PODCAST: Meet the Team – Karina Thompson, Patient Care Coordinator

Karina Thompson has been a surgical patient care coordinator here at LJC for nearly three years. A big part of her job is delivering the details about procedures to patients who need more information to move forward, and then guiding them to the doctor who is the best fit.

Before she joined the LJC team, Karina managed a medical spa in Encinitas for seven years. During her time there, she honed her ability to connect with patients and understand their goals to give them the best recommendations.

Karina is a San Diego native who attended California State University with a degree in communications. She knew during her college career that she wanted to work with people and help them, and she is doing just that and more at LJC.


Listen to our episode on financing

Please request your free consultation online or call La Jolla Cosmetic, San Diego, at (858) 452-1981 for more


Speaker 1 (00:07):
You’re listening to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast.

Monique Ramsey (00:15):
Welcome everyone to The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast. I’m your hostess, Monique Ramsey. And today we get to meet another member of the La Jolla Cosmetic Dream team. And we are speaking today to Karina Thompson. Welcome.

Karina Thompson (00:30):
Hi, thank you.

Monique Ramsey (00:32):
So Karina, tell us about what you do in the practice.

Karina Thompson (00:36):
So, I am a surgical patient care coordinator. So, I am the patient’s first point of contact whether a patient is calling to find out more information about a procedure they’re interested in, or they’d like to book a complimentary consultation, they will get transferred to me. And from there, I will provide them all the details that they need to know to help them better prepare for a procedure that they are looking to move forward with.

Monique Ramsey (01:03):
And then do you help guide them in terms of which doctor to choose if they don’t know which doctor?

Karina Thompson (01:10):

Monique Ramsey (01:11):
And how do you go about that?

Karina Thompson (01:14):
Oftentimes I go off the procedure they’re interested in. If you’re looking to do facial procedure or a body procedure, then I will help you choose a doctor that specializes in that particular surgery that you’re looking to do. Or if you have a preference of a male or female surgeon, then that also determines which surgeon I recommend.

Monique Ramsey (01:36):
So, when and where might the patients expect to meet you in the process?

Karina Thompson (01:42):
They can first meet me over the phone when they first call our practice. When a patient comes in for a complimentary consultation. After they meet with one of our board certified plastic surgeons, I am the one you meet with as I will go over their surgical quote based on the doctor’s recommendations. From there, I’ll go over the details of their surgical quote, answer any questions, whether it’s relating to scheduling, financing, just really tie everything in together and help you through the process.

Monique Ramsey (02:15):
So, you mentioned financing. We do have a whole podcast episode on financing specifically. So we’ll put that in the show notes. But just as a quick overview, is financing something a lot of people use?

Karina Thompson (02:27):
Oh, absolutely. And when I talk to patients, they oftentimes are relieved to know that we offer financing. One of the main things I think patients should know is that we offer interest free financing. A lot of patients, when I ask is financing something they’re looking to do, they’ll say, “Well, it depends on what your terms are.” And always let them know, “Hey, we offer up to 24 months no interest. So, the procedure you’re interested in can be something that is achievable.” As soon as they hear about that, I go more into detail and you can just hear it in their voice. Just a sense of relief to know that something that they have been wanting to do for so many years is about to become a reality.

Monique Ramsey (03:09):
Yeah. And one of the things that I’ve noticed as I’ve interviewed a lot of our patients on the podcast is I’ll say, “What do you want to tell other patients who might be considering a procedure?” And almost every one of them has said that I just wish I had done it sooner, because it does make a big impact in their life in such a positive way.

Karina Thompson (03:29):

Monique Ramsey (03:29):
But what’s the number one barrier? A lot of times it’s a financial thing. So, I think letting people know that you’re there for them to navigate the waters. What’s the best way? And sometimes it’s a combination. Maybe you have some money saved. Maybe you want to get some airline miles and you’re going to finance part of it. Whatever.

Karina Thompson (03:48):
And I always tell patients, yeah, they do have that option. Some patients are interested in multiple procedures and because of the pricing, they’ll say, “Well, based on what money I have right now in my bank account, I can only do this.” And so I let them know, “Hey, you are able to potentially do multiple procedures because of the interest free financing options that we offer.”

Monique Ramsey (04:09):
What made you want to become a patient care coordinator? What was the path to getting to this position?

Karina Thompson (04:16):
So, prior to becoming a patient care coordinator, I managed a medical spa for seven years in Encinitas and I landed in that position by accident. I was living in LA, I was managing a retail store. And while I had fun, it made me realize retail was not for me and I ended up applying to this medical spa, which at the time, to be honest, I had no idea what a medical spa was.

Karina Thompson (04:41):
And I’m so glad that I ended up in that path by accident because I absolutely fell in love with it. It just opened up this whole new world that I never even knew of. And all of a sudden I found myself telling family and friends, “Have you heard of a medical spa? It’s so amazing. They do all these procedures.” And after being there for seven years, I was ready for a new challenge. I just wanted to challenge myself more and learn and grow more and this is where I came across this position that allowed me to now explore, still stay within aesthetics, but explore the surgical aspect of it, which is absolutely rewarding.

Monique Ramsey (05:20):
And how long have you been with La Jolla Cosmetic now?

Karina Thompson (05:23):
It’ll be three years next month.

Monique Ramsey (05:26):
Oh my goodness.

Karina Thompson (05:27):

Monique Ramsey (05:28):
That’s wonderful.

Karina Thompson (05:28):
Time flies when you’re having fun.

Monique Ramsey (05:30):
I know, it does. So what skills or knowledge did you pick up in the med spa that you worked at prior to La Jolla Cosmetic that you’re maybe using now?

Karina Thompson (05:42):
One of the main things is working with patients very closely. I always knew when I was in college that I always wanted to work with people and helping people and I’m able to connect with patients, find out more about what their goals are, and from there let them know what recommendations and essentially let them know that there is something that can be done to help them feel better.

Karina Thompson (06:05):
Whether it’s something simple, like hydrating their skin, changing their product regimen, to now that I’m working on the surgical side, offering surgical options. And especially with the surgical side, a lot of patients might think of surgery and they are automatically just scared, nervous, which I can 100% relate given that when I underwent breast augmentation, I was terrified. And as you mentioned earlier, Monique, just like many patients I always tell my own patients my only regret in terms of surgery was not doing it sooner because it was something I’d been wanting for six years.

Monique Ramsey (06:44):
Oh my goodness.

Karina Thompson (06:46):
And when I finally did it, I thought to myself, “Why did I take so long?”

Monique Ramsey (06:52):
And about your procedure, what was the thing that maybe surprised you about after the procedure and after going through the process, what did you think? Maybe something that you thought about prior to, like you said, you were scared and then afterwards, what did you think of?

Karina Thompson (07:11):
I think my biggest worry prior to considering, in my case breast augmentation, was getting the wrong size. And I always tell patients and remind them that our surgeons are extremely knowledgeable and experienced and they will guide you in the right direction in terms of choosing a size that fits with your body, your anatomy, and your goals. And so part of it is trusting your surgeon with what they’re recommending and just know that you’re in the best of hands and they’re going to help you give you the results that you’re looking for.

Karina Thompson (07:46):
So, when patients come in for a consultation after you meet with the surgeon, they will do what’s called a vector, which is a photo simulator where we take your photos and then based on the results you’re looking to achieve, the surgeon will make a recommendation in terms of size and they will adjust your photos to reflect what your breasts will look like. And a lot of patients really like this tool because it allows them to visually see what their results are going to look like and it just makes them even more excited to see this in person. So, I think it definitely calms their nerves and gets them even more excited.

Monique Ramsey (08:28):
So, tell us about your educational path.

Karina Thompson (08:32):
So, I went to Cal State University Long Beach, so I majored in communications and minored in Spanish. And so I originally wanted to be a translator. So, that’s why I went that path. I’m a San Diego native. I was born and raised in San Diego. My family’s in San Diego. So, I was ready to come back and at that point is when I stumbled into working at a medical spa. And it’s all history from there.

Monique Ramsey (08:58):
I love it. I love it. Another San Diego native. It’s so fun. So, what have you learned from listening to patients?

Karina Thompson (09:08):
I’ve learned that everybody has different goals, different needs. And sometimes when a patient initially makes a call, they’re very nervous. They’re hesitant. You can tell that making this call is the first initial step and it’s a big step for them. And I always try to … My goal, whenever I talk to patients, is to let them know that first of all, you already made the first step of making a call. Second, you’re already on a great path because you chose our practice and that they’re in good hands.

Monique Ramsey (09:45):
So, you grew up here in San Diego. Tell us about what you enjoy doing here besides maybe seeing your family since your family lives here. But what are your favorite pastimes?

Karina Thompson (09:55):
I love hiking. Absolutely love the outdoors. I recently had a baby, so I’ve been having so much fun just hanging out with him. And now that he walks, he’s running around everywhere. So, it’s nice to see him explore this fabulous city.

Monique Ramsey (10:13):
Oh, that’s nice. Has he gone to the zoo yet?

Karina Thompson (10:17):
Not yet. I’m waiting on that one. But I can’t wait to take him to the zoo and SeaWorld.

Monique Ramsey (10:23):
Yeah. It’s so fun. My kids used to love it. Let’s talk about, since La Jolla, cosmetic is such a family atmosphere, tell us about your favorite family tradition.

Karina Thompson (10:38):
This usually is around Thanksgiving, which I’m sure a lot of people do, but I think it’s one of those things where I wish we did it maybe once a month. So, we go around the table and we say what we’re grateful for, but then we also say what we’re grateful for about a person, not just in general, but you just pick someone around the table and just acknowledge. Because I think a lot of times we get so busy with our day to day lives, we’re distracted by our phones, that we forget to just sit down and even if it’s to tell someone, “You’re amazing, you’re doing great. Thank you for being you.” And so it’s one of the things that I really enjoy, especially around the holidays.

Monique Ramsey (11:21):
That’s a wonderful tradition. I love that.

Karina Thompson (11:23):

Monique Ramsey (11:25):
So, what would you like listeners to take away from listening to this podcast?

Karina Thompson (11:30):
Just know that you’re not alone, that you’re not the only one that feels nervous when you think about surgery, and just know that we’re here to support you, to answer your questions. We want to make sure that you feel at ease, comfortable, and that you have all the information you need to make the right decision for you.

Monique Ramsey (11:51):
Yeah. Now before we wrap it up, for listeners of our podcast, we give $25 off of any product or service of $50 or more. So, let me ask you Karina, if you were going to have $25 to spend towards something, what product or treatment would it be?

Karina Thompson (12:10):
Ooh, that’s a hard one. But I recently started using our Skin Better products and I absolutely love them. I would highly recommend the Skin Better trio balancing moisturizer.

Monique Ramsey (12:25):

Karina Thompson (12:25):
It’s absolutely amazing. I got my mom hooked on it. She absolutely loves it. So, if I had $25, I would use it towards that.

Monique Ramsey (12:33):
Oh, perfect. I love that. That’s a new one for me. I haven’t tried that yet.

Karina Thompson (12:37):
Oh, I highly recommend it.

Monique Ramsey (12:39):
Okay. Okay. And last but not least, if any of you have any questions about services or you’d like to schedule a consultation with one of our plastic surgeons or one of our med spa providers, you can contact us via the links down in the show notes and everything that we talked about today, we’ll have a link for you. And then Karina might be the person you talk to when you call, right?

Karina Thompson (13:05):
Thank you so much for having me. And I look forward to talking to you if you decide to give us a call.

Monique Ramsey (13:10):
Thanks everybody.

Speaker 1 (13:17):
Take a screenshot of this podcast episode with your phone and show it at your consultation or appointment or mention the promo code PODCAST to receive $25 off any service or product of $50 or more at La Jolla Cosmetic. La Jolla Cosmetic is located just off the I-5 San Diego freeway in the XiMED building on the Scripps Memorial Hospital campus. To learn more, go to ljcsc.com or follow the team on Instagram @ljcsc. The La Jolla Cosmetic Podcast is a production of The Axis.