Ann Burke, Patient Advocate of the Violence Recovery Program (Cape Cod)
Joined Fenway in March, 2016
Education: Associate Degree in Nursing, Cape Cod Community College; Master’s in Counseling, Cambridge College.
What inspired you to become the Violence Recovery Patient Advocate for Cape Cod?
I have always been an advocate for the underserved populations as well as a humanitarian. I have been a nurse for over 25 years and advocated for my patients regarding their own needs, or that of their family, whether it was a physical, emotional or financial need. I have the ability to step outside the box and look at the challenges through their lenses.
What brought you to Fenway Health?
I was familiar with Fenway as a visiting nurse in the 90’s, with the majority of my caseload comprising the HIV/AIDS population. The Advocate position caught my eye while I was searching for a part-time position in the counseling field, and I thought to myself: “This is the perfect job for me.”
Any clinical interests or specializations? What drew you to these areas?
I am very interested in the dynamics of abuse in relationships, which is why my Master’s Thesis was titled: Are Batter Intervention Programs Effective? While working as a Nurse, I saw the need for advocacy for cancer patients, which prompted me to go back to school to get my Master’s in Counseling. I did my internship at Independence House in Hyannis, where I was very effective with the clients and became a trainer for the Seeking Safety Trauma based group work.
Are there any developments or advancements in the field that you’re particularly excited about?
I think the work that Fenway is doing with the Transgender population is amazing.
What do you like most about being a Patient Advocate?
I enjoy networking with other agencies on the Cape. I am a people person. I also enjoy being able to assist the LGBTQ community on the Cape, as resources are limited here.
When you have time off, what do you get up to?
My first favorite pastime is spending time with my 2 yr. old granddaughter. My second favorite thing is to go Dancing with friends. There are several bands that we follow. I also ride my bike, kayak and from the End of July through Labor Day spend as many weekends as possible in Saratoga NY, watching the Thoroughbreds run at Saratoga Race Course.
What has been the best part of your training so far?
Working with my team they are all Wonderful!! Also the positive approach Fenway has towards employees.
Can you tell us a little about your schooling and formal training?
I am a Registered Nurse with my associate degree in Nursing from Cape Cod Community College. I received my master’s at Cambridge College, through an access program which, at the time, took into account combined work experience and course work to grant credits equivalent to a bachelor’s degree.
What surprises you most about your line of work?
The fact that in this day and age our country still has many prejudices and the lack of empathy, education and understanding for all the people in this world. There’s still so much education to be done regarding the LGBTQ community.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Being physically connected to the team only once a week. Email does not have the same nuance as face-to-face.
How do you see the field changing or growing in the future?
If I could wave a magic wand… More open acceptance for the LGBTQ population; more money put in the bucket to offer more services at all levels; and continued research on people living with HIV/AIDS.
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