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Nurse Navigators healing guides

Amy Graber R.N.  Alegent health oncology nurse navigator • Photography Courtesy of Alegent Health

Amy Graber R.N. Alegent health oncology nurse navigator • Photography Courtesy of Alegent Health













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Anyone confronted with a life-threatening illness can appreciate the services of the caring and skilled professionals who help map out the way through an often daunting medical maze.


That’s the single most obvious question patients and their families ask when given a diagnosis such as cancer. Everything after that can come in a blur while attempting to manage visits with doctors and diagnostic tests along with a range of powerful emotions and life changes. The sheer volume of responsibilities and stressors can be overwhelming. Nurse Navigators play an invaluable supportive role on the journey of diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

The oncology-certified Nurse Navigators at ALEGENT HEALTH serve as a single point of contact to collaborate with medical team members to ensure that all information is current and that the patient and family clearly understand the plan of care.
They become an integral part of the family’s journey, often creating bonds that last far beyond the end of treatment. Their family involvement can be extensive while on call day and night, making appointments, coordinating care, taking notes during doctor visits, holding a hand or even providing a shoulder to cry on. They also help patients connect with available resources within the health system and the community. Patients may be able to schedule their own appointments and get through the treatment on their own, but if the pressure becomes too great, your family’s Nurse Navigator is there to help.

Among the primary responsibilities of the Nurse Navigator is providing disease education as well as perspective on warning signs and symptoms as they arise. Given the nature of a serious diagnosis, the resources families require can range from emotional support to social, spiritual, nutritional or financial counseling. The needs of each individual patient and family are unique, and Nurse Navigators respond in any way they can. The bonding formed through this process can be so deep that it is not uncommon for patients to consider the Nurse Navigator as if they actually are family.

The nurses that are drawn to this type of work are devoted to their patients. Misti Bausch, RN, BSN, is a trained oncology nurse who became involved in the Nurse Navigator Program because as an inpatient nurse she saw the need for a single person for patients to contact with questions and concerns once they left the hospital, someone who could guide them through the entire process, from a cancer diagnosis through treatment and beyond.

“The patients really appreciate the service we provide,” says Misti. “By taking away some of the worry and stress from the process, they are able to concentrate on healing.” Like other Nurse Navigators, Misti feels her job is a good fit for her, offering unique rewards. “I love being an Oncology Nurse Navigator. It is really fulfilling to be able to connect with patients and their families and help them through such a difficult time.”

Nurse Navigator Amy Graber, RN, MSN, says that helping patients this way is her dream job. “It is often comforting to the patient and to the family to have me there. The support I provide takes some of the pressure off of the family to take care of all the patient’s needs.”

The Nurse Navigator Program is available to everyone receiving oncology care at Alegent and there is no charge for the service. Many patients hear about the nurse navigators and are afraid to ask for the help because they fear this service is not covered by their insurance. Even when they hear the word “free,” they presume that there will be a cost of some kind down the road. This service is simply an innovative addition to health care that Alegent believes in because it truly benefits the patients and families in need.

To learn more about the Alegent Health Oncology Nurse Navigator Program, visit www.alegent.com/navigator. Nurse Navigators at Alegent are provided for both cancer and cardiovascular patients.

-end- metroMAGAZINE





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