“My goal was always to work in health”: Karen Tansey on doing something worthwhile
It’s not long into the conversation with Karen Tansey about growing up in nature-rich Ipswich (Queensland, Australia) before she talks of her dream of working in healthcare.
Karen’s bubbly personality and a personal ethos of positivity and helping others, make it easy to see that she’s a perfect fit for the industry.
At first, she dreamt of becoming a dietician. “I was very much into food,” she jokes. But unfortunately, she wasn’t able to go down that path due to a mix up with subjects at high school.
A little disheartened, she wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted to do. After a time, she decided to apply for a job at her local hospital, and went on to work in just about every section, particularly within the geriatric and rehabilitation unit.
A sponge in how she absorbs information, this is where she developed her knowledge of aged care and her passion for the industry began.
When she started a family, she took some time out (and became a qualified dance teacher in tap and jazz!). After a few years away from the healthcare sector to raise her kids she found a role as an Account Executive with a local newspaper.
However, she felt unfulfilled and missed the kind of work she was doing at the hospital helping others. She set about upskilling herself through various courses and applying for roles.
Karen was overjoyed when she landed a role with a national home care provider as a Home Care Services Manager. She was tasked with managing general operations including the delivery of services, budgeting, rostering and scheduling, education and training, invoicing, and whatever else was required of her to achieve the best outcomes for her team and clients.
Due to relocating to the Gold Coast, Karen had to move on, but not without having cemented herself as an integral part of the team. Over the next few years, she worked in-house and as a consultant with her roles spanning both disability and aged care sectors. Opportunities in employment services, and as a state, regional, senior, customer care and customer service manager for various home care and community services providers only strengthened Karen’s skills and knowledge of the sector.
Funding, workforce and software
Karen’s touched almost every aspect of the industry throughout her roles and has developed an intimate understanding of its challenges and how it operates. Discussing some of the biggest challenges providers face, she mentions managing funding, poorly supported workforces and software programs for delivery (or lack thereof).
Speaking on the issue of the sector not embracing the use of software solutions, Karen mentions that some organisations in the sector may only use spreadsheets which “when you’re dealing with client budgets and payroll, just becomes too messy.”
Where providers do have software, it may not update or it may have to be updated by an internal team member and it can “create more issues and you don’t get the truth from any of that data”. She elaborated, “I believe that a software solution has to continue to meet the outcomes of the government’s requirement under legislation and delivery to be the best product.”
This very idea underpins the development of the Lumary platform which is constantly evolving to meet the demands of the sector. With the ongoing Government aged care reforms and the fast-paced changes that will come into effect over the next few years, Lumary anticipated the significant impact this will have on providers, especially as the sector adapts to a more person-centred model. With this in mind, bringing on board an expert like Karen was fundamental to Lumary’s product development and in ensuring the platform continues to meet customer needs.
A passion for research
After her first interview, Elise Giancola (Chief Product, Research and Innovations Officer) was seriously impressed. When Karen was asked to talk about what she knew of the aged care programs, Elise says, “she recited the whole HCP and CHSP program manual – I don’t think she left anything out.”
Elise knew immediately that Karen would be the perfect fit for the role. “We felt incredibly lucky to have Karen Tansey join our team and are grateful for her extensive experience and the common sense approach she brings to her work,” Elise says.
For the past 17 years, Karen has subscribed to every source of industry information available so that she’s always in the know about best practices, compliance and regulatory changes.
She admits she finds it hard to switch off sometimes. When asked what one thing she does every day is, “research” is her response. “I’m passionate about doing research and having correct and true information at all times,” Karen continues, “and there are so many ongoing changes that it’s hard for any organisation to stay on top of.”
I thought, if it’s going to help provide support to providers and their clients, I’ve got to give this a go.
On what drew her to Lumary, Karen reflected on many providers’ struggles with workforce management and care delivery. “I have a passion for this industry, and I know what issues are impacting a provider”, she says, “so when Elise spoke about Lumary’s vision, I thought, if it’s going to help provide support to providers and their clients, I’ve got to give this a go.”
She admitted that there’d be plenty to learn in joining a tech company, but spurred by the opportunity to continue growing and support many more providers and care recipients by solving fundamental challenges that providers face, she knew it was the right move for her.
Investigation, investigation, integration
So what does an Aged Care Subject Matter Expert do at Lumary? She describes her role in three words, “Investigation, investigation, integration.”
The first ‘investigation’ she’s referring to is the current landscape of the aged care sector and how compliance standards are being met. The second ‘investigation’ refers to what’s upcoming, mapping out services and considering how the Lumary solution can best evolve to meet the changing demands.
With ‘integration’, she means the way in which she engages with multiple teams at Lumary in sharing this wealth of information. However, it also extends to engaging with Lumary’s aged care providers to assist them with the implementation of our platform as someone who is passionate about working directly with providers and truly understands the process and the challenges.
Ultimately, her role is about looking at ways to provide the best outcomes for providers and how Lumary can constantly improve on solutions to meet the needs of service providers.
The value of values
There are many reasons why Karen loves her new life at Lumary, from the constant learning opportunities to the new challenges she gets to tackle every day. Ultimately, her affinity for Lumary comes down to shared values. Examples of Lumary’s values are scattered throughout our conversation, from ‘Always Growing’ when she delves into her research, or ‘Better Together’ when she engages with colleagues and the community.
But the Lumary value she epitomises best is ‘Wholehearted’. This mindset, promoted by CEO Joseph Mercorella, encourages employees to focus on dedicating their time and energy to helping each other and our community. It’s one reason why philanthropy and community engagement is part of the fabric of life at Lumary.
Getting this right means improving business processes and in turn, the employee experience and support to care recipients.
Likewise, reflecting on her career so far and what she enjoys most about working in the industry she says that it’s about “knowing I’m doing something worthwhile, and supporting providers, clients, and staff to make their jobs easier.”
And what is she most looking forward to next? “This! Because getting this right means improving business processes and in turn, the employee experience and support to care recipients.” She talks about one of her primary aims in her work: “to provide wellbeing and enablement to all – whether that’s organisations, staff, or the community.”
If that doesn’t sum up the Lumary way, we’re not sure what does. We’re so excited to have Karen join the Lumary family, and for the value she brings to the team and the community.