doctors holding hand of patient in hospital bed

Partnership supports community, expanding role of nurse practitioners

A new collaboration between Humana and the Florida International University (FIU) Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences helps support the community while expanding the role of nurse practitioners.

The nurse practitioner (NP) clinical partnership with FIU Nursing, Humana’s first partnership like it with a Florida university, places some of FIU’s 160 master’s nursing students at select Humana-owned clinics from Miami to Orlando. Graduate nursing students can obtain the required clinical hours and rotations for graduation under the guidance of nurse practitioner or physician preceptors at Humana medical home clinics. Students have been placed in clinics in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties since the program started this spring.

“This is a great learning opportunity,” for the clinicians as well as the students, said Raquel Joubert, an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) who has been working at CAC Florida Medical Center Little Havana in Miami for the last 18 months. “As an ARNP, I personally believe students are our best teachers because in order for students to learn from a good example and be prepared to become a professional, I have to be one step ahead and keep up to date at all times.”

The program allows students to integrate learning with real-world experience, but they also become familiar with how patients’ social needs can interact and/or impact their life and health, said Joubert.

At least one of the students participating in the program agrees that learning to take a holistic view of a patient is one of the prime benefits of the program.

“If this partnership didn’t exist, it would be really difficult to gain such a deep understanding of the geriatric population and the Cuban population and their unique health needs,” said Noel Hernandez, who will graduate from FIU as a nurse practitioner in August and is participating in the program at the CAC center in Little Havana.  “I’ve learned how to talk – and listen – to patients and to learn more about the culture in Little Havana.

“The most special thing about growing up in a Latin family is that in our culture, we put an emphasis on family, and some of the patients remind me of my grandmothers,” said Hernandez whose family is from the Dominican Republic. “When I take care of them, it feels like I am taking care of my family. It makes it so rewarding to know you are helping people who need care the most. I have personal moments when I see them on a human level and not as a clinician only. We meet face-to-face and create a care plan together.”

Participating in the program at a CAC medical center has special appeal for Hernandez because of CAC’s emphasis on coordinated care.  “You can get a better overall experience because everything is centrally located at CAC, from primary care to specialty care (as well as dental and vision) – it’s all under one roof so you get a variety of clinical experiences.

“I’ve had an incredible experience with the CAC doctors,” he said. “As a student, I am allowed to interact as a clinician and directly with the clinicians.”

He said another important aspect of this program, is that it can help fill a gap in the community because of a great need for general practitioners, particularly within the elderly population, which is rapidly growing.

“It has been an eye-opening experience moving from mainly working in pediatrics to focusing on geriatrics,” said Hernandez. “This clinical experience has deepened my understanding of the older population, and I now hope to focus on geriatrics.”

His goal is to become employed by CAC and stay in the area after he graduates in August. “I am so comfortable with the staff and patients. I like it here.”

That’s good news for Joubert, who hopes many other students will have the same goal after completing training at CAC.

“I think many of our students could remain in our centers as ARNPs once the training is completed because I am sure most of them would like to be challenged with different issues that our community often faces,” she said “They would also thrive by joining the Humana-CAC team, which provides a holistic and integrative approach to treating our patients. It is the best at assisting our patients – no matter the circumstances. It makes me proud to be doing what I love and to be able to make a difference in our patients’ lives.”

Raquel Joubert and Noel Hernandez talk to Lilia Fabre, 93, a patient at the CAC Florida Medical Center Little Havana in Miami, Florida.

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