February 19, 2017

Advanced Practice Provider Winter 2017

Sally Carr, NP-C

Three years ago, after nearly thirty-five years in obstetrics and gynecology – first as a nurse and later as a Certified Nurse Practitioner – Sally Carr knew it was time for a change.  She saw a notice on one of the professional websites she frequented, advertising for a bariatric NP.  “I didn’t really know what that meant,” Carr remembers now, “but the ad mentioned dealing with bioidentical hormones in the female patient, and I had been doing that for 30 years, so I thought I’d apply and at least talk with the physician.”

When Dr. Jennifer Pagador, the founder and medical director of Seriously Weight Loss, reviewed Carr’s resume, she immediately contacted her for an interview.  The physician was so impressed at the interview, she offered Carr the position of Bariatric Nurse Practitioner.  Carr accepted, and found a second career equally satisfying in terms of helping a population of patients with very specific health issues and and needs.

Helping people with health needs has always been at the forefront of Carr’s career decisions.  As a high school student with a decided interest in the sciences, she worked in a pharmacy in her small town of Pittsboro, North Carolina.  She attended pharmacy school, but after two years, she realized that “organic chemistry was never going to be my friend.”  She decided to apply the two years toward a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  She completed her final two years and earned her BS from Atlantic Christian (now Barton) College.

She worked as a staff nurse at New Hanover Memorial Hospital in Wilmington, as well as at what was then Obici Memorial Hospital.  Just as she was realizing she didn’t care for the constantly changing shifts and weekend work, a fellow nurse suggested they investigate the nurse practitioner program that was coming to Hampton Institute.  They attended the lecture and decided to apply.  Carr graduated in 1982 as a Certified OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner, and worked in the field exclusively until 2013, when she noticed Dr. Pagador’s ad.

The two practices – OB/GYN and bariatric – both involve dealing with bioidentical hormones, but otherwise, Carr’s daily routine is far different working with Dr. Pagador’s Seriously Weight Loss patients.  Where she spent most of her days doing complete physical exams and ordering tests for obstetric and gynecology patients, today she spends more of her one-on-one time with patients counseling them.  “Now I mostly give dietary counseling, encouraging physical activity,” she says.  “Where I was used to standing a lot, and going constantly, now I’m spending time sitting and talking with patients, reviewing how their diet is going, how their exercise regimen is going, how much they’re sleeping, how much stress there is in their lives.”

Patients do have blood tests, and Carr works to help them improve their numbers.  And because Seriously Weight Loss is a medically managed office, patients are administered an EKG.  “Some of the medications we use can affect the heart,” Carr says, “so we have to ensure they’re not going to cause any more problems.  Some patients rarely get EKGs, so we’ve even picked up some problems they weren’t aware of.  We refer them for appropriate care before admitting them to the program.”

The best part of the switch to bariatric practice, Carr says, is that her work is “more rewarding, because these patients actually want to hear what I have to say.”  She explains: “I talked to patients for years and years about health and nutrition, trying to encourage them to lose weight, to become healthier, and nobody listened to me.  Today, my patients listen.  And in return, they regain their health.”