Through the Nurse Navigator program, cancer patients at the MDC have a personal guide to lead them through diagnosis and treatment. A diagnosis of cancer is often devastating to the patient and family. Our Nurse Navigator program pairs a certified oncology nurse with a patient who has cancer 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 anytime day or night at anytime 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 manager and counselor
- 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 day or night 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 Nurse for 20 years with 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 have 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. The patients’ 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, to do education and most important to answer any questions and let the patient know that you are available for any questions or concerns 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 experience as an Registered Nurse
- National Instructor for Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Chemotherapy/Biotherapy course.
- Hobbies: hiking, boating, watching sunsets over Lake Hartwell and loving on my family
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 center, gynecologic oncology, and oncology research
- Active in Oncology Nursing Society both locally and nationally
- Bachelors Science degree in Nursing at University of Phoenix in 2011
- Oncology Certified Nurse with 22 years experience as an Registered Nurse
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 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: Acute care Medical Oncology Nursing, Stem Cell Bone Marrow Transplant Nursing, Home Health Case Management, Ambulatory Outpatient Medical Oncology Nursing
- Oncology Nurse for 20 years
- Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN) for 14 years
- Oncology Nursing Society National and local chapter member for 18 years
- Masters of Science in Nursing with Education focus from University of Phoenix, 2011
- Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society 2009- present
- Lived and worked in South Florida until 2008, relocated to Greenville South Carolina in 2008
As the Survivorship nurse navigator, I provide Cancer patients help with education and community resources related to cancer treatment effects throughout cancer survivorship. Some of my responsibilities include helping the cancer survivors anytime from diagnosis throughout surviving cancer with gaining an awareness of health promotion, maintaining wellness, possible long term effects of their cancer therapy, appropriate cancer surveillance, and provide them with any complementary integrative therapies or resources. I create a document known as a survivorship care plan or treatment summary; it is during a survivorship clinic visit where I educate the patient of all the above mentioned topics while providing them with a copy of their survivorship care plan.
Pat Schuman RN,BSN,OCN
Nurse Navigator for Thoracic and Neurologic Cancers
- Thoracic Nurse Navigator at Greenville Memorial Hospital since 2009
- Seasoned oncology certified nurse for 36 years, with 27 years of those years as an oncology nurse
- Active in Oncology Nursing Society and a member since 1980
- Bachelors Science degree in Nursing at Florida Atlantic University in 2004
- Worked and lived in South Florida for 25 years and moved to South Carolina in 2008
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, pleurevacs) etc.
Annette J. Dunphy RN, MSN, OCN
Nurse Navigator for Thoracic Oncology
- Thoracic Nurse Navigator at GMH since 2003
- Seasoned oncology nurse for 23 years
- Oncology Certified Nurse since 1992
- Active in both local and state Oncology Nursing Society
- BSN from Eastern Kentucky University (1990)
- MSN from University of Phoenix (2011)
- Director of Nursing for oncology and medicine departments since 2010
As an oncology nurse navigator, I support both patients and families through their journey following thoracic cancer diagnosis.
Kate Richardson MSN, RN, OCN
Oncology Clinical Research Nurse Navigator
- Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant Nurse for 7 years in the Upstate of South Carolina
- Oncology Certified Nurse and Oncology Nursing Society Member
- Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Clemson University and Master’s Degree in Nursing from Charleston Southern University
- Member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society for Nursing
- Former work in academics in the Upstate of South Carolina as a Nursing Instructor in the classroom and clinical settings
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 treatments. I also work with clinical trials that aim to prevent cancer by involving people that do not have cancer but have known risk factors that put them at risk for cancer development and cancer survivors to prevent a second cancer after completion of cancer treatments for a previous 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.