Casey Kafena is our nurse practitioner and Director of Clinical Services. She works very closely with all of our physicians and provides very compassionate care to our patients. She created and currently manages our ALS clinic and is involved in most areas of our practice.
Why did you choose to specialize/work in neuromuscular disorders?
I have always been fascinated with neurology and when I was looking for my first nurse practitioner position, a good friend told me about Dr. Hussain and Austin Neuromuscular Center. I was drawn to the neuromuscular field for the varied diagnostic testing and treatment options. I am fortunate to have Dr. Hussain as my mentor and teacher. My goal as a provider is to manage a patient’s disease, but more importantly, to provide comfort in scary situations. I like to humanize medical care and speak on a level that everyone understands.
What is your role at ANC?
Currently, I am the Director of Clinical Services and a provider. I started off as a provider and would see clinic, infusion, and research patients. But more recently, I have expanded my role and am involved in every department at ANC. I’m usually juggling 19 different things at a time, but I like it that way! It’s a lofty goal, but I want all employees and patients to be content. After such a tough couple of years through COVID, the power of human connection should not be forgotten.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
I absolutely love it when we can provide an answer for a patient’s symptoms. Some of our patients have been searching for years and seen so many different providers before coming to us. I am also proud of myself for creating our ALS clinic. Our ALS patients are very dear to me and I find it very rewarding to provide multidisciplinary care for them.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
It’s extremely difficult to give a patient the news of a progressive disease that has no treatment. That is, hands down, the hardest part of my job.
And separately, sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day to resolve every issue and finish a project.
Why did you choose to work in Austin?
I’ve been here since 2009. I grew up in North Carolina so all of Austin’s nature reminds me most of home.
Why did you choose to work at ANC?
My friend, who is my mentor, told me about Dr. Hussain and ANC, so I trusted her recommendation and I’m glad I did! Although my job can be stressful, I like how we are ever-changing and always striving to be better. We have developed a culture here where every role is equally important, where we are transparent with one another, and where we try to have some fun along the way. I love my ANC family!
What would your patients be surprised to learn about you, outside of the clinical setting?
I think my patients may be surprised to learn that I listen to and love heavy metal music! Some other interesting facts: I was run over by a truck when I was younger, I had a Queen tribute band play at my wedding, and I was once very close to opening my own bagel shop.