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Nurse Practitioners Celebrate Ten Years with Matrix Medical Network

Nurse Practitioners Celebrate Ten Years with Matrix Medical Network

Thank you for your contributions and dedication to Matrix and the members we serve!

During National Nurse Practitioner Week 2019, Matrix is proud to share stories from some of our nurse practitioners that celebrate their tenth anniversary with Matrix this year! Read a snapshot on why they enjoy their roles and some advice for newly graduated nurse practitioners.

The Learning Never Ends

Deb D.

“The largest part of my job is focused on being a clinical resource and providing education about the electronic portal for our providers, staff and clients. I am always looking for ways to enhance the tools for data collected during the assessment. 

I was once told by a wife of a member that I saw that I saved their marriage. Her husband would not take his medication or follow his diet.  His wife was frustrated that he would not listen to advice given about his diabetes. I educated him about how diabetes affects all the different body systems and why the treatment was necessary. He stated that everyone told him what to do, but never why. His wife called me a month later and told me that he was doing everything he was supposed to and that she was saying with him.

For new NPs, the advice I would give is don’t be afraid to ask questions— no one expects you to know everything. The learning never ends!”

An Amazing Impact

“I believe that most of the members I have seen really appreciate the hour we give them to discuss their health status and feel important when they get the opportunity to ask questions and get a better understanding of their well-being.

The most significant impact on my members was when I was a PA Travel NP for five years. I worked in over 40 counties in PA. I worked in the mountains, the farm lands of Lancaster, Centre County of Happy Valley and coal fracking towns of Schuylkill county and many more! The rural members were even more appreciative when I did their home visits and educated them about health issues, medication treatment and how to improve or maintain a healthy status. The country members were very respectful and appreciated the NP Visit. The impact I personally felt was amazing.”

Teresa D.

Getting Care Back into the Home

Suzanne S.

“I remember the Matrix interview and starting the job so well! I love the freedom and the wonderful members I talked to over the years. I always enjoy meeting members and the facility staff members who I came to know as I visited the skilled and long-term care facilities. Many members were from my hometown and were seen over the years repeatedly. It has been an honor to represent our company as we grew and developed over time. I feel that I took a chance on a new way of doing health care which in reality was getting the care back into the homes as it was done years before us. I had faith that we would grow and I am proud that I was some small part of our success. I am sure that I will never experience something like this again.”

Confidence in Yourself & Your Skills

“I can’t believe it’s been that long! Back at the start we did all the assessments on paper and sent them via FedEx, and the assessments were about 30 pages long. Now we are one of the largest employers of NPs in the country!

As a Matrix NP I am able to connect the member to their health plan and their PCP all in one visit. Sometimes members do not have access to the services they need and we are able to connect those services to them. I have organized member’s medications into pill boxes for the month, connected the member with their doctors and spoken to family members when I am concerned for their loved one’s well-being.

One piece of advice I would pass on to the next generation of NPs is to have confidence in yourself and your skills. You know more than you think you do!”

Lauren N.

A Leap of Faith

Kathleen M.

“My journey started with a ‘ leap of faith’ in Matrix when they just started doing home health assessments in Pittsburgh. In the ‘old days’ we called our members the night before, assessments were done on paper and sent via FedEx. Fast forward ten years and we have come a long way! Ten years…that’s a lot of miles and many members seen— and I still love doing it!  

To me, each visit is like opening up a new novel…we walk into a home and the story begins. We have a unique opportunity to make a differ-ence in a member’s life every time we walk through a new door— to me that’s what it is all about!”

Quality Time with Members

“I feel that my work as a Matrix NP has placed me in a unique position in today’s health care environment by allowing me to spend quality time with members. By taking the time to listen to each member’s story I’m able to meet the member where they are in their journey to a healthy lifestyle. I hope that my day to day interactions with the members leave them feeling listened to and cared for.

As much as I feel like I’m there to educate our members about their health-they have taught me so much in return. There’s a unique perspective on life that you obtain from listening to our member population, and I’ll take all the advice I can get.

For newly graduated NPs, I would say being able to really listen is an important skill to develop. Sometimes taking a step back can really put everything into focus. And to have fun with the members— they really are a treat.”

Katie W.

Making a Real Connection

Becky B.

“In the ten years here, I have seen the company evolve from my very first team meeting where there were only 12 NPs in the Western Pennsylvania area. Matrix has undergone a complete transformation since when I first started.

I approach each visit with the goal of finding a way in which the member will both remember my visit as well as find value in it. Sometimes the difference is made clinically, but other times it is by just spending a little extra time with a member and taking a genuine interest in the member’s life or passions and making a real connection with them. I have met so many interesting people through the years and remember them fondly when I drive past their home, sometimes years later.

One of my favorite stories was of a member that I saw more than once. During his first visit, there were significant issues, which I addressed. A few weeks later, I ran into him in my community and he stopped me and thanked me profusely, stating that I probably saved his life. It was about two years later that I was scheduled to see him again for his annual assessment. When he opened the door, I didn’t even recognize him. He had lost a significant amount of weight and had a huge smile on his face. As we went through the assessment he talked about the first visit with Matrix and how it had changed his life. These are the types of differences all of us make working here at Matrix.

To the new grads, my advice would be to have confidence in yourself and the education you received. One of my favorite quotes is from Henry Ford who said, “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t— you’re right.”

No Act of Kindness is too Small

“I would have to say that the vast majority of visits I have completed for Matrix have been fulfilling on one level or another. I am always happy when I can take the burden off the facility nurses. Or brighten a members’ day by taking the time to listen to them or make them smile.  The small things sometimes make all the difference to both the members and facility staff.

I also enjoy the family interaction when I have the time to explain how a discharge to home will happen or to head them in the right direction to get their questions answered. When I first began my nursing career, I wanted to be the person who saved lives during a hectic crisis. After 30 years I realize that a kind word or a touch can be just as life saving for someone who is ill.

My advice to new nurse practitioners is to enjoy the small things and remember that no act of kindness is too small to make a difference.”

Tara B.

Also Celebrating Ten Years with Matrix!

Karlie B.


Colorectal Cancer Ribbon Matrix Medical Network

Effective Screening for Colorectal Cancer Saves Lives

Effective Screening for Colorectal Cancer Saves Lives

By Daniel Castillo, MD, MBA

 

Jen, a Matrix Nurse Practitioner, recently shared the following story with me:

John (name changed for privacy), a member who had received a Matrix in-home assessment the previous year, hugged me. I was a bit surprised but before I could say “Hi”, he told me the story of what led to that hug. The previous year, as part of his health assessment, I had discussed the importance of colon cancer screening and left a fecal occult stool test kit with him.  After his screening test had come back positive, his primary care doctor gave him a referral for a follow up colonoscopy, which revealed a precancerous lesion that was successfully removed.  He was told by his doctor that the early screening test that led to the colonoscopy likely saved his life. His hug was his way of saying “thank you”. 

I wanted to share John’s story today since March is designated as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. The focus on awareness points to the importance of appropriate education to help individuals overcome barriers on getting screened for colorectal cancer (CRC). There are various risk factors that contribute to the incidence of developing CRC like being age 50 and older, having a first degree relative that’s had colorectal cancer and smoking (for a full list of risk factors, please visit the American Cancer Society website). Screening, which has been shown to have decreased the incidence of colorectal cancer over the last few years is critically important since the disease still affects approximately 1 in 22 men and 1 in 24 women, meaning that most people’s lives will at some point be touched by this disease.1

As with John’s story above, the goal of screening is for the early detection and effective treatment of CRC before it is too late.

Despite the improvements, screening rates still can increase, with only 50 percent of eligible populations currently participating. Colonoscopy has long been the standard methodology for CRC screening, but the required test preparation, test anxiety and costs for the test itself have been barriers for some populations.2

Several other effective screening methods are now available that require no test preparation or dietary restrictions. These tests include stool-based blood detection and DNA tests which can be done by the individual in their home. If abnormal results are detected during the stool based screenings, a follow-up colonoscopy will be performed. Strong evidence indicates that less-invasive screening options have been effective in boosting screening rates.

Matrix Medical Network (Matrix) offers stool-based blood detection as part of our comprehensive health assessment. Matrix receives data files from health plans that identifies members that might not have the recommended CRC screening. Our nurse practitioners educate the members on the importance of the tests and will deliver the results directly to the member’s primary care provider.

Screening for CRC may uncover a life threatening disease when it can still be effectively treated. Matrix works together with health plans, providers and most importantly members to drive an increase in appropriate CRC screening, which can save lives. Just ask John.

Contact us today to learn more about how Matrix CRC screening can help improve members health and wellness.

Dr. Castillo is the Chief Medical Officer for Matrix Medical Network. He is board certified in emergency medicine and provides clinical leadership for Matrix’s growing suite of in-home and mobile based clinical solutions. Dr. Castillo is driven to improve the value of health care access and member care delivery.

 

 

References:

1 American Cancer Society. Key Statistics for Colorectal Cancer. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2019.

2 The Importance of Colorectal Cancer Screening. Retrieved March 9, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4365838/