FLINT — An increased patient need at Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Flint, has been met with the addition of a second full-time nurse navigator to oversee and guide patients throughout their continuum of care. A recent grant from the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) provides support for a Breast Nurse Navigator who will help guide breast cancer patients through their journey, from diagnostic imaging, to biopsy, to diagnosis and treatment.
The Breast Nurse Navigator will assess, document and guide cancer patients to prescribed treatment regimens and will track all patients to ensure quality of care. The navigator also makes certain that any woman with a suspicious breast cancer related finding receives timely diagnosis and optimal treatment and to help patients overcome any barriers along the way such as access to care, misunderstanding the breast cancer screening process, a fear of a positive breast cancer diagnosis and financial, emotional, or family concerns.
“I am pleased to be able to serve as a Breast Nurse Navigator for McLaren Flint patients,” said Penny Wilkinson, RN. “My primary focus is on breast cancer and navigating my patients through the ins and outs, and ups and downs of their breast cancer treatment journey. I do whatever I can to ensure my patients are comforted. I hold their hand during diagnosis, help them understand and provide support throughout their treatment and cheer them on through survivorship. Whatever their journey may be, I’m honored to be able to help them through it.”
The Breast Nurse Navigator also acts as a liaison between the patient and other members of the healthcare team.
“We are very happy to partner with the National Breast Cancer Foundation as we work to improve the health and well-being of women throughout our community,” said Doug Glazier, Vice President McLaren Flint Foundation.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation was founded to fill in the gaps of cancer care, ensuring every woman has the access and information she needs to get through every step of her breast cancer journey. The NBCF Patient Navigator Program is a proactive approach to helping patients overcome the barriers of cost, fear, and misinformation surrounding breast cancer. Good, timely care and support can increase the quality of life and likelihood of survival by keeping women on track with their treatment and follow-up survivorship appointments. By helping underserved women to navigate the healthcare system, navigators provide the vision that gives women hope.
“We support and believe in the strength of the community of Flint. We are committed to supporting this program at McLaren Flint and know that navigation helps those in need access critical services,” said Douglas Feil, Chief Program Officer of the National Breast Cancer Foundation. — G.G.