Laura Espinosa always knew she wanted to go into healthcare. She worked as a nursing assistant at a local hospital when she was 16, and in college, she majored in biology. After graduating, she worked at a lab with a lot of nurse practitioners (NPs)—which helped her realize her heart was set on nursing. “I like working with people, so if I didn’t become a nurse, I would have found another way to serve the population I work with,” she says.
Laura joined CCA as a primary care nurse practitioner (PCNP) in 2019 and works with patients who have complex medical and behavioral health needs. When she first started working as a CCA nurse, she realized quickly that she could lean on her coworkers and supervisors for help. “The team at CCA helped me learn the best way to communicate with my patients,” Laura says.
“My experience at CCA has taught me that each patient’s care must be structured specifically for his or her needs. What works for one person may not work for another. I learned that patients have medical needs, but they also have behavioral, social, and communication needs.”
One of the most rewarding parts of the job for Laura is building a trusting relationship with her patients. She loves seeing them get healthier and learn how to independently manage their conditions.
Laura recently worked with a new patient who had been discharged from a skilled nursing facility. He had significant food insecurity and was discharged with a plan that included home-delivered meals. However, he didn’t have a way to store or heat his meals. He also didn’t have any friends or family members who could help him get food.
Rather than letting the member go hungry or sending him back to the hospital, Laura picked up shelf-stable food from a local food bank and personally delivered it to him to keep him fed until a new plan could be put in place. “Her generosity and ingenuity make her a true ally and partner to the people we serve,” says Kate Felicio, a PCNP manager at CCA.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, CCA primary care providers were seeing patients in the office and at a home. But with the pandemic, they shifted care to using telehealth, in-home urgent care services, and the COVID-19 Field Response team. Throughout the pandemic, Laura has, once again, relied on her colleagues when things get tough. She keeps in touch with her team via group text, and they find ways to cheer each other up.
“The personal relationship that you build with your team helps because you know you’re not alone,” she says. “There’s always someone there who is going through the same thing or has gone through the same thing. You know you can rely on them and there’s a lot of joy that comes from that.”