instED nurse Shellie Donner has always had a passion for caregiving. As a young child, she was constantly bringing animals home to her parents. Before nursing school, Shellie worked in group homes for adults with special needs, eventually becoming a manager. The facilities housed individuals with a variety of complex physical and mental healthcare needs. After 12 years of learning everything she could in that field, Shellie felt drawn to a different path. She wanted to work more deeply to address health issues.
After earning her nursing degree, Shellie spent more than a decade as a bedside nurse. She worked with cardiology and neurology patients, helping in the emergency department, and, eventually, became a clinical supervisor. In June of 2020, she was ready for another change that would bring her out of the hospital setting.
Working for instEd, CCA’s at-home urgent care program, Shellie has learned to use her triage nursing skills in a new way. Because patients call to request an instED visit from paramedics, Shellie interacts with them only by phone. She has enjoyed the opportunity to finetune her listening skills to pick up on cues that could point to symptoms, which are often subtle.
“As a team, we want to deliver the best possible care to the patient. To do that, I had to become very skilled at triaging the person when I am not seeing the person,” she said.
Shellie was the first nurse hired by the instED program and was instrumental in developing the instED nursing model. As an early employee of a new service, Shellie’s flexibility and positive attitude have been critical to her success. The compassion, patience, and calm under pressure that she learned as a bedside nurse also serve her well on the urgent calls she gets from instED patients.
Issues commonly treated by instED paramedics include wound care, digestive issues, urinary tract infections, and more. Shellie has helped patients stay calm while awaiting instED’s help with many of these issues. She has also been in the position of calling 911 for patients who need help immediately with a life-threatening issue like a heart attack.
“There are just times we cannot prevent an emergency department visit. A heart attack or a stroke would be one of those times,” Shellie said. “But when it’s appropriate, keeping crowds away from hospitals is important, and people love that they are able to receive care at home.”
Shellie is excited to be part of a team focused on improving the patient experience while improving the efficiency of the healthcare system. She finds it gratifying to know that she is helping to keep people at home where they are most comfortable. They will not have to leave family or pets to seek medical care for issues that do not require hospital treatment.
“I really feel like I’m giving my patients a better quality of life, and that’s what a nurse is supposed to do. That’s my job and my calling,” she said.