Share The Health

Meet Maggie Siebeneichen, Thoracic Nurse Navigator


In the past, patients who were diagnosed with lung disease had a double burden to bear: coming to terms with their emotional reactions to the diagnosis, and dealing with the practical considerations of treatment. Once the shock of hearing the words “You have cancer” wears off, what happens next?

Fortunately for patients of the Multidisciplinary Lung Cancer Clinic at the Monocacy Health Partners’ Center for Chest Disease, what happens next is very clear. Maggie Siebeneichen, the Clinic’s Thoracic Nurse Navigator, reaches out to the patient and their family as quickly as possible. And according to many of the patients whose care Maggie has helped coordinate since taking on the position in 2012, connecting with her was the moment when life immediately became more manageable.

The nurse navigators at FMH are all registered nurses whose sole responsibility is to see that all the patients’ needs—medical, emotional and logistical—are met. When tests and procedures need to be scheduled, the navigator takes care of that. When results come in, the navigator makes sure that everyone involved in the patient’s care—which may be a surgeon, radiologist, medical and radiation oncologist among many others—are notified. This sort of careful coordination assists the care team to develop a unified, coherent treatment plan as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“We understand that the treatment process raises a lot of questions,” said Siebeneichen. “I want our patients and their families to feel comfortable talking to me about whatever is on their minds.”

IMG_8205Nurse navigators like Siebeneichen also help connect patients and their families with resources for emotional support, including FMH-sponsored programs like Survivors Offering Support (a one-on-one mentoring program) or American Cancer Society offerings such as Look Good, Feel Better. When finances are a problem, the navigator can leverage the FMH Cancer Patient Assistance Fund and other community resources to help address immediate needs until a long term solution can be found.

“Multidisciplinary, coordinated care is the gold standard for the treatment of cancer and chronic disease,” said Siebeneichen. “And the nurse navigator is an important part of that approach. The navigator works with the patient, their loved ones, and the entire team to help keep the care plan on track. That means making sure that tests are scheduled and completed, results are received and reviewed, and that the patient and their loved ones are being informed every step of the way.”