Nursing Beyond the Bedside

Pictured: Kelly Stawicki, RN, AAS, at the DAISY award ceremony.

As a case management nurse, I work behind the scenes. Most of my days are spent on the phone coordinating patient care.

I am a voice for patients who are burdened by hospital bills, underinsured or struggling with complex medical decisions. I act as an advocate to help them get the medication, treatment and coverage they need. I fight through insurance and legislative red tape to break down financial barriers. I spend days, months and sometimes years working with a patient until all of their medical needs are met.

Because of this, I build very strong bonds with the patients and families I work with. One woman in particular left a lasting impression. Several years after her lymphoma treatment, she developed a devastating secondary disease. The cost of her medication was $90,000 a month – an unrealistic option for most people. It took over six months of daily phone calls with her insurance company to get a fair and cost-effective option. Although she went months without her medication, she was finally able to start treatment and get the care she needed. She was so grateful for my help that she nominated me for the DAISY Award.

This recognition meant so much to me because I’ve been on both sides of the hospital bed. My daughter is a CNS Histiocytosis survivor and a long-term Roswell Park patient. I understand how scary and devastating a cancer diagnosis is for the entire family. So it’s extremely rewarding to know that I can help make the process a littler easier.

This acknowledgment is a nod to all of my fellow case management nurses. We wear a variety of hats in an inpatient and outpatient setting, but we share one common goal – to provide the best possible care. I’m truly honored to receive this DAISY Award.