GI Nurses and Associates Week is March 22-28, and AMSURG is proud to recognize the work of GI nurses and associates at partner centers around the country.
Jimmy Dottolo, MSN, RN has served as center leader for the Louisiana Endoscopy Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, since 2010. Dottolo manages operations for a staff of more than 80 employees responsible for nearly 33,000 procedures a year.
A former emergency department nurse, Dottolo said his transition to GI nursing and the important role GI nurses play caring for the general population provided an eye-opening education. “GI nurses are advocates; we work with a population that is hesitant to take care of their GI health, so we are constantly working to educate and increase awareness that the GI diseases we see are detectable and preventable.”
GI nurses are vital to the delivery of quality care at AMSURG partner centers. “They are the first wave for patients at our centers; GI nurses prepare patients physically and emotionally for procedures, and it is their passion and knowledge that helps patients through the process,” AMSURG Regional Vice President, Operations Erik Hamnes said.
Passion is a shared trait among GI nurses and associates, many of whom have dedicated their lives to advocating for the necessity of potentially life-saving colorectal cancer screening procedures. Last year alone, AMSURG’s more than 180 endoscopy partner centers performed more than 600,000 colonoscopies.
Robi Rhodes, MSN, RN, is Director of Nursing for MGA GI Diagnostic and Therapeutic Center in Marrero, Louisiana. With three locations in the New Orleans Metropolitan area, MGA and its clinicians are responsible for over 2,000 colonoscopies a month.
Rhodes, who is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of 70 nurses and support staff, said misconceptions regarding digestive health – and the role GI nurses play – persist. “When I tell people that I’m a GI nurse, I still sometimes get that sort of ‘Wow, why did you go into that specialty?’ response,” Rhodes said. “But being a GI nurse, I understand how important the work we do is and how important gastrointestinal health needs to be for our population.”
“A lot of people still don’t understand the reality of things like colorectal cancer, so I’ve been able to use my profession as a conversation starter for discussing GI health with my friends and family,” Rhodes explained.
As a center leader, Rhodes works closely with AMSURG to ensure MGA meets the needs of its community. The operational and strategic support AMSURG provides, Rhodes said, has allowed both he and his clinicians to better focus on their patient population.
“I've talked to directors who operate independent centers, and something I always hear is that the responsibility is all on their shoulders,” Rhodes said. “But having AMSURG as a partner means they’re here to help me – whether it be with day-to-day operations, clinical questions or administrative support, you name it.”