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Documented: November 2012
Patients and their families can easily feel lost as they enter the workings of a medical program or health care system. They may feel adrift as they face what is often a completely foreign and confusing landscape, unsure or fearful of what maze of appointments, tests, doctor visits, treatments, and so on may be ahead of them.
Danielle Dambro, BSN, RN, makes sure patients in The Chester County Hospitals' Lung Cancer Screening Program never feel lost or alone. As the Lung Nurse Navigator, Danielle serves as a personal resource for patients and families, offering a helping hand as she guides them through the process. Danielle is their "go to" person, and she adds a friendly touch that makes the experience a whole lot easier and less intimidating.
The Nurse Navigator role is a vital link in the Lung Cancer Screening 's approach, which is dedicated to prevention and protecting members of the community most at risk for the disease. The screening begins with a low dose spiral CT scan. Very often, the scan shows no need for further testing or treatment. But should findings indicate that some follow-up is needed, the program provides access to every level of testing and care available to best address a variety of conditions and illnesses - not just lung cancer. Danielle works with patients as they move through each point in the process, walking them through whatever steps may become part of their experience.
"The most important message for people to know about our program is that coming in for testing is about early detection. The need for additional testing does NOT mean you have lung cancer. The lung screening helps us find any problem in its earliest stages," says Danielle. "I work one-on-one with patients across the spectrum, taking care of the details and making sure patients and their families always know what is happening."
The Lung Cancer Screening Program was developed and launched by a multidisciplinary team of experts in thoracic surgery, pulmonary medicine, medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, and radiology. The team created very specific pathways of care to be followed for the different issues or diagnoses that can be identified through the screening. It is Danielle's job to help coordinate those pathways for patients.
Whatever the situation, Danielle remains the central point of contact for patients and families throughout their entire journey. She collaborates closely with all members of the health care team to facilitate a coordinated approach to each patient's plan of care. She ensures that all appointments are made, all needs are met, all barriers to care are addressed, and that communication flows freely.
As patients move through the program, the type or the focus of their care plan may change, but their relationship with Danielle does not. "I am with patients from start to finish," she explains. "I remain their advocate, their resource and their constant support system through everything. I am always part of their journey."
Danielle is involved in both medical and non-medical aspects of the patient experience, including the following:
"I've been the thoracic and gastrointestinal nurse navigator here at The Chester County Hospital since January 2010. I love helping patients and their families, and I believe they appreciate my help," says Danielle. "I feel I am providing something positive and important for our patients and families. But I am one person in a much larger team of people who care very deeply about making sure patients and families feel comfortable, informed and confident that they are receiving the very best care possible."
By Beth Eburn
For more information about the Lung Cancer Screening Program, the role of the Nurse Navigator or our smoking cessation series, visit ChesterCountyHospital.org/wellness or call 610.738.2300.
To connect with Danielle Dambro BSN, RN, Nurse Navigator, call her office phone at 610.738.2861 or her cell phone at 215.219.5868. She can also be reached by email: Danielle.Dambro@uphs.upenn.edu
Last Updated: 2/20/2015