Spotlight on Nursing: Care Coordination

By: Laurie Clark

Kristin, Sally and JoeWe’re putting the spotlight on a few of our nurses in the Crouse Health Care Coordination department – there are 21 of them in total – who work daily with physicians, the healthcare team, families and insurance providers to make sure patients receive the proper care upon leaving the hospital.

“Our care coordinators work with patients and families from admission through discharge to help them plan for a safe discharge and work toward preventing readmission. They assist patients and families with understanding the many rules and regulations surrounding insurance and we are their advocate,” says Karen Dabrowski, BSN, RN, director of clinical integrations.

We are highlighting the impact these nurses have on the patient experience by speaking to three of our Care Coordinator RNs: Sally Dulcich, Joe Nicoletti and Kristin Merritt.

With years of experience as bedside RNs, each of these nurses bring varied knowledge to the team.

Joe, a former critical care nurse, compares the care coordinator role to an air-traffic controller at times.

“We deal with patients coming from surgery or another facility and we get them on the road to where they need to go; whether it’s home, an inpatient facility, at-home care,” he says.

This includes attending rounds with the entire interdisciplinary team, being in frequent communication with the patient and their family and sometimes communicating with insurance providers.

“It’s an ever-evolving job,” Sally says.

A nurse at Crouse for 34 years, Sally says she loves being a care coordinator in the Intensive Care Unit because every day is different and you’re never too old to learn something new.

“We advocate for our patients often,” she says, “so it’s important that anyone coming into this role has a voice of their own and can be assertive.”

Sally, Joe and Kristin all agree that having nursing experience is critical in their roles as care coordinators.

“You’re always in collaboration with the bedside nurses and you’re always looking ahead to what the patient might need next,” Kristin says. “It’s more than just the care of the patient, though. It’s planning, managing and educating patients and their families during their stay here through discharge.”

The Care Coordination team says it’s a fast-paced environment, where multi-tasking is a must.

“Someone interested in this role can job-shadow with a care coordinator to understand the duties of the position. The desire to use nursing knowledge and to critically think, to learn about and incorporate the insurance rules and regulations and to work with the multidisciplinary team are all part of this role. In addition, the candidate would get to work with a great group of people who are passionate about the work they do, about our patients and the culture of our organization,” says Karen.

If you’re an experienced RN with an interest in becoming a Care Coordinator, visit crouse.org/RN to view positions and speak to a recruiter.

Laurie Clark is the Communications and Digital Media Coordinator at Crouse Health.

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