Geisinger Family Bonds
Employees share why they chose Geisinger, and why they stay
To be a nurse is to pay attention to the little things, because those little things can add up to something big.
As a clinical documentation improvement (CDI) specialist, Wendy Baloga-Truschel, RN, BSN, M.Ed., reviews patient charts for completeness, but pictures the individuals who have lives, loved ones and, sometimes, challenges.
“CDI gives nurses a whole new avenue to consider. It is, ultimately, where quality health care begins,” explains Wendy. “If it’s not being documented, it’s not being done. As a CDI, I help doctors take ownership and credit for the care they provide. It helps them, it helps support our reputation as a hospital providing quality care while optimizing reimbursement, but most importantly, it helps people who need the services we offer. If there is accurate information available, people can make better, more informed decisions about where to receive their health care.”
Choosing a career in healthcare
For Wendy, there was no teetering when it came time to choose a career path.
“My parents are nurses. They met in nursing school, worked together at a psychiatric center and have been married for almost 59 years,” she says.
As nurses, parents and people, they were strong role models.
“They are two tremendously giving and genuinely good people.”
Wendy followed her parent’s footsteps, becoming a nurse and working primarily on psychiatric units. Like her father, she eventually earned a master’s degree, in education, while raising a family.
She isn’t the kind of person who is easily satisfied or content, and she continually tries to better herself. Wendy worked in New York, then in the Pittsburgh area and was looking for a new opportunity.
“Everything I saw about Geisinger was positive,” she explains. “I was impressed by the number of specialties and their plans for growth, and I liked the idea of continuing to challenge myself and expand my horizons within the same system.”
“When I began at Geisinger in 2002, I just knew it was the right place for me,” she adds. “Knowing that what I’m doing is centered on patient care is very important and I love working for an organization that values that.”
Wendy began her time at Geisinger by working in care management at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. She then moved to the Geisinger Health Plan, becoming one of the first case managers at the Medical Home.
“With case management, I felt like I had done everything I had set out to do. I developed positive relationships with physicians and health plan members, earned my certification and worked with my most recent clinic to achieve a 0.0 percent readmission rate for nearly eight months,” she explains. “When I get to that place, I begin looking for the next challenge.”
It was then that she was made aware of the opportunity in CDI. Her search for another challenging and important work experience was over.
Less than a year into her new role, Wendy explains what she loves about Geisinger: “I still have a lot to learn, but because of the support and comfortable work environment, I can’t see myself anywhere else. The professionals that make up the CDI department epitomize teamwork.”
The CDI team focuses on improving healthcare records and therefore improving patient outcomes, data quality and accurate reimbursement.
Nearly two decades later
In her 16 years at Geisinger, Wendy has pursued a career of interesting and varied opportunities, all of which come together in her role in CDI. That hands-on knowledge helps her envision the patients -- the people -- hidden in the data.
“I’m helping people I don’t know, I might never know, but in some way, I’m going to affect the quality of their lives by making sure they receive the best treatment while they are here. It’s one of the many reasons I stay at Geisinger.”