Kristy Darnell is an advanced practice nurse in the Spine Care Center at Methodist Hospitals. The center aims to provide prompt, superior care to patients with diseases and disorders of the spine. Darnell worked with her director, Laurel Valentino, and intake coordinator Megan Bradburn to put together the comprehensive program to expedite care of spine patients, medical and surgical.
Information from the patient is documented and reviewed by a physician, who then recommends a treatment plan. Darnell monitors patients throughout the plan, whether they need physical therapy, pain management, chiropractic referral, a dietitian for healthy eating or, if necessary, surgery. She maintains communication with the patient and physician throughout the experience to ensure total satisfaction.
"Everyone has their own story, their own issues, so I like to have a personal approach with each person, so I can address their questions and concerns," Darnell said.
Darnell calls patients every week to find out if they have seen improvement and to monitor treatment.
"Our goal is to have pain-free patients so they can have a quality life because back pain is debilitating," she said. "With proper body mechanics, we can prevent a lot of injury. People abuse their backs on a daily basis. We're trying to help people treat their backs better."
The center offers classes for patients and the community on healthy back mechanics; information on preoperative spinal surgery, focusing on what the patient can expect before and after spine surgery; and back pain classes that assist the patient in understanding the disease by reviewing a variety of diseases and causes of back pain.
For more information or to schedule classes, call (888) 909-DOCS (3627). There is no cost to the public.
Darnell has worked at Methodist Hospitals since 1984. She has an associate degree in nursing from St. Clair County Community College in Michigan, a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Valparaiso University, a master of science in nursing with a clinical nurse specialist and advanced practice nurse designation from VU, and a family nurse practitioner certificate from VU.
Darnell lives in Crown Point and has a son, Alec Kalember, 14.