When a patient hears that they might have breast cancer, it’s natural to feel scared and alone. Nurse navigators at Bon Secours facilities are ensuring they are not. A nurse navigator is a patient educator, advocate and care coordinator who meets with patients as soon as they have a possible cancer diagnosis and helps coordinate further testing.
“I get involved even before patients receive their diagnosis,” said Leslie Smith, RN, MSN, CBPN-IC, Breast Program Coordinator and Certified Breast Patient Navigator with Bon Secours Maryview. “It’s helpful for them to have a single point of contact from diagnosis throughout treatment.”
While medical oncologists, radiologists, pharmacists, surgeons, plastic surgeons, nutritionists or psychologists see the patient at different points in their treatment, the nurse navigator is a consistent guide.
“It’s out mission to make every patient’s experience exceptions,” said Smith. “Sometimes that means explaining a procedure, and sometimes it’s as simple as holding a patient’s hand.”
Nurse navigators are not unique to Bon Secours’ breast cancer program. Bon Secours also has nurse navigators who support those diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer.