Breaking Down Care Gaps: An Engooden Care Navigator Story
“You feel needed; you feel valued. It's heartwarming to know that, while you often feel like a dime a dozen in a clinical setting, at Engooden, you develop a real trust and deep relationship with your patients." - Victoria, Engooden Care Navigator
Engooden employs experienced medical assistants who possess a defining trait that sets them apart: empathy. It's not hyperbole when we say that our care navigators foster genuine trust and emotional connection with patients. By coupling healthcare expertise with a desire to build deep relationships with patients, we can uncover care gaps and insights that can be life-changing.
Our care navigator Victoria has seen time and again the difference the Engooden approach makes not only for patients but their families as well. From helping patients overcome dietary obstacles to teaching them how to measure their blood sugar, life-changing interventions are all in a day's work for Victoria and our care navigators.
Perception and Patience
"Recently, I had my first call with a patient I inherited from another care navigator and could tell after speaking with her for a few minutes that something wasn't right," Victoria said. "The patient became very agitated with me for 'asking so many questions’. When I was an EMT, I experienced patients who would rush you, tackle you, and get angry when their blood sugar levels were high. Her speech was slurred, and she explained that she felt like she was moving in slow motion. I asked her to check her blood sugar while I had her on the phone, and she indicated that the reading was so high they weren't even registering.”
Victoria continued, "After calling the clinic, the nurse said that the patient needed to be seen in the ER because "HIGH" on a monitor can mean levels from 500-600. I called 911 to have them go out and check on her, and, ultimately, we found out that her medication dosage was wrong for her condition. After getting her to the hospital for help, we got her prescription adjusted.
"I've talked to her since, and her entire demeanor was different. It's a great example of a situation where it's important not to write off those symptoms of high blood sugar like agitation and yelling – it could save a life."
Delivering Peace of Mind
"As a care navigator, we're a trusted and valuable resource for our patients and their families," Victoria said. “I had one patient whose daughter called me because her father's heart rate was elevated. After reading his blood pressure, which was very high, I directed her to take him to the emergency room. Afterward, she told me that she wouldn't have known it was such a dire issue and got him the care he needed if it weren't for our conversation."
Victoria also shared a story about a call with a family member of a patient who recently underwent surgery. “Following the operation, her daughter called me to say her mother was feeling sad. When I asked if I could help set up a follow-up appointment for her mother, instead, she told me, ‘I think she just needs to hear your voice,’” demonstrating the power of meaningful connections and how these relationships can help keep patients engaged during their healthcare journey.
The Power of Self-Care
Consistency and coaching are key. Victoria uses her monthly check-ins with patients to teach them how to better care for themselves. Here's an example she provided:
"Lately, I've been asking about patients' diets, particularly related to soda. I ask them what they drink and what their meal plans are. Recently, a patient told me, 'I cannot get off sodas. I can't do it; I'm addicted to the sparkle.' I mentioned sparkling water to him, which he had never heard of before. I explained it, and he said that, although he was hesitant, he would try it out. When I called him next for our monthly check-in, he said he tried sparkling water that first day and had not drank a soda since! Now he can't get off the sparkling water."
"I also ask patients questions such as, 'do you track your blood pressure and/or blood sugar? Just the other day, I walked a patient through how to check her blood sugar over the phone. She was elderly and found the technology challenging. After nearly a half-hour on the phone, she did it herself and was so proud.”
Become a Care Navigator
Victoria worked in an array of clinical settings before arriving at Engooden. She worked as an EMT and then in several clinical settings, including family practices and dermatology. On working at Engooden, she says, "It's been the best job I've had, for sure. You feel needed; you feel valued. It's heartwarming to know that, while you often feel like a dime a dozen in a clinical setting, at Engooden, you develop a real trust and deep relationship with your patients."
If you're a medical assistant eager to impact the lives of your patients and their loved ones beyond the clinic, Engooden could be the place for you. Head over to our careers page to see if becoming a care navigator is the next step in your professional journey.