From the moment of learning of their diagnosis to the challenges of treatment and paying bills, cancer patients need help they can rely on. Fortunately, UHS has a team of four oncology nurse navigators who help patients with their cancer journey.
Kristin Raub, RN, oncology nurse navigator, is a seasoned professional who has worked in UHS hospitals and care centers for years. Now based at UHS Wilson Medical Center, Ms. Raub assists cancer patients entering treatment for head and neck cancers and urological cancers. Mary Mancini, RN, is the oncology nurse navigator who focuses on patients with gastrointestinal cancers, and another team member, Rita Kanaar, RN, came on board in December to help lung cancer patients.
Julia Mack, RN, certified breast cancer navigator, works with patients who receive care at the UHS Breast Center Vestal. The Breast Center offers imaging, surgery and some oncology services, but Ms. Mack says the bulk of care is provided at the UHS Wilson campus. “We work closely with radiation oncology, medical oncology, chemotherapy, plastic surgery and other services,” she says. “One of the most important duties is to take as much stress as possible off of patients. I try to put myself in their shoes and give each person the right amount of help that they need.”
Nurse navigators’ patients are referred to them from many sources, including previous cancer patients who valued their assistance. But typically they are alerted to a new case when an oncologist calls them in to meet with a newly diagnosed patient. “We establish a relationship and help them with the initial steps of therapy, plus we do a lot of patient and family education,” says Ms. Raub. Because they have oncology training, oncology nurse navigators are an excellent resource for patients who have questions and don’t know whom to ask.