Lyndsay Simpson, RN, BSN, is a cardiovascular nurse navigator for Methodist Hospitals in Merrillville, Indiana. She has served in this position since October 2016. Simpson previously served as a cardiovascular immediate care unit staff nurse for more than 10 years.
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Q: What is the most important work you do as a nurse navigator?
Lyndsay Simpson: As a nurse navigator, some of the most important work I do is to educate patients, assess their needs, and discuss their after hospital care. Education is very important to the discharge process; patients are educated based on their economic, educational, and social status. One of my main objectives is to help each obtain the goal of functioning independently at home.
Q: What do you like best about your job?
LS: I like the interaction I have with patients and family members. Most importantly, I like supporting them with the management of their heart failure and living a better quality of life independently. The best part is watching them achieve their goals and reduce their heart failure symptoms.
Q: Can you share any particular stories or experiences that demonstrate the valve of nurse navigator?
LS: I had a patient with no health insurance who was prescribed multiple new heart failure medications. After assessing the patient’s needs, I knew he was unable to afford his current medications. I consulted with case management regarding our prescription assistance program. I called multiple pharmacies to find the lowest price of the medications and consulted with the cardiologist to discuss alternate less expensive medications available.
After speaking with the patient, he agreed to the cost and to travel to the pharmacy. On initial evaluation, the medications would have cost almost $700. After the interventions were untaken, the total cost was reduced to just $66.
Q: How do your colleagues view nurse navigation and care coordination?
LS: I have a great rapport with my colleagues. We have bi-weekly interdisciplinary team meetings to discuss/address our heart failure patient’s needs. The team includes primary nursing, case management, dietary, pharmacy, cardiac rehab, and nurse navigators. All members of the team collaborate to adequately address patients’ needs and hospitalization.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you face as nurse navigator?
LS: The biggest challenge I face as a nurse navigator at a community hospital is the lack of funding available for lower income patients and patients without insurance. As previously mentioned, it is often difficult for patients to afford medications, get transportation to appointments, and obtain low-sodium dietary nutrition. Therefore, the patients are less likely to be able to manage their heart failure. This increases their likelihood of experiencing more frequent heart failure exacerbations.