Wright Memorial Hospital launches Oncology Nurse Navigator program

Ashley Ewing

Wright Memorial Hospital recently launched a new program that will provide an oncology nurse navigator dedicated to easing the physical, spiritual, emotional, and financial hardships of living with and beyond cancer. The program is being funded in part by the Wright Memorial Hospital Foundation. The program will center around an on-staff oncology nurse navigator whose job will be to assist cancer patients throughout their entire diagnosis, treatment, and recovery process, as well as the clinical coordination of their care.

“We believe our patients will greatly benefit from this new program,” said Steve Schieber, CEO, Wright Memorial Hospital. “Cancer is a disease that affects so many people, and once a diagnosis takes place, it can be difficult to process what comes next. This program is designed to help navigate the next steps in a way that will ease some of the burdens for that patient and their family.”

Ashley Ewing
Ashley Ewing

Trenton resident Ashley Ewing, RN, BSN, has been hired as the new oncology nurse navigator. She received her registered nursing degree from North Central Missouri College and a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from Western Governor’s University. She has a certification in biotherapy and chemotherapy. Ewing has worked at Wright Memorial Hospital for 15 years. She started as a certified nurse assistant before becoming a registered nurse in 2008. She worked in the emergency department until 2017 when she transitioned to the oncology clinic and infusion therapy. 

The oncology nurse navigator will see the big picture of a cancer patient’s care and coordinate all aspects of that care to best serve the patient. When undergoing treatment—and even beyond—cancer patients may see multiple clinicians as they go through a variety of tests, doctor’s appointments, surgery, and treatments. But they also require much more beyond their specific medical treatment. A patient’s needs are extensive and varied, including potentially having issues with or needing assistance with nutrition, rehabilitative programs, mental health, financial concerns, daily living tasks, spiritual guidance, and many more. These services are often more difficult to access and coordinate. 

The oncology nurse navigator program will also offer patients a number of no-cost support services that patients may be able to utilize, which are available through the partnerships Wright Memorial has formed in the community. These services include nutritional advice during and post-treatment, a cancer support group, social services assistance, fitness and/or yoga classes, massage therapy, and educational programs. 

“The goal of our oncology nurse navigator program is simple: we want to help save lives, ensure timely delivery of services, and eliminate barriers to care,” Schieber explained.

Wright Memorial Hospital’s Oncology department provides services such as port maintenance, chemotherapy infusion, blood and iron product replacement, and injections for chemotherapy support. With approximately 80 individuals diagnosed with cancer each year in Grundy County, and an additional 400 more in the surrounding counties, there is a need for these kinds of guidance services for cancer survivors and their families.

The Wright Memorial Hospital Foundation will be launching fundraising initiatives to secure additional funding for the program and ensure that the services are in place for years to come. “We know that cancer touches so many lives every year,” said David Bain, Foundation Development Officer, “Our hope is that our community will support this program as we move forward.”

“This is a kind of program and service that is typically found in larger urban areas—not in a smaller community such as Trenton,” Schieber said. “Cancer survivors often do not know all of the services and resources available to them for complete care, and we’re proud that with this program we’ll be able to help the survivors in our community get through what is often confusing and overwhelming experience.”

Questions about the program can be directed to nurse navigator Ashley Ewing at 660-358-5892.  Questions about how to donate to the program can be directed to David Bain at 660-358-5706.