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Fast Five Q&A with breast care navigator AnnMarie Simmons

Breast care navigator, AnnMarie Simmons, answers five questions to help you understand how nurse navigators help patients.

October 17, 2023
Fast Five with AnnMarie Simmons, RN

Breast care navigator, AnnMarie Simmons, answers five questions to help you understand how nurse navigators help patients.

As part of our Fast Five series, HCA Virginia is connecting with our colleagues to share quick insight into the work they do to support the patients in their communities.

AnnMarie Simmons is a breast cancer nurse navigator and registered nurse (R.N.) with an extensive background in oncology care. She supports Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center in Fredericksburg, VA.

Here is our Fast Five Q&A with AnnMarie:

1. Why did you choose to become a breast cancer nurse navigator; what inspired you? 

I began my oncology nursing career working with patients who were admitted into the hospital receiving care for their cancer diagnosis. This can be just a portion of their treatment plan. I wanted to be able to see how patients thrived and survived during and after all treatments. Being a navigator allowed me to meet patients at the very start of their diagnosis and assist them through all the treatments they receive. Breast health is my passion!

2. Share what a nurse navigator offers to patients and your approach to patient care

My approach to patient care is to always remember that every patient is different and unique. Navigators can assist patients with overcoming barriers to care (transportation, financial or legal issues) by assisting them in tapping into available resources in the community. 

3. When is a patient connected to you, and how long are you a part of their care team?

There are numerous entry points to navigation. Referrals come from radioiogists, surgeons, oncologists radiation doctors etc. Typically, at Spotsy [Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center], breast nav. begins on biopsy day. Nav. spans over the entire time patients are receiving any type of treatment for their cancer. Therefore, navigation can be as short as a few months to well over a year or longer, depending on what that patient's treatment plan consists of as well as what a patients needs are.

4. What is something people may not know about your job?

Most hospitals have cancer navigators in place to assist patients. Some hospitals have general navigators. Many have cancer site specific navigators (breast navigators, GI navigators, GU navigators, lung navigators, etc.).

5. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their journey with breast cancer? 

Remember that this journey is new for them so please ask any questions they may have. The entire team is here to help.

October 17, 2023
Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center