You don’t have to be alone on your treatment journey
Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is daunting enough, but the challenges can become even greater when patients begin to work their way through an unfamiliar healthcare system. At Adventist Health Simi Valley, oncology patients receive dedicated professional nurse advocates — called nurse navigators — who possess the expertise and experience to help patients anticipate issues and work through any roadblocks they face on their journey.
Patients are referred to the nurse navigators, who are oncology-certified registered nurses, from the Nancy Reagan Breast Center and the main hospital. For patients who are newly diagnosed, the nurse navigators start by helping them understand what the next several months of their lives will entail, in order to remove some of the mystery and fear of the unknown.
From there, they help patients gain access to resources in the community, such as free wigs for patients who lose their hair, support groups and services and practical help such as transportation.
As their name implies, the nurse navigators also help patients make their way through their treatment journey at the hospital. They help by breaking down barriers patients encounter and facilitating timeliness in patients' treatment plans. They also help to minimize the time between biopsy and the beginning of treatment, identify where delays are happening and facilitate communication among healthcare providers to make sure patients are making their way through the system as efficiently as possible.
Smoothing the transition
For patients, the transition out of their active treatment period can be daunting. Even though completion of treatment is a positive milestone, the lack of regular, one-on-one contact with physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals can leave patients nervous or frightened. To ease this transition, nurse navigators help patients prepare for the next step in their lives with the creation of a survivorship plan.
This plan contains a comprehensive review of all of the treatments and procedures the patient has undergone. Most important, it includes a telephone number the patient can call for follow-up help if there are any questions or additional needs.
Adventist Health Simi Valley's nurse navigators are available to help anyone who is dealing with breast cancer. They may be reached at (805) 955-8055.