Our success in achieving such high rates of engagement can be largely attributed to our dedicated team of Care Navigators (CNs). This team of Registered Nurses supports patients by providing consistent, ongoing follow-up and support, while communicating updates with their providers. One of these talented individuals is Destiny Godby, RN, BSN, CNN, who recently spoke with us about building rapport with the patients she serves and her techniques for maintaining engagement.
Destiny is a Registered Nurse and Certified Nephrology Nurse, and she has experience working in various aspects of dialysis care, including home dialysis nursing and hemodialysis clinic management. Destiny is a skilled patient educator and advocate, and she has taught classes to patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) to inform them about their treatment options. She is especially adept at building rapport with patients within Healthmap’s program. Destiny walked us through some successful skills and tactics to overcome hurdles with new patients, maintain engagement and treatment adherence, and build trust over time. These recommendations are a great starting point for providers looking to improve their patients’ outcomes through positive and consistent engagement.
Overcoming Hurdles with New Patients
When patients with CKD or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are first diagnosed, there can be some initial challenges for patients and providers to address. “The most common hurdle I face is that a lot of patients do not realize that they have chronic kidney disease or understand the risk factors. I overcome this through education,” said Destiny. “I coach the patient on ways they can keep their kidneys healthy and assist them in identifying comorbidities that could potentially cause a decline in their kidney health. I also coach the patients on how they can identify their current kidney health by monitoring lab values and speaking with their provider.”
In addition to providing helpful education and support, Destiny also gauges the patient’s comfort level by having a conversation before proceeding. She stated, “I want to build a real relationship with each of my patients. I want them to know that I am there for them. So, if I sense a reluctance to working with me, I look for other ways to help them. They may not be ready to speak about kidney health initially, but they are looking for help with other needs, like setting up appointments, finding transportation, paying for medications, and so on.”
During Destiny’s regularly scheduled calls with patients in Healthmap’s program, she makes sure that she addresses their top priorities or concerns, in addition to working through her own goals for their discussion. “I ask my patients to identify if they have any specific questions, concerns, or topics they want to address. I allow them to take the lead on what subjects are most important to them, which keeps them engaged with their health management,” said Destiny.
When patients are struggling to maintain treatment adherence or aren’t working toward their health goals, it’s possible that the initial goals they’ve established were too aggressive, and that the patient has become discouraged in trying to meet them. When this happens, Destiny recommends establishing shorter-term goals that are more attainable: “Setting goals with the patient that feel easier for them to achieve often assists them in getting back on track.”
Destiny has seen firsthand how patients who are engaged in their own care journey often have better outcomes. She mentioned, “I know that when the calls are patient-driven and the patient is actively thinking of strategies to meet their goals, then they are more likely to be successful.”
One skill that has made Destiny an exceptional Care Navigator is her ability to build trust and rapport with patients. She cites “active listening” as an especially important tactic. “Patients want to feel that their concerns are being heard and validated,” said Destiny. How can providers ensure that they are able to foster that sense of trust with their patients? Destiny offered the following recommendation: “Be flexible in your approach and work to meet the patient where they are.” No two patients are exactly alike, so it’s important for providers to understand each person’s unique needs, goals, and obstacles.
Helping patients work through their individual challenges and take charge of their health management journey is part of what makes Destiny’s role as a Care Navigator so fulfilling. “I enjoy getting to know the patients and their care partners, and assisting them in meeting goals to improve their health and meet their social, economic, and healthcare needs. It is very rewarding to see patients meet their goals and make progress toward improving their health and well-being.”
Our thanks to Destiny Godby for sharing her experience with us. Care Navigators like Destiny are instrumental in Healthmap’s mission to improve care for patients with CKD and ESRD, and we are thankful for their role in establishing Healthmap Solutions as the standard of excellence in kidney population health management. By overcoming hurdles, maintaining engagement, and building trust, our Care Navigators make an amazing impact on patients’ lives.
Destiny Godby, RN, BSN, CNN is a Registered Nurse and Certified Nephrology Nurse with experience working as an acute dialysis nurse, home dialysis nurse, home dialysis program manager, in-center hemodialysis nurse, and hemodialysis clinic manager. She has routinely taught classes to CKD patients about their treatment options. In her current role as a Care Navigator at Healthmap Solutions, Destiny enjoys educating patients about their kidney health and helping them achieve their health goals.