Published on March 24, 2021

Breast Nurse Navigator and Coordinator Join West Branch Cancer Care Team

Photo of Colleen Woods, R.N., B.S.N., C.N.-B.N., and Tabitha Oritz - West Branch Breast Cancer Care Team.

Colleen Woods, R.N., B.S.N., C.N.-B.N., breast nurse navigator, and Tabitha Ortiz, patient care coordinator, work with Tari Stull, M.D., fellowship trained breast surgeon, to expedite patient care and breast cancer treatment at MidMichigan Medical Center – West Branch.

Hearing a call back is needed on a mammogram can send one’s mind reeling or a breast cancer diagnosis can quickly become overwhelming. To help direct the follow-up needed for care, MidMichigan Health is expanding their comprehensive cancer care team in West Branch with the addition of a breast nurse navigator, as well as a patient care coordinator.

Colleen Woods, R.N., B.S.N., C.N.-B.N., breast nurse navigator, and Tabitha Ortiz, patient care coordinator, work with Tari Stull, M.D., fellowship trained breast surgeon, to expedite patient care and breast cancer treatment. Woods and Ortiz have developed education materials and implemented breast procedures such as ultrasound and stereotactic biopsies.

“We are excited to add these two valuable members for our patient care team,” said Kristyn Frost, manager of imaging services for MidMichigan Health. “A patient can take comfort in knowing that someone is with them every step of the way and can answer any questions they may have from testing and treatment options to financial concerns.”

Ortiz will facilitate the scheduling of additional breast imaging views when a change is noted in a yearly mammogram, as well as will schedule breast biopsies. By having a dedicated staff member monitoring the care process, a significant decrease in the number of business days between testing and biopsy has been realized. This will lead to quicker diagnosis and treatment for patients treated in West Branch and surrounding areas.

Breast nurse navigators have made significant impacts on patients with breast health concerns and questions. Woods will provide education, counseling, financial resources assistance, breast biopsy education prior to the procedure and follow up phone contact afterwards. Once a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer, breast nurse navigators become an integral part of the patient’s breast cancer care by coordinating provider appointments, connecting with financial and transportation resources, translating medical terminology, educating patients and family members on the disease and treatment plan, and providing emotional support. Breast cancer patients are provided with a breast cancer treatment handbook and a post-surgical support camisole. At the end of breast cancer treatment, patients and their health care providers are given a survivorship care plan that summarizes their specific disease and treatment received.

All of the Breast Health Program services provided by the nurse navigator, education materials, and surgical camisole are provided to the patient free of charge.

The breast health program at MidMichigan Medical Center – West Branch program includes digital breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography) screening mammogram, breast health assessment, high risk breast cancer clinic and genetics counseling.

Those interested in more information on MidMichigan Health’s Breast Health program may visit www.midmichigan.org/breast.