Olivia DoVale, RN, BSN

Not many people are heroes in college, but not many people are Olivia DoVale.

While a nursing student at Western CT State University, DoVale, nee D’Avanzo, was a passenger on a flight that encountered such intense turbulence that a flight attendant was seriously injured. When a call for medical assistance was issued to passengers, DoVale identified herself as a nursing student and tended to the injured woman until the plane made an emergency landing. The semester before the incident, Dovale had trained in trauma care in hospital intensive care and emergency departments, so she felt confident in her ability to provide proper care.  The incident received widespread press coverage and may have been a foreshadowing to DoVale’s devotion to the well-being of others.

Olivia DoVale’s formal nursing career began on a gastrointestinal surgical ward where she developed affection for specialized care which transitioned to in-home nursing.  “I love the closeness that develops with patients because you get to know them as people. I have daily thoughts of one woman, in particular. We walked out of her house together following my home visit, told one another ‘I love you’ and a few hours later she was gone from a massive heart attack. The losses are really hard,” she said. Originally lured by the flexibility of the vast career opportunities within the nursing profession, DoVale discovered she was drawn to the administrative side of healthcare because she thrived on finding solutions for challenges behind the scenes. A self-described ‘Type A’ personality, she relishes in the creation and implementation of precise and effective systems, a trait that is well utilized in a new program for RVNAhealth, the Chronic Care Management Program. 

An alternative for patients to institutionalized healthcare settings, the Chronic Care Management Program provides individuals proactive care at home so that they may maintain quality of life and independence. The program is implemented using several different Medicaid waiver programs which allow individuals to receive services, based on individual needs and goals, at a reduced cost. These services can include personal caregivers, companions, and nonskilled nursing (aides), nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and medical social work.

Spearheading a new program has been complex, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We were not given a guide teaching us how to run this program. [RVNAhealth] is exceptional at patient care — that’s the easy part. Running a new program efficiently and learning about the waiver programs has been largely self-directed; it’s difficult getting concrete answers when the world has been dealing with a global health crisis,” she said. DoVale is thankful for RVNAhealth leadership, which has afforded her the autonomy to shape the program but offers support when she needs it. She intends to leverage this balance when growing the program in the communities where the nonprofit has an established reputation for excellence. “I’d like to see the Chronic Care Management Program be as well regarded as the rest of our services so that patients and practitioners refer those who would benefit from it,” she said.

When not working or saving strangers on airplanes, DoVale enjoys time spent with her husband, two young sons, and two dogs. A fan of horseback riding, she loves walking on the beach, being near the water and enjoying time with friends over a good glass of wine. Olivia DoVale earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, with psychology minor, from Western CT State University. She has been part of the RVNAhealth family since fall 2016.

Olivia DoVale, RN, BSN