A diagnosis of cancer is often devastating to a patient and their family. Our nurse navigator program pairs a certified oncology nurse with a patient to help coordinate care throughout diagnosis, treatment and recovery. After the doctor explains the treatment plan, the nurse navigator reviews it with the patient to be sure all questions are answered. Then she remains in regular contact with the patient. In fact, patients can call their nurse navigator with questions or concerns around-the-clock at any point during their cancer experience.
The Nurse Navigator
- Is an R.N. who is certified in oncology, experienced in working with oncology patients and has compassion that runs deep
- Helps patients understand the diagnosis and treatment plan
- Watches closely for any problems that may arise over the course of treatment and recovery
- Serves as a clinician, care coordinator, educator and counselor for patients and families
- Improves patient outcomes through education, support and monitoring
- Coordinates care with other healthcare providers, such as pharmacists, dieticians, social workers, case managers and counselors
- Helps the patient and family connect with community resources
- Remains in contact with the patient throughout the treatment process; the patient may call at any time with questions about medication, symptoms, lifestyle changes or other concerns
Oncology Nurse Navigators
Jo Maria Weathers, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN
Nurse Navigator for Breast Cancer
- Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator at Greenville Memorial Hospital since 2001 and a part of the Oncology Multidisciplinary team since 2009
- Oncology Certified Nurse with 20 years of experience (13 years focused on breast cancer)
- Active in Oncology Nursing Society both locally and nationally
- Helped establish and support two breast cancer support groups and has helped with programs for an older established support group
- Involved in local community in breast cancer prevention and awareness by speaking for various groups
- Established a lymphedema prevention/education class
"As an oncology nurse navigator for breast cancer patients, I am available for my patients for any questions, concerns or problems that may arise during their journey. The diagnosis of cancer is a scary, confusing time, and the nurse navigators are here to hold the patients hand and walk with them and their family through this trying time. Patient care is coordinated at the multidisciplinary meeting with the surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist, along with discussion with the radiologist and pathologist. When the team goes to meet the patient and discuss their care, they go as a united front after having the team discussion. The nurse navigator then meets with the patient at the end to tie up any loose ends, provide education, and most importantly, to answer any questions the patient may have and let them know that we are available at any time. I am honored to be a nurse navigator and to have the privilege to help patients at a time when the system can become confusing."
Jackie Gambrell, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN
Nurse Navigator for Gastrointestinal and Head/Neck Cancers
- Gastrointestinal and Head/Neck Nurse Navigator at Greenville Memorial Hospital since 2003
- Oncology Certified Nurse with 30 years of experience
- National instructor for Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) chemotherapy/biotherapy course
"As an oncology nurse navigator, I walk beside patients and families who are on a cancer journey. I encourage them to embrace their situation and provide education, support and information to each patient and family. I listen, laugh and encourage them daily. It is a privilege to walk this journey with patients and families. Oncology nursing is my ministry; patients and families continue to teach me that life is a precious gift that should be lived well every day."
Sherry Riggins, RN, BSN, OCN
Nurse Navigator for Neuro, Melanoma, Sarcoma and Prostate Cancer
- Oncology nurse since 1991 with experience in general oncology, chemotherapy infusion, stem cell, breast health, gynecologic oncology and oncology research
- Oncology Certified Nurse with 22 years of experience
- Active in Oncology Nursing Society both locally and nationally
"The role of an oncology nurse navigator is very fulfilling. I love working with patients and helping them through their journey. Navigating each person through their journey to optimize their outcome at a very stressful and confusing time is the reason I became a nurse navigator and am so dedicated to this role."
Patricia Leighton, RN, MSN Ed, OCN
Nurse Navigator for Integrative Oncology and Survivorship
- Survivorship Nurse Navigator at Greenville Memorial Hospital since 2012
- Nurse educator, Greenville Technical College, Adjunct Faculty 2011-2012
- Experience in acute care medical oncology nursing, stem cell bone marrow transplant nursing, home health case management, ambulatory outpatient medical oncology nursing
- Oncology Certified Nurse with 20 years of experience
- Oncology Nursing Society national and local chapter member for 18 years
"As the survivorship nurse navigator, I connect cancer patients with education and community resources related to cancer treatment effects throughout cancer survivorship. Some of my responsibilities include helping survivors maintain wellness and understand possible long-term effects of their cancer therapy, as well as providing them with any complementary integrative therapies or resources they may need. I also help create a document known as a survivorship care plan or treatment summary to guide them on their journey."
Pat Schuman, RN, BSN, OCN
Nurse Navigator for Thoracic and Neurologic Cancers
- Thoracic Nurse Navigator at Greenville Memorial Hospital since 2009
- Oncology Certified Nurse with 36 years experience
- Active in Oncology Nursing Society and a member since 1980
"As an oncology nurse navigator, I help the thoracic and neuro patients learn about their specific type of cancer and treatments. My role is typically more with patients when they are initially diagnosed. This is a particularly stressful and confusing time for patients and families with many appointments and introductions to specialty physicians. I provide information on side effects of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery and answer questions from the patient and their support team. I also provide information on equipment, such as feeding tubes, drain catheters for chest tubes (pleura catheters, pleurovacs), etc."
Annette J. Dunphy, RN, MSN, OCN
Nurse Navigator for Thoracic Oncology
- Thoracic Nurse Navigator at Greenville Memorial Hospital since 2003
- Director of Nursing for oncology and medicine departments since 2010
- Oncology Certified Nurse with 23 years experience
- Active in both local and state Oncology Nursing Society
"As an oncology nurse navigator, I support both patients and families through their journey following thoracic cancer diagnosis."
Kate Richardson, RN, MSN, OCN
Oncology Clinical Research Nurse Navigator
- Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant Nurse
- Oncology Certified Nurse with 7 years experience
- Member of the Oncology Nursing Society
"As an oncology clinical research nurse, I work with physicians, patients and the community to navigate people through clinical trials. In particular, I work with cancer control clinical trials, which deal with the side effects of cancer or its treatments, such as pain management, fatigue, and ways to improve comfort and quality of life during and after cancer treatment. I also work with clinical trials that aim to prevent cancer by involving people that do not have cancer but have known risk factors for cancer development, as well as cancer survivors to prevent a second cancer. I enjoy working with patients to assure a positive experience while navigating them through our healthcare system and clinical trial. I am excited about the aims of these trials to improve the quality of life in people undergoing cancer treatments and survivors, as well as the potential to unveil strategies to prevent cancer."