(CNN) – Getting a cancer diagnosis can be frightening and many patients need a little guidance as to what comes next, that’s where a nurse navigator can help.
This fairy godmother is actually a nurse navigator, a registered nurse who acts as a liaison between patients with chronic conditions and their healthcare team. They are commonly found in oncology departments, assisting cancer patients.
“So in general, what we like to do is help educate patients regarding their diagnosis, help them coordinate their care and get them to the right physicians in a timely manner, and also to help them prepare for what to expect during their first office visit,” said nurse navigator Bonnie Lee Josaphs.
As helpful as the navigators are, you, too play a role in getting the most out of your doctor’s visit, “What we ask patients to do is to be prepared for your office visit when you come in. Arrive early so you’re not completely stressed out in the waiting room, make sure that you bring family or a friend, someone that you trust to help write down what the physicians are saying,” Josaphs continued.
With navigators having a wealth of resources, patients can feel comfortable asking as many questions as they want, from financial aid to support groups.
“You know more how your body feels and how it feels normally. Don’t think that because you’re not a doctor you don’t know anything. You know your body better than anybody,” said patient Lex Gilbert.
Copyright CNN 2015