Making a difference: a celebration of nurses

May 6, 2022

A nurse working with a patient.
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By Beth Burry-Jackson, SVP, managed care operations

An interview with Beth Burry, SVP, managed care operations

In celebration of May being Nurses Month, we (virtually) sat down with Beth Burry to learn more about the important roles nurses play at Sedgwick.

Tell us about your position.

As senior vice president of managed care, I oversee a team of more than 650 talented colleagues — most of whom are nurses. These skilled professionals specialize in telephonic and field case management, crisis caresurgery prehabilitation and rehabilitation, behavioral health, return-to-work management and transitional work placement. Our clinical teams provide care and support for our clients’ employees when they incur a work-related injury or illness.

The theme of Nurses Month 2022 is “nurses make a difference.” How do nurses make a difference at Sedgwick?

While our nurses may not physically deliver care in the “traditional” sense that people picture in a doctor’s office or hospital setting, they are true representatives of Sedgwick’s caring counts philosophy. Taking care of injured and ill workers is at the heart of everything they do. They tirelessly advocate for our clients’ employees, identifying supportive solutions to remove any barriers that stand between employees and their health, wellness and productivity goals. Our nurses take an individualized approach to ensure that everyone whose care is entrusted to us has what they need to pursue maximum recovery and get back to their lives — or adapt to a new and altered reality.

Sedgwick nurses engage in the claims process in ways no one else can. The important work performed by our examiners and other claims stakeholders is done at a distance — behind a computer screen or via phone/text. Our field nurses, on the other hand, are the only Sedgwick colleagues who have face-to-face interaction with injured workers, accompanying them to medical appointments or visiting their homes to demonstrate safe ways to perform activities of daily living.

We have the unique opportunity to provide supportive interventions in individuals’ lives when something unexpected and adverse happens at work. We help people navigate a complex health care system with which they may be unfamiliar. And, we stay involved as long as needed to facilitate ongoing recovery. Nurses in doctors’ offices and hospitals don’t often get to see what happens to their patients, but our nurses do. That’s how we make a meaningful difference in tens of thousands of lives each year.

Can you share some memorable cases in which Sedgwick nurses made a difference?

Here are a couple of recent ones that stand out in my mind:

  • A client employee tragically lost both his legs in a work-related accident. One of our nurses worked closely with him and his wife for months, helping them obtain custom prosthetics and a wheelchair and specialized bed for their home. She also checked in daily when issues arose with his wound care. The accident changed his life forever, but our nurse provided the critical support needed to help him resume living.
  •  A Sedgwick nurse made a check-in call to a client employee with COVID symptoms. She could tell over the phone that the employee was short of breath and struggling to communicate. When the call was disconnected and our nurse couldn’t reach the employee, she immediately called 911 and sent emergency personnel to her home. The employee was in distress; thankfully, she received the necessary treatment and had a good outcome. Our nurse’s tenacity and quick thinking saved the employee’s life!

Our nurses make a life-altering difference in the lives of our clients’ employees every day!

What health care trends are you and your team seeing in employee health and wellness?

It comes as no surprise that employers are paying more attention to mental health. They’re realizing that a healthy work environment free of undue stress contributes to overall employee satisfaction. Happy employees are not only less likely to leave; they’re also less likely to get injured, and they tend to recover faster and return to work sooner if they do suffer an on-the-job accident. The new mindset is that a happy employee is a healthier employee. Clients are increasingly taking advantage of our behavioral health specialists as part of a smooth return-to-work process.

Another noteworthy trend is adopting a holistic view of health. This is an area in which our nurses are particularly effective. For example, clients who use our surgery nurse services have a specialized nurse assigned to the case of any employee undergoing a non-emergency surgery. In one case, during the prehabilitation process, our nurse found that the employee was incredibly anxious about her upcoming knee surgery. The nurse soon learned that the employee had suffered a heart attack a few years earlier; that is certainly a comorbidity that can impact recovery! Our nurse arranged for the employee to undergo a rigorous preoperative evaluation and insisted the procedure be performed at a hospital, rather than an outpatient surgery center, to ensure preparedness for any cardiac issues. Not all knee surgeries are created equal; we need to consider each individual patient’s health holistically, so they receive the very best care for them.

What’s your best advice for healthy and productive living?

First, I would say to focus on self-care routines. By that, I don’t mean taking a bubble bath by candlelight; I mean finding things every day that take care of your body and mind. So many of us are sedentary in our jobs and have been staying home more than ever because of COVID, so we need to get moving! It’s critical to have some kind of physical movement routine, whether it’s walking, running, yoga or something else that you enjoy.

The other piece that balances that out is taking care of others. I am lucky enough to supervise a group of colleagues who got into their professions because they care about people and want to give to others. Making a difference in somebody else’s life can bring a lot of meaning to yours. That’s what our nurses do every day.

Special thanks to Sedgwick RNs Jennifer Beale, Barb Gardner, Stacy Hastings, Jill King and Judiann McCrone Romeo for their valuable contributions to this blog.

If you’re interested in career opportunities as a nurse at Sedgwick, please visit our website.

Tags: Care, caring, Caring counts, field case management, health, Health and wellness, injured worker, Injured workers, Managed care, nurse, nurse case management, nurses, Patient advocacy, patients, Productivity, View on people, Wellness