As a health care company, it’s vital we have health care expertise. That’s why BlueCross employs more than 900 registered nurses in roles across the company. And while the individual roles and responsibilities vary, one thing remains the same – they’re all working to help improve the health and well-being of our more than 3.3 million members.
For National Nurses Week, we’re highlighting five nurses who serve BlueCross members and exemplify our company’s commitment to helping others.
Ann Brown, quality research analyst
“As far back as I can remember, nursing was a call to duty,” Ann says. It’s a call she’s answered for more than 50 years.
From critical care, home care, long-term care and even time as a National Guard flight nurse, she brings that same commitment to her role at BlueCross.
Ann reviews care coordination records for BlueCare Tennessee — a BlueCross subsidiary serving TennCare members, the state’s Medicaid population — to help ensure Tennessee’s most vulnerable residents get the services and care they need. In this role, she’s able to share her findings and process improvement ideas to enhance the experience for those working directly with our members.
Michelle Helle, clinical review manager
Michelle works on our Medicare Advantage post-acute care team, reviewing patient care records for members who’ve been hospitalized for conditions like strokes or injuries from a fall. These reviews include weekly meetings with medical directors, social workers and mental health experts to make sure the member has a safe plan after being discharged.Michelle finds great satisfaction in making a difference in what can be members’ most vulnerable times.
“I love how unique nursing is,” she says. “I can really pour my heart and soul into it.”
Shirley Stokes, case manager
After more than 40 years in nursing, Shirley doesn’t view nursing as a career, but an extension of who she is.
An advocate, educator, listener and encourager, she works with members who have conditions like diabetes and heart disease. She knows that sometimes members may not have family to support them. She thrives on the moments when they take ownership of their own journey after she’s provided support.
“I get overjoyed when I see the proverbial light bulb go off and I know they ‘got it’ or when they tell me they were glad they talked to me,” Shirley says.
Michael Kingsley, case manager
Michael serves some of our most vulnerable members — infants in neonatal intensive care. He educates parents about their baby’s needs, acts as a liaison with hospital staff and provides referrals and resources ranging from financial to basic infant-home requirements.
These families often say how valuable it is to have someone from their health plan they can quickly turn to for guidance. And for those families, Michael knows that often a small gesture can bring immense comfort.
The reward of his all-in style of nursing is the sense of relief a family feels when a concern is addressed and resolved.
“Sometimes just a listening ear pays huge mental dividends for patients and families in crisis,” Michael says.
Kelli Farris, transition of care nurse
Preparing a member to return home after a major illness, trauma or planned surgery starts well before the discharge date for nurses like Kelli.
She knows that an extensive recovery affects many parts of life, so she takes a holistic approach when educating members about care and benefits, considering all their physical, cultural, spiritual and mental needs.
Kelli relishes the opportunity to have direct contact with members in her role.
“I enjoy meeting people where they are with respect for where they’ve been and where they wish to go in their health care journey,” she says.