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Mindi O'Rourke, Bariatric Navigator

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There’s no greater teacher than personal experience. Mindi O’Rourke, RN, brings to the bariatric program her personal experience and her clinical knowledge.

As the nurse navigator for the bariatric program, O’Rourke helps patients through what can be a lengthy process by helping them determine insurance qualifications and coverage and by arranging appointments with medical providers, the dietitian, physical therapist, behavioral counselor and surgeon. “My goal is to help people navigate through what can be months of appointments so they can be successful after surgery.”

O’Rourke brings a wealth of knowledge to the program as a former case manager and nurse leader, and she also brings the compassion of a former bariatric surgery patient.

“I’ve been through several weight management programs over the years, and I had a gastric sleeve done several years ago. It changed my life,” O’Rourke said. “I think all of my life’s work and experiences will serve the patients better so they can be successful in the long term. I truly do understand where many people seeking this care are in their lives and how important it is them. I do what I can to help them be successful.”

O’Rourke also leads a support group for bariatric surgery patients. “We talk about a variety of topics, and other experts in this area visit the group and talk about eating habits, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices. Being together as a group helps the participants be more successful later,” she explained.

O’Rourke suggests that the best candidates for the surgery are those who are committed to making lifestyle changes. “To be successful, participants must have the mindset to change, and that starts with baby steps. The gastric sleeve is a tool, and it helps people control how much to eat, but they still have to take care to eat healthier, move and exercise as much as their bodies allow, take time to heal after surgery and take care of their mental health as well,” she said. “It may seem daunting, but we’re here to support people after the process too. It is life changing!”

For more information about the SBL Bariatric Program, call the Medical Clinic at the Center for Healthy Living at 217-238-4961.