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Newport Nurse Finds Clinic Care Coordinator Role Inspiring

Clinic Care Coordinator Laura Brawley, RN, was inspired to pursue a career in health care by her own experiences as a patient.

In 2007 a mass was found on her lung and she underwent surgery to have it removed.

“I was distraught,” she said. “My kids were little at the time.”

A nurse who was caring for her in the hospital before the surgery could see she was worried.

“She touched my face and said ‘Honey, it’s going to be OK,’” Brawley recalled. “She made me feel so comfortable. If I could have that kind of impact on the life of somebody else, that’s where I want to be.”

Brawley became a certified nursing assistant, and then a licensed vocational nurse before going to school to become a registered nurse. Completing all of the requirements took some time because of how full the nursing school programs were, but Brawley graduated with honors from both the LVN and RN programs at Grand Canyon University. Before coming to Samaritan, she was an acute care nurse in a hospital in Alta Loma, California, east of Los Angeles.

After more than six months as a clinic care coordinator at Samaritan Health Center – Newport, she is happy to say she is still inspired.

As an RN care coordinator, Brawley is an educator, advocate and coordinator of services for at‑risk patients. Brawley identifies which patients are at risk and reaches out to them to be sure they are getting the care they need. Many of the patients she works with are living with chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.

“I try to get patients in for an appointment if they haven’t been seen for a while — to get updated labs and review medications and see if there is anything we can do to help them live with their chronic disease,” said Brawley. “Maybe they need a referral to diabetes education. Maybe they need assistance affording their medication. We help them get in touch with agencies that offer assistance such as food boxes or rides to appointments. It is a little bit of social work, a little bit of case management and a little bit of everything in between. It’s really rewarding.”

Occasionally, Brawley receives a MyChart message from a patient thanking her for the ways she has helped them.

“Recently, I was able to get a family in touch with the food pantry near them and they were so appreciative,” Brawley said. “Those kinds of things are what bring me back to work each day. Just the thought that I might be able to lessen the burden in just a little way and knowing I have made a small difference in their lives.”

Embedding registered nurses in primary care clinics as care coordinators is one of the ways Samaritan Medical Group has reimagined care teams to help each clinician and health care professional work at the top of their license and provide the best possible care for patients.

Brawley and the RN care coordinators across the system keep a Microsoft Teams chat going each day to help each other find resources for patients and share thoughts and ideas.

“It really is a great group of care coordinators working to figure out how to get each patient what they need,” she said. “It’s very helpful.”

All in all, Brawley is glad she landed at Samaritan.

“I do believe that somebody up high was looking out for me and wanted me to be here,” she said. “I could see myself retiring here.”

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