We sat down for a Q&A session with Kara Donovan, BSN, RN, Member Experience Team Lead, to hear about what drew her to a career in nursing, which led eventually to working at Summus.
Q: Tell us about what you did before Summus?
Previously I worked at Operation Smile, a non-profit that treats children with cleft palate in places where the healthcare systems can’t support them. That was my introduction to healthcare and I went to the Philippines, India, Honduras, Morocco, Madagascar, and Ghana. It was in this role that I realized I wanted to be a nurse, and I completed an accelerated nursing program. From there I went to work on a pediatric neuro-oncology clinical trial that was focused on medication that would extend the lives of children with incurable brain tumors. It was emotionally draining, but incredibly rewarding. I then heard about Summus through a friend, and it seemed like the perfect next step in my career to be able to help more people access the care they need.
Q: What interested you about Summus?
What I loved most about nursing was patient interaction. My role at Summus is a lot like nursing, when I am helping people on a healthcare journey. I also manage a team of Member Experience Coordinators who are talking with our members every day and to help them triage cases.
I definitely use my nursing background everyday. I work on pediatric remote second opinions, where the cases are very complex with hundreds of records, and very involved parents. Having a clinical background really helps. Sometimes we see more serious issues, and I can triage and escalate effectively.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
I love managing my team. Our team has really strong relationships, everyone is looking out for one another, and all of the interactions are really great.
We are helping people during the hardest times of their life, offering them a hand. Hearing a kind voice gives them comfort. Everyday we receive feedback from members that they can’t believe this is a real thing, and it doesn’t cost money. Most of the time in the health system you’re talked at, instead of having a real conversation. Summus MDs and Summus Partners make a huge difference. We are a personal touch that doesn’t exist elsewhere in healthcare.
The doctors are also appreciative. They went to medical school for so long, and are navigating a healthcare system that can sometimes feel like being on a hamster wheel. With Summus, they get to talk to people for 60 minutes. And the platform—it’s like a dream.
Q: What do you do when you’re not at work?
I have a one year old son. I’m a big runner, I love to run. I use the running stroller most mornings. I’m close to my family, I have four brothers. I’m the second oldest but I feel like I’m the oldest—my brothers were trouble.
Learn more about our Summus Partners and how they serve as trusted partners to our members.