Joint replacement surgery is increasingly common, but it remains one of the most complex surgical procedures. The experience can be overwhelming, as it involves pre-operative preparation, hospitalization and extensive post-operative rehabilitation. At St. Clair Hospital, joint replacement surgery is a comprehensive and seamless program, meticulously crafted to provide clinically excellent, patient-focused care at every step. St. Clair’s expert orthopedic surgeons are joint replacement specialists, supported by a multidisciplinary team of experienced and dedicated nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, physician assistants and operating room technicians.
The newest member of that team is Orthopedic Nurse Navigator Brigitte L. Easterday, B.S.N., B.S.Ed., R.N., C.R.R.N. Nurse navigators are registered nurses with in-depth clinical experience and strong teaching and communication skills who guide and support the patient through the entire joint replacement journey. The nurse navigator concept, which originated in oncology, has been very successful as an added resource for patients and their families. For each patient, Easterday becomes a familiar face, a liaison, a teacher and an advocate.
“The key to the nurse navigator program is the relationship with the patient,” she says. “I’m able to have one-on-one relationships with them. I can help ease their pain, give them emotional support, and help them obtain the resources they need. This kind of consistency is important but it can be hard to come by in hospital settings; patients are discharged so quickly and they encounter many professionals. When they know there is one person who knows them and is familiar with their needs, they feel less stress.”
With seven years of orthopedic nursing experience and degrees in both nursing and education, Easterday is ideally suited for the position. “For me, it’s satisfying to be able to give patients this degree of care and attention, and the feedback from the patients and the physicians has been great.” To contact Easterday, please call 412.942.5439.