||Lecour meets with a patient and her doctor.
The 88-year old patient at Lincoln Hospital's Emergency Department was not doing well and needed a CT scan. However, he was adamant against getting one. Nothing his doctors or nurses said would change his mind. In walked Elsie Lecour, a Client Navigator at the hospital, who asked him why he was opposed to a procedure he badly needed.
"Because, I just don't want to," he told her. Lecour explained to him, with a soft-spoken sweetness that is her demeanor, that the procedure was important. She then offered to go with him. And just like that, the elderly man agreed.
"He was just scared," says Lecour, 45. "Sometimes all that patients need is to have their hands held and if that is what it takes to get them care, I'll do it."
Lecour is one of seven Client Navigators at Lincoln Hospital and Mental Health Center who work in the Emergency Department and in outpatient services and function as liaisons—or a bridge—between clinical staff and patients and family. Lecour's job is to keep communication in the often extremely busy Emergency Department flowing effortlessly among all parties. She and her fellow Client Navigators help support efficiency and patient safety at the hospital by making sure patients are in the right place to receive the care they need and have provided relevant medical information, and by helping to answer questions and resolve any issues that might arise.
"It takes heart. And I really do like people," explains Lecour. "You never know who is going to walk through those emergency room doors, but I am ready. I see them like family members coming in and treat them with the dignity, care and respect they deserve. That we all deserve."
Paula Mandel, Senior Associate Director at the hospital, pushed for the innovative program two years ago. Today, its success is seen as a gem in the facility.
"It's an overwhelmingly busy place as we are a Level 1 Trauma Center," Mandel explains. "Usually, when someone comes into the ED, it's already traumatic and difficult and having someone dedicated to assisting them, their family and our staff has been extremely helpful."
Navigators handle complex duties ranging from getting someone who is disoriented to the correct elevator, to making sure all patients in the waiting area are properly triaged, to sorting out an autopsy report or getting the Family Room ready to tell a family member that a loved one has passed away. And Mandel says it's not just a job.
"You really need to possess people skills and go above and beyond," says Mandel. "The commitment and dedication that Elsie shows for patients, Lincoln Hospital and the larger community that we serve is spectacular."
Lecour, who is a certified Spanish/English medical translator, started working at the facility seven years ago as a registration clerk. She says her life experience beyond the center has prepared her for her current job as well.
The mother of four children, she is a former PTA president, teacher's aid and survivor of domestic violence.
"I have lived a lot and experienced a lot, and if I can use my life to help others, then it makes me feel better," she says.
"She should be duplicated," says ED Police Officer Constance Hutchinson, who has worked with LeCour for seven years. "Elsie is a real professional, a true jewel."