Photo: Jason Fochtman, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer
With the addition of a new nurse navigator, patients at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at St. Luke’s The Woodlands Hospital will have one more resource to count on as they navigate treatment.
Jessica Miller, who also operates as the clinical nurse for the center, started in her new role in March.
The role of the nurse navigator isn’t a new one within the health care field but is new to the cancer center, which is part of the CHI St. Luke’s health systems.
The St. Luke’s The Woodlands location is an extension of the flagship Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center located in the Texas Medical Center.
As the nurse navigator, Miller helps facilitate the care for new patients who have been recently diagnosed.
“When patients come through our doors, the whole process of getting a diagnosis can be very daunting, just very stressful,” Miller said. “The nurse navigator helps get the patient started.”
Before this role was created at the cancer center, the many aspects of the nurse navigator job were being filled by various other staff members. Now, the coordination and education for the patient are more concentrated.
The nurse navigator helps educate patients about treatment, coordinate with necessary treatments like CT scans, coordinate with referrals to other departments, and helps provide access to resources like social workers or financial assistance. Miller acts as a liaison and advocate for her patients. The central point between doctors, nurses, and caregivers.
Miller started her nursing career in Colorado at an acute care placement center for trauma and oncology. She moved to The Woodlands about three years ago and has seen the cancer center go through several changes in structure and location. One of the things she loves about being the nurse navigator is being able to help her patients understand their treatment options through education.
“Being that advocate for them was something I really enjoyed and I think they saw that and asked if I would be interested in the position,” Miller said of