In 2016, after over a decade of doing home health care as a behavioral health nurse, Christina wanted to do something different. She was working as a registered nurse, maintaining psychiatric patients in their homes and helping them to adapt after being transitioned out of state hospitals into the community. Though it was rewarding work, she felt she could do more.
When a recruiter from CCA reached out to her, Christina leapt at the chance to send over her résumé. “Since I had been in the community for 13 years, my name coming up here and there for CCA, because there weren’t a lot of behavioral health homecare nurses,” Christina says. She went in for an interview and was hired on the spot to serve as one of four nurses in the newly created Clinical Response Unit (CRU). The CRU was designed to triage members and free up care partners from phone calls. It also acts as an interim care partner for members who haven’t been assigned one yet.
Christina felt right at home in the CRU, leaning on her years in behavioral health to both reassure and educate members. She focuses on helping them to feel safer during times of transition or high anxiety.
“Christina creates a positive rapport when engaging with members, and she is able to reassure each member and handle a crisis,” says Tara Stoddard, a clinical onboarding specialist at CCA. “The members benefit from her kindness and professionalism.”
With the current coronavirus outbreak, the CRU has found itself engulfed in a larger, worldwide crisis. The CRU is experiencing a higher volume of calls than in the past as members deal with the pandemic’s effect on their own lives. Christina provides critical education to members to help them combat misinformation from other sources.
It is particularly important to make sure CCA members have the right information, Christina says. “Our population is so compromised already. And they hear these things, and they’re overwhelmed. They have anxiety and don’t know what to do because they’re getting all this different information. They’re feeling really stuck.”
She told one member to stay hydrated, and they worried the water would expose them to the coronavirus. “It’s not true,” Christina says. “You don’t want to be drinking cold water because it constricts. But that doesn’t have anything to do with COVID. It has to do with just breathing difficulties in general.”
Christina says that there also needs to be more education about proper hygiene to help reduce exposure to the coronavirus and viruses in general. “If enough people had already been taught that, we would be in a much different situation right now,” she reflects.
With so much general uncertainty, Christina places emphasis on staying both centered and hopeful—which provides the resilience to show kindness to her members and to herself. “I feel like getting fresh air and changing your scenery is really important,” she says. “And my relationship with God, spending time in prayer and meditation, keep me focused on the good things.”