In 2000, my uncle was rushed to the hospital with a bleed in his brain. Two years later my aunt developed an acute intestinal obstruction and needed surgery. That same year my father, well into his 80s, was being evaluated for prostate cancer. Every time I checked in to make sure they were getting the medical care and services they needed, I was wondering what was happening to patients who did not have a nurse in the family?
And that, dear friends, is why Guardian Nurses Healthcare Advocates was born.
To me, being a healthcare advocate is about standing up for the patient when she is not able to do it for herself. It’s about shepherding her and her family through a difficult time. It’s about making sure the healthcare system works for them. It’s a little nursing, a little case management, a little disease management, and a lot of communication all rolled up into one.
People call me a healthcare advocacy pioneer. I say I’m just doing my job as a nurse.
Since 2003 my nurses and I have been privileged to assist thousands of patients and families navigate the healthcare system.
Nationally, our advocacy work has been featured on The Doctor Oz Show and National Public Radio’s Marketplace. The Guardian Nurses success story has been reported in the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Business Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, and the New England Healthcare Journal. In 2009, we were featured in a New York Times Business Section article entitled, “After a Diagnosis, Someone to Help Point the Way.” In 2008, I was thrilled to be honored by TAG Heuer North America and Glamour Magazine for making a difference in my community. The “What Are You Made Of” award was presented by TAG spokesperson Uma Thurman in conjunction with Glamour’s Women of the Year Gala at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
While I’m grateful for the recognition and honors I have received over the years, my most memorable Guardian Nurses’ moments are of my patients’ strength, courage and resolve during their most difficult times.