3 min read

Close to Home: Meet Stephanie Simons, Signify Health Nurse Practitioner

By Signify Health Team on 3/12/24 12:03 PM

At Signify Health, our mission is to build trusted relationships to make people healthier. Our national network of more than 12,000 clinicians works to help people gain a more comprehensive view of their health by conducting In-home Health Evaluations (IHEs). During an IHE, clinicians identify chronic conditions, close gaps in care, and address social determinants of health, making it possible for health plan members to get connected to the right care for their unique needs. 

We’re proud to showcase the clinicians helping us build a more connected, effective care experience for all – and their personal stories that make this important work feel #ClosetoHome. This is Stephanie’s story. 

The COVID-19 pandemic was a transformative time for many, a chance to evaluate goals, reconsider priorities, and rethink career choices. For nurse practitioner Stephanie Simons, long hours in the ICU sparked a desire to chart a new path – one that led her to Signify Health. 

A Kansas resident, Simons started her career as a nurse, floating between units within the hospital. This experience was a strong foundation on which to build a nursing career.

“It was a great experience. But, I got to a point where I felt like I tapped out as a nurse. So, I decided to pursue my master’s so I could become a nurse practitioner,” she said. 

Graduating at the start of the pandemic offered limited job prospects. Simons remained at the hospital and found herself assigned to the ICU full-time. By February 2021, she was ready for a change.

“I saw the ad for the NP role at Signify Health. It was a very different role from anything I had done before, but I decided to go out on a limb,” Simons said. “I’m so glad I gave this a try because I have enjoyed every minute.”

For Simons, the most rewarding part of her role is member education. She believes the IHE is a great opportunity to get a full picture of the member’s health and address any unanswered questions or concerns.

“At the start of the IHE, I encourage the member to ask questions as we go so nothing gets overlooked or forgotten. And at the end, we review the leave-behind materials and the tests to ensure there are no lingering questions,” she said.

As noted in a recent Signify Health blog post, helping members struggling with loneliness and isolation is another important part of the IHE.

“During the holidays and winter months, many people are struggling with loneliness and depression. It affects everything – what they eat, how they feel, and their level of physical activity. These things have a huge impact on their mental health, their emotional health, and their overall wellness,” she said.

Simons takes the following approaches when members mention feeling depressed or isolated:

  • You’re not alone: It often helps members to know that others experience these feelings, especially during the holidays, when the cold keeps them indoors, after the loss of a spouse, etc.
  • Find ways to be social: Connecting with others is very important, whether that’s joining an exercise group at a local gym or gathering friends for a card night or Bunco party.
  • Get outside: When weather permits, a few minutes in the fresh air and sunshine is helpful. Gardening or a short walk are great ways to feel better
  • Reengage with hobbies/interests: Prioritizing activities that inspire joy, such as knitting, reading, sewing, etc., is also helpful.

A recent IHE offered Simons the chance to make an impact on a member struggling with grief after loss. The member shared the joy she used to feel while sewing in the room lovingly designed and constructed by her late husband. After he died, she was unable to enter the room, let alone resume sewing. 

But, after talking through her experience, the member asked Simons to see her sewing room. She finished the visit with a commitment to slowly resume the hobby she enjoyed.  

Are you a clinician interested in helping health plan members gain a more comprehensive view of their health?

To learn more about opportunities with Signify Health, visit our clinical careers page.