Meet Ivone Melendez

Roundtrip Team
Roundtrip Team
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Ivone is a care manager at Bon Secours Health System in Virginia. We sat down with her to hear a little more about what she’s passionate about and how she’s using Roundtrip in her everyday work.

How long have you been working as a case manager?

 

I’ve been with Bon Secours for 14 years. As a registered nurse, this is my 43rd year.  

The beautiful thing about my journey is that I have seen breast cancer numbers go down, great outcomes for breast cancer. Seeing the push to detect it early and having exams to catch it early has been huge. 

Another big thing that is very dear to my heart in my career has been working with HIV and AIDS surveillance in the 80s.  Being a nurse, I was very intrigued by the disease and I wasn’t afraid because I really knew anatomy and physiology. I used to say goodbye to a lot of patients. There was one particular patient I was planning to say goodbye to. I saw her 3-4 years later and recognized her face but didn’t remember quite where from — and she approached me and said “You’re Ivone. You were my nurse. She moved her blouse and showed me where she had her trach.” and it all came back to me. And just to see her alive – WOW — it was super moving and super exciting and it makes me feel like research works and medicine works and science is awesome. And who am I to deliver compassion and empathy and knowledge and good care to a person and see them four years later when I said my goodbyes earlier.  

What do you enjoy most about your job/what are you most passionate about?

First of all, I have not lost my passion since I graduated in ‘74. This is what I was meant to do. 

I’m going to go back a bit of how I became a nurse. I was a child with a rare spinal condition that caused me to be in the hospital all summer. At 11, with the kind of condition I had, I was on a floor with all adults – which was not a good thing – cause they passed away and I was scared and there wasn’t really anyone there to bond with who was my age. This nursing student was assigned to me and she would do all the nursing things she would have to do but when she was done, she would come back. She used to comb my hair and make two big braids with me. She was the person – because she didn’t have to. She played Parcheesi with me and Go Fish with me. She helped me be a child in the midst of a very adult setting. And I told her, “I want to be a nurse one day just like you”. That fire and the way she made me feel is what my passion is. I want others to feel that way. To feel seen. To feel cared for. To not feel judged. To be accepted. I work with probably 90% immigrants. There’s a lot of things on TV that make them feel unwelcome so I make sure to include in my dialogue that “I welcome you and I’m glad to serve you”.

The best thing in my daily work is to take a patient that’s very broken and very sick and on their way to life changing things in their health and for them to bond with me and get them to trust me. If they trust me, then they listen to what I have to say. 

How do you use Roundtrip?

When they announced Roundtrip in our nurse navigator meeting, we stood up and gave a standing ovation. This is how we link the service. 

These patients are well under the poverty line. So to be able to give my patients a service that’s so important to their health and well-being – because Roundtrip picks them up and gets them back home is huge. 

It’s so easy to do.

Previously we were working with a local cab company but it wasn’t working in the ways I needed it to. 

When I was working with the cab company, you would call initially then call back again and get availability and then add demographics for the patient, then ask for the ride to be approved internally. Then you had to check on the ride. A lot of time on the phone, on hold.

*snap, snap* I’m good at it [scheduling online] ‘cause I do it often.”

It’s smooth. And I don’t need a fax machine. I can’t even fathom doing it the old way. 

When my patients tell me “that driver was so good to me” and  explain he opened the window, he blew the horn , he called me by name – this is what we need. They don’t need another roadblock, a stumbling block, they don’t need another event where they feel like a burden. This is what we need. 

Does using Roundtrip impact your ability to focus on other things and accomplish more?

Faxing and approving one trip tied up a lot of my time – sometimes, given that someone would answer the phone – that would be an hour and 45 minutes.

In the time it took to coordinate one ride with the cab service, –  I could have called for 3 appointments or I could have faxed 3 patient records or asked for imaging results. 

Now, I can focus on all the other moving parts of my job.