2006.05.09: May 9, 2006: Headlines: COS - Ecuador: Nursing: International Health Care: PR Newswire: Ecuador RPCV Susan Hirschle coordinates care for expatriates facing any health issue around the world

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Nursing: January 23, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Nursing : 2006.05.09: May 9, 2006: Headlines: COS - Ecuador: Nursing: International Health Care: PR Newswire: Ecuador RPCV Susan Hirschle coordinates care for expatriates facing any health issue around the world

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Ecuador RPCV Susan Hirschle coordinates care for expatriates facing any health issue around the world

Ecuador RPCV Susan Hirschle coordinates care for expatriates facing any health issue around the world

Hirschle's ability to think globally began years ago as a volunteer in the Peace Corps, where she worked for four years in Ecuador to promote health services in 10 rural communities. She helped to organize construction of sanitation facilities, dental and medical hygiene programs for school children, and community leadership training. After leaving the Peace Corps, Hirschle joined CIGNA working for its subsidiary, Intracorp, before moving to CIEB. "I use my knowledge of numerous cultures and health systems to counsel members and coordinate the best care for each individual," Hirschle said. "My job is unique and I wouldn't trade it for any other job in nursing."

Ecuador RPCV Susan Hirschle coordinates care for expatriates facing any health issue around the world

CIGNA International Nurse Helps Women Have Babies in Any Language

Tuesday May 9, 1:01 pm ET

From Delaware, nurse coordinates care for expatriates facing any health issue around the world

CLAYMONT, Del., May 9, 2006 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Nurse Susan Hirschle knows which hospitals are safest for cesareans, where midwives are preferred, and how long a mother and newborn can stay in the hospital anywhere in the world. Understanding maternity care around the globe is just one vital skill this CIGNA International nurse needs as she assists in coordinating health care for 250,000 expatriates and their families working away from home in 170 countries.

"I use my knowledge of numerous cultures and health systems to counsel members and coordinate the best care for each individual," Hirschle said. "My job is unique and I wouldn't trade it for any other job in nursing."

Hirschle, based in the CIGNA International Expatriate Benefits (CIEB) office in Claymont, Delaware likens her days to working in a virtual emergency room, never knowing what will happen and needing to act quickly to solve each case.

"It's a challenge to combine my experience in traditional nursing with my knowledge of medical care in every country to help members faced with any health issue. It's like solving a new puzzle each time," Hirschle said.

For example, U.S. women having babies outside their home country may be surprised to learn that births in the Netherlands are usually at home with midwives and births in Japan often mean a full two weeks in the hospital after the baby is born.

"It's important that I set expectations with our expatriate members and their families before they embark on their work assignments, so they can prepare completely," Hirschle said. "It can be traumatic, physically and emotionally, when members don't understand the kind of care provided where they will be stationed. Knowing ahead of time allows members to prepare and make informed decisions."

Like other nurses within CIGNA, Hirschle sees herself as a strong health advocate for members and their employers, and shares the same commitment to quality health care as her domestic counterparts.

On any given day, Hirschle may be faced with evacuating a member after a serious car accident, arranging for equipment on board an airplane for a family with a special needs infant born prematurely, lining up in-home care for a teenager badly hurt after a motorcycle crash, or advising an expectant mother to leave her present location to have a cesarean in a preferred facility elsewhere.

Hirschle's work with members also has a direct effect on the satisfaction of the multi-national employers who send their expatriates on international assignments. "Employers have a tremendous investment in their employees. Health issues for the executives or their families can jeopardize the assignment and interrupt the work, resulting in great financial loss to the employer as well as personal disruption for the employee and his or her career," Hirschle said.

Hirschle's ability to think globally began years ago as a volunteer in the Peace Corps, where she worked for four years in Ecuador to promote health services in 10 rural communities. She helped to organize construction of sanitation facilities, dental and medical hygiene programs for school children, and community leadership training. After leaving the Peace Corps, Hirschle joined CIGNA working for its subsidiary, Intracorp, before moving to CIEB.

The CIEB nurse said there is a strong connection between what she did in the Peace Corps and what she does today. "I appreciate the rewards and difficulties that an expatriate assignment can bring, and how routine situations can become complex when not in your home environment. I learned that you can overcome most challenges and I gained a new level of confidence and creativity to solve health problems," Hirschle said.

"I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to use my international experience and blend that with patient care and nurse case management. There isn't any other job in nursing that I would rather have."

CIEB is a business unit of CIGNA International, the global business division of CIGNA Corporation (NYSE: CI - News). It is the world's largest provider of employer-sponsored insurance plans for expatriate employees and their insured family members. CIGNA International markets life, accident and employee benefits - including health care insurance - in selected markets around the world.


Source: CIGNA International





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