Juana: Connecting the Dots

People talk about many things while they’re getting their hair done: the weather, current events and yes, even BVMI. Coincidentally, nurse Shelley Larsen is a client at a hair salon that employs Juana, a BVMI patient. 

“Juana mentioned that for a while, she couldn’t afford healthcare, and then she found BVMI,” said Shelley. “She said she’d had some bad experiences with medical care in the past, but at BVMI it was entirely different.”

“My daughter discovered BVMI for me about three years ago,” explained Juana. “I really needed a checkup and a mammogram. I was also pre-diabetic. Now I’m healthier. These caring people have helped me mentally and emotionally, too.” Juana is a member of the Prevent Diabetes Program which is a year-long program that educates patients on a healthy lifestyle including healthy foods, exercise and stress reduction.

“Something else Juana shared stayed with me,” said Shelley. “She was grateful that her primary care provider at BVMI, nurse practitioner Victoria Eftychiou, focused on more than Juana the Patient; she also listened to Juana the Person. That made me want to learn more about BVMI.”

“I’ve always been interested in health,” added Shelley. “I actually managed a health care club for several years. But when my father passed away much too soon, I began to assess how else I could make a difference. That’s when I decided to go into nursing.” 

Today, Shelley is an RN at Hackensack University Medical Center with an MS degree in Nursing, and she’s studying to become a nurse practitioner. We’re delighted that, as busy she is, Shelley is joining the BVMI team as a clinical volunteer!

“Connecting life’s dots is important,” said Shelley. “I believe that Juana telling me about BVMI and me following up was meant to be. I’ve seen too many ‘frequent fliers’ in hospital emergency rooms – people with heart failure, COPD, all kinds of issues. Fewer would be there if they’d received preventive care and education sooner. That’s one of the reasons BVMI’s model for healthcare is so inspiring.”

An added bonus for BVMI is that our new prospective volunteer is fluent in Spanish. “Juana told me this is the primary language spoken by many BVMI patients,” said Shelley. “I’ve seen the difference when a nurse knows the patients’ language. You connect the emotion on their faces with their actual words. It tells you a lot more.” 

Juana told us she would recommend BVMI to anyone. We thank her for telling Shelley about us!

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