Nurse Navigator Eases The Cancer Journey For Patients
A nurse navigator can be the invaluable guide in the complicated and unpredictable journey of a cancer patient. This is the critical role at UH Seidman Cancer Center for a nurse like Susan Lawrence, BSN, RN, at University Hospitals Parma Medical Center. She can help a man with multiple myeloma, under the care of a hematologist at University Hospitals’ main campus, arrange regular infusions close to home as he prepares for a bone marrow transplant. She can schedule more convenient chemotherapy appointments for a woman with breast cancer, whose surgeon is based on the east side. And for patients whose specialist is only at UH main campus for a rare kind of cancer, she can ensure that thrice-weekly bloodwork is at least obtained at UH Parma, preventing a trip downtown.
Nurse navigators stay with patients from diagnosis through survivorship, bringing their experience full circle. They ensure breast biopsy patients receive their results and radiation therapy and chemotherapy appointments are scheduled. They also direct patients toward financial counseling and coordinating helpful services from partner agencies such as the American Cancer Society. “We’re here to help,” says Susan, whose calming demeanor puts patients at ease. Like her counterparts at other Seidman locations, she teaches a chemo class to help patients understand what to expect during chemotherapy and how to handle side effects. “Being able to see someone fearful, and put his or her mind at ease, is rewarding,” Susan says. “I can show them that cancer is manageable, that they are stronger than they think, and guide them along the path.”
Senior Communications Strategist, University Hospitals Parma Medical Center