Transitioning to the best job in the world!

Tue September 1, 2015

When Rick Becker graduated from nursing school in December of 2012, he had trouble finding a job. He was interested in a career that extended beyond the acute setting, and sought a way to become better prepared to meet community health needs. The RN Transition Program, developed by HealthImpact and hosted by nursing schools, provided the perfect opportunity. Rick participated in the ambulatory care-focused program hosted at the University of San Francisco (USF), while at the same time working on his Masters in Health Policy Nursing.

During the 10-week RN Transition Program, Rick was enrolled at USF and took classroom sessions on campus, as well as extending his learning with a preceptor in the ambulatory care setting. Following the program, Rick landed his dream job at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation as a care coordinator, working to help patients stay healthy and avoid 30-day readmissions. Rick says that without the RN Transition Program he wouldn’t have been ready to take on the challenge. “I was wired for this job,“ he says. “Without the exposure the [RN Transition Program] gave me, I would never have had the ability to practice it.”

Nursing schools have traditionally focused solely on providing care inside hospital walls, says Rick, who enjoys helping patients transition from the hospital to home.

“Before the RN Transition Program, I never received a course in coordinating care from an inpatient setting to a return to the community,” he says. “I wasn’t prepared for a ‘goals of care’ conversation with patients and their families.”

Now, Rick talks with patients about their health goals and creates a bridge from their inpatient to outpatient treatment. He does everything from coordinating transportation to helping patients consider end-of-life advanced directives. After discharge, he follows patients for 30 days, checking to make sure they are satisfied with their care. If they are readmitted, he can quickly bring providers up to speed on a patient’s progress since discharge.

Rick is grateful to be breaking new ground in his role. He believes that nurses are paving the way to community-based health management.