Featured from left to right: FRHS's oncology nurse navigators; Maggie
Siebeneichen, Deb Sines, Deb Fuller, Dara Claxton, and Tracy Asbury.
To better prepare patients for cancer treatment,
Frederick Regional Health System (FRHS)’s
award-winning medical oncology program launched a new nurse navigator program. Inspired by FRHS’s own nurse
navigators, who have worked with tumor patients since 2005, and similar
programs at the nation’s top cancer hospitals, the program provides
full care coordination, from diagnosis to survivorship.
Each cancer patient will automatically be assigned a nurse navigator during
their initial visit to the hospital, when they learn of their diagnosis.
The nurse navigator’s goal is to help ease the patient’s anxiety
and eliminate barriers to care access. As personal cancer care experts,
they offer education, support, and resources to help the patient as well
as their families.
“Cancer is a family disease. It’s complex and devastating.
Patients have a hard time navigating their way through it all,”
says Carol Mastalerz, director of
oncology services at FRHS. With a nurse navigator, each patient will now have a valuable source
of support as they cope with a cancer diagnosis.
Cancer patients in Frederick County will benefit by having:
- All questions answered in a timely and efficient manner so they’re
well informed to make decisions about their care
- A direct link to their physician through a nurse navigator
- Unlimited education opportunities
- Coordination of testing, treatment, and appointments
- Family meetings with their nurse navigator and/or physician, as requested
- An advocate and ally as they make their way through the maze of cancer
diagnoses and treatment
FRHS’ nurse navigators are registered, certified oncology nurses
with more than 10 years of experience in the field. They’ve worked
with patients in hospice care and infusion center settings. Patients benefit
from their compassionate care and expertise, while physicians benefit
from having another partner in providing optimum care to the community.
“Our experience with our tumor nurse navigators is really why we
chose to do this for medical oncology,” says Mastalerz. “We
found it to be successful. Now that we have an
affiliation with MD Anderson Cancer Network, it all fits together very nicely to give our patients complete access
to quality care and services.”
To learn more about the new nurse navigator program at FRHS or other cancer
care available in Frederick County, visit