“I NEEDED A ME, SO I BECAME ONE”: How to Solve Problems and Fill Gaps in Healthcare by Becoming the Solution
To introduce Nancy Ruffner as a “social worker” is akin to introduce Wolfgang Puck as a “chef.” Never accepting the limitations of the situation or system that was in to deliver the quality of care that she was capable of providing her patients or clients, she became adept at following the breadcrumbs of her common-sense to become the solution. This course will remind the learner of: their own essential common-sense, and how to listen to it; the importance of using your voice, and the nuance of knowing when it’s ok to save it for the right time; and how to critically-think about, and follow, the breadcrumbs of “begets” (i.e. an elderly patient develops a neurological problem, and that ‘begets’ another service, and a power-of-attorney, and that ‘begets’…)
- Learn how to effect change in your own work environment
- Learn how advocacy can come in different forms (e.g., speaking, coaching, educating)
- Learn how to coach effectively through relying on your past experiences to prevent the squelching of one’s voice. “I needed a me, so I became one.”
I. Introductions/Get to know Nancy
II. Professional Background
- Social Work
- Working with Corporate & Private EAPs
- Personal Experience advocating for aging parents
III. Burning-out: the cognitive dissonance of being beholden to a system moving too slow
IV. Starting a business: becoming the solution for yourself and how you want to serve
V. Know when to hold ‘em: wheels need cogs too, it’s ok to be a cog
VI. Business evolution
- Patient Advocacy
- Patient Advocate coach and incubator
VII. Learning skills on-the-job
- Teaching families to advocate for themselves
- ‘Kitchen Table’ Advocacy
IX. Importance of Assembling a Team
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
Nancy Ruffner is a Board Certified Patient Advocate and owner of NAVIGATE NC.
Nancy earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work (BSW) from Western Carolina University and a Graduate Certificate in Counselor Education (GCCE) from NC State University. The growing field of Professional Patient Advocacy is young, and Nancy was among the first in the nation to earn the BCPA (Board Certified Patient Advocate) credential.
Nancy founded NAVIGATE NC, an advocacy company whose services help families to meet the challenges that normally come with aging or with chronic conditions. Since 2013 the company has emerged as a fast-growing agency with a goal of becoming a market leader for patient advocacy services in the Southeast.
Nancy Ruffner speaks regionally to groups on topics involving aging, living with chronic conditions, planning, and navigating within a complex healthcare system. She has designed and taught gerontology coursework at the community college level that served to usher talented people into the senior care industry. She is currently an Adjunct Instructor at both Duke and NC State University’s OLLI programs (Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes), teaching a course that she designed called “A Consumer’s Guide To Healthcare Advocacy”. Nancy enjoys provoking thought and helping folks to create and implement a plan. Her antennae are always up with respect to advocacy for clients, ways to educate and create awareness, and the chance to provide real solutions.