Selected Podcast

Riverside Women’s Health

Women tend to be the caregivers of society. They take care of everyone else, and sometimes, neglect their own health needs. To be their own best health advocate, women need to educate themselves on the services available to take care of their needs, so they can care for the ones they love. 

Lynn Lochner, CNP, is here to discuss the array of women’s health services available throughout Riverside’s continuum of care. Riverside Women’s Health services focus on the unique needs of women during all stages of life and careful consideration and design went into creating diagnostic and treatment facilities with a warm and inviting setting while respecting privacy and individuality.
Riverside Women’s Health
Lynn Lochner, NP
Lynn Lochner, CNP completed her Master of Science in Nursing from University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL. She is a member of the Illinois Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. Lynn currently sees patients at Primary Care Associations, Pavilion in Kankakee.

Learn more about Lynn Lochner, NP

Carl Maronich(Host): And women's health is the topic today of our podcast, and joining us is Lynn Lochner. Lynn is a nurse practitioner with Riverside Medical Group. Lynn, welcome to the podcast.

Lynn Lochner, NP (Guest): Thank you.

Carl: And we appreciate you joining us and talking about women's health. Half of us are women, so it's an important thing. We want to make sure women are healthy, so we're going to talk about some of the things women need to be thinking about with regard to their regular checkups, and those kinds of things, and the care of their family, which is a big issue for a lot of women. But before we do that, we're going to ask a little bit about you. You're a nurse practitioner, how did you get into nursing?

Lynn: So actually my neighbor was a nurse here at Riverside, and so when I was growing up it just seemed to be something I always wanted to do, help individuals better their health, and never regretted one ounce of that decision.

Carl: Very good.

Lynn: I enjoy it.

Carl: You must be compassionate by nature, so this gives you an opportunity to practice that.

Lynn: Yes.

Carl: And use that. That's great. I sensed you were compassionate when we came into the studio. You came in, in a very compassionate way, so we could tell that about you as you came in, and I'm sure your patients can tell the same thing.

Lynn: I hope so.

Carl: Yeah. And so women's health is what we're going to be focusing on, and let's talk a little bit about the kinds of care women should think about as they're going to their provider.

Lynn: So I think that women tend to be caregivers themselves, so a lot of times they put themselves on the back burner and don't always get themselves to a provider to have their screenings done. So it's important to be able to go to your primary care provider and have some of those screenings done.

Carl: When we talk about a woman and her primary care provider, is that necessarily her gynecologist? I think some women use their gynecologist that way. Is that recommended?

Lynn: Absolutely. You know, it depends on the age of the person, of the woman, because when you're younger and you don't have as many medical problems, you can usually go to your OB/GYN and they screen for the majority of the same things that we would screen for in a primary care office. But as you get a little more mature, things develop, and-

Carl: For men, too. Not just women.

Lynn: Yes, absolutely. And so then we just recommend like a primary care that can address all the chronic issues, too.

Carl: Yeah. So let's target some of the specific things women should be thinking about, and the specific kinds of screenings, and things that they should be doing annually.

Lynn: Yeah, so you know, depending on the age as a woman, so usually eighteen and above, I recommend that they have just a yearly wellness exam. And then between the age- over twenty-one for women we do a cervical cancer screening and a pelvic screening, and then over the age of forty women should think about having mammograms- a yearly mammogram.

Carl: That's over forty. Sometimes there's a debate about that.

Lynn: And there are some gray areas. So what I recommend is that you have that primary care provider that you can discuss your risk factors with so that we do the screenings that are appropriate for you. And of course a lot insurance plays a big role as to what they'll cover, so we do the best that we can with that, but get the appropriate screenings done.

Carl: And over forty as things change, what should women be thinking about?

Lynn: So you know, monitoring blood pressure, how you eat, good, healthy habits play a role in how you feel and how disease- chronic disease develops.

Carl: You mentioned those kind of yearly dates over certain ages. What about family history? How does that factor into those kinds of checks?

Lynn: So that is a significant factor. So you know, every year different organizations put out the guidelines for people, and so- for practitioners to follow. So we follow those guidelines but there are genetics and things, family history, that plays a role, so we modify that. So if we can show that there's a big family risk of breast cancer, we're going to start those screenings earlier. Or cervical cancer, same thing. And it's very important that women know that because a lot of people don't know their family history, so it's important to get that information.

Carl: Talk about well checks. What does that exactly mean when we talk about well checks?

Lynn: So in a typical well visit, you're going to come into the office, you're going to- we're going to get your vital signs, make sure your blood pressure is good, your weight, all those good things you don't want to have done. Right? And then you're going to have- they're going to ask health history, family history, surgical history, and then we're going to go over all that- the provider will go over all that with you and develop a plan. So do we need to do certain screenings? Do we need to- can we wait another year? And then importantly, some lab work, because if I had a magic mirror and I could look inside, I wouldn't have to do that, but that can tell us a lot about how your body is functioning.

Carl: And so the well checks are literally that, when you're well? They're not an acute episode when you're sick and you have to go to the doctor.

Lynn: Yes, absolutely because things change when you're sick.

Carl: Right, I'm sure they do drastically in some cases. So as someone is going in, a woman is going in for a well check, there are probably things she should- information she should be bringing with her, or be thinking about leading up to that well check. "How have I been feeling?" Are there things like that they should be mindful of?

Lynn: Right, I always say, "Please write a list before you come in." Because you know, when you go someplace just like this interview, you're nervous. Right?

Carl: You're nervous? I was a little.

Lynn: Never would have thought it. But yeah, so you know, it's hard to remember everything when you come into a visit, so I'd say write a list of things- questions you have.

Carl: Like going to the mechanic. Maybe that's not the best analogy, but it's kind of similar, right?

Lynn: Absolutely. You want to make sure that you get all those questions answered, and not have to call back, or come back for another visit. And then usually the provider just follows up after that with the results. So whatever, whether it's via MyChart, or on the phone, or whatever, or in the office even.

Carl: You just said the magic word, MyChart.

Lynn: Yes.

Carl: And for having said that, we're going to present you with a mug as a gift. Actually, we were going to give you the mug anyways, but MyChart is getting a lot of attention these days. So let's talk a little bit about that, and you can take two mugs then for bringing up MyChart. But for those who may not know, tell folks what MyChart is.

Lynn: So MyChart is a great way for patients to be interactive with their healthcare. So once they sign onto the portal, they are able to see their test results, they're able to- importantly what I love to use it for, is the patient can send me a message. So they can message me, and then it gives me the opportunity to directly message them back without playing phone tag, and without them leaving a message that may not get to me, and so forth. So it's kind of a direct link of communication which is very nice. And it's secure, it's private, and it works very well.

Carl: It's free. Folks can sign up through the Riverside website to get on MyChart.

Lynn: And they can schedule their own appointments that way, so it's convenient, so they're not on hold with the front desk trying to schedule an appointment, or things like that.

Carl: We're talking to Lynn Lochner. Lynn is a nurse practitioner with the Riverside Medical Group, and we're talking about women's health. And you kind of said in the beginning about how women are often the caregivers of their family. So along with their own health, which sometimes may get a back burner as they're worrying about everybody else's, they do have other family members to think about be it the kids, their husband, a significant other, and even their parents in some cases. So when women come to see you in the office, are they bringing up all these other things? Or how do you advise women who have all these different folks that they're trying to keep the health records straight on? How do you help them with that?

Lynn: Well you know, that's surely a part of their life, and so it's very hard to not discuss that. And we know that stress plays an important role on how you live, how healthy you are, and how you're able to deal with your everyday life. So almost every patient I speak to about that, because I want to make sure that they're able to deal with the stress that they have to manage, and that they're able to still care for themselves along with all the other stress that they have to manage. So yeah, so you know, we talk a lot about healthy ways to decrease stress. So you know, meditation or even just taking a little time every day to do something that is just for them, you know? Whether it's journaling, or taking a hot bath, or whatever it is that relaxes them, and exercise is also a good way to improve that and decrease that stress.

Carl: I used the mechanic analogy before, I have another analogy for you. On the airplane when they tell you if the air things drop down, the oxygen, put yours on first so you're okay, and then take care of everybody else.

Lynn: That's right.

Carl: It's kind of the same thing.

Lynn: Yeah, absolutely.

Carl: Women take care of yourself, and you're going to be then stronger to be able to take care of everybody else.

Lynn: Well if Mom's not healthy, nobody's happy. Right? Because she can't take care of everybody else.

Carl: Very true. Now the screenings that we talked about, how should a woman go about making sure that she's getting those? Is there advance work that needs to be done on her part to get those scheduled? Or are they all normally part of a well check? Or how does that work?

Lynn: So most of the time we do incorporate that into our well visits. So again, we recommend that they have a primary care provider, whether it be a family practice provider, or an OB/GYN depending on their age, and usually those providers will facilitate getting those appointments scheduled, or determining what screening they need if they need them sooner or they can hold off a little bit. So it's pretty streamlined, and if they don't have a primary care provider, I know we're very good at- Riverside has assistants to help them choose one that will best fit their needs, whether it be later hours, or Saturday hours, or whatever it is.

Carl: Yeah, we have become- I think all healthcare providers everywhere have tried to become more accommodating with extended hours, weekend hours, and the growth of immediate care to provide that access, better access. So that is available. I know on the Riverside website, the physician finder would be a place to look for providers there. One of the things that probably comes up in the office is women asking about certain information on, "How can I find out more about this?" Do you have somewhere you like to direct women, be it on the web or somewhere? I mean with the explosion of the Internet, people are finding information in all kinds of places, maybe not always the best information. Do you have somewhere where you recommend folks go?

Lynn: You know, it depends on what screening they're looking for, you know? Because there are different recommendations depending on what location you look at. So you know, the Health Department has a great website, CDC has a great website. A lot of times I'll refer. And then depending- like there's ACOG, which is a woman's health organization that I will refer to. I try to print out a list of different references that kind of encompass all of women's health, so depending on what they're looking for, they can go to one of those websites and look. And don't just Google a blog where you're going to get poor information or the worst case scenario, because it scares them.

Carl: Sure.

Lynn: And usually those instances are very rare.

Carl: And I guess one of the things too about blogs is you're getting one person's experience, and that's- everyone's different.

Lynn: Yeah, and more people tell the bad stories than the good outcomes.

Carl: Yeah.

Lynn: So that's why I tell them, "Don't always listen to what you read."

Carl: In the time you've been practicing, have you seen issues with women's health that are becoming more prevalent? You see more obesity, more of this- more things that are negative that maybe is surprising that you're seeing those things, and that you might advise anyone who's listening, "Make sure you're taking care of these, you're not doing this, you're doing that." What advice would you give in that regard?

Lynn: I would say probably the biggest thing I see a rise in is obesity.

Carl: Yeah.

Lynn: I mean it's kind of pretty much men or women and even children. So it's kind of something I would like to start working on even more, even for myself, to have a healthier diet, and exercise. Because as we age, we know the heavier we are, the more things are going to break down.

Carl: Sure, yeah. Well if you're trying to stay away from those kinds of bad foods, don't come to the Riverside marketing department, because we seem to always collect delicious stuff that's probably not on the top of the list for eating healthy.

Lynn: We need the farmer's market down here.

Carl: We do, right yes that's a great idea. We do have that internally every- monthly that it comes around. I know many communities have them. That's a great resource for folks to get healthier foods. Anything we didn't talk about, Lynn, that you want to mention to women out there as they think about their health, and then too, may want to remind the ladies in their life.

Lynn: I'd just say if you don't have a primary care provider, find one, get one. And then also just remember to take care of yourself because it's- I know time is sometimes hard to find to do that, but it doesn't take but ten or fifteen minutes a day out of twenty-four hours just to give yourself a little bit of healing time and reset.

Carl: Sure, for women or men that's great advice. Lynn Lochner, we appreciate you being part of the podcast.

Lynn: Thank you.