UnitedHealthcare nurse turns video series into community connection

As a nurse liaison for UnitedHealthcare, Cathy Saunders never imagined herself as a host of a weekly video series but when COVID-19 hit, she needed to get creative. Cathy had been newly assigned to provide health services to employees of the City of Columbus, Ohio – where she’d typically meet with her clients to introduce herself and share information about how she can help support their well-being. But that just wasn’t possible in the midst of a pandemic, so she needed to find a way to engage with the community from a distance.

nurse Cathy holding a shirt that says "I am Nurse Cathy" nurse Cathy holding a shirt that says "I am Nurse Cathy"

While she’s the first to admit she’s not a tech expert, Cathy worked with the Columbus Benefits team to launch a weekly video series called Five on Fridays with Nurse Cathy. In these five-minute clips, she provides tips and advice on topics like breast cancer prevention, autoimmune conditions, COVID-19 testing and flu shots. Plus, she’s able to promote her services, like health coaching, chronic disease management and health care navigation, which come at no additional cost to the employees she serves. 

“The video series has been a creative way to introduce Nurse Cathy to these members, establishing her as a familiar voice and face, both now and when in-person engagements resume,” said Jenn Bowen, UnitedHealthcare senior strategic account executive for Columbus. 

This connection was key as a majority of the staff was working from home due to COVID-19, yet city officials wanted to make sure they remained focused on taking ownership of their health while being remote. 

Cathy’s videos were a hit, with many employees taking her health tips and putting them into practice. She’s even had people reach out with follow-up questions and share the positive impact she’s made. 

“I received numerous questions about the flu vaccine and the new high-dose flu vaccine,” Cathy said. “Several stated they had been reluctant to receive one in the past but thought this year they would.” 

In fact, after seeing the engagement around Cathy’s flu shot video, four onsite flu clinics were planned to help make it easier for employees to get their vaccines.

Another video, which focused on weight-loss management, inspired an employee to start a support group among her friends to help motivate them to reach their weight-loss goals.

The community continues to suggest new topics, like nutrition tips or how to find a primary care physician for their annual wellness checkups. As long as new questions arise, the videos will likely continue, Cathy said. 

“Every Friday when I watch these, I’m just so proud of this partnership and to have Nurse Cathy on our team,” said Sonya Burley, employee benefits and risk manager for Columbus. “She is so informative, even for someone like me.”