Jan Gambino Jan Gambino's Blog

GI Nurses and Associates Day

The Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (www.sgna.org) has designated March 26 as GI Nurses and Associates Day. While all nurses have received a high level of training, a GI nurse may obtain further training and receive board certification for gastroenterology nursing. A GI nurse may work in the gastroenterologist’s office or assist with procedures such as an endoscopy.

I would like to salute “Nurse Joan”, a special GI nurse who has guided so many infants and children though GI procedures at our local hospital. If your child has had an endoscopy, you know the “deer in the headlights” look as you enter the procedure area and get ready for the test. I was trying to act calm and casual so my daughter would feel comfortable and at ease but my palms were sweaty and my heart was fluttering madly. Nurse Joan came flying in (I think she had wings and a halo) and explained everything to us. She used simple language that my daughter could understand so she was ready to cooperate. At the same time, Nurse Joan used her voice and her words to answer my questions and anticipate my fears and concerns. I trusted her and was thankful for her support and assistance during a very stressful day.

My daughter tolerated the procedure and the test was over in no time. After the endoscopy, my daughter was going to stay overnight for a 24 hour pH probe test. Again Nurse Joan came swooping in (now that I think of it, those were wings...) and explained that she had changed the room assignment so we could room with a mother that she wanted me to meet. Nurse Joan had done a bit of matchmaking and so we spent the night in the hospital with another reflux mom and her daughter for a pH probe test. The other mom, Jess and I were instant friends and talked non stop about reflux, tests, procedures, medication, high medical bills, coping and everything in between. It was like a slumber party for reflux moms. To this day, Jess is the first person I call when I have a question or concern about reflux or the kids are sick. I know she truly understands and can listen and offer support. Our kids are like sisters, sharing a special bond because they have grown up with reflux too.

Nurse Joan not only performed her job as a GI nurse with a high level of skill, she took the extra time to help children and their parents understand the medical procedure and feel confident and at ease. In addition, she understood the need for parent to parent support as a way of coping with GERD. When a child has GERD, parents need information, support and hope during a stressful season of parenting. I will always be grateful to Nurse Joan for helping our family cope with reflux. So Happy GI Nurses and Associates Day to Nurse Joan and all of the other GI nurses!


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