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Featured Story 18 June 2021

Nurse Navigator Program at Ivinson

Written by Breann Lujan-Halcon

Breast cancer patients to benefit with the launch of Ivinson's nurse navigator program

When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, they are often overwhelmed with more questions than they have answers.

What does this mean? What happens next? Will I need chemo? Surgery? Radiation? It is easy to become quickly overwhelmed. At Ivinson’s Meredith and Jeannie Ray Cancer Center, we want to help you answer those questions, which is where our Nurse Navigator steps in.

According to the Oncology Nursing Society, the goal of oncology navigation is to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality by eliminating barriers to timely access to cancer care. These barriers patients face may be financial, psychological, logistic, or related to communication or the healthcare delivery system. It is the role of the nurse navigator to help patients overcome these barriers. 

The nurse navigator is a role that came into fruition through a partnership between Ivinson, the Wyoming Breast Cancer Initiative (WBCI), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Wyoming Department of Health (WDH). The program seeks to improve clinical outcomes for patients starting with a navigation program for breast cancer with plans to expand the program further. 

The Nurse Navigator helps improve the outcome for the patient by reducing the time from abnormal diagnosis to treatment,” says Laurie Heath, Ivinson’s Nurse Navigator. Research indicates if you can start treatment within 30 days of diagnosis, your outcomes are greatly improved for breast cancer.”

Laurie, who earned her nursing degree from the University of Wyoming, is no stranger to the battles cancer patients are fighting right here in the Cowboy State. Laurie has worked on the inpatient oncology unit at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center and is a founding board member of the Wyoming Breast Cancer Initiative, which has awarded over $500,000 to Wyoming communities for breast cancer. 

In her new role, Laurie will work to provide resources, educate and serve as a point of contact for patients and their families. 

The objective of the Nurse Navigator program is to connect with patients very early from abnormal diagnosis,” Laurie explains. As a nurse navigator, I am here to guide our patients from abnormal clinical findings to survivorship and beyond.” 

To learn more about services available at the Meredith and Jeannie Ray Cancer Center, visit https://​www​.ivin​son​hos​pi​tal​.org/​c​a​n​c​e​r​-​c​enter.