Imagine you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer. In addition
to the concerns regarding the health, comfort and future of the person
diagnosed, add the need to see a number of physicians, schedule diagnostic
tests and review treatment options. Information is coming at you from
many directions, and it’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed.
This process can be less overwhelming, thanks to the
Cancer Resource Center and the Nurse Navigator Program at the
Hunt Cancer Institute at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. Nancy Lean, MSN, MHSa, RN, NEA-BC,
director of the Hunt Cancer Institute, recently joined the center in the
fall of 2014.
Lean says, “When I came to Torrance Memorial, there was already an
extremely well-developed cancer program and robust services in place.
We are now expanding the program even more.” With an impressive
nursing background plus 15 years of oncology administration, Lean is spearheading
the already successful and growing program at the Hunt Cancer Institute
by integrating the hospital’s highly skilled and trained oncology
team of health professionals into a “service line” approach.
The “service line” approach allows the patient to experience
a more integrated and coordinated health plan. Many cancer patients see
a number of physicians from different medical specialties (such as radiologists,
oncologists and surgeons), and it’s important for all professionals
involved in someone’s care to be on the same page.
“My job is to pull together administration, nursing, physicians from
the different specialties plus educational and community-based services,
with the goal of providing optimal patient outcome,” says Lean.
This “service line” ensures the patient will feel confident
that all of the care provided is coordinated and will result in a more
effective treatment plan.
The Nurse Navigator Program is another important part of the comprehensive
cancer care program at Torrance Memorial’s Hunt Cancer Institute.
Nurse Navigators help “steer the ship,” thereby enabling patients
to stay on course.
“Today’s cancer care has become more complex, making it extremely
difficult for patients to gain access to the care they need. Many feel
overwhelmed at the thought of having to deal with so many decisions,”
says Lean. “Our Nurse Navigators are highly trained and knowledgeable
oncology nurses and nurse practitioners. Their role is to coordinate patient
care, provide guidance through the different stages and help ensure timely
treatment. They also coordinate medical appointments, address insurance
concerns and provide a wealth of education, support and advice.”
The Hunt Cancer Institute at Torrance Memorial is fully accredited as a
comprehensive community cancer program by the American College of Surgeons
Commission on Cancer. Lean, fluent in French, has worked as a nurse in
Canada as well as Florida and California. “We have a multidisciplinary
team of outstanding physicians, nurses and other medical professionals
resulting in excellent inpatient and outpatient care,” she says.
“The wide range of community services, support groups and clinical
trials allows patients to receive world-class care in their own community.”