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Recently returned to MSP from Denver, CO

When Lesley and her husband – both home-grown Minnesotans – moved back to Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP) in 2013, they never for a moment doubted their ability to find economic opportunity.

Lesley Isaac

Hospice RN, HealthPartners

For Lesley Isaac, a career as a Hospice RN with HealthPartners has offered her the opportunity to provide the same personal care to families that meant so much to her own family during her father’s illness. As a hospice care provider in MSP, it also provides her access to one of the nation’s most progressive medical communities, as well as a great home to raise her growing family.

Q: Hospice is a very sensitive time for patients and their families. What drew you to a career providing this type of care?

I actually earned my undergrad from the College of Saint Catherine in Saint Paul in social work, knowing early on that I wanted a career that allowed me to help people while forging real connections with them. That experience in the realm of social work translated pretty seamlessly to my continued education toward an RN degree, and it was during that training that my father fell ill and required hospice care of his own.

Our experience with hospice as family – as well as my own from the perspective of a medical professional – is what really solidified my decision to enter into this realm of patient care, as I had seen first-hand the positive impact it can have a patient’s end of life.

Q: With such a strong personal connection to your work, what about you career do you find the most rewarding?

I enjoy seeing patients in their home environments. In fact, doing so actually provides a much clearer picture of their overall health. It is intimate work in and of itself, but the opportunity to see patients and their families in such a comfortable environment can be incredibly powerful.

Q: In 2010, you and your husband – who also works within the medical community in the insurance industry – moved to Denver for his new job opportunity. What was that like, both from a professional and personal perspective?

That’s right! My husband was offered a transfer in 2010, and with no kids we figured if we were going to move away, now was the time. As a newcomer to Denver a few things stood out: it wasn’t very green, (as I am used to growing up in Minnesota) and many people there were also transplants. My husband made friends at work and got me connected to other nurses he crossed paths with, and we eventually settled into life together there.

For the three years we spent in Denver, I continued to work in hospice. When we returned to MSP in 2013, I made a short switch to home care for two rewarding years but realized fairly quickly that I missed the work.

Q: Why did you and your husband decide to move back to MSP in 2013?

We had our first son in January of 2013, and had full intentions of staying in Denver. I even had plans to head back to work in March. When the time came along, however, we started talking seriously about moving back to be closer to family.

The key factor that even made this discussion possible was our confidence that both of us would be able to find jobs in MSP should we return. If we hadn’t been as confident, that may have impacted our eventual choice to move back.

Q: Now a resident of Woodbury and raising two children, how has your perspective of MSP changed since “boomeranging” back?

Growing up here, I think I took for granted just how great of a place MSP is to raise a family. I’ve had friends and coworkers who also moved away for a while, or came to MSP from elsewhere, who have shared the same feelings.

From a professional perspective, I have an even stronger appreciation for how progressive hospice care is in Minnesota. Truly, the state is on the frontlines of some of the most innovative changes we’re seeing across the practice. The focus on holistic care, communication and support between doctors and hospice RNs, as well as the strength of the industry network have really stood out.

Q: How did you go about tapping into that network when looking for a position upon your return to MSP, and what were you looking for in an employer?

I had heard great things about HeathPartners (HP) throughout my profession, and had applied originally for a triage position. I was later contacted about a hospice supervisor role – somehow, my career path keeps bringing me back to hospice!

Q: What advice would you offer other RN professionals considering a move to MSP?

Working in a progressive health care community naturally lends itself to more opportunities as a professional, whether that’s moving laterally in a large organization like I did or jumping between the strong system of smaller providers here.

I would also encourage newcomers and professionals already living and working here to not be afraid to pursue your passions. Great employers will work hard to retain good talent and reward hard work, experience, ethics, and values.

Q: So, what’s your takeaway from your experience as a “boomerang”? More importantly, what’s next?

Overall, I’m glad we did it. But I’m also really glad to be back.

In the months to come, I’m looking forward to growing as a professional and continuing to advance my career. Whether that be in hospice or branching out in the field of nursing where there are a wide range of areas I can go into. I’ve never doubted the ability to do it here in MSP.

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