November 17, 2023
Nicole McLemore, pediatric spine clinical nurse coordinator, has a unique story that intertwines her personal journey as a spinal fusion patient with her professional commitment to helping others facing similar challenges.
First a Patient...
Nicole's spine care journey began when she was just two years old; she was diagnosed with kyphosis. "With kyphosis, there is an abnormal forward bend of the spine, most commonly observed in the mid-portion, although it can happen anywhere in the spine," Blake Montgomery, MD, explains.
Over the years, Nicole found herself under the care of renowned spine specialists Keith Bridwell, MD, and Larry Lenke, MD, whom she loved. Despite best efforts to manage her condition conservatively, a sudden growth spurt took her curvature from not quite severe enough for a brace, to too severe for a brace to help. It was time for surgical correction.
The morning after her high school graduation, Nicole underwent spinal fusion surgery. That fall, she would attend Mizzou as planned and embark on a college adventure that ultimately led her to get a degree in nursing.
...Now a Nurse
Nicole has had many wins in her career providing care for spine patients. In 2011 she won the St. Louis Magazine Excellence in Orthopedic Nursing award while she served patients at Shriners Children's St. Louis. Dr. Montgomery shares, "Nicole is such an amazing patient advocate. She is extremely patient-centered and goes above and beyond for them. She's the perfect teammate!" Perhaps Nicole's biggest win is the ability to relate to and empathize with pediatric spine patients and their families.
Spinal fusion patients often take comfort in hearing Nicole's personal experience, seeing her stand straight, glimpsing the now-faint scar, knowing she has been able to have three children, and no further issues related to kyphosis or spinal fusion.
Now, Nicole works on a dynamic team for pediatric spine surgeon, Blake Montgomery, MD. She loves being part of this team that puts the patient's comfort and ease above all else. Dr. Montgomery reminds Nicole of the physicians she had as a pediatric spine patient in all the best ways. "Dr. Montgomery likes to know who his patients are, what they are interested in, and what they enjoy doing," she shares. Nicole knows first-hand, spine patients often have a long-term relationship with their providers. She and Dr. Montgomery work hard to make that relationship the best possible by understanding the kids as a whole and being an unwavering resource for families.
Learn why patient's choose Washington University Orthopedics, request an appointment online or call (314) 514-3500.