Total Joint Replacement Classes Offer Advanced Orthopedic Education

Knee Replacement, Hip Replacement Classes Elevate Patient Care

Gritman’s Conference Center fills up a couple of times each month with students eager to learn more about the inner workings of hip and knee replacement surgeries, known as total joint replacements.

The students are future patients. And passing this class means having a successful knee or hip replacement that gets them back to living their lives with less pain and more mobility.

“Patients who are highly involved in their care before, during and after surgery experience better outcomes from their surgery,” said Shari Hottinger, who leads the class. Shari is a Gritman Medical Center Nurse Navigator and the Total Joint Coordinator for our orthopedic program.

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In addition to the class, Shari helps patients set up appointments before and after their surgery and follows up to ensure they are getting everything they need as part of the recovery process.

“I’m basically the touchpoint person with the patient throughout the entire continuum,” she said.

Each free class is about 90 minutes in length. It includes a companion education book and is available for anyone undergoing hip or knee replacement surgery in the region. In addition to Shari, representatives from Gritman Medical Center and Gritman Therapy Solutions teach the course with an eye toward accelerating recovery of their patients.

Are you considering a total joint replacement? Learn more about our Total Joint Program by visiting
Students learn physical therapy and breathing exercises to do before and after surgery with an aim toward accelerating recovery. Shari also encourages her patients to have a “coach” who can be the cheerleader for their care and serve as a caretaker in the two to three days each patient returns home after surgery. Coaches are also welcome to take the total joint class.

Shari’s primary reason for teaching the class is the outcomes her patients realize after taking it. She’s seen firsthand just how beneficial education can be when a patient both understands and prepares for their care — and she makes sure every student knows it.

“Keep your eye on the goal, especially when you’re having pain,” Shari said during one recent class. “It’s a great way to propel yourself to a healthier future.”

She encourages her patients to start preparing even a month before their surgery to ensure their home is ready for the limitations they will have while recovering.

“We want great outcomes for all our patients.” – Shari Hottinger, Total Joint Program Coordinator, Gritman Medical Center
In addition to teaching the class, Hottinger also serves as the point person for all orthopedic surgery patients at Gritman, regardless of whether they get their care from Gritman Orthopedic Surgeons or Inland Orthopaedic Surgery or any other surgeons with privileges at Gritman.

The class is just one element of our advanced orthopedic surgery program, which also integrates primary care, diagnostic imaging, interventional pain and physical therapy into each patient’s care plan. Shari’s end goal is to be a sounding board for total hip and total knee replacement patients and fill any gaps in care so they have the best possible surgery and recovery.

“We want great outcomes for all our patients,” she said.

Learn more about Gritman’s orthopedic program at

Pictured at Top: Registered Nurse Navigator Shari Hottinger  leads the Total Joint Replacement Program at Gritman Medical Center, including the hip and knee replacement classes that are taught twice each month at the hospital.

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