Andrea Gambrell Bigelow (1995, BA Psychology)
WakeMed Health and Hospitals / Claims Analyst in Durham, NC
Tell us about your current job role and employer. What are you currently working on?
I investigate and handle medical malpractice claims. I work in the legal affairs office at WakeMed, and my particular area of the legal team is claims handling and analysis. If there is a complaint or medical malpractice allegation against a doctor, nurse, or therapist, I conduct internal investigations on the validity of those claims. I interview medical professionals and experts, view/review video evidence, read through medical records, etc. If the claim has merit, I negotiate settlements with the patient, surviving family member(s), and/or their attorney. If there are grounds for a denial, I will deny the claim and prepare the case for possible litigation. Trust me. Never a dull moment. Whew!!!
What key personal and/or career experiences led you to where you are today?
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for a career when I entered college. I took an intro psychology class, loved it, and decided to major in it. After college, I entered the insurance industry as an adjuster. Years later, all of my education and job experiences fell into place at WakeMed.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job? How do you navigate that challenge?
Healthcare is a tough job. When I get involved, tensions and emotions are especially high because a patient or family member feels things have gone terribly wrong or further complications have resulted. Good listening skills and empathy help tremendously with what I do and how I handle those difficult interactions.
What advice would you give to Wake Forest graduates about developing their personal life habits after college (finances, health, values, work/life balance)?
Self-care is essential. You can’t pour from an empty pot, so make time to take care of you. Prioritize a work-life balance. Get a good financial planner. Do whatever brings you peace and joy.
Tell us about your mentoring relationships. What impact have these relationships had on your career and life?
My most impactful mentoring relationships have been ones I’ve had with the youth. Andrea loves the kids (lol). I have volunteered through my sorority and mentored young girls in my community. I also volunteer my time with a youth baseball program that works to build interest and offer opportunities (financial and otherwise) to Black and Brown boys in Durham and surrounding areas.
What advice would you give to current Wake Forest students and/or young alumni who are interested in working in your industry?
Be an open thinker. Stay well read. Develop a thick skin.
What’s next for your career? What future goals or plans are you pursuing?
I’m looking forward to retirement in a few years.
Story published in September 2023. For current updates about Andrea, visit her Linkedin.