Interview: Dr. Lynn Sterling, OBGYN
Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Dr. Lynn Sterling and I’m an OBGYN at Humber River Hospital.
How would you explain your job to a friend?
As an Obstetrician, I take care of women during pregnancy, delivery, and post-partum. And, as a Gynaecologist I take care of women’s reproductive health and post-menopausal health.
What makes you proud of our Obstetrics & Gynaecology Program at Humber?
I’m proud of the group that we work with. Our team is very patient-focused, and we want to give our patients a really good experience with our Hospital. Everyone from the physicians, to the nurses, to the social workers work so well together to provide integrated care.
I’m also proud of our innovation! We are one of the only hospitals that has decided to offer a one-stop intrauterine device (IUD) clinic because we wanted to make it easier for our patients. Often if a woman wants an IUD she needs a referral from her family doctor, she sees a specialist, she picks up her IUD from a pharmacy, and she needs to come back another day for insertion. In our clinic, we explain the options and if our patient wants same-day insertion they can purchase an IUD at the Rexall in the Hospital and come back up to have it done right then. The clinic is currently on-hold because of COVID, but we are reopening again this month (August 2020).
How has COVID-19 impacted the Program?
Gynaecological surgeries have been impacted the most, but we are now starting to catch up.
The visitor restrictions have been hard for families, so we have gotten creative and are relying more on technologies like FaceTime to keep families connected during pre-natal appointments and childbirth. In some cases, I have only met my patient’s partner for the first time during delivery! In one sense, I feel like the intimacy has given me an extra level of connection with my patients, but I’m glad that we can offer technology-enabled alternatives, because even though it can’t replace human touch, it helps.
Our post-partum rooms are private which makes things safer from an infection-control standpoint, and it also makes it easier for patients to video chat with people who can’t be there. We are currently discouraging patients and partners from leaving their rooms, but we have Patient Family Liaisons who can pick things up from the pharmacy or food court downstairs.
What do you love about your job?
I get to meet lots of different people. My patients tend to inspire me – women are very resilient. Some of my patients have gone through something really hard in a previous pregnancy. I see that they are motivated to go ahead and be positive and be forward- thinking. It makes me want to do everything I can to help them.
What is one awesome thing you’ve done in the last year?
I went to Miami during the Superbowl in February, pre-COVID and that was very fun. And we got to see Maroon 5!
What inspires you?
I am very inspired working with women who need medical care during menopause – whether they’re having issues with hot flashes, vulva disorders, etc. These women are at a stage in life where they’re very busy – they have jobs, they have kids, they are taking care of their parents, but they aren’t always taking care of themselves, even if they are dealing with something debilitating. By the time one of these patients comes to see me, I might be the 3rd or 4th doctor they’re seeing and I have the opportunity to really help them. I try to empower them to try different solutions. Seeing their lives improve is what I really like about my job. I really like being able to provide that care.