My family and I recently returned to Salt Lake City after a 22-year absence. We had missed Utah’s western landscape and snowcapped mountains and the youthful feeling of the city.  Additionally, I knew there would be unique professional opportunities available to me in Salt Lake City that I had not had in rural Maine and Hawaii. In my 26 years of practiceImage of Care as a Family Nurse Practitioner, I have searched for a practice where my primary responsibility was to really care for the patient. Where I could take the time to listen to the patient’s story, solve complex problems, and truly partner with my patient to have the best possible outcomes. I found what I was looking for, and more, in the Bateman Horne Center (BHC).

I joined BHC in February 2021 as part of a 4-person team that would initiate BHC’s Long COVID program. BHC drew me in with their model of combined clinical care, research, and education/outreach. I read testimonials from patients and was moved by their descriptions of receiving excellent and compassionate care. I was intrigued by the opportunity to dive back into infectious disease and clinical research. Finally, I was thoroughly impressed by BHC’s outreach to the general and medical communities to educate and empower people about myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia (FM) and post-viral syndromes.

Bateman Horne Center buildingIn my five months at BHC, I, like the medical profession in general, have been on a very steep learning curve about Long COVID, ME/CFS, and FM. While sometimes overwhelmed, I have been deeply thankful for the support of Drs. Lucinda Bateman and Brayden Yellman. Not only are they committed teachers and excellent physicians, but they also practice the art of comprehensive, compassionate care and set a standard of excellence that I have rarely seen in our medical system.

At present, my focus is caring for our Long COVID patients. Long COVID is very complex, involving many systems that interconnect. Though little is known about what drives the symptoms of Long COVID, we do know that the symptoms look very similar to what we see in ME/CFS. Therefore, we are applying ME/CFS management principles of care to our Long COVID patients. BHC’s very own NASA Lean Test has helped us determine severity of orthostatic intolerance and has been a foundational tool for our treatment strategy.  Recognition of and teaching about post exertional malaise has been critical in helping patients learn to pace their activities and minimize worsening of their symptoms. As preliminary results of Long COVID research are starting to be published, we are pleased to see that our approach to care has aligned with advanced care strategies from around the globe. Additionally, through an extraordinary collaborative effort among researchers, both nationally and internationally, new therapies are emerging that will not only improve our care of Long COVID patients but may also expand our care options for ME/CFS and FM patients.

This is a challenging but fascinating time to be a medical professional. Groundbreaking research is happening everywhere as we try to gain the upper hand with COVID-19. Being part of a unique practice where we are on the cutting edge of patient care and contributing to the body of research is exciting and fulfilling.

I am humbled and honored to be part of BHC.  Thank you for having me.

(See Bell’s bio here.)

By Jennifer Bell, FNP-C

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