Thoracic Cancer Nurse Navigators
Meet Debbie Hellers, Franciscan Thoracic Cancer Nurse Navigator
At a time when patients need hope and guidance most, the Franciscan Thoracic Cancer Nurse Navigator is here to help you— from diagnoses to recovery and beyond. The Thoracic Cancer Nurse Navigator program gives the thoracic cancer patient a central point of contact who provides information, education, support and guidance regarding diagnostic and treatment options. A registered nurse, the nurse navigator assesses the needs of the patient and family and then helps them navigate through the treatment process, working collaboratively with the patient’s health care team, which may include a surgeon, oncologist, radiologist, radiation oncologist and primary care provider.
The nurse navigator’s role
- A central point of contact for patients and families and the health care team
- Improves patient preparedness for treatment by providing education and psychological support for both the patient and family
- An advocate for the patient by presenting concerns and needs to the health care team
- Collaborates with members of the health care team to facilitate a coordinated approach to the patient’s plan of care
- Initiates referrals for additional support, such as social services, nutrition counseling and many other community resources
The nurse navigator contacts the patient as soon as a thoracic cancer diagnosis is made. The individual needs of the patient are taken into account in developing the treatment plan, including surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. The navigator also helps interpret medical terminology, listens to concerns, answers questions, offers counsel, and works with the patient to schedule appointments with various specialists.
For more information or to refer a patient, contact:
Debbie Hellers, RN, BSN, OCN
Outpatient Oncology/Infusion Center
St. Joseph Outpatient Center
1617 S. J St., MS 08-02, Tacoma