The nurse navigators at the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center provide a wealth of information and support to their patients and families. They are nurses who have many years of experience in working with cancer patients and who have specialized training in helping patients to process all of the information coming at them. Nurse navigators understand "the system" and act as patient advocates, helping cancer patients navigate their treatment and advance from one stage of survivorship to the next.
Nurse Navigators Guide the Way for Cancer Patients
Navigating the treatment process following a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. Still reeling from the news, patients are often frightened, full of questions and unaware of their options as they enter cancer treatment.
At the Disney Family Cancer Center, patients can call upon helpful, compassionate guides who will assist them in finding their way through the maze of cancer treatment. We call them Nurse Navigators. They provide a key link between patients and medical providers. Our Nurse Navigators strive to ensure that each patient follows their best path to recovery with the least amount of stress.
By working directly with oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and other clinicians, our nurse navigators are better able to help patients understand and follow their cancer treatment plans. This type of guidance has been shown to improve treatment outcomes for patients. By having someone else to lean on and lead the way, patients are able to focus on getting well.
Currently, our nurse navigators specialize in assisting patients diagnosed with breast, lung, prostate or gynecological cancers. The story of one patient, Laura Adler, demonstrates the value of a nurse navigator.
One Patient's Story of Navigating the Cancer Treatment Maze
On the day Laura underwent a biopsy do determine whether a lump on her breast was malignant, she met Sharon Adell, the Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator. Sharon became Laura's constant companion, helping her navigate her breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
As a nurse navigator, Sharon provides this kind of support for every breast cancer patient at the Disney Family Cancer Center from the day they are diagnosed to well beyond their last day of treatment.
In a way, she is a living embodiment of what the Disney Family Cancer Center is about - a comprehensive center of healing that provides full support in body, mind and spirit for every patient.
"Sharon was someone I could always call," Laura says. "She was there, and it really helps to know you can call someone when you need to ask questions and you don't feel you're imposing."
With 30 years as a nurse practitioner, Sharon provides support for approximately 200 breast cancer patients each year, helping them deal with their illness, make choices about their treatment and help them find cancer support groups. Our lung, prostate or gynecological nurse navigators provide similar services for those patients.
Disney Family Cancer Center Nurse Navigators support cancer patients by guiding them through the maze of cancer treatment at a time when they may be overwhelmed by the news of their cancer diagnosis. Having a knowledgeable and compassionate guide can make all the difference for patients on the path to recovery.