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The NSPA Blog

Interview with an advocate – Jen McAnney

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Posted on December 19th, 2018 by Teri Dreher, under Patient Advocacy, Something New

Jennifer McAnney is one of NShore’s newest advocates. For this week’s blog, I sat down with her to get her perspective on the field.

1. You’re coming to NShore after working primarily in hospital settings. What is your initial impression of patient advocacy?

A: Patient advocacy is important for almost everyone at one point or another.  We will all be at the mercy of medical staff one day and when that time comes, it can be difficult to make sense of everything alone. Medical terminology can be confusing, and practitioners do not all communicate effectively. There can be too much to coordinate.  Even to someone well versed in the field of medicine, self-advocacy can be difficult when stressors are piling up.

I see patient advocacy as becoming more important as the medical system grows in complexity.  With the increase in technology and the brevity of many patient-practitioner interactions, answers are lost and questions are left unanswered. In many cases, the right questions are not even asked.  My impression of patient advocacy is that it fills an expanding need to objectively assist those in need of making sense of the healthcare system. Unbiased knowledge will help patients make informed decisions about their health and wellness.

2. Do you see this field as serving a need that cannot be met by hospital staff and clinicians?

A: Hospital staff and clinicians can always offer advocacy for their patients. However, in this case, there can arise a conflict of interest. Unfortunately, what is often seen as best for the hospital is not best for the patient.  Even a caring hospital employed nurse, for example, who would otherwise act in a patient’s best interest, may feel pressure to conform to the wants of their employer.  For a private advocate, the potential conflict is removed and they may freely act in the patient’s best interest.

3. What are you most excited for about starting to work as a patient advocate?

A: I am looking forward to working with patients in a trusting relationship, and being able to support them completely.  I am also looking forward to continuity of care that I have not, in the past, been able to enjoy.  I’ve had many meaningful interactions with my patients in the hospital over the years, and have always wondered about them.

4. In your career as a nurse, has there been one piece of advice you’ve been given that has stuck with you?

A: A patient once told me “my father always said if you spend money on anything, it should be on a good mattress and good shoes, because if you’re not in one, you’re in the other.” On one hand, that wasn’t the best advice for me because I think it encouraged a few too many purchases. On the other hand, I started researching nursing shoes more carefully which, as it turned out, was a boon for my feet.

5. Anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?

A: I love to travel and to meet friends along the way.  Two of my closest friends were once strangers sitting next to me on long flights over the Atlantic. I love meeting all types of people, and this seems to happen most frequently while sharing different modes of transportation like the NY subway, while commiserating over long wait times for a public bus or train, or, like already mentioned, while confined in an airplane.

To read more about Jen, head over to our Meet Your Advocates page.

With over 36 years of clinical experience in Critical Care nursing, home based health care and expertise as a cardiovascular nurse clinician, Teri is well acquainted with the complexities of the modern healthcare system. She has served as a nursing leader, mentor, educator, and consistent patient advocate throughout her career in some of the best hospitals across the country. Her passion to keep the patient at the center of the model of nursing care led her to incorporate NShore Patient Advocates, LLC in 2011, serving clients throughout the northern suburbs of Chicago.

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