Published on August 04, 2021

Nurse Navigator Kim Pauliks

Kim Pauliks and Anne Peters

Kim Pauliks and Patient Anne Peters

Nurse navigators at Concord Hospital Payson Center for Cancer Care are used to helping patients face complex cancer care. Their roles became more important as patients faced added physical and emotional obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve been a nurse for 14 years,” said Thoracic Oncology Nurse Navigator Kim Pauliks, “and I feel like the level of impact that I’ve been able to make during the pandemic has been far greater than in my entire nursing career.”

Nurse navigators and other members of Payson’s care team grew closer to patients as they sat with them in treatment while loved ones could not attend, then worked to support patients and caregivers in a stressful and challenging time.

“I think nurse navigators have certainly done a lot more emotional guidance than we did before,” Pauliks said.

The additional support came on top of helping patients and caregivers understand their diagnosis, treatment plan and medications and aiding in making multiple appointments with multiple doctors.

They also continued answering questions, suggesting resources and helping patients stay positive amid anxiety about their cancer and COVID-19.

Concord Hospital Trust’s Pedaling for Payson event supports the Pedaling for Hope Fund, which largely underwrites Payson Center’s Nurse Navigation Program.

Pauliks, who works with lung cancer patients, and Payson Center colleague Caitlin Roberts, who specializes in patients with head, neck and esophageal cancers, are the central point of contact for patients and their caregivers to ease the patient’s path through treatment. In Concord Hospital Medical Group practices, other nurse navigators do the same and also saw their roles expand during COVID-19.

Because of the experience, Pauliks said she and her colleagues know even more how much patients rely on them.

“Everybody knew a nurse could make an impact, but I think the gravity of the impact we’ve been able to make during the pandemic has been ten-fold, or maybe it’s just opened our eyes to the positive impact we make daily,” she said.