The Pulse | Monday, December 5, 2022
SGNA Member Spotlights: Get to Know Lauren Peeples and Marti Rodolfo
Get to know your fellow members! We sat down with SGNA members Lauren Peeples and Marti Rodolfo to learn more about their experiences in the GI specialty. Read on for their achievements, advice they’d give themselves early in career, what motivates them and more.
What led you to enter the specialty of gastroenterology?
Lauren Peeples (LP): Truthfully, I was at a crossroads in my career. I was driven to nursing but wasn’t finding purpose on the medical/surgical floor. I researched other departments and reached out to an incredible woman who organized the nurse residency program I went through. She suggested the GI lab in our hospital and I said, "There's no way I want to mess with poop every single day!" She laughed and encouraged me to interview while checking out the department. I instantly found purpose. I have loved GI from the moment I started in the department.
Marti Rodolfo (MR): My past experience was in an intensive care unit and emergency room, but I’ve always been interested in the complexity of GI/hepatology and procedural nursing. It’s a complex multi-system that also requires holistic care.
Think back on when you first entered the profession — what advice would you give yourself now?
LP: I would tell myself not to give up. When I was on the nursing floor and having a hard time finding purpose, I seriously considered leaving the profession. I am SO glad I didn’t give up and that I used my resources, reaching out to others who had been in nursing for a long time and seeking their advice. If I hadn’t done that, I can't imagine where I would be now, given how much I love what I do.
There are so many aspects of nursing that, if you are called to the field, I believe you can always find a place where you find purpose and happiness.
MR: Make notes of things you see during the day that you’d like to explore further. Invest in the SGNA Core Curriculum and take the time to look those things up. Use your resources, as well. The doctors I work with are used to me constantly asking questions about why they use this test or procedure over that one. This information can help you prepare the patient for what’s to come.
What’s one resource that has made you more successful in your career?
LP: Other nurses. I find reaching out and connecting with other nurses allows you learn so many new things. Many times people have changed hospitals or departments over the years and have so much information to share. Connecting with the people around you is very important!
MR: My employer, Bhatti GI Consultants, has been so open to my questions, and my coworkers of all types have taught me so much.
What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career so far?
LP: I'm so proud of my GI certification. Other than our nurse manager, no one has been certified in our GI lab for a very long time. I started with a study group and half of the people dropped out before taking the test, but I continued despite being a new mom dealing with the demands of work, family and juggling parenthood. I studied any time I could after the kids were asleep or a free moment at work. I'm so proud I continued and passed!
MR: Letters of gratitude and hugs from my patients are the best reward I could ever get.
What can we find you doing when you’re not working in the GI unit?
LP: I have two little girls who are full of life! We are constantly on the go, finding parks, splash pads, trails or anything outdoors to play!
MR: I love to enjoy the incredible parks we have here in Minnesota — in all seasons, there is outdoor family fun to be had.
What makes you hopeful or excited about the future of the profession?
LP: I'm excited for new technology that aids procedures and the spread of knowledge for screenings. Being proactive about your health is the best way to prevent serious complications; the past few years there has been a huge push for colon cancer screenings! Colon cancer is so prevalent, which means screening is immensely important. I'm glad we’re finding ways to encourage screenings and help patients stay healthy.
MR: We are so close to cures in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases —there is so much study on immune modulated disease processes. We are also seeing longer survival in pancreatic cancer and more awareness on non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. These patients have hope now that they didn’t 10 years ago.