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Jessica Novak, MBA, RN, PCMH CCE, loves her role within Catholic Health Physician Partners. As Director of Ambulatory Clinical Quality & Value Based Programs, she directs clinical quality efforts through patient engagement and education about preventive care.

“Every day our team of nurses reach out to our patients to ensure they stay on track with their well visits and health screenings,” said Novak. “Our work is focused on keeping patients healthy, preempting the need for reactive crisis care by stewarding proactive health maintenance. So it involves a lot of patient communication to schedule their colonoscopies, mammograms, immunizations, etc. Our goal is to keep them out of the hospital.”

Novak joined Catholic Health in 2015, originally as a population health nurse, working with physician practices to incorporate a thorough understanding of clinical quality health indicators. Under the mentoring of Eileen Esposito, DNP, RN, Vice President of Ambulatory Clinical Practice and Quality, she moved into management, with a focus on preventive care to improve patient outcomes.

“I strongly believe that what we’re doing is helping to change the face of health care,” she said. “By educating patients as to the value of proactive screenings, we can get in front of the disease curve. That’s helping people to live longer, healthier lives.”

Novak recalls some words of wisdom Esposito once imparted: “You may not always know the right answer—you just need to know where to find the right answer.” Novak says that task is made all the easier within the supportive environment Catholic Health provides. “There’s a spirit at work here; people extend themselves, back you up, and work together to provide the best possible patient care experience. It’s a great place to work and grow.”

Yet for Novak, the primary form of job satisfaction comes from outside the organization—from the patients. She offers an example, “I remember spending a good amount of time on the phone with a patient, going through all the points we need to cover—her nutritional regimen, exercise program, safety issues around the house, etc. It was a lovely conversation, at the end of which she said, I just want to say thank you. You really took the time to check in on me and show genuine concern. God bless you.” Novak says that kind of thing happens a lot in her work and always sparks renewed energy.  

“I tell nurses at other health care systems that Catholic Health is unique,” she said. “The care factor here is dialed up to high. Both for our patients and each other.”

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