“When Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer, Nurse Navigator Angela Acevedo became her advocate, guide and support from the initial meeting in the doctor’s office to the final chemotherapy treatment. ‘I will never forget all the ways Angela helped me through a very difficult time in my life!’ ”
Navigating the Cancer Journey
When Jane Para was diagnosed with breast cancer, Nurse Navigator Angela Acevedo became her “advocate, guide and support”, from the initial meeting in the doctor’s office to the final chemotherapy treatment. “I will never forget all the ways Angela helped me through a very difficult time in my life!”
“While getting treatment, it can feel as if you don’t know who to turn to,” Jane said. “Angela helped give me a voice as a patient. She was always an advocate for me and always made time to make sure my questions were answered.”
There is no cost to the patient for this life-changing service. However, the cost to St. Joseph Hospital for providing Nurse Navigators for cancer patients is more than $800,000 a year – not a penny of which is reimbursed.
Through our Nurse Navigator program, Nurse Navigators like Angela can continue to transform the delivery of cancer care by making sure all of a patient’s needs are met.
Acting as the primary point of contact for patients like Jane, Nurse Navigators:
- Answer questions related to care
- Coordinate testing and treatment
- Provide advice and information for patients and their loved ones
- Become a liaison between patients and other care givers
- Coordinate care between departments
- Provide critical emotional support
“But nurses have been doing things like this for years,” you might say. And you would be right. The difference today is St. Joseph Hospital’s Nurse Navigator program, which trains experienced oncology nurses and physician assistants to provide this vital help and support, and overcome the barriers that may stand between patients and effective, comprehensive cancer care.
Nurse Navigators are an integral part of the quality cancer care provided at St. Joseph Hospital. A recent study in the journal Cancer Nursing reported that patients with access to cancer navigators experienced significant increases in quality of life and satisfaction with the care they received. They also spent fewer days in the hospital. This individual patient support helps significantly reduce the sometimes-overwhelming stress that comes with a cancer diagnosis – stress that can require energy that would be better devoted to care and treatment.
Nurse Navigators ease cancer patients’ anxiety by helping them navigate through a bewildering barrage of information and a seemingly unending schedule of appointments and treatments, giving them the most precious gift of all: peace of mind.
Nurse Navigators like Angela Acevedo are the heart and soul of this program. “I hate to see people who are confused and vulnerable, often overwhelmed by the diagnosis they have received,” Angela says. “It’s up to me to make sure they understand every aspect of their treatment. At any time during their journey, they can call me and I’ll be there to help!”
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