Nurses Embrace Employer Healthcare to Spend More Time with Patients

Updated on June 14, 2023
Nurse Giving Patient Injection of Oncology Drugs

After five years, nurse practitioner Kristen Osburn left urgent care where she saw patients every five minutes. “There would be days when it was difficult to find the time to sit down or eat,” she says, adding that she knew it was time for a change about a year ago, as stress took its toll. The American Nurses Association 2022 Workplace Survey revealed that 68% of nurses experienced stress, and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing reported in April that about 100,000 registered nurses have left the profession since 2020.

Osburn, however, did not want to leave the profession. Instead, she wanted to get back to the reason why she went into healthcare… to build relationships with patients and help them get healthy. Osburn spoke to former colleagues who recommended joining them at Marathon Health, an employer healthcare model that has worksite locations in 43 states, 7 Network locations in and around Indy; other Networks in metro areas across the U.S.; and virtual care nationwide. 

Jeff Wells, MD, CEO and Co-founder of Marathon Health, says its advanced primary care model offers employees a healthcare team that focuses on establishing trusted relationships. “We take a holistic approach to every member’s well-being – physical, emotional and mental,” he says. “Our care teams are united by their focus on improving overall health outcomes.”

Wells adds that they built the care model to put the wellbeing of their healthcare teams first: “If we take care of our teams, they will take better care of the members they serve.”

When Osburn learned she could spend more time with patients and focus on preventive care, she applied and accepted the job in July 2022. Today, she works at the Greenwood Network Health Center in Greenwood, Indiana, and acts as a floating nurse practitioner at employer worksite locations and other Networks. On this day, she was caring for employees at a Boar’s Head manufacturing facility in Newcastle, Indiana. 

“I get to know the members on a personal level,” Osburn says. “I get to know what their grandchildren call them, I learn about their pets, and then it just opens the conversation to a different level when it comes to their health. We build trust. There were very few patients I got to know in the urgent care setting.”

The employer-sponsored healthcare model changes how care is delivered. Independent of a healthcare system, the model works for the patient by helping them get and stay healthy. Members are surrounded by an integrated healthcare team that might include a nurse practitioner, physician, medical assistant, behavioral health counselor, health coach and physical therapist.  

“When we hire clinicians, we search for individuals who fundamentally believe in developing relationships with patients, versus treating the patient experience like a transaction,” Wells says. “We want our care teams to be proactive —not reactive — to anticipate our members’ needs and plan for the future.”

By allowing providers to take ownership and partner with the member to achieve their health goals and objectives, they’re often much happier in their careers, too. “The traditional healthcare system is very broken,” says Kirsten Calhoun, a registered nurse based in Indianapolis who works for Marathon Health’s Anywhere virtual advanced primary care solution. “A lot of people avoid going to the doctor. It’s expensive, they’re worried about what they’re going to be told or they haven’t had a good experience in the past.”

Calhoun says it’s different at Marathon Health. She’s able to spend more time with patients and embrace them in that holistic care. She may be explaining how to use the remote monitoring blood pressure cuff to a patient, and learn about a highly stressful life event, where she can then recommend the patient talks to a behavioral health counselor from Marathon Health.  

“I’m able to show my patients that I’m there for them and walk beside them through their health journey, whether they’re dealing with grief, a new diabetes diagnosis, or needing to lose weight,” Calhoun says. “It can be a life-changing experience. I love being part of that.”

Wells says empowering care teams to truly take care of members is the No.1 reason they have a 93% provider retention rate, a 94% member satisfaction rate, and why employers see savings of up to $2,000 per employee when they embrace this care model. “When you make it easy for people to get the care they need, they are more likely to take care of their health,” Wells says. “It’s that simple. Our care teams get to build those important relationships with our members, and that’s the reason for our success.”

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Terry Layman, MD
Terry Layman, MD joined Marathon Health in 2012 and today serves as Senior Vice President, Corporate Medical Director. Prior to joining Marathon Health, he worked in hospital systems and led private practices in Marion and Fishers, Indiana. Dr. Layman graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine and completed his family medicine residency at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. He is a board-certified family physician with more than 20 years of experience as a primary care provider. He is also member of the American Medical Association, the Indiana State Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
As SVP, Corporate Medical Director, Dr. Layman serves on the senior leadership team and provides clinical leadership for our 200+ health centers. Dr. Layman is passionate about delivering patient-centered primary care and continues to dedicate a portion of his time as a provider in one of our health centers. He enjoys taking a holistic perspective, spending the necessary time to fully understand an issue, while working to clarify options and recommendations with his patients.