenges facing today’s clinician workforce.
Please share a little about your clinical background and what brought you to Get Well.
My journey in healthcare started when I was 19. My first job was a Medical Assistant. As a young mom, I was a doula and lactation consultant. I went back to school and became a nurse, working in ambulatory and acute care settings. Prior to joining Get Well, I worked at a hospital that had Get Well solutions, and that is where I experienced the value of technology that engages patients in their healthcare.
My passion for engaging patients and their families comes from my personal experience with my mom. My mom became very ill. She was in and out of many hospitals, endured multiple surgeries and was seen by specialists up and down California.
My parents were divorced, her family was in Florida and at 22 years old, I was her oldest child, primary decision maker and Power of Attorney for all decisions. In the beginning of this journey my sisters were 20 and 14 years old.
Many doctors, nurses and support staff took care of my mom. I would call the nurses station and ask for updates. I’d request that a doctor call me and sometimes, I would get a call. I asked all the questions my 22 year old self could think to ask. I never felt like I had all the answers or information I needed. The Internet at our fingertips wasn’t a thing. I couldn’t search for answers across the web. I couldn’t ask for advice on social media and I definitely didn’t get a virtual visit with a counselor for support. I felt so lost and confused. But mostly, I was angry for feeling like I didn’t have what I needed to make educated decisions for my mom.
I live everyday missing her. Daily, I wonder what I could have done differently. If I had the resources I have now, would the outcome have been different? Could she have lived longer?
My experience drives my passion for engaging patients and their families. It pushed me as a nurse to connect with patients on a personal level. I would go above and beyond to make sure my patient understood their diagnosis and treatment. I would give them options and would make a plan for the day with each one. My goal was to always include them in decision making. If the patient wasn’t in a state to participate in their care, I would engage with their family in the same manner.
It was and has been my mission my whole career to make a difference in the experience of every patient and family member I came in contact with.
To this day, when I’m onsite with our clients and I’m rounding on patients and visiting with them I make eye contact, spend a few minutes with them, and make sure they feel included in their care. I explain Get Well to them, tell them about all the great features and tell them how important it is that they have the education they need to make decisions for their healthcare.
How have you used Get Well solutions in the field?
Yes! I have used Get Well first hand with patients and their families. In nursing school, nobody tells you that you’ll have to teach patients and if they don’t tell you, they definitely don’t give you training to do it well. I had know idea of the amount of instruction I would have to give patients and their families. I thought as a nurse I would be doing compressions and saving lives!
Nurses do a lot of education with patients and their families. Knowing that people learn differently, I would give my patient verbal instructions and then I would start a video that would reinforce what I had said. It worked really well! I felt that Get Well was an extension of me and the care I was giving.
Get Well also provided relaxing music and distraction for my patients who were in pain. The Hollywood movies were also great to help pass the time. The videos are great, but the medication teaching aspect of Get Well is my favorite. As a nurse, there’s no way to know every detail of every medication. The medication data sheets are written in a way that most patients can easily read and understand them. From a regulatory view, they also have what I need; why it was prescribed and what side effects to watch for. Win, win for us all!
If my co-workers were using the same videos and data sheets, I also felt confident that we were being consistent and patients were getting accurate and standardized education from the entire team.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy supporting an organization from day one and all the steps in getting them through design, training, and go-live. Meeting with clinicians and designing Get Well for their hospital is my favorite. I love being onsite and visiting with clinicians and patients and observing them use our product.
But, what I like the BEST is that after all the meetings, design sessions, and training, Get Well makes an impact on both our care teams and the patients and families they take care of. How great is that?
What are some of the biggest challenges facing today’s clinician workforce?
Safety and moral injury. Clinicians have been affected in profound ways by the pandemic and environments where they worry about their safety. We must find ways to protect our clinicians and provide mental health and wellbeing resources. A negative mindset most likely increases errors rather than decreases them. We must take care of those who are taking care of others.
Clinicians are asked to do more and more in the same amount of time. Clinicians are burnt out and overworked. They don’t have the support they need in many ways: staff shortages, management who aren’t present, leaders who are making decisions but never ask for the clinicians opinion, there are limited supplies, and no time for personal care.
Often when we meet with the care team they are resentful and not interested in Get Well or why it was purchased for their hospital. They have a hard time grasping the value when they can’t even get a break for personal care.
What is the best way to address those challenges?
Aww, the million dollar question! Start by advocating for your clinicians and spreading awareness that incivility of any kind is not tolerated. Use Get Well technology to inform and educate patients, family members, and visitors that the hospital is a safe place. Use clear messaging that violence and disrespect in any form is not acceptable in your facility. Use Get Well tools for regulatory preparedness, post incident huddles, setting pre-admission expectations, and to provide support and self care resources for clinicians.
I think we also need to focus on recognition. Recognize the efforts of staff, ask for their opinion, include them in decision making, make them feel like they’re a part of the team.
When others are gossiping or inappropriate, do something about it right away. Don’t allow a hostile environment. Reprimand incompetency instead of allowing it. If people feel valued they will be loyal and the care they give will reflect that.