Sarah Tupper has 15 plus years of experience in health informatics, and currently works for the health plan as a Senior Health and Care Engagement Consultant at HealthPartners. She is also a Nurse Practitioner trainee and begins her clinical training with HealthPartners in May. In this blog post, she shares with us her passion for healthcare—business and clinical.
What is your current role at HealthPartners?
I work as a senior clinical solutions consultant. I am most involved with high cost case analyses, disease and case management, and work as a bridge between sales and health plan solutions. I was purposeful when looking for an organization that would support and leverage my clinical background along with business expertise, as well as offer clinical training sites for nurse practitioner students. HealthPartners fit perfectly with what I was looking for.
What made you decide to train as a nurse practitioner?
I graduated from nursing school in 1991. My first nursing job was in a small rural hospital, and then I moved to the Twin Cities and started working in critical care (ICU/CCU) nursing at Fairview Riverside. When it became part of Group Health (the predecessor to HealthPartners), I recognized that there was something special about the Group Health culture. There was a theme of team work with mutual respect and value for every discipline on the team, and the work was largely evidence based. I wanted to pursue that sort of team and evidence based work. Soon after, I developed a severe latex allergy and had to stop clinical practice. I began working in health informatics—I missed working as a clinical nurse but it let me stay close to the healthcare profession.
After 16 years, when I realized that clinical settings had become latex safe, I decided to give clinical practice another try. During this time, I had also finished a master’s degree in nursing and health systems administration with a minor in health informatics from the University of Minnesota. I always knew that I wanted to return to direct patient care, and when I did, I wanted to practice to the full scope of my training, so I decided to apply to nurse practitioner schools.
What are your expectations from being a trainee at HealthPartners?
I start my first of four clinical rotations in May with HealthPartners. The leader in my current department is highly supportive and flexible with my schedule. There are very few individuals who have gone back to clinical practice after working on the “business side” of healthcare for so long, so it is new but at the same time, exciting. I know that my training will add value to the organization. Having both advanced clinical, healthcare leadership and business experience and training will mean that I can bring an expanded perspective to both the role of Nurse Practitioner and my current role with the health plan. I see the two roles as being very synergistic.
How will you manage time during your training?
I think that working closely with your leaders is the key. It also helps to focus on only one thing at a time. I make sure that when I’m at work, I am completely focused on my work. When I am at school or studying, I am completely focused on school, and when I’m with my family, I’m completely present with them.
I like to take walks with my dog every day. I also try to include at least one fun activity a week into my schedule. When I start my clinical training, I anticipate I will have to give up some down time, but I know that it will be worth it.
Ultimately, I am looking forward to the synergy between my current knowledge and what I’ll learn in clinical training—and the benefits I will bring to both the business and clinical settings.