At 15 minutes past the end of a work day, Cathy Le, RN, was concerned about the high blood sugar of the patient seated in front of her.
She could have sent the patient to the ER, but instead Cathy developed a care plan with the patient, including recommendations for lifestyle changes and referrals to the multidisciplinary team of the Mosaic Primary Care Network in Calgary.
Two months later, the same patient had normal sugar levels and was appreciative of Cathy’s care approach, one that not only saved her a trip to the hospital but also the first to have worked for her in 15 years of struggling to manage diabetes.
Cathy, a nurse clinician and case manager at the time, recently discovered her passion for facilitating positive health changes and patient self-care.
“When I graduated from nursing, I worked in a hospital setting where my role was more defined and the scope of my practice was clearer. Moving to primary care was a struggle as a relatively new nursing graduate,” says Cathy.
Empowering patients — and herself — with knowledge is a big driver for Cathy. When she first joined Mosaic, she soaked up everything she could about chronic disease management, including pain management, rheumatology, health promotion and disease prevention. She seeks learning opportunities, such as online courses on tobacco cessation and diabetes management. She also obtained her Certified Diabetes Educator designation this year. Cathy is keen to share her discoveries with colleagues and recommends relevant evidence-based literature for her team to review.
Known for having a kind, sensitive and respectful demeanour, Cathy uses motivational interviewing to engage patients in a culturally safe, accountable and transparent way. And she’s perfected her technique with constant skill development, including practising motivational interviewing on her family.
“It’s not about health-care providers telling patients what they need to do or why,” she explains. “It’s inspiring them to consider personal and meaningful reasons for making positive health changes.”
Cathy recently started a new role as a primary care navigation nurse, in collaboration with Alberta Health Services at the Peter Lougheed Centre, where she will capitalize on her passion and strengths.
“The position is still under development but my work will entail supporting hospital discharge and bridging the gap between acute and primary care services, where we hope to ultimately enhance continuity of care and patient outcomes,” says Cathy.
“I’m curious and I truly enjoy learning. In primary care, the learning opportunities are endless. But it’s the patients who have really inspired me. I want to be able to provide as much support as I can to help them achieve their goals,” says Cathy.
Cathy graduated in 2015 and was nominated in 2017 for a CARNA Rising Star Award of Nursing Excellence.