Céline Impert went into medicine because she wanted to care for people.
“I appreciate the balance of good medicine and exceptional care,” Céline says. “There’s no other career like medicine, where you can directly improve someone’s life with science while supporting them emotionally.”
Early in her career, Céline spent six years as a nurse practitioner at Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC). She joined, motivated to build her experience providing superior patient care and perfecting her medical expertise alongside other exceptional providers.
“So when I needed care, VMMC was the only place for me to go,” she says.
After an accident, Céline needed surgery to (minimize scarring) on her arm. The first thing she did was consult her former colleagues at VMMC to ask which reconstructive surgeon would be the best person to help her improve the appearance of her arm while also ensuring that she maintain full function of her arm.
“My colleague told me, Dr. Schlenker was the person to see. I didn’t know him, but the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery team has an excellent reputation,” Céline says.
When Céline met Dr. James Schlenker, who specializes in the mechanics of hands and arms, she immediately felt like part of the medical team. Not just because of her medical training, but because Dr. Schlenker knew how important having full use of her arm was to Céline, and built a care plan around her work and lifestyle.
“Right away, we were having a conversation about my surgery and recovery. He was designing his care plan based on my thoughts and feedback and made sure he was on track every step of the way,” Céline says.
As a medical professional, Céline knows how hard it is to balance the competing priorities of every patient and all of their individual needs.
“Being on the receiving side of care, I needed more support than I realized I would. With the VMMC team, I never once felt like I had to advocate for myself. They really took the time to get to know me – that my family enjoys boating and we’re really active,” Céline says. “Dr. Schlenker was always available to take my phone calls, answer my questions and see me when I needed to be seen. I don’t know many doctors that are that accessible.”
Céline was also blown away by nurse Jenna Stephens and the rest of the plastics team.
“Jenna was there for me every step of the way. Her knowledge and experience were impressive, and like Dr. Schlenker, she took her time. She also worked her schedule around me because I also had patients I needed to care for back at my clinic,” Céline says.
The best way she knew how to say thank you was with a gift to the Fund for Excellence.
“Giving has always been an important part of my life but I am thoughtful about where I give. It really matters to me because my gifts make a statement that I believe in an organization. Making a gift to VMMC was one of the most significant gifts I will ever make because it’s not only what I believe in, but it’s what I’ve benefited from.”