A journey coordinator does all the leg-work to get newly
diagnosed patients and second opinions as easily and smoothly
into our Cancer Center as possible.
And so, basically what we do is work on triaging the patient so
that they're seen by the appropriate physician; gathering all
their medical records, gathering their films, gathering their
pathology slides, so that basically when they show up for the
appointment that we have scheduled them for, they’re walking in
with maybe one sheet of paper and their insurance information,
and we've done everything else to make it a smooth transition
for them to be seen here.
The fact that we do all the legwork really helps the patients.
A cancer diagnosis is daunting in itself, and for some of these
patients, it's the first touch with any medical problem, and to
have it be so severe. We deal with all the logistics of that,
making it easy so they don’t have to worry about 'Did I bring
in all of my films?,' or 'Do I have all of the information?' or
scheduling useless follow-ups just because they didn't have all
the information at consults originally. So it really makes it
easier for the patient to begin treatment in a timely fashion.
And it makes it easier for the physician too, to know that the
consult has been as beneficial for that patient as it can be.
The journey coordinator and the nurse coordinator, they each
have different relationships in each hub, and hubs are split
into diagnosis-specific hubs. So in my specific incident, I
work with lung and esophageal patients. And my nurse
coordinator and I review the medical records that I have
gathered on the patient, make sure that they’re triaged
appropriately and see the appropriate physician or specialist.
But in a lot of different hubs, the nurse coordinator has more
of a clinical role. So where the journey coordinators all come
from different backgrounds, not necessarily medically, the
nurse coordinator intervenes when it's more of a medical or
clinical necessity or question from the patient.
I think that a journey coordinator is important to the cancer
patient's life just because a lot of times, this is the first
time that patient has had a touch with something as daunting as
a cancer diagnosis. And a lot of patients that don't come from
a medical background, they are advocating for themselves if
they want to receive a second opinion or if this is their first
opinion. And that's where we come in, as scheduling that
consult and making sure that they’re seen in a timely fashion
and making sure that all their records are available, and all
their films are here so that when they do have that consult,
that is the most beneficial that it can be for the patient, and
that there's no time wasted. Whereas, if a patient is just
advocating for themselves, a lot of time there's missing pieces
of information and they're feeling like it’s such an
anxiety-ridden situation, that not only are they dealing with
their cancer diagnosis, but they’re dealing with the logistics
of getting to their treatment.
I think Froedtert & The Medical College as an academic
center really allows us to have more resources available, not
only for us as journey coordinators or nurse coordinators, but
also for that patient to have the opportunity to perhaps
participate in clinical trials, or the fact that our physicians
have access to cutting-edge treatment for that patient. Just to
exploit all their options as far as treatment for different
cancer diagnoses, and just resources in general.
The best part of being a journey coordinator is feeling the
feedback from our patients and knowing that we really meant
something through their journey and knowing that we made it
easier for them to get to that point where they are receiving
their treatments and really giving them hope and not having to
deal with all the extra anxiety that sometimes a cancer
diagnosis comes along with.