Theresa’s Mission to Make Lung Screenings More Accessible

May 15 2023

Nicole D. Barnett DNP, RN, CIC, CPHQ, chief nursing officer at Mercy Health – Anderson Hospital, recently praised Theresa Maciejewski, RN, a nurse navigator (pictured above), for not only passionately serving her patients but for also caring for her community at large, in so many ways.

Theresa spreads awareness outside hospital walls by emphasizing the importance of early detection via lung cancer screening accessibility and educational opportunities. 

“Theresa has developed a successful lung screening program, doubling screenings from year to year, including a record number of screenings this year so far,” Nicole shares “This program has been so successful that Theresa also helped pilot the lung nodule program beginning this past January. She loves to teach our staff about smoking cessation and documenting correctly, so lung screenings can be initiated if patients meet criteria.”

Nicole continues, “as an advocate for her patients, Theresa will go above and beyond. She seeks out financial assistance when a patient cannot afford the needed treatment. She also sends hundreds of reminder letters each month to ensure not even one patient falls through the cracks. She is hyper diligent in watching for results and ensuring follow up from primary care providers and pulmonologists.”

Theresa further explains that the lung nodule program has streamlined the process for patients that need follow up imaging.

“They are being referred to pulmonology and receiving diagnosis as well as treatment at a much earlier stage in their disease process,” she adds. “We are giving our patients the best possible outcomes and providing health care focused on a team approach.”

Theresa emphasizes that lung screenings capture lung cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage, which saving lives.

“I went to every office and educated on smoking history documentation so the patients that meet the criteria have the health care gap to alert the primary care provider,” she shares. “This year, I created a provider scorecard and sent it out to the offices and many offices decided to make it a competency.”

She continues, “much of what I do is reduce barriers for patients. In fact, I see the barrier as an opportunity for growth. For example, when it was brought to my attention that Mt. Washington patients were mostly walkers without transportation, I appealed to our foundation for bus voucher and provided them to the office there. I had our lung screening rack cards printed in Spanish and distributed to the primary care offices, too.”

May is National Nurses Month. To all our nurses, we thank you for the excellent care you provide our patients every day! Read more of our nurses’ stories to celebrate.

Also, if you’re a nurse or a health care professional, we invite you to explore and pursue a career with us.

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