East Jefferson General Hospital: Behind the Scenes

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“Mary Beth Burke (left) and Amy Lynne Weaver (right)” Photograph by Frank Bianchini

Mandeville – Doctors and patients are often glamorized in the popular media, but it is more diverse than the perceived doctor-patient dynamic. There are dozens of staff members in any hospital that actively cater to the needs of hundreds of patients. At East Jefferson General Hospital, Mary Beth Burke is a member of that workforce. She has worked as an office manager in the Hematology–Oncology department for about 13 years.

Since she was a child, Burke has always wanted to help others. “Both of my parents were in the medical field, so I grew up in that environment. Then I also wanted to work with people and help people. So that is why I ended up working, especially, in oncology” Burke said.

With an aspiration to be a radiology technician, Burke attended Delgado in 1985 for two years. She would then transfer to UNO for a couple more years to major in business. Unfortunately, she would not graduate from college. Burke said, “At one time I wanted to be a doctor, but after I had gone to college for several years I was looking at another six years. So I decided I didn’t want it that badly.” With that change of heart, she would need to find a way to support herself and, years later, her daughter.

In 2001, Burke found a job at East Jefferson General Hospital in Louisiana. Burke said the job was rewarding and satisfying.

No job, however, is without its faults. Working in the medical field, brings loss. Burke said, “Unfortunately, in oncology, you have patients that pass away, and that would probably be one of my strongest memories.”

In 2004, with greater financial stability, she returned to Delgado to take online courses and would receive a government certification to become a work-flow analyst.

Burke will often work on her computer to convert medical files into digital to help both the patients and the doctors.

Amy Lynne Weaver, 21, is the daughter of Burke and a senior student at Southeastern Louisiana University with a major in biology. Weaver considers her mother as an influential positive role-model and often sees her as the one that keeps the house in order. Weaver said, “She is a pretty positive role model. She’s usually the one that gets things done around the house.”

“She was helping on a program where it was very patient friendly. The doctor or nurse sits with them and they answer questions and the nurse fills it out and checks off things on it. It’s all digital, so it’ll go into the patient’s record instantly and the doctor would get it when he comes in,” said Weaver.

To better understand the pressure of the medical field, Weaver has seen Burke work first hand at the cancer ward and can understand the hardships her mother faces. Weaver said, “Her job is stressful because she is the voice between the doctors and the patients. The patients are very stressed out because they’re dying and they need to see a doctor as soon as possible. A lot of time a doctor can’t or won’t see patients at certain times and the patients get frustrated because they have so little time to spare.”

Due to the influential actions and attitude of Burke, Weaver explained how she wanted to find a way to help others through the power of medicine as well. As a result, she has considered being a veterinarian to help animals.

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