“You can do a good job, you can be your best self, without completely draining the tank and not having time for anything else”
Seacole nurse and Idaho resident, Julie Wilkie is a seasoned healthcare professional with over 30 years’ nursing and medical sales experience under her belt. Julie joined the Seacole family earlier this year, so we caught up with her to find out how she discovered Seacole and what her typical day entails. Julie also shares how she plays her part in delivering remarkable experiences for her patients.
I first heard about Seacole through LinkedIn. I’d recently moved to Idaho from Colorado and was looking for a more flexible approach to nursing than I’d experienced previously.
When I worked in medical sales, I worked the usual Monday to Friday, clocking up 40-60 hours a week. In hospital nursing I had more flexibility over my days off, but despite that it was still very hard to work any less than 12 hours a day. In fact, it was more like 14 hours a day once you factor in travel time. Hospital nursing is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting.
I was attracted immediately to mobile health nursing with Seacole because it offered a unique way of continuing the nursing career that I love, but on my own terms. I’d always had an interest in research and I saw this as a great opportunity to broaden my knowledge in the clinical trial arena, whilst making a meaningful difference.
“Joining the Seacole family has been a revelation. You can do a good job, you can be your best self, without completely draining the tank and not having time for anything else.”
I joined Seacole in January this year and began by completing the online training to make sure I had all the skills needed to start performing home visits. The training was fantastic, and suited me as I could complete it from the comfort of my own home.
My first assignment was a patient with unique health challenges who was taking part in a clinical trial. The Clinical Managers are in charge of providing all the formal education around the trial and the requirements for the study visit, but on top of this, I did my own research into the disease to make sure I was fully aware of the patient’s condition. I was also sent a ‘nurse checklist’, accompanying documentation, and several boxes of supplies. It was helpful to have these elements in advance as it gave me the opportunity to review the paperwork and equipment provided. The Clinical Manager provided all the support and resources I could have needed so that I felt ready to safely accomplish the assigned visit.
The patient lived a 40-minute drive away from me, so I coordinated with the Clinical Manager and the patient themselves to agree the time I would arrive. That way the courier could be placed on standby ready to take the samples I would draw to the lab.
Once I had arrived at the patient’s home, I carried out a medical assessment based on the requirements from the nurse’s checklist. This included a questionnaire to find out more about the patient’s clinical status, as well as drawing blood and collecting specimens. I could then take a set of vitals.
The wonderful thing about performing home visits is after the checks and tests are complete, the patient is immediately able to rejoin their family. In this case, the patient had been required to fast prior to my arrival, so as soon as I had everything I needed, they were able to join their family at the dinner table and resume life as normal. In the meantime, I remained in the home and started to process the labs with a centrifuge machine to make sure the blood specimens were processed appropriately.
Once the specimens were ready, I completed the study documentation as stipulated. These documents are physically filled out, but then I had to take a picture of each page with my phone, and upload them to a secure app called Tresorit.
Tresorit is amazing technology that lets nurses like myself share the home visit documentation directly, and securely, with the trial team, instantly. The Clinical Manager can then review the results in real time, checking each before I then seal the specimens into boxes for the courier to collect. It was fantastic to have the Clinical Manager on hand – albeit on FaceTime, but especially on my first visit, it was really reassuring.
After the home visit, I drove back home and checked in again with the Clinical Manager via text message to ensure all the documentation had been uploaded and processed appropriately.
“I think what Seacole nurses can offer is truly personalised, patient-focused care.”
Without mobile health nursing, this patient would have had to travel every week to the study site in Utah – which is around a six hour drive. It’s clear just how difficult it would have been for the patient and their family to keep this up over a long period.
I really enjoyed providing nursing care to this patient and I can’t wait to be involved with more patients and different studies going forward. I think nurses of my generation are so used to working their 8, 10 or 12 hour shifts at the hospital, that they may not even realise that there is any other way of working. Mobile health nursing is such a great way of experiencing different environments in a truly unique way. I’ve worked with a lot of younger nurses who don’t want to stay in the same clinical role their whole career, they want to do different things so that they can build different skill sets and create their own paths. If I was talking directly to them now I’d say to join Seacole – without hesitation.
I love being a little part of a big picture that not only helps the individual patient, but could also change the future for a whole group of people that are diagnosed with a condition or disease in the future. What we as mobile health nurses and research coordinators are doing is very, very important, and gives me an immense sense of gratification that I’m playing my part.
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Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today to learn more about making a positive difference on your own terms.
Read more about the opportunities we have available in mobile health nursing and apply here.