My nursing profession began in an indirect manner. One day my husband came home and asked me if I would like to go to nursing school. I had been an Art teacher in Metro Nashville so you can imagine what a different direction nursing was for me. I agreed and attended my first class not knowing if I would be accepted into the program. As my studies progressed, a new world opened up for me that incorporated scientific knowledge and compassion. Nursing was an unexpected career for me which I have now pursued for the past 36 years. The past 15 years have been here at Vanderbilt. Each new specialty that I learn gives me more insight to the plight of the sick and the resources which are generated to restore people to the best health possible.
Raising two children essentially alone presented obstacles enough for anyone. I learned resources from other nurses in the same situation and learned to vary shifts, learn new skills for needed work schedules, and as always how to juggle work and family to maintain sanity. I finally obtained my MSN at the age of 55, having waited for my children to grow up before I returned to school. This is an accomplishment that was a very important personal goal.
I am a Case Manager II with the Renal Transplant and Nephrology Service. I provide clinical input to coordinate patient care services to the next level of care. This includes (just a few examples) assisting with medications/placement to another facility after discharge from Vanderbilt/setting up Hemodialysis placement for new dialysis patients/and of course education, support, and making sure proper documentation is present within the patient’s record to support services being requested. I work with insurance companies and vendors to provide needed services.
I try to remove the fear of a new diagnosis. I work to identify problem areas that we as a collaborative team can improve to make our patient outcomes more successful. In this role, I can bring my years of experience and education together to improve the process which affects the outcome. I simplify my job description when I tell patients and families that “I grease the wheels” to make sure they have what they need on discharge. I am the “go to girl." I attempt to take the pressure off the patient and make sure everything is set up smoothly for them when they transition to home or another skilled facility.
My motivation to come to work includes a sense of curiosity that simply will not quit. I am amazed daily by the complexity of the disease processes our patient’s experience and the amount of coordination it takes to treat overlapping medical conditions. Google is my best friend. In a pinch I quickly Google medical conditions to better understand what is going on with my patients. Then it is off to the Eskind Digital Library (located on Vanderbilt's campus next to the Medical Center) to get more in-depth information. I enjoy the education I can provide for patients and the educational resources that are available to assist them. I love the research component of my job and the Grand Round presentations that provide the up to the minute cutting edge knowledge about Renal Disease.
In a different vein, I enjoy the freedom Vanderbilt provides to be the best you can through numerous educational programs, our Magnet designation and the Nursing Culture that exists. I am a very strong supporter of Shared Governance and feel it is one of the true strengths nurses have to better the work environment and patient care. Having a voice is invaluable. Through this vehicle I have participated as a Magnet Champion, Unit Board Chair, Shared Governance Task Force member, Nursing Staff Council Co Chair, Board Basics instructor, Nursing Bylaws Convention representative from Radiology and Case Management, and currently Co Chair the Case Manager Council. I see the difference Shared Governance makes every day and encourage all to be aware of the potential for process change and improvement that Shared Governance brings to our professional environment.
I was born at Vanderbilt and remember attending my father’s graduation from Vanderbilt on the lawn where we have our employee celebrations. My perception is of that area being much larger then. I have two children, the youngest who also works at Vanderbilt, and two grandsons. I still keep up with my initial interest, art… I plan on becoming the next Grandma Moses when I retire. My companion is a Lhasa Apso-Maggie, who would look very much like me if she wore glasses!
Elaine, MSN, RN,
Case Manager II,
Nephrology and Renal Transplant