Published on October 09, 2017

Nurse navigators: A cancer patient’s best friend

Few things are more overwhelming than a cancer diagnosis. At one of the most vulnerable times in your life, you’re bombarded with complex medical information you need to quickly absorb. Very likely, you’ll face multiple tests and procedures provided by multiple doctors.

And all the while, your mind may race with questions: What will happen to me? What’s next? How can I get through this?

That’s where the Oncology Nurse Navigator program at the St. Mary Regional Cancer Center can help. If you have any kind of cancer, our four nurse navigators are here to light your way and to guide you through every step of your journey, from diagnosis through treatment and survivorship.

Their goal, very simply, is to help ease the stress of facing cancer so that you can concentrate on healing. Each is a registered nurse with highly specialized training in cancer care. Together, they help hundreds of our patients every year.

Our navigators help you get timely treatment. On your own, it might take weeks—or even months—to see busy cancer specialists for consultations. But as soon as you’re diagnosed, “we’ll quickly set up appointments—usually within a week—for every specialist potentially involved in your care,” says Amy M. Young, BSN, RN, CHPN, Oncology Nurse Navigator.

That allows for faster treatment, which improves outcomes. Studies show, in fact, that the sooner cancer treatment begins, the better the odds of survival.

They help you know what to expect. The navigators will explain the next steps in treatment, which can help you feel less anxious about what’s ahead. And they will answer any questions you— or your family— might have about your care.