Guidance through the healthcare maze

LEWISBURG – At Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, breast cancer care is personal, not just for the patient but for the caregivers as well. Nurse navigation is a role being introduced throughout the country, but at the Thyra M. Humphreys Center for Breast Health the term and role defines a special element of care.

A nurse navigator is an individual who has nursing background and uses that knowledge to bring power to the patient. They serve to guide breast cancer patients through the maze of options for treatment, answer frequent questions, and serve as a liaison between the patient and their treatment providers. The role is designed to complement the services provided by the physician.

“This role of navigator is vital to the care of the patient,” said Andrea Bertram, director of the center. “Patients who have just been diagnosed with cancer are suddenly introduced to appointments with various specialists and are inundated with information including medical terminology they may not fully understand. The nurse navigator takes all of that information and talks patients and their families through the next steps lessening some of the stress, which helps the patient to be in the right frame of mind for treatment.”

At the center for are two navigators on staff to assist. Any patient who has an abnormal mammogram is automatically connected to a certified imaging navigator who guides them through the early stages of breast imaging, either mammogram or ultrasound. They work with the patient with follow-up, any financial concerns and make sure the patient has access to timely additional imaging or procedures.

If needed, the Breast Center’s nurse navigator takes over at the time of diagnosis and is a resource for the patient and their family as they consider their individual treatment options.

Billie Jo Day, breast specialist and nurse navigator at Evangelical’s Center for Breast Health, said, “As a nurse, I can calm a patient’s fears as they are receiving their diagnosis and treatment plan. They can look to me to help them through the next steps and to be their advocate when they may not understand the healthcare system.”

To learn more about the services and staff of the Thyra M. Humphrey Center for Breast Health visit or call the Center directly at 570-522-4200.