By: Ashley Reeves - Mental Health Coordinator, University of Cincinnati
I started my job as the Mental Health Coordinator at the UC Adult CF Program in August of 2016. This is my first job working with CF patients so I started from the very beginning, learning the basics. I read manuals, articles and blogs, talked to co-workers and patients, and tried to immerse myself in the CF culture to understand and become a part of the community.
Shortly after I started, part of our team went to the CF LN conference. I sat in meetings and watched our team prepare for the conference, not fully understanding what the purpose was. The team came back from the conference energized, reviewing all the great work they had done with other CF providers and patients. I knew that I wanted to be a part of that. What better way to dive into the CF culture, than by understanding and creating positive change with patients?
I have learned so much by being involved in CF LN. I have a better understanding of patient care, pre-visit planning, the CF registry, and quality improvement in general. I have learned that small changes can make a big difference, and that too many changes at once creates chaos. Challenges will always come, but they can be embraced and allow better change to occur. Most importantly, I have learned that collaborating with patients is vital in creating helpful and impactful change.
Our team has recently been focusing on co-production and pre-visit planning. Our patient partner has provided insight into the challenges she faces when coming into clinic and preparing for her visit. While we share some of these views as providers, many of her thoughts and feelings are a fresh perspective. We are making efforts to incorporate her thoughts, and the thoughts of other patients expressed through the PFEC surveys, into our clinic practices.
I am better able to understand best clinical practices and the strengths and struggles of CF patients by participating in the CF LN. My hope is that by learning from each other, and from our patients and families, we will improve care and quality of life for our CF patients across the country.