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WCH nurses have the highest credentials for a quality weight loss surgery program

The Center for Weight Loss Surgery at Wood County Hospital pioneered weight loss surgery in this region more than 30 years ago.

Today, six registered nurses on the designated bariatric team help ensure the Center's commitment to the highest quality care as evidenced by the Center's accreditation as a Comprehensive Center by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

The nurses, who work in the hospital's surgery department, medical and surgical unit and in the Center for Weight Loss Surgery, are all Certified Bariatric Nurses (CBN), the premier credential for professional nurses caring for morbidly obese and bariatric surgical patients.

To earn the CBN credential, candidates must demonstrate competence in all technical aspects of bariatric nursing commensurate with the standards established by the ASMBS for effective and safe patient care. Registered nurses must have worked with morbidly obese and bariatric surgery patients for a minimum of 24 months in the preceding four years.

Deb Dawley, Bariatric Clinical Coordinator has worked with bariatric surgery patients at Wood County Hospital for the past 30 years, said, "I wanted the formal validation and recognition that comes with the CBN, in addition to my years of experience with bariatric patients."

"Research shows that patients who have certified nurses have better outcomes," noted Dani spring, RN, charge nurse on the hospital's medical surgical unit. She said that studying for the CBN took her experience to another level. "I learned about all areas of the bariatric surgical patient experience, including surgical nursing."

"Advanced education for our nursing professionals is essential to maintaining a high quality center," said Deb Chatfield, Vice President for Planning and the Center's administrator. "Greater understanding of surgical procedures, preparation and patient follow-up is beneficial to our patient population."

"The COE is further acknowledgement of our strong commitment to providing our patients with a safe and high quality approach to manage their obesity issues," said Peter F. Lalor, M.D., bariatric surgeon and the Center's Medical Director. "It also speaks to our comprehensive approach that leads to a better quality of life and longer lifespan for the patients who come to us."

Dr. Lalor agrees that this specialized education is beneficial to patient outcomes. "The bariatric population has very specific needs that are complicated by their obesity. Nurses do not generally receive education about these issues," said Dr. Lalor. "The CBN certification gives nurses the education and sensitivity they need to appropriately care for their patients."