Nurse Navigation at Evangelical’s Center for Breast Health: Guidance Through the Healthcare Maze
At Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, breast cancer care is very personal, not just for the patient but for the caregivers as well. Nurse navigation is a role being introduced at hospitals throughout the country, but at the Thyra M. Humphreys Center for Breast Health the term and role defines a special element of care that’s been provided for years.
A nurse navigator is an individual who has nursing background and uses that knowledge to bring power to the patient. They serve to guide breast cancer patients through the maze of options for treatment, answer frequent questions related to breast cancer, and serve as a liaison between the patient and their treatment providers. The role is designed to complement the services provided by the physician and in many cases the navigator and the physician work together on a line of care for each individual patient case.
“This role of navigator is vital to the care of the patient,” said Andrea Bertram, Director of the Center for Breast Health. “Patients who have just been diagnosed with cancer are suddenly introduced to appointments with various specialists and are inundated with information including medical terminology they may not fully understand. The nurse navigator takes all of that information and talks patients and their families through the next steps lessening some of the stress, which helps the patient to be in the right frame of mind for treatment.”
At the Center for Breast Health there are two navigators on staff to assist. Any patient who has an abnormal mammogram is automatically connected to a certified imaging navigator who guides them through the early stages of breast imaging, either mammogram or ultrasound. They then work with the patient with follow-up, any financial concerns, and make sure the patient has access to timely additional imaging or procedures.
If needed, the Breast Center’s nurse navigator takes over at the time of diagnosis and is a resource for the patient and their family as they consider their individual treatment options. This helps to take away some of the overwhelming fear and anxiety that can accompany a new diagnosis.
Billie Jo Day, RN, BSN, CBPN-IC, Breast Specialist and Nurse Navigator at Evangelical’s Center for Breast Health said, “As a nurse, I can calm a patient’s fears as they are receiving their diagnosis and treatment plan. They can look to me to help them through the next steps and to be their advocate when they may not understand the healthcare system.”
The nurse navigator role at the Center for Breast Health is part of the comprehensive care that has been a guiding force of the Center since its inception. As much as possible, the Center is meant to be the central location for services, housed under one roof, which helps ease some stress for patients.
“It is rewarding work to know I am making a difference for our patients, emotionally, physically, and mentally after the upset of a diagnosis. And it doesn’t stop there, my role continues after treatment well into the future of their journey into survival,” said Day.
Nurse navigation has proven so successful that Evangelical has recently added it as a service for those impacted by a diagnosis of cancer other than breast cancer.
Day said, “Nurse navigation at the Center for Breast Health further emphasizes Evangelical’s philosophy of care: the patient is not a chart of results but a person, who deserves to feel a caring connection during a difficult time in their life. It is the heart of compassionate care.”
To learn more about the services and staff of the Thyra M. Humphrey Center for Breast Health visit www.evanhospital.com or call the Center directly at 570-522-4200.
Evangelical is a non-profit organization that employs approximately 1,460 people and has more than 170 employed and non-employed physicians on staff. The Hospital is licensed to accommodate 132 overnight patients, 12 acute rehab patients and 18 bassinets. The Hospital serves residents throughout the Central Susquehanna Valley, including those living in Snyder, Union, Northumberland and Lycoming Counties.
Bllie Jo Day, RN, BSN, Certified Nurse Navigator and Breast Health Specialist and Amy Keefer, RT (R)(M)(BD), Certified Breast Patient Imaging Navigator, provide patients at the Thyra M. Humphreys Center for Breast Health at Evangelical Community Hospital with the extra resources and emotional support they need when dealing with abnormal breast imaging results that could lead to cancer diagnosis and treatment.