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Submitted by Providence

Navigating cancer treatment options 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. That’s where Providence Regional Cancer System Navigators come in. They provide a wealth of information and support to patients and families at all three Providence oncology locations: Lacey, Centralia and Aberdeen.

Andrea Potter headshot
Andrea Potter. Photo courtesy: Providence

Andrea Potter knows this role well. From 2010-2016 she served as a nurse navigator for breast cancer patients.

“I had the privilege to work as the breast patient navigator for six years. I thoroughly enjoyed this role supporting the needs of our patients and communities to improve access to care while providing support and navigation throughout their journey. Working in hand with the providers and assisting our patients and their loved ones with access to important resources.”

In 2016, Potter was called to serve Providence in a new way. As Patient Experience manager for South Puget Sound, she worked with patients and caregivers to help understand how Providence caregivers could provide the best experience possible for our patients.

“Working as the Patient Experience program manager for St. Peter & Centralia hospitals was another incredible experience for me as a nurse. This role allowed me to work collaboratively with the hospital leaders and caregivers to improve the experience of our patients in our care.”

But the draw to working directly with patients – day in and day out – never left. That is why she recently returned to Oncology in a new role as the Thoracic nurse navigator.

“The urge to support Oncology patients never left, and I knew I needed to return to what I am most passionate about. A new diagnosis of cancer can be so overwhelming, and being able to navigate and support patients and their loved ones through their journey is what I enjoy and do best. In my new role as the Thoracic nurse navigator, I am also looking forward to working with our Pulmonologist group to coordinate the Lung Cancer Screening and Nodule Programs as well. These programs are designed to benefit patients in our community by potentially detecting lung cancer in its early stage when it is easier to treat and more likely to be cured.”

By working directly with oncologists, surgeons, radiologists and other clinicians, navigators such as Potter help patients understand and follow their cancer treatment plans. In addition, Providence also has dedicated navigators for Breast and Gastrointestinal & Genitourinary cancers. 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 and their caregivers can focus on getting well.

Providence 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. This free service is available for patients to call upon helpful, compassionate guides who will assist them in finding their way through cancer treatment. They provide a key link between patients and medical providers.

Potter is part of the navigation team, including Karry Trout and Danielle Stevens.

Some of the services navigators provide include:

  • Consultations with patients and family to assess medical and emotional needs
  • Coordinate cancer support groups and help in accessing educational and support services
  • Continued support throughout cancer treatment
  • Coordinate patients into survivorship after treatment has completed

For more information on Providence navigators, contact the Providence Regional Cancer System at 360.754.3934.

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