Digestive Disorders, Diagnosis, Are Her Thing

Lois Bucksot has been a nurse at IU Health University Hospital for nearly 40 years focusing on work with gastrointestinal doctors who treat patients with digestive procedures and disorders. 

When she first started at IU Health Lois Bucksot worked with a small staff, performing one or two ERCP procedures a day. Now the area has expanded to perform about seven procedures a day – anywhere from 45 to 60 a week.

“I was working with Dr. Glen Lehmen, and he had visions of developing a world- class ERCP program at IU Health. At the time I was a newly divorced single mom so we both dug in our heels and built this program from not much of anything – it’s been a team effort. Everybody worked tirelessly to bring it to where it is today,” said Bucksot. Over time, other doctors followed including Dr. Stuart Sherman who serves as director of the ERCP. 

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a procedure, which combines endoscopic techniques with radiologic imaging techniques to diagnose and treat both pancreatic and biliary diseases. “Our focus is on the ductal systems which drain the pancreas and liver. My doctors refer to themselves as ‘endoscopic plumbers.’”

Bucksot starts her day in the basement of University Hospital, at 6:30 a.m. setting up the rooms and preparing for procedures. About an hour later she meets with the physicians to review the caseload of the day.  Most procedures are performed as a same day surgery. Bucksot assists physicians during the procedure, charting and also orienting new employees.

“The physicians I work with are gastroenterologists.  We take care of patients with bile duct stones, bile duct cancers, pancreatic cancer, chronic pancreatitis – it’s a variety of issues and a number of disease processes,” said Bucksot, a graduate of Northwest High School and IU School of Nursing.

“Every day I’m learning something new working with these physicians,” said Bucksot. “They’re always very patient and make it such a team effort. I think everyone feels like they are contributing to the team. We have great physicians and nurses to work with, and we’re always on the cutting edge with new equipment and procedures.”

More about Bucksot:

  • On becoming a nurse:  “It was just one of those jobs I always thought I wanted to do. When I was young I would read the Cherry Ames books, written by Helen Wells – portraying various types of nurses – island nurse, department store nurse, Army nurse – I used her as a role model. I always had a penchant to do that and never considered any other career choices. “
  • A great day at IU Health: “One of those days when I can assist with a procedure that has been failed at another facility. The patients often travel a distance from home to seek the expertise of my physicians. These procedures are often challenging, but after a 10-hour day it just feels good knowing I’ve helped someone have a better quality of life.”
  • A perfect Saturday: “Making most of my work outs in the morning, and usually having plans for dinner with friends. I love to take some time for pleasure reading and when the weather is nice I love to work in the yard.”
  • Something few people know about her: “I was a member of the spelunking club in high school. I did it with my best friends so I could get into advanced physics. People who know me know that I’m a little freaked out in cramped spaces so it’s an unexpected truth.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email at
 T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.