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Employee Stories

Heather’s story

May 8, 2018
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Headshot of CCA Nurse Heather

Heather K. was inspired to become a nurse by advice she received from her grandfather as a teenager. At that time, she didn’t see her career path yet but he suggested nursing, saying, “That’s what you’re meant to do.” Heather had always been strong in sciences in school so the comment sparked her curiosity. The more she thought about it, the more Heather thought, “Yes, nursing is a goal that fits me.” Right away, she imagined nursing as a way to make connections with people, and she still feels that way today.

Heather has been with CCA since 2014, the year she received her graduate degree in nursing. During her studies, she did a lot of work in a clinic setting, where nurses typically see many patients with time limits for each visit. Already, she was thinking that working in a clinic wouldn’t suit her, so she was delighted to see a CCA post looking for nurses to do home-based care, where she would have plenty of time to sit with her patients and learn about their needs. CCA hired Heather while she was still in school and she started working as a CCA mobile nurse practitioner soon after she graduated.

At CCA, Heather has learned how patient-centered care translates into providing quality care that focuses on the patient’s goals rather than dictating a traditional treatment plan. In traditional care settings, if patients don’t follow a treatment plan, they are labeled “non-compliant,” but Heather says she has removed that word from her vocabulary. She works with her patients to find out what their treatment goals are and create a care plan that works for them.

Helping a member self-manage chronic conditions

Heather is currently the care manager (“care partner”) for a CCA One Care member (called “Bob” to protect his privacy) who is diagnosed with several major illnesses, including diabetes, a heart condition, and psychological conditions. His providers prescribed a variety of medications to treat these conditions. For some time, Bob took all of his medications but he felt that they weren’t working well. On his own, Bob made the decision to stop taking them. Instead, he wanted to take control of his life and try to self-manage his conditions. Bob discussed this decision with Heather, and she describes him as “very open” about his needs and goals.

Heather talked with Bob about what he was willing and able to do to manage his conditions. Instead of labeling him as “non-compliant,” she coordinated with an interdisciplinary team from CCA to provide the type of care and services that fit his needs. She helped him create a diabetes care plan and arranged psychological counseling, as well as helped him find assistance with his housing needs. Although overall Bob is still very ill, his diabetes is under control without medication and his last hospitalization was well over a year ago. Now Heather visits Bob about every one to two weeks. Bob is happy to be in control of his health, and Heather gets fulfillment from helping him meet his goals.

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