Karen McPhail, RN, MSN
Why I Became a Care Manager
May is National Aging Life Care Month, so I wanted to share my story as a part of the blog!
I am a registered nurse, have a Bachelors of Science in Nursing, a Masters of Science in Nursing Administration, have completed studies as a Family Nurse Practitioner and I am presently completing my Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate. I have completed multiple certifications including as a certified Dementia Practitioner, a certified Case Manager, and as a certified Clinical Transplant Coordinator. I have over 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry with a clinical background in acute care, pediatrics, mental health, long term care, and geriatrics. My practice specializes in complex care management for all ages with a primary focus on advocacy, dementia, and older adult care. Being a strong clinician who is always expanding my knowledge base and experience is important to me and why most individuals are drawn to or use our services.
I started out years ago as an ICU nurse working in area of organ transplant with Dr. Thomas Starzl at University for Pittsburgh. At that time I was truly working in an area of innovation and helping to set the groundwork for many of the procedures and medication regimes that we now have in place in the field of transplantation. I loved my work and I was proud to be selected as apart of their critical care team. I was also proud of the impact I was making in the field, but was still left unsettled at times. As once the patient situation was stabilized and they transition out of the ICU I always felt a sense of frustration wondering what would happen next with my patient? I realized at that time that my position allowed me to have a very limited ability to affect ongoing health and wellness as so much stopped when my patient left the unit.
This left me feeling uneasy and at that time I began setting distinct professional goals to expand my knowledge, skills and abilities in a manner that would allow me to effectively transition my role over time to better support individuals across the continuum of care, and truly be able to influence their comprehensive health.
So after having my first daughter who is now almost 21 years old, I decided this was the time. I was working as a hospital administrator for transplant and ancillary services at Georgetown University Medical Center and realized that this would be tough if not impossible to continue with a newborn. But beyond this I also realized that I finally had the knowledge and abilities to now move forward in impacting others in a meaningful way through care management. So I began my company at that time and over the years we have continued to grow into what is now Eldementals, LLC.
Care management is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults, those with chronic conditions, or others facing health challenges. Care managers are professional health and human services specialists who have extensive knowledge, skills, and abilities to guide, advocate, and be a primary resource for families caring for older adults or individuals with a chronic health challenges. I love being able to provide individuals with peace of mind and clarity during times of uncertainty and crisis. My guidance often leads families to make better and informed choices that positively impact quality of life. Care Management provides individuals and families with peace of mind, thus reducing stress, anxiety, worry, and fostering moments of joy, certainty, and happiness.