Each year at this time, I write what I call my year in review. This exercise allows me to see what I did over the year and how I can improve as I move into the new year. I share this information with readers and followers so you can see the Big Picture around Nurse Advocate. So here it goes…..

2019 was a year of trying new things and looking for ways to make an impact by teaching, covering events and providing information to empower people who enter the healthcare system so they can better understand their role and the importance of having a voice in their care.

Writing Nurse Advocate has allowed me to heal from a life-changing event and use my experience as a nurse leader to reach two audiences: People (patients and caregivers) and all members of the healthcare team. For people, I write to help them understand the importance of being an active participant in their care and ensuring they know they need to have a voice in their care. For the healthcare team, I provide examples of how their care can impact the people they care for; positively or negatively. I always try to provide some useful tips that both audiences can take away from the post. I look forward to your comments and how Nurse Advocate has helped you.  Please feel free to put your comments in the comment section or email me at allewellyn48@gmail.com. Let’s get started!

In 2019, I recorded my first Vlog. The title was ‘Being Your Own Best Advocate.’ It played well on my website, on social media, and was shared with many. I received comments from people in the industry I respected thanking me for my work and encouraging me to do more. Look for more Vlogging in 2020.

In 2019, I covered 16 difference conferences! My goal in choosing events was to go to conferences and events, that I was not familiar with so I could gain different perspectives on areas that impact care. At each event, I shared the information on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. People seemed to appreciate the information as the likes, shares, and comments were positive. A colleague and fellow advocate, Randi Oster, asked me in one post, ‘Anne, do you think your readers realize how fast changes in healthcare are occurring? I replied to her, no, I really don’t think the average healthcare professional realizes how fast change is happening.” That is why I write Nurse Advocate. It is critical during these disruptive times to keep up to date, use our expertise by contributing to conversations and advocate in our areas of expertise.

Through Nurse Advocate, I will continue to do my best to educate and empower people thrust into the complex healthcare system by going to conferences and meetings in 2020. To check out where I was in 2019 and where I will be going in 2020, go to the Finding Anne tab on my website. If you find yourself going to an event on the list let me know so we can connect.

2019 also brought recognition to my Blog. I received the 2019 Apex Award for Publishing Excellence. Nurse Advocate was also named among the Top 20 Nursing Blogs by promocode.com. Last I was named one of the Top Nurse Blog by NurseRecruiter.  I am honored to be listed among my nurse blogger colleagues. Many were my mentors and friends.

If you have read Nurse Advocate, you will recognize these posts as they were the most popular, according to my Goggle Analytics. If you have not read them, take the time to check them out and feel free to share with your family, friends, and colleagues.

Top Post for 2019

  1. Five Years and Counting was the number one post in 2019. I continue to use my experience as a patient to share information that will help people navigate the complex healthcare system. I am grateful that I can turn a challenging event in my life and use my experience to help others. Click here to read the post.
  2. Accountability Takes Work: Are You Up To the Challenge: This post reminded people that we are all accountable for our own health and healthcare. No one can do it for us. If we don’t follow the plan of care laid out for us by our treatment team, we put ourselves at risk. Today, hospitals and providers are being held accountable for the work they do. They will receive incentives for meeting specific metrics. If they don’t meet those metrics, they will be penalized. So if others are being held accountable for our care, it makes sense that WE, the patient, should also be responsible. This post provided some tips that people can follow to improve their health and healthcare. I will be writing more on this topic in 2020. To read the post, click here
  3. 2019 Professional Reading List: I was glad to see my 2019 Professional Reading List so high in the standings. It shows me that my colleagues are looking for information to learn and to grow professionally. To review the list and subscribe to the various publications, click here. Another top-rated list was my 2019 Summer Reading list. This year’s post was titled: What are You Reading? This is an annual post that I write on the 4th of July. The list provides books family, friends, and colleagues recommended to me for the list. Click here to access the 2019 Summer Reading List.
  4. 2019 World Symposium Wrap Up. One of the many conferences I attended in 2019 was the Commission for Case Management New World Symposium. Each year, the Commission invites case management professionals to come together to learn, network, and visit sponsors who provide services and products to meet the individual needs of their patients. This recap was a popular read to many when I posted it on social media. The 2020 Conference will take place on March 12-14th in Aurora CO. Let me know if you will be attending this year, and we can connect! To learn more about the 2020 New World Symposium, click here.
  5. Population Health Colloquium: What A Week: The review of the 2019 Population Health Colloquium was also in the top 10 for 2019. I think this post gained such a good ranking as Population Health is a topic many in healthcare can identify with. They realize that as healthcare professionals, we have a responsibility to address and improve the health of the country. Wellness, chronic conditions, mental health, patient-centered care are hot topics and were all discussed at this event. I look forward to the 2020 event as it will mark the 20th Anniversary for this conference. The dates in 2020 are March 30-April 1st. The Colloquium will be held in Philadelphia, PA. To learn more, click here. Hope to see you there!
  6. Don’t Forget the Caregiver was a top post in 2019. This was a relevant post and a topic that I will cover again in 2020. As noted in the post, Family caregivers provide over 75% of caregiving support in the United States. The estimated economic value of family caregivers’ unpaid contributions was at least $375 billion, which is how much it would cost to replace that care with paid services. As a nurse, case manager, and patient/health advocate, as well as a former patient, I know how essential caregivers are and the vital work they do. Take time to read the post and the tips provided. If you know someone who is a caregiver, visit them, listen to them and give them some support. To read the post, click here.
  7. Finding an Advocate Should Not Be Hard hit a chord with many readers as I think many realized that finding help in the broad healthcare system is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The tips I gave in the post were meant for those who hold themselves up as case/care managers or patient/health advocacy. I recommended that they look at themselves and the marketing materials they supply and ask, ‘can someone find me’? Today, people are looking for help when they enter the healthcare system. It is confusing and challenging, especially for those who are sick and weak. If your role is to help, be visible. Make sure you can be found and show what you can do to meet the needs of those in need. This post was originally posted on the Patient Advocate Certification Board website. To read the post, click here.
  8. September 11th Annual Remembrance: We Will Never Forget. Each year on September 11th, I share this article. It is a collection of stories from friends and family of where they were on September 11, 2001, when our country was attacked. The stories are moving and show that 9/11 is a day that we should never forget. To read the post, click here.
  9. Why Saying Your Sorry is the First Step in Healing. This post did well, as many people can relate to experiencing a medical error while in the healthcare system. I wrote this post to remind all patients and consumers that they should expect an apology when something happens to them in the hospital, the doctor’s office or another healthcare encounter. I hope all healthcare professionals realize that saying you are sorry is an integral part of treatment and the essential to the healing process. To read the post, click here.
  10. Care Coordination: We Can Do Better is a post written after I gave a presentation to a support group for people with amputations. Each person shared they were long-time diabetics and had lost a limb to the disease. As I drove home after the meeting, I thought about how much we know about diabetes today and wondered why so many people have major complications. As a nurse case manager and a nurse advocate, I realized that we have to do better at knowing our patients and helping them to understand their disease. Improving communication and helping patients recognize signs that can indicate problems is critical in preventing complications. One of the comments from the post struck me. The comment was from a colleague who led a group of patients with diabetes in a study who were not well controlled. Uncontrolled diabetes is a cause of amputations so finding ways to improve control is essential. She decided to have her team make a home visit and learned about how these patients lived and if their lifestyle contributed to their disease. She noted that the number one issue they found was how poor understanding of diet and substitutes, and lack of finances to pay for a better quality of food contributed to poor eating habits. Once they realized some of the causes, they put into place strategies to meet the needs of this population. After 6 months, the patients were re-evaluated. It was found that with education and continued phone contact, the patients all improved. This post showed that we, members of the healthcare team, can improve outcomes when we get to know our patients, ensure they have access to resources so they can self-manage their conditions. To read the post, click here.

Thank you all for reading Nurse Advocate in 2019. I will be back on December 30th with a new post to kick off 2020! I am looking forward to 2020 to continue to try new ways to communicate, educate, and share resources!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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