CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — In late 2014, Hedrick Medical Center Foundation received an anonymous $50,000 donation to start an oncology nurse navigator program. In early 2015, Annie Stedem-Singer, RN, was hired to develop and lead the program. The nurse navigator program is designed to ease the physical, spiritual, emotional, and financial hardships of living with and beyond cancer. It centers around an on-staff oncology nurse navigator, Stedem-Singer, whose job is to assist cancer patients throughout their entire diagnosis, treatment, and recovery process, as well as the clinical coordination of their care.
“The program has really grown in these three short years,” said Stedem-Singer. “As of this month, we have helped over 235 cancer patients from 15 different counties. I’m honored and truly humbled to have been with this program from the very beginning. Getting to help and guide these patients and their families in a time of great fear, sadness, anxiety, and sometimes confusion is a role that I take very seriously and put all of my heart into.”
The services provided by the oncology nurse navigator, which include helping to attain physician and other necessary referrals, setting up appointments, financial and medication assistance, education, nutritional counseling, social service support, and massages, among others, are provided free of charge to patients utilizing at least one oncology related service at Hedrick. Those services include blood work, port maintenance, infusion therapy and treatments, injections, radiology related services, and appointments with Saint Luke’s oncologist Jamie Rigden, MD.
“The oncology nurse navigator is an exceptional resource for cancer patients in the Chillicothe area,” said Dr. Rigden. “So many times, when a patient is first diagnosed, they are overwhelmed. Having a program and a navigator like Annie helps lesson that burden and helps the patient get the treatment and care they need in a timely manner.”
Community support has been integral to not only the development of the program, but to the on-going continuation of the program, which is fully funded by donations.
"We have a lot of great financial supporters of the program in the community,” said Lindy Chapman, Foundation Development Officer, Hedrick Medical Center Foundation. “It really goes to show what a great community we have in Chillicothe. They’ve recognized the need and stepped up. That also includes Hedrick’s own emergency department, along with the local Chillicothe EMS group. Every year the oncology nurse navigator program is one of the beneficiaries of their boot drive and pink t-shirt sales. We are also fortunate to have other businesses and organizations in the community support the program as well. This support helps a lot, not only financially, but also to raise awareness of the program.”
Persons with questions about the oncology nurse navigator program are urged to contact Nurse Navigator Annie Stedem-Singer at 660-214-8459. Persons with questions about donating to the program should contact Lindy Chapman at 660-214-8107.
Hedrick Medical Center is a member of Saint Luke's Health System, which consists of 10 area hospitals and several specialty and primary care practices, and provides a range of inpatient, outpatient, and home care services. Founded as a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, our mission includes a commitment to the highest levels of excellence in health care and the advancement of medical research and education. The health system is an aligned organization in which the physicians and hospitals assume responsibility for enhancing the physical, mental, and spiritual health of people in the metropolitan Kansas City area and the surrounding region.