HMFW Nurse Navigator Encourages Addition of Breast Cancer Boutique
07/09/2008

FORT WORTH, Texas – For breast cancer patients at Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital, nurse navigator Dana McGuirk is a beacon of hope during the scariest of times.

She is a translator of information from surgeons and specialists; a counselor for anxiety and overwhelming emotions; and an expert on exactly what to expect through the care process — because she’s walked the road of breast cancer treatment herself.

As a breast cancer nurse navigator, McGuirk is a certified oncology nurse who creates a plan of care for patients and walks beside them through each step. She guides them through the process like a close friend who knows the system. She schedules appointments, answers questions, and is involved in pre-operative teaching. She meets with patients before and after surgery and through radiation or chemotherapy if needed, supporting them through the procedures.

A strong advocate of patients’ needs, McGuirk encouraged the addition of a breast cancer boutique at the hospital so that survivors can find everything they need to manage their disease in one location. The boutique will offer wigs, prosthesis, bras, camisoles, and skin care products for those undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. It will also carry “moisture-wicking” sleepwear, clothing made of lightweight high performance microfiber that absorbs perspiration during night sweats.

“An important part of the healing process for many cancer patients is taking control of their appearance and their bodies,” McGuirk said. “The breast cancer boutique will allow patients to have all their recovery needs fulfilled in one place.”

McGuirk’s ministry of helping breast cancer patients undergoing lumpectomies or mastectomies began when she was a nurse in the hospital’s surgical recovery department. Her passion for becoming a breast cancer nurse navigator really ignited when she was diagnosed with the disease two years ago during an annual mammogram.

With her strong family history of breast cancer in mind, she decided to have a double mastectomy so she wouldn’t have to “worry about her breast tissue.” Her cancer was found early and she is currently in full remission. Afterward, she found herself enthusiastic about helping others with the disease and willing to tell her story.

"Going through the experience was much like going through the grieving process,” McGuirk recalls of her breast cancer treatment. "Women's' breasts are very important to them. However, they don't define who they are. My goal is to be a source of hope and support for these women, and it’s a privilege to help them through this journey.”

McGuirk has been a nurse with the hospital since 1979. Before becoming a nurse navigator, she worked in surgical recovery, labor and delivery, and neurological services.

About Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital
Opened in 1930, Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital is a Magnet-designated hospital, and Tarrant County's largest and busiest hospital and regional referral center. A member of Texas Health Resources, HMFW is licensed for 724 beds and provides the following services: cardiovascular; high risk and routine obstetrics and gynecology; neurosciences; orthopedics and sports medicine; rehabilitation; adult critical care and neonatal intensive care; trauma and emergency medicine; cancer care; medical/surgical; kidney transplants; occupational health; and more. The campus is home to almost 1,000 members of the medical staff, more than 4,000 employees, 200 volunteers and the 100-bed Harris Methodist Heart Center. For more information, please call 1-888-4-HARRIS, or visit www.TexasHealth.org/HMFW.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR’s system of 13 hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System, and a medical research organization. THR is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit www.texashealth.org.