Wesley’s New Nurse Navigator Role Helps Women Cope with Complex Issues

January 27, 2014

Wesley’s New Nurse Navigator Role Helps Women Cope with Complex Issues

WICHITA, Kan. – Any young mother can be overwhelmed with a new baby. And Ashley Rumford had just given birth to triplets.

“You could just see how tired and overwhelmed Ashley was,” said Jolinda Kelley, Wesley Medical Center’s new women’s nurse navigator. “I asked her what was wrong and how could I help. She held up a stack of paperwork and asked if I could help her make sense of it all.”

“But I saw that her husband and mother had left to get some rest, and that maybe the paperwork wasn’t what she really needed to focus on. I asked again, and she said what she really wanted was a shower. So I helped her with that first.”

Kelly’s role – a new position at Wesley and a first for Wichita – is a varied one. A registered nurse, she is able to help patients manage multiple health issues before, during and after hospitalization. She is available to help navigate patients through financial and community resources, while also serving as a liaison between the hospital and patients’ physicians. First and foremost, though, she is a trusted point of contact – a role that may have saved Rumford’s life.

A few days after she was released from the hospital, Rumford was staying with her mother at an area campground until the babies were well enough to leave the NICU and go home to Ponca City, Okla., 87 miles away. Rumford became ill, vomiting and experiencing intense pain. Far from home and without a support system, she called Kelley. After assessing the situation, Kelley helped arrange for an ambulance to reach the new mother as quickly as possible.

The vomiting had caused a tear in the C-section stitching, resulting in a herniated bowel. After emergency surgery, Rumford was admitted back to the hospital, where she was unfortunately too ill to visit the NICU and see her babies. But Kelley visited both Rumford and the babies every day, complete with new pictures of the children.

“The medical staff at Wesley was wonderful, but Jolinda was my angel,” Rumford said. “I don’t know how I would have gotten through all of this without her. She literally saved my life.”

Ashley was released the following weekend from the hospital and the triplets were sent home 8 weeks later.

“I am so thankful that Ashley and her family felt like they could call on me when they were scared and unsure of what to do,” Kelley said. “The complexity of the healthcare system can be overwhelming. That’s why I’m here.”

Kelley is uniquely qualified for this role. A graduate of Newman University, she has worked with women in Wesley’s women’s center for more than 10 years. She has also been a foster parent for more than 40 children, all of whom had special needs. As a result, she is well acquainted with the various social services available in the region. Her experience helps her understand the emotional needs of women, she said, as well as those of parents dealing with health and social issues involving their children.

As a nurse navigator, Kelley helps facilitate and coordinate all facets of health care. She provides health information and recommends screening services and connects patients with community resources such as those related to mental health, financial assistance, transportation, support groups, child care and many other needs. Kelley works with a variety of patients, including those with preterm labor, high blood pressure, postpartum depression, gynecological cancer, first pregnancy or high-risk pregnancy.

To learn more about Wesley’s women’s nurse navigation program, please visit www.wesleymc.com and click on the Women’s Navigation Services Box on the home page.

Wesley Medical Center is the region’s leading acute care hospital network providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma since 1912.  As a leader in Overall Recommended Care, Wesley treats more than 24,000 patients annually and delivers more than 6,000 babies – more than any hospital in a 13-state region.  Wesley provides the most extensive emergency network in Wichita, with the Wesley ER, Wesley West ER and Galichia ER.  Wesley owns and operates Galichia Heart Hospital, WesleyCare Clinics and the Pediatric Center of Kansas. To learn more about Wesley Medical Center, please www.wesleymc.com.