I’ve been working in the role of Bariatric Program Coordinator at St. Joseph’s since February 2012. Every day is different, as I am responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the bariatric program to ensure we maintain the requirements to be a Bariatric Center of Excellence (which we received from the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery in March 2011). In an average day, I coordinate with many other areas of the hospital, including the operating room, recovery and unit 4-2, where our bariatric patients stay pre- and post-op, providing education to staff on all aspects of caring for and getting updates on our surgical bariatric patients (or as I fondly refer to them, “my patients”).
Since we were awarded the center of excellence status, we have done nearly 700 weight loss surgeries. I feel truly blessed to work with the talented surgeons in the bariatric practice at St. Joseph’s: Dr. William Graber, Dr. Gregory Dalencourt, Dr. January Hill, and Dr. Vladin Obradovic.
In July of 2012, the newly renovated 4-2 unit was opened to provide care for our bariatric surgery patients. Because the patient is prepped for surgery in the room they will be returning to, family is able to utilize this space, which has provided a better patient and family experience. I’ve had the opportunity to witness roommates become friends and maintain contact to support each-other in the new journey on which they embark.
In my role, I also educate our bariatric surgery patients on what they can expect from the surgery, post-operative care, diet and lifestyle. It is really important that bariatric surgery patients embrace surgery as a tool – one that combined with diet, exercise, vitamin/mineral supplementation as advised, support from family and friends and regular visits with our bariatric team – will help them reach their goals of a healthier life.
In the vein of how important support is to success, the aspect of my role that I enjoy most is facilitating the bimonthly support group meetings. I’ve seen patients transform into healthier, happier individuals and listen to many amazing stories. Judy Flynn, whose blog about her own experience you can read here, is just one of the many patients I’ve had the honor of knowing during her experience. I am thankful every day that I can be part of something so awesome!