Robin Cronin, RN - Nurses Appreciation Legacy Award
As a Case Manager at Citrus Memorial Hospital, Robin Cronin helps people who are leaving the hospital access the resources, supplies and services they need for a successful recovery. This Legacy Award winner uses her 35+ years of nursing experience and her compassionate nature to help her patients get that care and support. “Robin is a testament to what a nurse is,” said Nurses Appreciation Judge Ralph Aleman, Citrus Memorial CEO. “She’ll work 10 hour shifts just to make sure her patients are cared for.” “I work with Robin quite often and I see how compassionate and patient she is,” added Isabelle Jean-O’Brien, director of Business Development at Citrus Health and Rehab and Nurses Appreciation judge. “She works tirelessly to get patients placed in rehab or a skilled nursing facility, or to arrange for home medical equipment. And she always follows up to find out how her patients are doing.”
Cronin started her career at CMH in 1996, after 15 years as a nurse in Palm Beach County. She worked as an emergency nurse at CMH, primarily doing patient triage, for another 15 years before transitioning to case manager. “I went into nursing right out of high school — basically, as long as I can remember, I wanted to work in the healthcare field,” she said. “I wanted to help people, I think that’s why most of us go into nursing. “In nursing, it’s the little things that make a difference in a patient’s experience,” she said. “Giving them some special attention, seeing to basic needs like offering a warm blanket. Maybe they are sitting by themselves, so we call a family member. Knowing I’ve made someone feel better has given me a lot of satisfaction.” After a decade in nursing in acute care settings, earning an LPN and RN, Cronin followed her dream of emergency nursing. As a triage nurse, she was the first point of contact for patients coming into the ER. She would assess patients and evaluate the severity of their injuries or illnesses, symptoms, and vital signs and determine the order in which they would receive treatment. The job was demanding and challenging, and Cronin loved it. “I like the hospital setting; every day is different. You interact with a lot of people and there’s not a lot of routine,” she said. “I always wanted to do emergency medicine and most of my ER work was in triage. I got a feel for people, seeing them coming in the door and diagnosing them. It was challenging at times, but also very rewarding.” Still, six years ago, Cronin felt it was time for a change and transferred to case management. Since then, she has earned several certifications in the field. “A lot of people don’t understand case management. It involves social work, discharge planning, and reviewing patient records to make sure they are at the right level of care,” she said. “We work to get patients what they need, whether it’s home medical equipment, home health, or placement in a skilled nursing facility.
“I’ve learned a lot about different disease processes, things a bedside nurse doesn’t always have time to do,” she added. “A lot of our elderly residents here in Citrus County don’t have access to resources and services that can help them. I enjoy knowing that if a patient is struggling at home, I can help connect them with the services that are available here.” Along with helping patients get medical services, Cronin often also assists them with more basic needs — and the compassion she is noted for kicks in.
“Sometimes patients end up in the ER because a concerned neighbor calls when they haven’t seen them in a while,” she said. “Local first responders come to check and take the person for medical care. They find there is no food in the refrigerator. We see a lot of that. It’s really sad. We do what we can to pull some services in while respecting the patient’s independence. We must stay on top of what resources are available. All of the case managers work closely together and share information. “I always try to be non-judgmental in dealing with patients and treat everyone like I would want to be treated,” she explained. “I take into account that we don’t all come from the same background. Some people have made poor life choices, but I don’t judge — I haven’t walked in their shoes.” Cronin looks at her career with pride but doesn’t feel like she deserves special recognition. “I’ve been a nurse a long time, but I don’t feel like I’ve done anything exceptional. My co-workers and other nurses, I think we all do a good job,” she said. “There’s satisfaction in just coming home at the end of the day knowing that I helped somebody get through something, that I’ve done my best.”