Chris is a Co-Founder and the Chief Nursing Officer at IntelyCare. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his role at IntelyCare, having held multiple roles in long term care nursing, nursing informatics, labor relations, case management, and as an urgent care nurse practitioner. In his free time, Chris and his wife enjoy volunteering at the National Marine Life Center helping care for and rehabilitate baby seals and stranded sea turtles on the shores of Cape Cod.
Chris, why did you decide to become a nurse?
I would say my interest in the medical field began watching Trauma Life in the ER as a kid! So, when I went to college, I majored in Biology with the intention of going to medical school, but after doing some international travel, I realized that med school wouldn’t allow me the freedom I was looking for.
I started talking to some nurses in my network and learned that many states were starting to give Nurse Practitioners a full scope of practice. I was sold. I enrolled in a local community college where I became a registered nurse and then continued on to earn my Nurse Practitioner Certification.
What is it about being a nurse that you most enjoy?
I personally like the challenge of juggling multiple priorities of patient care. Nurses deal with some serious, heavy stuff on a daily basis, so you have to put your head down and use all the knowledge at your disposal to get the work done, all while delivering compassionate patient care. Patients are what it’s all about – so making sure you can help every patient feel like the most valued, important person on the floor is a great feeling.
Do you remember the moment you realized that nurses and the post-acute field, in general, needed a solution like IntelyCare? What was it like?
There were hundreds of times that I or a fellow nurse was stuck doing a mandatory double shift. While it’s illegal in the state of Massachusetts to force nurses to stay, there was no option to go home – you can’t just abandon your patients. So, you’re kind of stuck.
As a nurse union leader, I talked with our facility’s scheduler and other stakeholders to try to come up with solutions – we even considered nurse staffing agencies. Nursing professionals are required to give their agency their availability for at least two months in advance. But many of the nurses work for multiple agencies and give the same availability to everyone. So, what happens is that the nurse staffing agencies that existed at the time weren’t able to cover last minute call-outs because they didn’t actually have the available workers on such short notice. So, they were only able to cover a small amount of our need. I remember thinking ‘wow what if there was a way to pick up a shift on-demand or a way to cut out the middleman who has to call and email everyone for their availability.’
That’s when I met Ike!
We were working together at a hospital – he was implementing an EMR system, and I was helping to customize that technology for nurses. We were both thinking of starting our own healthcare companies, but as we began to discuss their staffing inefficiencies of the hospital we worked in, we came to realize that we shared a common vision for a better, more efficient way things could be done.
Those experiences allowed me to understand the extent of demand that existed, and the lack of solutions available to meet it. So we decided to take the plunge and start IntelyCare.
Why do you love working with IntelyCare and with nurses?
I’m consistently amazed and proud of our IntelyCare Nurses & Nursing Assistants. Nursing is not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination, but our nursing professionals continue to complete shifts while providing amazing care to patients at our facilities. I really do love getting to come into work every day knowing that we are helping Schedulers safely staff their facilities, Directors of Nursing get the coverage they need on each floor, and Administrators meet their required staffing ratios. As if that isn’t cool enough, we are helping nurses take charge of their lives. Now, nurses have the flexibility to be in complete control of their schedules. Ultimately, we are also helping patients receive better, more compassionate, quality care because our nurses don’t suffer from as much burnout.
How do you think your experience as a nurse informs the work you do here at IntelyCare?
Like every nurse, I’ve been in many situations where I was overworked and underpaid. That’s why it’s our goal to make sure that every nurse has a great quality of life and that they are adequately compensated for the amazing job they do.
In the nursing profession, there is so much to know and so little time to learn it. That’s why I’m also a firm believer and champion of continuing education. Right now, my team and I are focused on building out modules that zero in on the specifics that will help nurses increase their individual knowledge and deliver better care in the long-term care environment.
Based on my own experience with distance learning, it’s been my mission to implement these supplemental education courses that engage our IntelyPros and allow them to strive to be the best nurses they can be.
Chris has spoken at length about the impact of the nurse staffing shortage on nurses and the long-term care climate at large, with features in Daily Nurse, Your Next Shift Podcast, and the Nurse Keith Podcast.