An interview with Kristie Loritz, RN, BSN, CCM
In the words of Ghandi….“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others.”
Nursing is truly that – service to others!
We caught up with one of Axiom’s nurses, Kristie Loritz, who has been in nursing for nearly 20 years. She is presently a Nurse Client Liaison but has also served in the role of Nurse Case Manager. With a background in both emergency medicine and case management, she brings a wealth of knowledge to our Axiom team.
Below is What Axiom Nursing Means to Her!
What lead you to the field of nursing?
You know, nursing is a journey much like life. People come into your life for a reason and at a time when you need them the most. While I initially entered the nursing field for the opportunities, I never quite realized at that time that such an opportunity would strike so close to home. Approximately 11 years ago, my husband who was a strong and healthy downhill ski racer suddenly developed a weakness in his hand. Within three months, he was diagnosed with ALS and ultimately lost his life in 2007, within 20 months of being diagnosed. Being a nurse meant he could be cared for in our home, which was a gift that meant the world to him.
What brought you to Axiom?
Prior to joining the Axiom team, I was working as a charge nurse in a busy ER in San Antonio. Ironically, one of my patients that day was in management at Axiom. After caring for her, she explained Axiom typically hired occupational case managers, but she immediately recognized the value of having strong assessment skills and knew injured employees would benefit from my ER background. I was one of the first nurses hired by Axiom with an ER background and we have continued to build our team with other nurses such as myself that understand the importance of immediate intervention paired with the skill of case management.
Tell us what makes nursing at Axiom different from other nurse triage providers?
It is the skill of our nurses, the Axiom process and mindset!
When an injury occurs, it’s important to remember things may not seem as they appear. You have to have strong assessment skills to appropriately recognize and promptly respond. We recently had a case that could have been fatal, had Axiom not been notified. A welder employee had what those onsite assumed was a sunburn to the face. The skill of the Nurse Case Manager immediately recognized the condition to be a flash burn and facilitated transfer to an ER just in time for the employee to be intubated, which maintained his ability to breathe. In cases such as that, time is of the essence and having such expertise resulted in a positive outcome.
One of the other important aspects of Axiom’s process is the follow-up. What most people fail to realize is that the date of injury may not be the most important. What makes a difference are the hours and days that follow. When the injured worker wakes up the next morning and has limited mobility or takes off their boot for the first time. The care you provide to the employee during those times is what matters most when helping to heal an injury. Anybody can answer a phone, ask questions and direct somebody to a healthcare provider. Axiom knows that is when the work begins, not ends! Without an ongoing assessment of an employee’s injury status and close monitoring, you cannot impact the outcome. Employees know they can trust the Axiom Nurse Case Manager. Having someone available 24/7 to answer their questions or modify their treatment plan when the condition changes means the world to them. Axiom puts employees and their injury first because we know caring is the best medicine.
We also understand the importance of an employee’s job. It’s their livelihood. It is their ability to provide for their families. So the role of the Axiom Nurse Case Manager is to help these employees heal quickly and keep them on the job.
Communication is key! We not only communicate with the employee but also the employer. We are the eyes and ears for how an employee’s injury is progressing and we make sure everybody stays in the loop. For smaller organizations, we assist with helping them understand the worker’s compensation injury process. For larger organizations, we aid with tracking and communication. Our role is to make sure nothing gets lost in the cracks! We are advocates and our nurses are excellent.