The Gazette is partnering with title sponsor Penrose-St. Francis Breast Care Center and ribbon sponsor Peak Vista Community Health Centers to bring you inspiring stories of local breast cancer survivors and a behind-the-scenes look at the care process from physicians, surgeons, nurses and volunteers throughout October.
Breast cancer patients receive top-notch medical, surgical, and therapeutic care at the Penrose Cancer Center – Nancy Thompson makes sure of it.
Thompson, MA, RN, OCN, is the Director of Oncology Services at Penrose Cancer Center. She recently transitioned to Colorado Springs after serving at a Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and even before that, her resume spoke for itself. With 30 years in the oncology field, in everything from nursing to management, Thompson knew she could go just about anywhere in the country. She chose southern Colorado.
“I was very impressed with Penrose’s program right away,” she said. “It has a very rich and long history, just one of the many reasons I chose to come to Colorado Springs.” Penrose Cancer Center is part of the Centura Health Cancer Network, delivering advanced, integrated cancer care across Colorado and western Kansas. “If you can offer a higher level of service locally, versus sending your people to out-of-state hospitals, it’s often far better for the patients – especially cancer patients. We have an amazing thing right here in our community.”
Penrose Cancer Center is a sort of one-stop shop, with the ability for cancer patients to receive all consultations, surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation under one roof. “We have these traditional therapies, but we also offer complementary services for all our patients,” Thompson said. From a robust research program to integrative therapies, the center’s development has expanded in recent years. The center’s staff also includes genetic counselors, tobacco cessation counselors, an oncology dental hygienist, social service workers and nurse navigators.
“We have one of the most well-developed nurse navigator programs in the country,” she said. “This is something a lot of community cancer programs don’t have because it’s an expensive investment. Many of our nurse navigators have been published and regularly speak at seminars and conferences. It’s been proven in studies that a navigator truly enhance a patient’s experience. We are very proud of our nurse navigator program.”
For Thompson, programming is the key to moving oncology care forward in our community. “I’m very passionate about oncology care and our patients. That’s what motivates me to build programs that provide the best care possible for patients and their families. I am always thinking about how we can bring the program up to the next level to save more lives.”