Editor’s note: As the final part of our series of articles about breast cancer treatment at Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, this week The Westfield News invited Mary Lubarsky, a nurse navigator on the breast health team at the hospital, to describe what she does in her own words.
By Mary Lubarsky
My name is Mary Lubarsky, BSN, RN, and I have been a registered nurse at Baystate Medical Center for 23 years. I have been in my current role as a nurse navigator supporting Dr. Arenas at Baystate Noble Hospital since November 2020. A nurse navigator helps to navigate the patient through the treatment process. Nurse navigators focus first and foremost on the clinical aspects of care. They are often involved from the point of a suspicious finding through diagnostic testing, treatment, and follow-up or end-of-life care.
A typical day involves meeting a variety of patients from all different backgrounds that have been diagnosed with breast cancer or benign breast issues. I provide teaching and support to the newly diagnosed patients, pointing them in the right direction for any questions or concerns they may have. Some patients may benefit from additional emotional support, and if so, I will connect them with our social worker. I provide support and education for the patients going through this process by ensuring they have adequate teaching and understanding of the journey they will undertake with a new cancer diagnosis. I connect often with the patients by telephone after initially meeting them in office. I ensure they have appropriate understanding and information related to their upcoming appointments. I also follow up with them after their surgeries to ensure they are having a good recovery.
I have chosen to be a nurse navigator as my career because it is a very profound experience to navigate patients through their cancer journey. There is a caring connection that occurs when focusing on the patient’s experience during a life-altering time.
The one thing I would like to tell every patient coming to the office for the first time is, “We got you.” We will get you through this challenging time in your life and into your survivorship years.
Mary Lubarsky is a nurse navigator at Baystate Noble Hospital. Every week during October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Westfield News partnered with Baystate Noble Hospital to share some of the stories of the medical professionals who treat breast cancer patients at Westfield’s community hospital. For more information about the hospital, visit baystatehealth.org or call 413-571-0000.