On episode 310 of The Nurse Keith Show nursing and healthcare career podcast, Keith interviews Joy Fernandez de Narayan, DNP, FNP-C of Mercy Care, a federally qualified health center and Atlanta’s only healthcare for the homeless program. Dr. Fernandez de Narayan provides high-quality street-based medicine to the most vulnerable members of the community. This is truly heartfelt mission-oriented service that furthers the healing ministry of the Sisters of Mercy.

Joy Fernandez de Narayan, DNP, FNP-C, is a nurse practitioner based in Atlanta, GA. After moving to metro Atlanta from Miami in high school, Joy graduated in 2010 with a bachelor’s in nursing from Kennesaw State University and went on to earn her master’s in nursing in 2012 from Emory University. Joy practiced primary care at Mercy Care, a federally qualified Community Health Center serving Atlanta’s most vulnerable populations, for 5 years before earning her Doctorate in Nursing Practice with a concentration in health systems leadership.

Dr. Fernandez de Narayan continues to practice primary care at Mercy Care on the Street Medicine team while also leading the organization’s Street Medicine and Community Homeless Outreach Programs.

When not working, she enjoys spending time on her small farm with her husband of five years, two dogs, three cats, and a flock of chickens and ducks. She enjoys gardening, reading, and generally being outside.

Dr. Fernandez de Narayan finds her purpose and motivation deeply rooted in her Christian faith and continues to look for creative ways to further Christ’s healing ministry at home and abroad.

ABOUT MERCY CARE

Founded by the Sisters, Mercy Care provides compassionate healthcare in the spirit of loving service to those in need. With 11 primary care clinic sites, Mercy Care is a medical home to thousands who want high-quality, comprehensive, affordable healthcare. Mercy Care has been serving the working poor, a large Hispanic population and those experiencing homelessness in the metro Atlanta area for 35 years. Patients pay what they can afford on a sliding fee scale based on household income.

  • Mercy Care provides integrated medical and mental health services. So, if a primary care provider has a patient who screens positive for depression, for example, there can be a warm hand-off to a behavioral health provider; avoiding the stigma of having to come back to the clinic or be referred out. Our clinicians often say you cannot expect someone with mental health conditions to manage their diabetes until you treat the whole person.
  • Dental and vision care is essential to quality of life and self-esteem. These services are also often key to finding a good job as well.
  • HIV testing, treatment and prevention as well as other infectious diseases can be addressed and managed at Mercy Care.
  • Mercy Care proactively builds trust with Atlanta’s most vulnerable through daily outreach. Services like Street Medicine and Community Outreach Homeless Programs (CHOP) lead to more preventive care, housing, improved quality of life and reconnection to family and support networks.
  • Mercy Care has an in-house pharmacy, a program that provides access to breast and cervical cancer screenings and treatment as well as two respite care facilities for men and women who have nowhere to safely recuperate after a hospital stay.

Approximately 250 employees serve our patients and clients. Those we serve come to Mercy Care from across North Georgia. But the location of our clinics in the Atlanta metro area pulls most from highly populated Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett and Cobb counties.

 

Mercy Care serves 16,000 patients annually through more than 60,000 visits.

  • 64% of our patients are homeless.
  • 74% live at or below the federal poverty line.
  • 77% are uninsured.

Across all sites in 2019:

  • 62,537 Total clinic visits (all service lines)
  • 15,748 Clinic patients
  • 26,956 Medical visits
  • 12,058 Mental health visits
  • 11,360 Dental visits
  • 5,626 Case management visits
  • 2,633 Vision visits
  • 2,523 Substance Use Disorders

NOTE: These numbers do not include those we serve in non-clinical settings including: outreach, HIV prevention, TB testing, benefits enrollment, supportive housing services, and other various social services.

You can also listen to a January, 2021 interview with Joy — “An Atlanta ‘Street Medicine’ Program Adapts To The Pandemic” — on WABE public radio in Atlanta.



CONNECT WITH MERCY CARE ATLANTA: 


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Nurse KeithIn case you didn’t already know, Nurse Keith is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, keynote and motivational speaker, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. From 2012 until its sunset in 2017, Keith co-hosted RNFMRadio, a groundbreaking nursing podcast. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at NurseKeith.com.
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