Cancer Patients use Nurse Navigators

When a Doctor Isn’t Enough

Nurse Navigators Help Patients Through Maze of Cancer-Treatment Decisions, Fears

When Judith Nakamura tried to see a surgeon to follow up on her treatment for breast cancer recently, she was told it would be a two-month wait. Colleen Sullivan-Moore stepped in and got Ms. Nakamura an appointment the following week.

Ms. Sullivan-Moore, at Presbyterian Healthcare Services in Albuquerque, N.M., heads a team of nurse navigators. Their job: to help steer cancer patients through the medical-system maze.



Over the course of Ms. Nakamura’s seven months of treatment, Ms. Sullivan-Moore helped her understand the diagnosis and overcome her fears. She was in the recovery room when Ms. Nakamura awoke after her surgeries. And Ms. Sullivan-Moore directed the patient where to buy a wig before she lost her hair to chemotherapy treatment.

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