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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

2015: It's a Wrap, My Year in Review




What a difference a year makes! It is hard to believe that last year at this time I was fighting for my life after being diagnosed with a Central Nervous System Lymphoma. Today I am tumor free, and slowly recuperating from complications related to the chemotherapy.

My experience has taught me a great deal, but most of all it has shown me how hard it is to be a patient in the most sophisticated yet complex and fragmented healthcare system in the world. I found that sharing my experiences through writing has helped me to come to terms with my journey and to heal.  As a result, Nurse Advocate was born.

As a clinical nurse, case manager, patient advocate, and cancer patient, I wanted to share my experiences with patients, caregivers, and  all members of the healthcare team. I felt that by providing this information, readers could understand the challenges they face when thrust into the healthcare system and be empowered and educated by tips I feel I can provide.

As I re-read my posts from 2015, I am proud of the work I produced as it is making a difference in the lives of others. How do I know this? I know this by the comments I get from readers, some who I know and many who I have never met. I love when someone tells me they are sharing a post with a friend, or with their staff as the message presented will help improve the delivery of care.

This year has been filled with uncertainty, struggles, fear, and hope. I am grateful that I am here to share my story. As I close out the year, I would like to highlight the top 10 posts from Nurse Advocate. If you have not read them, take a minute to review them and share with all who would benefit!

Top 10 Posts from 2015

1.      What to do While Waiting.  This was the most popular post for 2015. I think this was because waiting is something we all can relate to. The post shared some of the things I did as a patient to pass the time. In addition, the post gave some important tips to healthcare professionals to help patients when they have to wait. This comment from a reader let me know that I hit the mark. Great perspective. I will never look at waiting the same and plan to spread this post and the great concepts to my coworkers and patients in the hospital. Change the world a little at a time. Thank you.

2.      When Life Changes on a Dime. As a critical care nurse I have witnessed and cared for many patients who had their lives change in an instant, but I never thought it would happen to me. This comment from a reader helped me put into perspective my own life changing event. “Illness, that threatens our life, can actually save our life if we look within to become our own healer.”

3.      The Healthcare Revolution – All Hands on Deck. This post provided insight into opportunities that technology is bringing to the healthcare industry. The research showed me that we are at the tip of the iceberg with many more exciting advances to come. To remain competent, it is critical that each healthcare professional stay up to date, be engaged, and be a part of the revolution. This comment validated the points I tried to make; This post is extremely powerful. As Healthcare Professionals it critical that we empower patients to "Own their Health”.  Advocating for our patients through education and empowerment is vital. It is true that we will definitely win the revolution and this will benefit all of us.

4.      The Patient as Center of the Healthcare Team. This post brought to light the practical ways various members of the healthcare team are working to empower their patients to be active members of the healthcare team. This comment summed up the intent perfectly: Thanks so much, Anne, for genuinely promoting patient-centered care. Most patients are unprepared to effectively promote their own best interests in the face of our intimidating, bafflingly complex, and sometimes dangerous health care system. I'm so happy to see you illustrate this complexity, and offer practical assistance.

5.      You Gotta Have Goals. Achieving goals is a lifelong challenge for most of us, but for a patient, having specific goals is one way they have to regain control over their lives. The post provided some practical tips that all can use.  I loved this comment as it reminded me that I had achieved one of my goals.  Congratulations on achieving your Blog Goal! It is packed with great advice and important reminders. This specific goal of yours blessed many. Thank you.

6.      Feeling Grateful. To mark the one year anniversary of ‘becoming a patient’, I wrote this post on feeling grateful and was humbled by comments from readers. Here is a sample. It is unbelievable that one of the country's most famous nurse case managers -- one who has written more passionately about patient care for more years than anyone I've ever known -- became so profoundly a patient. And yet, you are able to share your experiences so that we all can continue to learn from you. Well done, Anne, and God bless you, Corky, and your support team.

7.      Taking Care of You! The Importance of Self-Care. I wrote this post to remind caregivers and healthcare professionals that we have to take care of ourselves if we want to help others. I knew the message rang true from this comment:  I really enjoyed your post. If we are going to give our patients the care they deserve then we must make sure to take care of ourselves. Thanks for posting!

8.      The Patient Experience: This was the last post for 2015. Improving the patient experience is a goal that all leaders in healthcare are struggling to achieve. The post gave simple tips that if implemented can make a big difference. Because of its importance, I will continue this topic into 2016. This comment showed me I was on track. Wow. What an eye-opening experience. To view this type of content via the patient's eyes and ears. I think that is a thing that all healthcare providers could benefit from trying from time-to-time. I love your blog and will continue to share your message with my following. Keep up the great work!
  
9.      Tackling Medical Bills.  Paying healthcare bills is unlike any bill paying experience. In this post, I shared some of the tips my husband and I used to keep on top of my healthcare bills. I felt proud as I knew the post accomplished its goal when I read this comment. This is great information!! I did not know about billing advocates.  I remember when I began my cancer treatments 12 years ago I bought a binder with the intentions of be so very organized from the beginning and even with my planning it became overwhelming way too quick. I tried to be my own advocate and demand answers when things seemed unclear, or incorrect. Thanks for creating this to help others along the way!

10.   We will Never Forget. To mark the anniversary of 9/11, I departed from my traditional content to share insights from colleagues about where they were and what they were doing on September 11, 2001. The comments I received shows just how fresh these memories of that day are in everyone’s lives. I know my followers agreed from this post. So interesting reading everyone’s unique perspective on that day. The events of the day will be forever etched in our memories –I was actually watching the Today Show and saw the second plane hit the tower live, it was total shock, the air was silent, it was heartbreaking – I went from thinking; oh my goodness what a horrible accident to oh my goodness we are under attack. I remember heading out the next day to find an American flag to hang and of course they were ALL sold out. So I headed to the craft store and made my own. I still cherish this flag. It is not perfect, but I felt like I was doing something of remembrance from my home. Thanks for sharing

Wow…what a year! As I plan for 2016, I am setting new goals for myself and hope to continue providing information that follows the mission I set for Nurse Advocate. I hope you will continue to follow me, share your thoughts and provide suggestions so that I can make Nurse Advocate relevant to consumers, caregivers, and all members of the healthcare team.

If you want to comment on any post in Nurse Advocate, you will have to create an account. If is a simple process and only takes a minute. Thanks in advance. You can also leave me a message via email at allewellyn5@bellsouth.net or via google+.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours! Happy New Years and a Healthy 2016!



This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog CarnivalMore posts on this topic can be found at http://nursecode.comIf you are interested in participating find out more details and sign up.