Nurses’ quick actions ease patient concerns


Routine medical care became anything but when the COVID-19 crisis caused closures and cancelations. The changes went into effect so quickly, people were left with questions and concerns.

Since then, nurses, clinicians, counselors and other health care workers have been fielding calls from patients and members. They’ve found ways to make life a little better for each person who reached out.

As the health system makes changes in relation to COVID-19 and as new patient concerns surface, nurses will play an important role in helping people navigate a dynamic health care landscape.

To honor their work and mark National Nurses Month — extended from the traditional National Nurses Week to celebrate the Year of the Nurse and Midwife — we wanted to share a few stories to recognize Optum nurses making a difference behind the scenes.

Keep reading to learn about three patients — one with a canceled PET scan, one with a prescription in need of refill and one experiencing worrisome symptoms — who all received the compassionate care and assistance they needed.

Expediting a medical procedure in the midst of COVID-19

Stephanie Black-Brugger Burte, MSN, RN
Stephanie Black-Brugger Burte, MSN, RN
Kristin* had just learned she had cervical cancer. Then COVID-19 hit and her positron emission tomography (PET) scan was canceled. Kristin reached out to Optum. Nurse Stephanie Black-Brugger Burte took her call. She helped expedite approval for a new appointment. Due to the extent of Kristin’s cancer, Stephanie was able to help her schedule a PET scan on the same day as her original appointment.

Delivering peace of mind on prescription refills

Mildred Brooks, RN, MSN, MBA, CCM
Mildred Brooks, RN, MSN, MBA, CCM
Nurse Mildred Brooks was ready to help when Ruth* called to say she was running out of her prescription medications. Ruth was concerned she might not be able to get a refill during the pandemic. Mildred called Ruth’s pharmacy on her behalf to get her prescriptions refilled. To give Ruth even more peace of mind, Mildred also called her provider to facilitate regular prescription renewals.

Calm, kind guidance provides information on safe options

Robin Harward, RN BSN, Call Center Nurse
Nurse Robin Harward picked up the phone when Amanda* called for help. Amanda was experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. She didn’t have a primary care provider (PCP) and wasn’t sure if she should get checked out. Calmly and kindly, Robin assessed Amanda’s symptoms. Then she gave her a list of network PCPs. She also told her about Virtual Visits, a benefit for which Amanda qualified. The option allows patients to connect with their providers through websites, phones or mobile apps — all of which are especially safe options during this time of separation. Amanda was grateful for Robin’s help and information.

In an earlier post, we featured the good work of Employee Assistance Program (EAP) counselor Javier Guzman. Click here to read the story of how he helped a distraught caregiver through COVID-19 challenges.

*The names of Kristin, Ruth and Amanda have been changed to protect the members’ identities.

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