Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving, Kate Penny and the Medical Advisory Board

In my last blog post, I spoke about Accolade’s new Medical Advisory Board and the caring smart people who serve on that Board.  I also described two cases, including one of helping a patient who had end stage cancer, that Accolade nurses presented for discussion at the meeting.  Kate Penny is one of the talented nurse who presented and this is her reflection on that meeting:

"I wanted to thank you all for the privilege of presenting at our very first Medical Advisory Board. It was both a great learning opportunity and a tremendous experience.  I found the Advisory Board to be both kind, and thoughtful with their questions. 

In retrospect, I believe I did a less than a stellar job in representing M_____ and differentiating Accolade’s mission and values (Alan editorial comment – a stellar job was done).  Working with M_____, we added value. We dealt with claims, appeals, pain control, prevented unnecessary procedures and educated and supported the family. M______ gave me much more than I gave her. She let me share in her grief so that I was able to share in her love. We were together in wondrous times and witnessed the miracle of life and death together. We shared joy, sorrow, courage and tenderness. It was real. Kindness, tears and laughter are the currency of the heart, and meant to be exchanged.

M______ lived in constant terror of dying. She viewed her life as if it were a past event, and for many months defined herself solely by her terminal disease. M_____ had forgotten that she was a soul with a body, not a body with a soul. “Operation Love” helped her remember that for a short time. M_____ died peacefully and with grace. How do you communicate this in terms of metrics and statically project these measurements? Active love and listening goes beyond engagement and feelings of connected moments. It is looking for what is needed and providing it. It’s realizing that what needs to be done, is for you to do.

I have the privilege to witness this daily in the Health Assistance Center on so many levels with my co-workers, often unrecognized by others. It humbles me. My team mates and leadership are acutely aware of my strengths and weaknesses and they continue to educate, support and encourage with love. There are days when you feel like there is not one microgram left to give. I look around me and hear the passion to serve or just get it right and am inspired by my colleague’s devotion.

One of the Medical Advisory Board participants asked the “what’s the secret sauce?” question. People, stop over thinking it…it’s the people! We’ve learned and employed our beautiful model. We work hard to engage and build relationships. Once that has been achieved, the real work begins. We take the journey with the client and often share some of the most intimate moments of their lives. Health Assistants and Clinical Health Assistants have been empowered to do this and share the dream. The dream to change health care in the most unique way I have ever witnessed in a corporate setting. Just do the right thing!

In past years my family had a tradition at Thanksgiving of writing short letters of gratitude. I would like to continue that tradition with my Accolade family. I am most blessed because of each of you.
I am grateful for the sense of community I experience daily.
I am grateful to simply be accepted here as me. You have allowed me to combine both the art and science of nursing, a dream come true.
In short, each one of you at Accolade has given me purpose and enriched my life. For that, I will always be grateful."