Meet the Nurse Team Reimagining At-Home Care for Nurses and Patients Alike
Before Jasmine Bhatti, PhD(c), MS, RN, became a registered nurse, she was a caregiver. Her grandmother was treated for advanced head and neck cancer, and Jasmine remembers acutely the fear she felt bringing her grandmother home from the hospital. It was, as she describes, one of the scariest experiences of her life. Later, when she was working as an overnight charge nurse, she watched patients and their caregivers experience that same fear and agony after discharge. Many of them would call back that same day, confused and uncertain about their instructions for medications and care. Often those patients would end up back in the emergency room within a week of discharge.
“That's when I realized that what I felt and experienced as a family caregiver wasn't unique to just me. There are millions of people who go through this every single year,” said Jasmine.
Jasmine is now the CEO and co-founder of Navi Concierge Nurses, an organization that aims to bring peace of mind to patients and their families through expert and compassionate at-home nursing care. According to data from Medicare, nearly 60% of their patients are discharged from the hospital without any access to home health, and 23% of patients have access to home health, but it is often not enough for their needs. Navi Nurses helps patients transition from the hospital to home, reducing the risk of hospital readmission. Alongside her co-founder and COO Ayan Said, MSN, RN, Jasmine founded Navi Nurses in 2020 with a mission to solve for this gap in the healthcare system in their home state of Arizona.
“Nurses have an incredible opportunity to be a part of transforming healthcare,” Jasmine said. “We have a great relationship with the people that we care for, and we have a keen understanding of the health care system that we're a part of. So, we recognize the gaps, and we see the problems that people are facing. I believe that nurses can be a part of the solution for making it better.”
Flexibility is key for this model of at-home nursing care. With Navi Nurses, if a patient needs around-the-clock care, nurses can come and stay with a patient overnight. In most cases, nurses stop by a few times a day, for a couple of hours and spend extra time educating and coaching the caregivers who are with the patient 24/7. Importantly, the right nurses go out to the right patients. Navi Nurses pairs nurses with patients based on need and expertise, such as sending a cardiac nurse to care for a patient who just underwent open heart surgery. This, unfortunately, is not the case with most home health services, where specialization is not considered. Jasmine and Ayan noticed this gap while examining patient data and saw that what someone needed most in their transition from hospital to home was extra support, education and specialized care. Navi Nurses aims to bring these services directly to the patients at home. Which, Jasmine says, changes everything.
In 2019, Ayan participated in a hackathon sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and the Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Leaders (SONSIEL). She credits this event for helping her identify her innate innovative spirit, and she quickly realized that she was not alone.
“I saw the ad [for the hackathon] and thought ‘oh my gosh, these are my people.’ I need to meet these rebels,” Ayan said. “I didn’t know what a hackathon was, but I knew that I needed to be there because nurses were going to be there.”
With the hackathon under her belt and inspired by the nurses she met at the event, Ayan was ready to find solutions to the most pressing problems facing our health care system. As ambitious nurse innovators, it was only a matter of time before Jasmine and Ayan met at the Phoenix Startup Week, despite working on the same floor at the Mayo Clinic. They found in each other “their person” and encourage all nurses looking to start their own business to do the same.
Navi is short for the Hindu word Anavi which means someone who is peace-loving and kind to others. Anavi also refers to the first ray of the sun in the morning. For Jasmine and Ayan, the values of kindness and peace-of-mind exemplify what it means to be a nurse. The duo says that they work to ensure the nurses they employ—whether they work for one hour or 12 hours a day—feel valued and included as part of a strong community. This focus on community and flexibility has helped them grow and retain nurses, allowing those who prefer to work part-time at the bedside to continue doing so.
“The value that we bring to nurses is truly what gets me up in the morning,” Ayan said. “We've been building a really, really amazing community of nurses that empower and help each other.”
Another important focus of Navi Nurses is providing culturally competent care. This became a focus for Jasmine and Ayan because of where they are in Arizona, where much of the population is Spanish speaking. Currently, 25% of the nurses employed by Navi Nurses speak another language, including Arabic, Somali, Spanish and Thai.
“We do such a disservice of sending patients home and not addressing language barriers,” said Jasmine. “We can offer patients the opportunity to be cared for by someone who speaks their same language, and we want to get to the point where we're able to provide culturally competent care. Patients should have access to someone who can understand their background and those specific needs, which research shows gives the best outcomes in care.”
Much like the first ray of the morning sun, which gave Navi Nurses its name, the future appears bright for Jasmine, Ayan and the entire team of nurses whom they lead and support. After a recent win at the Arizona Innovation Challenge, where they walked away with $150,000 and were the first team to ever win on their first shot, Jasmine and Ayan say they will use the money to continue moving Navi Nurses forward. Additionally, they are pursuing funding opportunities to build their own propriety technology, with the hopes that they will be able to expand their business beyond Arizona and take care of people around the U.S.
“You know, neither of us have a business background, but that's probably a good thing,” Ayan said. “Because I believe nurses are best-suited to be entrepreneurs: we're flexible, we're resourceful, we’re innovative. So, why not us?”