RN Nicci Todd Didn’t Always Want to Be a Nurse — Learn What Changed Her Mind and Why She Strives 

Author : Strive Health

One not-so-great experience Niccole (Nicci) Todd had with a nurse many years ago got her thinking: “There has to be a better way to care for patients.”  

The experience was so motivating that it prompted her to pursue a career in nursing.   

Read on to learn what happened — and why she loves being a nurse and feels that Strive’s value-based approach to kidney care is critical.    

Q: How long have you been a nurse?  

A: 23 years and I love it. I started as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), became an RN, got my bachelor’s in nursing and started with Strive in case management.  

Q: How long have you worked at Strive?  

A: I have worked at Strive since December 2021. I started on the Intensive Case Management (ICM) team for the central market. The following July our team was dispersed across multiple markets. That team was so great and we worked really hard.  

I transitioned to the Humana market in July 2022 and was promoted to Lead RN in March 2023. The leadership team really empowers us to grow and succeed. I have never felt so supported in my career as I do at Strive. 

Q: Did you always want to be a nurse? 

A: Not always. I had a terrible experience with a nurse when I was delivering my son and I thought to myself, “There has to be a better way to care for patients.” That prompted me to go to nursing school. That experience was a blessing in disguise. I just knew I could take great care of people and that patients deserve better care. 

Q: Why do you Strive?  

A: My friend worked at Strive and heavily encouraged me to apply. Not only was she a Striver, but she was also a kidney patient. Unfortunately, she passed away right before my interview. She loved Strive and advocated for it so much, which was such a blessing. And once I met the team, I knew I had to be involved in this company and I haven’t regretted it since. So, she’s the reason I strive. I continue to strive for her every day. 

Q: What is your favorite patient story at Strive? 

A: There was a patient who was very sick. We got her walking again, diabetes under control and pain level to zero. We were able to step in and help her get the right medications, qualify for patient assistance programs and find ways to make treatment more affordable and obtainable. She graduated from ICM recently. She still reaches out to thank me and I will never forget her. 

Q: What is the most challenging aspect of your role? 

A: Documentation takes time. Sometimes it is challenging to get ahold of records that aren’t in the system. When we don’t have consent immediately, it can cause delays in working toward goals.   

Q: What makes you proud to be a nurse? 

A: As a nurse, I love helping people. I can’t imagine doing anything else. Ever. It wouldn’t be the same to not care for patients and help change how they view healthcare.  

Q: Why would you recommend a nursing career? 

A: If your goal is to feel better about the care patients receive and the overall healthcare system, I would absolutely recommend a nursing career. You have the ability to change people’s lives for the better. It feels so good to help patients every day. There will always be bad days at any job, but the good days far outweigh the bad days. 

Q: What makes Strive different? How has having a value-based care structure impacted your work? 

A: This environment is different because we are providing something people say they do, but they don’t really. At a doctor’s office, a patient is seen by one doctor. At Strive, a patient is seen by the entire Kidney HeroesTM team: a case manager, a dietitian, a social worker and a nurse practitioner. Our team cares for the patient as a whole, so nothing falls through the cracks. Most patients are shocked when we tell them they will be getting a call from their nurse practitioner or that we have dietetics classes available. We do everything. Strive provides patients with their own mini-support system that follows them wherever they go. You can tell the difference. My focus is to show them we are listening and that we care. A personal touch, like remembering details about someone’s life and making them feel seen and heard, makes all the difference. 

As for our team, the whole leadership team is transparent and authentic. Strive does what it says. Supervisors don’t talk at you; they lead you. This approach really impacts our work, especially in stressful times. I love being a case manager and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I love Strive. It’s easy to come to work because I love my market, my team and my supervisors. I have never felt this way before in my career. This is a company with which I can see myself retiring. 

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