Joanne Stein, RN, OCN
Fox Chase Cancer Center
333 Cottman Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19111
In 1975 a year after graduating from nursing school I came to work at Fox Chase as a staff nurse working with patients receiving chemo and radiation therapies. I have held multiple positions here at Fox Chase including Assistant Head Nurse, Case Manager, Clinical Research Coordinator and Quality Assurance Coordinator. while working with the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group I was first introduced to clinical research and as a telephonic case manager for a medicare access plan, I was able to work with patients coping with other diseases such as COPD, CHF and Diabetes.
While working as a staff nurse and a Clinical Research Coordinator, I took care of a large number of head and neck patients. So, when the position for Head and Neck Nurse Navigator became available, I knew I was well qualified for the job. Treatment for head and neck cancer is very complex and can be difficult for the patient, requiring a multi-modality approach. Our team approach here at Fox Chase is beneficial to our patients and families. Treating the whole person means not just considering the latest therapies, but also strong social work support and rehabilitation therapy, as multiple issues such as pain, speech and swallowing, nutrition and hydration need to be addressed. As the Head and Neck Nurse Navigator, I am able to see that all of these issues are addressed from the initial appointment and throughout the continuum of care.
In holding this position for several years now, I am able to see patients from their first appointment to their follow-up visits. Many patients going through treatment last Thanksgiving, having great difficulty eating, now come up to me this year for their follow-up appointments with stories of them enjoying Thanksgiving meal with their families. This is extremely rewarding for me as a caregiver.