What is SMIL's Breast Nurse Navigator Program?
- The SMIL Breast Nurse Navigator program is available to breast patients in our care through any of SMIL's Breast Centers of Excellence and is staffed by a team of experienced nurses and breast patient experts. Each Breast Nurse Navigator is nationally certified by the National Consortium of Breast Centers.
- Breast Nurse Navigators are here to answer your questions about any aspect of breast health and breast cancer. You may have a concern about routine screening or a diagnostic procedure (like a breast biopsy). If you have a breast cancer diagnosis, a SMIL Breast Nurse Navigator can talk with you about breast cancer treatments and options.
- Just as important as their specialized expertise, your Breast Nurse Navigator is experienced in listening and clear, caring communication. We understand that every woman is unique and we provide care and information in a way that is personalized specifically for you.
- Working closely with your own physicians and providers, our Breast Nurse Navigator can help schedule appointments for breast imaging and follow-up, explain testing and results and can connect you with the breast health resources you may need. Whether it is a quick phone conversation to answer a question or a face-to-face meeting to discuss your concerns, our Breast Nurse Navigators offer the highly personalized care you have come to trust from SMIL.
- Breast cancer patients' individual needs and wants can vary – some prefer resources, timelines and goals; others value patiently weighing every option and are more comfortable with shared decision-making on their journey to recovery. Sometimes the most important thing may be just having someone by your side at a stressful moment ready to reach out and hold your hand.
What does a Breast Patient Navigation program mean for physicians and providers?
- Our goal is simple. It is to make certain that any woman with a suspicious breast cancer related finding receives timely diagnosis and optimal treatment.
- We help patients overcome any barriers along the way such as access to care, misunderstanding the breast cancer screening process, a fear of a positive breast cancer diagnosis and financial, emotional or family concerns. We take as much time as it takes to ensure women are making informed choices not based on anxiety or fear.
- The Breast Nurse Navigator acts as a liaison between the patient and other members of her healthcare team. In some instances it can be as simple as helping answer questions about routine breast screening and results or providing and explaining information for a woman and her family. Other patients may need support from the Breast Nurse Navigator to help coordinate her treatments and understand the different, sometimes complicated, options available to her. Caring communication is crucial during what can be a very stressful and confusing time.
- Our Breast Nurse Navigators can help guide the patient through the process from diagnostic imaging, to biopsy, to diagnosis.
- SMIL takes time with each patient to explain, inform and often help calm patients' natural anxieties about their breast cancer, and treatment options.
- Patients may prefer face-to-face meetings or a phone call to discuss their concerns, and create personalized care.
- We facilitate increased awareness of community resources and assist in finding support groups for patients and their families.
- We facilitate physicians' and providers' recommendations for breast surgeons, and schedule further imaging as needed (for example breast MRIs). Coordinating those physician-driven recommendations in a timely manner helps ensure compliance and understanding.
- We provide reliable educational resources for the patient and, just as importantly, for their families. We answer their questions and address their fears during the breast cancer experience. This can often help increase patient satisfaction with her entire care team and lead to optimized outcomes.
We provide facts and emotional support; we do not offer opinions or make choices for patients. We explain advantages and disadvantages. Treatment advice and decision-making always stays with the patient, her physicians and providers. We support those choices.