Earlier this month, Jill Pollander joined NORD as Director of Patient Services. Jill has a B.S. in Nursing from Northeastern University and a M.S. in Nursing from University of Phoenix. She brings a great breadth of experience in healthcare to NORD, including working as an emergency room nurse and in long-term care, establishing a Licensed Practical Nursing Program at Dover Business College, and managing the LPN program at Monroe College. She also ran her own nurse consulting business. Most recently Jill was Assistant Vice President of Underwriting & Physician Services at Hospitals Insurance Company Inc.. The following is a brief interview conducted recently with Jill in which she discusses her new position with NORD.
- What brought you to NORD? What about NORD’s mission speaks to you most?
As a nurse, the delivery of quality care is embedded into the fabric of our education. And of course, quality care is imperative. What I have found over the course of my career is that quality of life is an integral part of delivering quality care. Yet, this aspect of care receives less emphasis and less focus.
Working in long-term care and specializing in pain management and palliative care, quality of life takes on an even greater significance. It is an importance that formed the cornerstone of my nursing practice and a foundation I tried to instill in my nursing students. It is that significance and that understanding that attracted me to NORD and its mission. Providing patient assistance services, ensuring access to treatment and care for patients in the rare disease community, and lessening the impact that these disorders have on patients’ lives truly improves quality of life of not only for patients but for their families as well.
- How do you feel your background in nursing ties into your new role leading Patient Services?
It’s interesting that in health care we encounter thousands of patients with thousands of diagnoses. Even when caring for someone with a rare disorder, there is a tendency to think that this is a single rare disease and a single patient. I don’t think there is a recognition of the prevalence of rare disorders under a big umbrella of the approximately 7000 known rare diseases. Again, when thinking of rare diseases, we think rare, rather than thinking that 30 million people in the United States have such diagnoses. To me this is really striking; it speaks to the importance of NORD’s efforts not only in patient services, but in education, advocacy and research.
- What should the rare disease community know about you?
I’m a nurse; all I’ve ever wanted to be is a nurse. I have been so fortunate in my career to have had the ability to impact patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, future healthcare providers and organizations that support patients and healthcare providers. I am delighted to have joined the NORD team and am inspired by the efforts and successes NORD has had in the rare disease community.
- What are looking forward to most in your new role?
Alone we are rare. Together we are strong®. I like the idea of operationalizing that idea, of being able to assist patients in the access to care and treatment. I appreciate the opportunity to positively impact the quality of life of patients in the rare disease community. I am hopeful that the NORD programs affect not only the patients we assist today but the future of rare disease care and treatment as well.