If you ask Kristen Gordon, Registered Nurse and Certified Bariatric Nurse, she’ll tell you she has the best job in the world. Kristen is the program coordinator and nurse navigator for Billings Clinic’s Metabolic Surgery Program. As the program coordinator, she is responsible for ensuring that their program follows the standards required to maintain Billings Clinic’s accreditation by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, a designation they have held since 2016.
While accreditation is essential, Kristen feels the most rewarding part of her job is her role as the nurse navigator. As the navigator, she helps patients coordinate their care throughout their journey to better health. Patients work with a multi-disciplinary team for several months leading up to surgery, and the team continues to help patients manage their obesity following surgery.
“Obesity is a chronic, relapsing medical condition. Just because a person has surgery and loses weight doesn’t mean that their obesity is cured. Surgery is just part of the treatment.” The team consists of medical providers, dietitians, a trainer, a social worker, and metabolic surgeons.
Kristen is the first person that patients meet when they start the program, and she sees them at various points throughout their journey. She sees every patient in the hospital before their discharge once they have had surgery. She serves as a single point of contact for patients in the program. “They see so many different members of our team along the way, but If patients have questions, they can always call me.”
Judy, a patient who had metabolic surgery just over two years ago, described her gratitude toward Kristen by saying, “She took the time to answer all of my questions whenever I called – and I had a lot of them! She never made me feel like she was in a hurry and needed to get off the phone.”
Another patient described Kristen as his best friend throughout the process. “She pushed me and showed me where I could go, rather than where I was headed. I couldn’t have done it without her,” says Rick, who had surgery about eight months ago.
“There is nothing more rewarding than meeting patients when they first enter the program and then watching them evolve as they work their way toward, and ultimately achieve, a healthier lifestyle. They’re the ones that do all the hard work. I’m just fortunate enough to be in a position to watch it all happen!” says Kristen.
For more information about Billings Clinic’s metabolic surgery program, please contact Kristen at (406)435-5219.