New nurse navigator role at Wesley helps women cope

Wesley Medical Center (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kansas — There is a new kind of help for women who need medical care at Wesley Medical Center.

Jolinda Kelley is one of Wesley’s new women’s nurse navigators meant to help patients coordinate all aspects of care from paperwork to support groups.

Most recently, Kelley was there to help Ashley Rumford, a new mom of triplets who was struggling to figure out the next steps to take while her three babies were still in the NICU.

“You could just see how tired and overwhelmed Ashley was,” said Kelley. “I asked her what was wrong and how could I help. She held up a stack of paperwork and asked if I could help her make sense of it all.”

First though, Kelley helped an exhausted Rumford do what she really wanted to do and that was to take a shower.

Kelley’s role is a varied one and is new at Wesley and a first for Wichita. A registered nurse, she is able to help patients manage multiple health issues before, during and after hospitalization. She is available to help navigate patients through financial and community resources, while also serving as a liaison between the hospital and patients’ physicians. First and foremost, though, she is a trusted point of contact – a role that may have saved Rumford’s life.

“Jolinda seemed to go the extra mile to make sure I had everything I needed and was taken care of, and somebody to talk to and to cry to and just a shoulder to lean on,” said Rumford.

A few days after she was released from the hospital, Rumford was staying with her mother at an area campground until the babies were well enough to leave the NICU and go home to Ponca City, Okla., 87 miles away. Rumford became very ill while at the campground and reached out to Kelley. Kelley was able to assess the symptoms over the phone and get an ambulance out to get Rumford.

After emergency surgery, Rumford was admitted back to the hospital but she was too sick still to be able and visit her babies in the NICU. Kelley was there though and visited both mother and babies every day, bringing new pictures of the children for Rumford to see.

“The medical staff at Wesley was wonderful, but Jolinda was my angel,” Rumford said. “I don’t know how I would have gotten through all of this without her. She literally saved my life.”

Rumford was eventually released and after eight weeks her triplets were able to join her and go home.

“I am so thankful that Ashley and her family felt like they could call on me when they were scared and unsure of what to do,” said Kelley. “The complexity of the healthcare system can be overwhelming. That’s why I’m here.”

Jolinda Kelley is a Newman University graduate and has worked with women in Wesley’s women’s center for more than 10 years. She is distinctively qualified for this new role though by also having been a foster parent for more than 40 children, all of whom had special needs. This unique background helps give her a better understanding of the emotional needs of women as well as those of parents dealing with health and social issues involving their children.

As a nurse navigator, Kelley helps facilitate and coordinate all facets of health care. She provides health information and recommends screening services and connects patients with community resources such as those related to mental health, financial assistance, transportation, support groups, child care and many other needs. Kelley works with a variety of patients, including those with preterm labor, high blood pressure, postpartum depression, gynecological cancer, first pregnancy or high-risk pregnancy.

To learn more about Wesley’s women’s nurse navigation program, please visit and click on the Women’s Navigation Services Box on the home page.

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