Tell us about yourself!
My name is Jon McCue and I am the Clinic Navigator at Veritas Collaborative’s Child, Adolescent, and Adult Center in Richmond, Virginia. I have been with the company since September of 2017.
Describe the path that led you to Veritas Collaborative.
I had a meandering path to where I am now. I started off studying fashion design at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and I had no intention of going into healthcare. I took my first psychology class to meet some requirements to complete my degree and I ended up taking a few more because I thought the subject was interesting. Before I knew it, I met all the qualifications to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and I was way behind in my fashion design program.
After graduation, I still didn’t exactly have a plan for what I wanted to be when I grew up. I started volunteering at Side by Side, a local LGBT youth group, while working part-time as a recruiter for twin studies at VCU. My first deep dive into the healthcare field was a few months later when I started working at an acute inpatient facility for child and adolescent behavioral health. That was the first time I started to develop a passion for the field. It was fascinating to see the complexity of behavioral health outside of the vacuum of the lecture hall, as well as how much of a difference can be made in just a few days of acute care.
I worked there for about four years before financial strains started to lure me away from the hospital system. As rewarding as the work was, it’s criminal that the people charged with saving children’s lives are expected to survive on $10.25 an hour. Through a connection I was able to find a position working at a major bank in its bankruptcy department. It was a terrible decision. The pay and the benefits were great. I loved the normal 9-to-5, and it had great opportunities for growth and advancement. But suddenly I had gone from a person saving lives to a person hurting them. One month I helped save a child from a jury-rigged ligature, and the next month I had to repossess a woman’s car that she needed to get to her chemotherapy appointments. Luckily for me, a former coworker had transitioned to Veritas Collaborative, and she was looking for therapeutic assistants.
My growth into my current position really came about from simply asking for more to do and a series of fortunate events. There were several times when the Center needed additional coverage for the front desk, and I volunteered as often as I could to learn more about the role of administrative staff in a hospital setting. When a part-time front desk position opened, I negotiated for the ability to work 20 hours a week at the front desk and 20 hours a week as a therapeutic assistant.
From there, I started volunteering with the intake and admissions process and working more closely with the office manager. After some time, the office manager moved on from her role and the executive director asked me to fill in on a temporary basis. I guess I did well enough filling in because two months later I was offered the position full-time and I’ve been doing it ever since.
What motivates you to show up for work each day?
I’m grateful for the opportunity to have a place on the leadership team here in Richmond after the experience I’ve had working on the front line. The position of clinic navigator (or patient navigator, at some of our other sites) provides an interesting vantage point at the crossroads between our patients, frontline staff, clinical staff, our teams in intake, specialty access services, health information management, and so many others. I want to be an amplifier for those on the team who feel they’re not heard.
Strangest job you’ve ever had?
I’ve had a lot of interesting jobs over the years, including when I was an extra in a couple of TV shows and movies. For a while, Virginia had a lot of filming going on in the area. Because of this, I can say that I was in World War II, the Civil War, and the Revolutionary War, where I played a wounded soldier, dying soldier, and dead soldier, respectively. (I’ve definitely been typecast here.) I have no acting skills whatsoever and I’m great at going unnoticed, so it’s perfect for me. Who wouldn’t love dressing up in costumes every day for work?
Here I am in a powdered wig, cast as “The King’s Livery,” looking totally snazzy. My entire role was holding a door open from behind and completely out of sight of the cameras for four hours. They could have gotten the same effect from a wooden doorstop. But a doorstop doesn’t get to dress up like this!
I wish I could close out this monologue with “The moral of the story is…” but honestly nothing original springs to mind. So instead I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from a former therapeutic assistant, who I miss dearly.
“Have a great day! And if you can’t don’t you go messing it up for no one else.” – O.G.