Breast Health Navigation
In 2007, Ella watched her mother-in-law Mary lose her valiant fight with breast cancer. It affected her deeply as no support services were available for Mary or her family—and because her own daughter was now at higher risk for the disease.
"She suffered emotionally as well as physically through her journey," Ella says. "I believed with all my heart that more should be done for patients and family—individualized care and support as needed."
As Breast Health Navigator, Ella now provides patients with the emotional and medical support they need as she guides them and their families throughout the treatment process. She coordinates every step of their care, working with surgeons, oncologists and other providers along the way. She also facilitates the breast cancer support group and co-facilitates the survivorship group.
"I become close to the patients, providing a caring atmosphere for them and encouragement for them and their families," she says. "I work to develop a trusting relationship with the patient to lessen their fears and help them along each step of their journey. There is power in touch, hugs, a smile and just taking the time to listen to concerns."
Ella emphasizes to each patient that technology improves immensely with each passing year, increasing both early detection and survival rates. She also encourages the use of positive thinking and prayer as part of their treatment process.
Being a part of the team who helps breast cancer patients is something Ella values. "St. Vincent Healthcare is all about heart—I see it every day," she says. "The women I work with are remarkably caring and communicate that message to one another as well as to the patients we work with."
Women of Breast Health