Position Spotlight: Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner

Wednesday has been a palliative care nurse practitioner (NP) with Contessa since December 2021. She earned her BSN from NYU and her MSN from Hunter Bellevue Graduate School of Nursing. She was a registered nurse for 15 years before becoming a nurse practitioner. She worked as an inpatient nurse at NYU Langone for two years and at VNSNY Home Care Infusion/CHHA for 8 years; she also held a position as a Field Nurse Supervisor, and most recently worked in palliative nursing and research before transitioning to an NP role. 

What does a palliative care nurse practitioner do at Contessa?  A palliative care NP manages symptoms of a serious illness at home to provide patients and their caregivers with a better quality of life. I assess patients by taking their medical history, reviewing and prescribing medications, performing physical examinations, ordering and reviewing labs, making necessary referrals, and creating palliative treatment plans. I educate patients on their disease process, explore patients’ goals of care, discuss advance care directives, educate patients on the importance of appointing a health care proxy, and determine which medical interventions patients prefer.   

Why did you choose a career as a nurse practitioner? Specifically, this career?  While working as an RN in home care, often many of my patients had difficulty getting out to see their primary care physician. Many times, my patients didn’t see their doctors for quite some time, which meant patients often wouldn’t have their medications refilled or get the care they desperately needed, causing a delay in timely care. I would often think to myself… “If I were an NP, I could manage my patients’ care at home, write the prescriptions, and make the necessary referrals myself to prevent delays in care.”  

How does the work you do at Contessa differ from other jobs?  Contessa has community health workers to monitor patients’ symptoms. They help me and other providers stay on top of symptom management. Moreover, we have the support of the Virtual Care Unit to help with assessment and management of symptoms as well.   

What is the best part of your job?  Meeting new people and helping them feel better by easing the burden of a serious illness by relieving pain, managing symptoms, and providing psychosocial support.   

What’s the most challenging part of your job?  Getting everything done in one day and spending more quality time with patients and families when there is so much to do.   

What inspires you to come to work every day?  Solving the daily challenges and working collaboratively with an awesome team to provide excellent care to our patients.