Melissa McDuffie, RN, Guides Tattnall’s Total Joint Patients

When you’re scheduled to have a surgical procedure, the anticipation can be overwhelming. Not knowing what to expect before, during and after can result in needless fear and anxiety. Fortunately for patients undergoing a knee or hip replacement at Optim Medical Center – Tattnall, Melissa McDuffie, RN, is available to help them every step of the way.

As the hospital’s Total Joint Surgery Coordinator, Melissa encourages patients to be active partners in their care plan, focusing on education, preparation and planning.

“I go over everything with the patient in a half-hour, one-on-one class,” said Melissa. “When a patient is nervous about the surgery, this face-to-face explanation helps put them at ease. I include the patient’s family member who will serve as coach for the patient once they’re home.” If it helps, she can even show them the actual knee and hip replacement parts that will be used in the surgery, made up of different metals and heavy-duty plastic. Patients also receive a detailed Total Joint Replacement booklet.

Melissa covers a wide range of topics to include pre-operative guidelines, the importance of your coach, a pre-op home checklist, anesthesia, pain management, safety issues and any possible complications. She also discusses rehabilitative services and exercising, which she says is vital for a full recovery and and return to your full mobility.

“We review items you might not have considered in your home, such as loose throw rugs, small animals that you might trip over, and paying bills and stocking your pantry before you have your surgery,” said Melissa. “Our goal is to make your post-operative recovery as worry-free as possible.”

Melissa Palma McDuffie has been the hospital’s Total Joint Surgery Coordinator since last year. She joined the team at Optim Medical Center in Reidsville in 2012. She is from Lyons, and after earning her degree in Sports Medicine from Georgia Southern University, she spent five years at Appling County High School as Athletic Trainer and then a year at Toombs County High School for a year. Melissa also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.

“I really enjoy my job,” said Melissa. “It’s so satisfying to see patients who are apprehensive about their upcoming surgery become much more relaxed after our one-on-one session. Our goal is to put you totally at ease before your surgery, prepare you for what to expect during and after the surgery. We’re only a phone call away if you need to contact us.” She added that patients can request to be connected to other patients who have undergone total joint replacement.

The surgery itself usually is about an hour and a half for either knee or hip replacement. The patient usually stays at least one night and will actually begin therapy before leaving the hospital.

Patients can be assured of optimum care at Optim-Tattnall in Reidsville since this is the only hospital in the region to be named America’s 100 Best for Joint Replacement for six consecutive years (2014-2019) by Healthgrades, the leading online service for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. Optim Medical Center-Tattnall is a premier, physician-owned healthcare facility that is renowned for its orthopedic services but also provides an emergency room and medical surgical floors.

In addition to the Optim hospital conveniently located in Reidsville, Optim has offices in 20 other convenient locations. These include Savannah, Glennville (Primary Care), Metter, Hinesville, Statesboro, Jesup, Claxton, Baxley, Vidalia, and Darien, just to name a few.

Optim Medical Center-Tattnall has over a dozen doctors who perform the knee and hip replacement procedures and you may have heard favorable reports from a friend or family member who has used a certain Optim doctor. According to Melissa, you can request that same doctor and you don’t even have to be referred by your primary doctor to make an appointment for a suspected need for a knee or hip replacement.

“We want your experience here at Optim to be one that puts you back in full mobility and enjoying life to the max,” she added. “That’s what your knee replacement or hip replacement surgery can do for you.”

Article by Pam Waters, Staff Writer, Tattnall Journal Sentinel

Melissa McDuffie, RN, Guides Tattnall's Total Joint Patients












Note: At the Optim Surgery Center, Ed Osterman, RN, BSN, serves as the Total Joint & Spine Coordinator. In this position, he works closely with joint replacement and spine surgery patients to prepare them for their surgical procedures at the Optim Surgery Center. During his one-on-one educational sessions with patients, Osterman covers every aspect of the joint replacement process or spine surgery, from pre-op to discharge and follow-up care.