NShore Patient Advocates, LLC
150 S. Wacker, Ste 2400, Chicago, IL 60606
info@northshorern.com  ·  312-788-2640

The NSPA Blog

Advocate Q&A with Susan Snyder

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Posted on June 10th, 2018 by Anna Dolezal, under Patient Advocacy, Something New

For this week’s blog, I sat down with RN advocate Susan Snyder to ask about what advocacy means to her, and how working at NShore is allowing her to put her advocacy skills to work.

Q: Welcome to NShore! As the company’s newest RN advocate, what has your experience been like so far?

A: Fantastic. I’m very pleased with everyone I’m working with. Everyone is absolutely professional, everybody has such a warm heart, a lot of compassion, and true concern about advocacy. It’s been a great experience. I’m sure that I made the right choice in coming to NShore. I’m enjoying it and learning a lot. Networking and meeting other professionals in the industry has been exciting.

Q: What does being an RN advocate mean to you, and why did you decide to make this career transition?

A: Being an RN advocate means that I’m using the skills that I feel are my strongest. Communication, compassion, empathy for people who are hurting; it’s my highest calling and it’s where I do my best work, helping people when they have medical issues of any kind and are in need in any way. I’m a very sensitive person and I’ve always had a high degree of compassion for other people. I want to help others. Just having understanding for a situation can help people cope better. Being able to hear and allowing  them to talk is what it’s all about.  I love being the emotional support system for others.  Often, information is missed in communication between medical staff and patients.  People are leaving the doctor visit without a clear understanding of what they’re supposed to do.  Frustration, anxiety and overwhelm set in, which can  lead to less engagement and lack of follow through.  A big part of what advocates at NShore do after listening to patients is to educate them on how to advocate for themselves in those settings.

Q: How important do you think that understanding and emotional support is? I feel like it gets undervalued sometimes in comparison to hands on care.

A: I think it’s tremendously important.  We live in a very fast paced world today. People have so much on their mind.  Listening and communicating directly has been impacted. Being able to sit with someone and look them in the eyes is crucial. You learn so much when you really listen.  Unintended topics come up when we take the time to listen to one another allowing us to understand the bigger picture and consider other influences impacting a situation.  The best responses I’ve had from people, in both personal and professional life, is when I’m listening intently.

Q: What type of nursing were you involved in before coming to NShore, and how do you think it prepared you for this position?

A: I had been managing primary care for the last 5 years with a large medical group. Prior to that I was a triage nurse for 10 years as a nurse in a clinic. The last few years has pulled me away from contact with patients in many ways, though, and that was a key missing piece for me. I missed that daily contact and ability to know what was going on and how I could directly help. That was the main appeal of coming to NShore Patient Advocates, knowing that I would be working directly with patients and their families and helping to solve problems. I want to be that person who listens when no one else can or will.

Q: We find that most of our nurses have been advocating for their patients long before starting an official RN advocacy position. Can you tell us about a time you advocated for a patient in the past?

A: I have many stories over the years so it’s hard to separate out specific stories.   As a manager, I was able to successfully resolve high level patient concerns by talking directly to the physician, nurse or other departmental managers.  I often had the patient thanking me for helping them solve a problem.  It is very satisfying to have a happy patient.

I’ve also strongly advocated for my own family.  My parents are in their 80’s.  There has been a specific problem with getting access to their long term care policy.  I have helped them with an appeals process which has relieved a lot of burden and anxiety for my father.  This has required calling the insurance company, attending doctor’s visits and calling to follow up with both to make sure the process has not stalled.  Being a nurse with experience has made the process simple for me where it is very cumbersome and stressful for my Dad.
Another personal story was advocating for my mother after a same day surgery procedure.  The medical team wanted to discharge her while she was still in a significant amount of pain.  I asked them when her last medication was given only to find out that she was due again for another dose.   I insisted that she would not leave with that level of pain.  They had preferred not to give the medication as it would have delayed her discharge.  My mother received the medication and was observed for another hour to assure that she was stable for discharge.  She was able to leave the hospital more comfortably and I was assured that she was stable for discharge.

Q: Outside of work, who’s your role model and why?

A: Well, it has to be my parents.  I’ve always felt that way.  They both grew up in adverse circumstances.  My mom was a country girl and my dad was a city boy.  They both had to persevere to improve their lives.  Getting to college was financially difficult for both, but they somehow found a way and met one another.  My dad completed is graduate degree and became a Ph.D organic chemist.  My mom completed her degree and was a teacher for many years.  Their priority was to make sure that all of their children had the opportunity to go to college also.  I’ve always admired that ethic.  They are wonderful people who instilled strong morals and a strong work ethic in their kids.  I love my mom and dad so much.  I think that’s where I really got the heart for helping people.

 

To learn more about Susan, visit our Meet Your Advocates page at www.northshorern.com.

For a no-cost 30 minute initial consultation, please call 847-612-6684 or click here to fill out our online callback request form.