What’s it like to work at PatientsLikeMe? We are continuing to reveal just that with our monthly blog series “A Day in the Life,” which features PatientsLikeMe employees from different departments. Today we’d like to introduce you to Christine Caligtan, RN, MSN, a registered nurse who has served as our Health Data and Patient Safety Clinical Specialist since May 2011. Find out what that involves, why she made the switch to the health startup world and much more in our interview.
1. What’s it like to be a registered nurse at a health startup?
I could not be happier as a registered nurse at PatientsLikeMe. It’s the best of both worlds: I get to interact with patients online, and I am satisfying the informatics side of my interests by working the patients’ data and fostering their ability to track and maintain their health with online tools.
When I started working as a nurse I never thought my career path would lead me to a health startup. As I encountered different clinical settings and patient experiences, I knew that technology was the key to advancing healthcare. From that point, I decided I wanted to work in the field of nursing informatics. The first step in that direction was when I was asked to join a multi-disciplinary team to help build and design an electronic health record (EHR) for a hospital in New York City. Linking the patients and the healthcare team to the power of technology is extremely satisfying.
I first learned about PatientsLikeMe when I was in grad school. I was taking a course called Consumers and Interactive Healthcare, and my professor and advisor Lena Sorenson shared with us some of the innovative health companies for consumers, and PatientsLikeMe was one of them! In fact, Lena encouraged me to apply to PatientsLikeMe since I was looking for a shift in my career. It has turned out to be a perfect fit.
2. What kind of projects are you working on right now?
We have been working on some improvements for our epilepsy community, making existing tools easier to use and investigating how to better connect doctors and patients. Then, on a daily basis, David Blaser, our Health Data and Drug Information Clinical Specialist, and I curate the data that our users submit to us. Any time there is a condition, treatment or symptom that our users cannot find in our database, we review it and add it to our growing database of patient-reported data. Our job is to ensure we maintain structure and organization with all of the data.
3. You lead weekly yoga classes for PatientsLikeMe staff. Tell us about that.
One of the definite highlights of my job! Every Wednesday I have the privilege of leading a small group of staff in a 90-minute Hatha/Vinyasa yoga class. I completed my teacher training during the summer of 2011 at South Boston Yoga. When I came back from training, there was a lot of interest and support in having me teach at work. It’s been a lot of fun and has helped me grow my practice in so many ways.
Every week we roll out our mats and practice yoga together. All of my office mates know that Wednesdays at 5pm in Siberia (our back office space) is yoga time. To counter the frenetic energy in the office, I like to begin class with meditation and some grounding poses and then slowly turn up the heat with the more challenging poses. We practice together to honor the time and space that we create for ourselves so that we can be our best selves.
4. What are your three favorite things about working at PatientsLikeMe?
I am in constant amazement of the dedication to creating a meaningful experience for our patients and clients. I like our office camaraderie and commitment to creating change within healthcare. And of course, I love our weekly Wednesday yoga days. We rock out, sweat and play, and that’s my ideal end to a work day.
Interested in making a difference in patients’ lives? Check out our Careers page to see our current job openings. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, PatientsLikeMe is looking to hire an Analytics Strategist / Data Scientist, Chief Technology Officer, Data Visualization Engineer / Chart Developer and more at the moment.