September 29, 2015
By Kim DiGioia, MSPH
Claudia Marsh, a tenacious single mother of three and RightCare Action Week captain, is new to medicine. But that certainly doesn’t diminish her passion for caregiving and enthusiasm for fixing a broken system.
After working in graphic design for 20 years, Marsh felt that something was missing and decided it was time for a career change. She is now a third-year nursing student at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, where she has a reputation as an advocate against overuse and for better end-of-life care.
Marsh, like many Americans, has a number of stories about not receiving the right care. She shared that her father, at age 80, underwent a quadruple bypass and carotid resection. He never recovered and passed away a year later. She reflects, “That is not how he would have wanted things…. No one ever told us, ‘let’s slow down, let’s take a breath, let’s think about the implications,’ the attitude was ‘this is what had to be done.’”
She joined several groups to learn more about how to prevent others from going through a similar experience, and through these learned of the Lown Institute. Of her experience attending the Lown Institute annual conference, Marsh says, “Being surrounded by like-minded people, I felt like I found ‘my tribe’ in a professional sense.”
She is now leading the planning for RightCare Action Week at her nursing school, with the goal of highlighting gaps in medicine and demonstrating what good care can be. Her efforts will focus specifically on disseminating information about overuse. Marsh thinks this kind of education is especially important among nurses, “the best patient advocates.”
Marsh hopes that when health professionals, patients, and families understand the issues and implications of overuse, change will happen. And RightCare Action Week is the starting point. She says of the RightCare Alliance, “We can make a difference, we CAN effect change. Definitely.”