Nurse Navigators take Stress out of Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Penny Widmaier, Botsford Nurse Navigator

Penny Widmaier, RN is a nurse navigator in the Botsford Cancer Center. She helps her patients juggle all the complexities involved in a breast cancer diagnosis, and helps reduce stress along the way.

Nurse navigators are becoming increasingly popular, especially with recent with articles like this one by The Wall Street Journal explaining their roles with cancer patients.  Nurse navigators are also becoming increasingly necessary as advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment are made which in turn make it more difficult for patients to juggle all the information, specialists and appointments that ensue.

So if you’re a woman about to schedule a mammogram, what does a nurse navigator mean for you?

If your breast care center or imaging center has a nurse navigator, like the Botsford Breast Center does, it means that you can take some comfort in knowing that, should something be found, you will have one person within the health system who will be a constant source of support for you.  She will always be advocating for you, making sure you understand everything and that you are where you need to be when you need to be there, among other things.

How do you make sure you get a nurse navigator if you need one?

When you’re in the process of choosing a breast care center and researching your options, call and ask if they have a nurse navigator on staff.  Also find out what the navigator’s credentials are.  Navigators may be registered nurses, social workers or have some other type of certification.  For example, Botsford’s nurse navigator, Penny Widmaier, is a registered nurse (RN).  Keep in mind that you probably won’t see a nurse navigator for a routine mammogram.  At Botsford, Penny first visits with you if your doctor recommends a breast biopsy (even if no cancer is found).

Does a nurse navigator cost anything?

Nurse navigators provided by hospitals and breast care centers do not cost anything additional to the patient. Botsford does not charge for this service.

Do you have more questions about navigating breast cancer?  Ask Penny in the comments below!

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