2016-17 Cancer Network Annual Report

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Christine Urbanski, M.D., Hematology & Oncology, Sentara RMH Medical Center

The Cancer Team

Centered Around the Patient

Each member of the care team plays a specialized role:

  • Physicians

  • Nurses

  • Therapists

Additionally, the Sentara Cancer Care team who may be involved may include:

Oncology Certified Nurses and Chemotherapy Trained Nurses

At Sentara, nurses demonstrate commitment and specialized knowledge in cancer patient care. The nurses of the cancer program place a strong emphasis on patient, family and community education. Oncology certification enhances professional practice and patient care and validates an oncology nurse’s knowledge and skills while increasing self-confidence.

Infusion Specialists

Infusion specialists are trained personnel who assist in delivering medicines, equipment and nursing services to people who need intravenous (IV) fluids, nutrition, or treatments.

Radiation Therapists

Radiation therapists play an important role on the Sentara cancer care team. Working with a radiation oncologist, they help to develop a patient’s treatment plan, explain the plan to the patient, answer questions and administer the radiation using the appropriate technology.

Nurse Navigators

Sentara Nurse Navigators specialize in guiding patients dealing with any kind of cancer through the process and assessing their individual needs. They offer resources, support referrals and answers to any questions that patients or family members may have during the process.

Oncology Social Workers and Case Managers

Case managers review the needs of each patient and refer social issues and complicated discharge needs to a social worker, discharge planner or other community resource. Licensed clinical social workers provide one-on-one emotional and mental support for patients and families.


Since nutrition is such an important part of the cancer patient’s care, registered dietitians are available at a number of our sites and in our hospitals for patients who are at risk. The nutrition staff has a variety of teaching materials to offer cancer patients eating tips and recipes for better nutrition during cancer treatment.

Genetic Counselors

Certified genetic counselors provide patients with the necessary information to make informed decisions about genetic testing and work with patients to develop personalized plans for screenings and prevention options. The counselor and a physician review the results from genetic tests during a follow-up appointment and fully explain what the results mean. Together with the patient, they’ll discuss a plan to carefully monitor the patient’s health based on their level of risk. Research Nurses and Coordinators screen and get patient consent for clinical trials, and provide patient support throughout their treatment.

Physical, Speech and Occupational Therapists

The physical, speech and occupational therapists that staff Sentara Therapy Services have special expertise in the care of patients with cancer. Through therapeutic exercise, neuromuscular training, patient and family education, and pulmonary rehabilitation, our therapists help patients decrease the burden of disease and its treatment and gain their highest level of functional independence.

Palliative Care Specialists

At Sentara, cancer patients and their families may request and benefit from a special program of support called palliative care. Palliative care is given to improve the quality of life for patients who have a life-threatening disease. Palliative care is used to treat disease symptoms, side effects caused by treatment, and psychological, social and spiritual challenges related to the disease. It is also called comfort care, supportive care and symptom management.

Home Care & Hospice Nurses and Staff

Sentara Home Care Services and Sentara Hospice offer an innovative and progressive range of services to patients and families who choose to receive medical/nursing care in the nurturing confines of their home.