CancerCare Center | Patient Navigation

Trinity CancerCare Center: Patient Navigation

The patient navigation program at Trinity CancerCare puts the patient at the center of the cancer treatment focus. The Trinity CancerCare navigation program consists of a nurse and a social worker.

The nurse navigator is a registered nurse who is specialized in the care of the cancer patient. The nurse navigator provides education, orientation to treatment areas, and works to help coordinate the overall treatment process including referrals to all possible resources available to patients. Working together, the nurse navigator and patient develop understanding of the treatment plan to answer any questions that might be asked. The navigator assists patients in accessing and utilizing resources, overcoming barriers to treatment, and allowing treatment plan goals to be met.

The social work navigator follows psychosocial concerns initiated by the nurse navigator. The social worker is also active in referrals to obtain support services and needs that must be met in order for the patient to deal with the cancer treatment plan chosen.

What does this mean for the patient?

The nurse navigator meets patients with a newly diagnosed cancer to help them understand the testing and treatments needed along with how these treatments will affect their life. The navigator will also communicate what resources are appropriate to help patients achieve the tests and treatments desired. It is through all this the focus remains on how that particular patient might meet their needs using the healthcare systems available in the current world of cancer medicine.

Patients are a diverse group and come from many different backgrounds. The navigator works to understand the diverse needs and help the patient understand the medical options and how to use them to meet their lifestyle needs and personal choices as much as possible while dealing with the life-altering disease of cancer.

Together, the nurse navigator and the social worker, with the physicians and other referral resources, assist the patient to meet their goals.

Specifically, Patient Navigation
at Trinity CancerCare may include:

  • A psychosocial stress screening for every patient with a new cancer diagnosis. This psychosocial stress screen is followed up by a social worker.
  • Coordination of care from pretreatment needs through change of care to survivorship or hospice.
  • Education to decrease fear of the unknown, the disease, and the treatment.
  • Orientation to treatment areas.
  • Referrals to resources:
    • Nutrition counseling.
    • Financial counseling.
    • Referrals needed for management of complex disease or treatment.
    • Housing needs such as Cancer Cottage use, Guest House & motel discounts.
    • Online referral for monetary or social support program resources.
    • Support group.
    • Massage therapy.
    • Lymphedema management.
    • Acupuncture or acupressure for nausea and vomiting.
    • Coordination of Complementary treatment programs.
    • American Cancer Society programs: Look Good…Feel Better, Reach to Recovery, Road to Recovery, ACS gas card programs, Free Wig & Wig fitting, local lodging.
    • Cancer Exercise Rehabilitation Program in conjunction with the YMCA Tough Enough to Wear Pink Program.
    • Yoga class participation.

A cancer patient may have few needs or they may have the burden of other health or psychosocial problems which require attention before the cancer can even be dealt with comprehensively. Trinity CancerCare patients have participated in recent North Dakota Cancer Coalition surveys that found fear of treatment unknowns to be the biggest barrier. The nurse navigator and social worker assist to deal with this fear based on the patient’s needs. Whether a cancer patient is in Stage I or Stage IV of their disease, we are here to help. Their courage and fortitude is an inspiration for the staff and it is a privilege to be in a position to help.

Contact Information for Patient Navigation:

Jenene Kittleson, RN MSN OCN CBCN
Patient Navigator
(701) 857-3272

Sandra Harbort, RN, BSN, OCN
Patient Navigation Nurse
(701) 857-3272


 Providers in this field:
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Michael Grant MD

Board certified in Radiation Oncology. Additional information being updated. --More--

Pamela Holwegner FNP-C, AOCNP

A certified nurse practitioner, Pamela Holwegner, FNP-C, AOCNP provides care as a member of Trinity --More--

Ebony Peterson FNP-BC

A member of our cancer care team, Ebony Peterson, FNP-BC, provides care and support to patients unde --More--

Madhu Unnikrishnan MD, MS

A hematologist and medical oncologist, Dr. Unnikrishnan provides expert care for cancer patients uti --More--

Patanit Watanaboonyakhet DO

Dr. Patanit Watanaboonyakhet ("Dr. Pat") specializes in Hematology and Oncology. A graduate of the U --More--