Meet the Colorectal Team | Sentara Healthcare
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Sentara CarePlex Hospital Colorectal Program Details

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Dr. Gregory FitzHarris, program director
. Dr. FitzHarris is a specialist in colorectal surgery with extensive training and experience in the field. After graduating from Duke University’s School of Medicine, he completed a general surgery internship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center  in Washington, D.C., a general surgery residency at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu and a colorectal surgery fellowship at the University of Minnesota. He is board-certified in colon and rectal surgery.

Gastroenterologists. These specialists have advanced training in both internal medicine and disorders of the digestive tract. They often perform detailed screening tests to check for large polyps or growths that could be cancerous or turn into tumors down the road. Patients with growths that require surgery are referred to a surgeon. Sentara’s gastroenterologists continue to follow patients and provide their insights throughout the surgery and recovery process.

Colorectal Program Coordinator. Program coordinator Nanette Sandberg, a registered nurse, manages the care of colorectal patients from diagnosis to discharge and beyond. Sandberg often introduces herself to patients during their first screening exam. Her personalized approach includes coordinating treatments, monitoring clinical outcomes, answering questions and facilitating support group meetings and other post-operative care.

Patient Navigator. For people with colorectal cancer, Sentara’s Navigator program is an invaluable resource. A specially trained registered nurse helps patients schedule and prepare for medical treatments and navigate the health insurance system. Offering both practical advice and emotional support – along with caring touches such as giving each patient an organizer to record test results and contact information for their doctors – Patient Navigators are dedicated to making a cancer diagnosis less overwhelming. 

Enterostomal Nurse. Sentara’s focus on minimally-invasive procedures allows many patients to avoid an ostomy, or surgically-created opening that allows stool to pass out of the body. For people who do need a temporary or permanent ostomy, the hospital has a nurse with specific expertise on supplies and care, as well as patient education. That knowledge helps shape the best treatment plan for each individual patient so he or she can heal as quickly and comfortably as possible. 

The hospital has many systems in place to assure patients the most comprehensive care and benefits of every expert who can make a difference. Other members involved in the care of colorectal patients are the surgical nurses on the 5th Floor, which include registered dietitian, quality manager, endoscopy or OR managers, team coordinator imaging and community outreach coordinator (Sentara Health & Preventive Services).

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