NEW ORLEANS, La. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Navigating your way through any medical issue can be challenging to say the least. Insurance and schedules can get confusing, and sometimes contradictory orders. Who are we to believe there is one solution?
Ann Watts will never forget when she heard these three words: “You have cancer.”
“And it’s exactly what people say. It feels like you were punched in the gut, your head starts spinning, you really zone out and I didn’t hear much of what he had to say after that,” explained Watts.
That shock lingered into her next appointment, but this time Ashley Marks was there taking notes.
“Ashley was like this beautiful bridge between my family and everything at this hospital,” Watts continued.
That’s because she serves as a nurse navigator, staying with patients every step of the way. That means setting up appointments, dealing with insurance companies, being with Watts during every treatment, and always being available by phone.
“I had to be readmitted to the hospital three different times. One time I had blood clots in my arm. She came with the doctors and it was three of them standing there, but there was Ashley and I knew it was bad news, but my sweet Ashley was there to help lessen the burden,” shared Watts.
The program is already seeing results. Shorter times between diagnosis and treatment, better adherence to care instructions, and patients saying they feel more confident.
“If you’re a hospital or medical facility you should care because you know that your patients are going to get the best possible care,” shared Ashley Marks, RN, OCN, ONN-GE, CBCN, GYN Oncology Nurse Navigator, Woman’s Hospital Baton Rouge.
And when Watts found out she was cancer-free, Marks was right there to celebrate with her.
“I really thought I would do backflips down the hall,” smiled Watts.
Now she hopes other patients can have the same experience.
“I could not have made this journey without Ashley Marks,” stated Watts.
A patient navigation process is required for a hospital to receive special accreditation for cancer care. Woman’s Hospital has expanded the program to pregnancy and weight loss patients.
Contributors to this news report include: Breanna Molloy, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; and Wladimir Moquette, Videographer.