Lay Patient Navigation - Tomma Hargraves
Tomma Hargraves, lung cancer survivor and board secretary for the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina, shares with us one of the many ways that she gets involved in helping others who have received a cancer diagnosis.
The Lay Patient Navigation Program offered via the UNC Cancer Care program offers an opportunity for volunteers to assist in patients support and care. Many of the volunteers are teachers, nurses, social workers, retirees, and cancer survivors and caregivers.
I found out about the program after I initially signed up to be a volunteer at the Cancer Center. Lay Patient Navigators are given additional level of training to provide non-clinical support and information to patients and caregivers. In my particular role, I work with the thoracic oncology team via the multidisciplinary clinic. I often meet patients after they have received their diagnosis. I provide the UNC Cancer notebook and the Lung Cancer Initiative folder as well. Often I help the patient and family complete the gas card application. Over time, I have become friendly with patients and families, and they often seek me out when they come to the clinic.
It is important to note that quite often the patients never know that I am a lung cancer survivor. But if they do ask, I can share my story with them.