News & Events

New coordinator helps breast cancer patients navigate system

August 30, 2012

This year alone, it is estimated that 250,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Imagine sitting in a doctor’s office and being told that you or your loved one has breast cancer.

A flood of emotions take over:  you feel shock, fear, sadness and anxiety all at the same time. It can also be a confusing time – what’s next, where do you go and how do you get there?

The Backus Breast Center, the only accredited breast center in New London County, is designed to help with this, offering women resources on the latest treatment options, technology and compassionate care.

The hospital’s new Breast Care Coordinator, Donna Slonksi, RN, OCN, CBPN-IC, will also serve in the role as Patient Navigator for the Breast Program and is certified as a Breast Patient Navigator.

As the Breast Care Coordinator, Ms. Slonski will provide resources and support to breast cancer patients and their families, whose needs range from physical to psychosocial.

From the time of an abnormal mammogram to further work-up, diagnosis, genetic evaluation, treatment and beyond, Ms. Slonski will guide patients through what can be a complex health care system.  Her role is to reduce that complexity – ensuring that patients get the right care at the right time, in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Although new to her role in the Breast Center, Ms. Slonski has considerable experience in oncology care. Prior to coming to Backus, she cared for oncology patients working on an inpatient Medical/Surgical/Cardiac floor for eight years and completed a cancer chemotherapy course through Oncology Nursing Society to administer systemic therapy.  She also served on a cancer accreditation subcommittee and was recognized by her peers with an award of excellence.

After recognizing her affinity towards oncology patients, Ms. Slonski joined Backus and the nursing team on A-2, the main oncology ward where a majority of patients have cancer or cancer treatment sequelae.  It was here that she was awarded The Nightingale Nursing Award for excellence and compassion in nursing care.  She furthered her education by receiving her certification in Oncology Nursing (OCN Certification).  In 2010, she transferred to the Ambulatory Care Center (AMC), where she cared for cancer patients in an outpatient setting

“It’s always exciting to promote an internal candidate to a new and critical position within the organization,” said James O’Dea, PhD, MBA, Vice President of Clinical Service Line Development.  “Donna is an excellent oncology nurse.  She brings a wealth of oncology clinical experience to the position and has earned the respect of our medical staff and her peers.”

“We are all very excited to have Donna joining us,” added Meena Moran, MD, Medical Director of the Backus Breast Center.  “I know that she will contribute a lot to our patients and to our breast center team.”

“My personal goal is to practice competently in breast cancer care,” said Ms. Slonski.  “I strive to guide breast cancer patients through all phases of their journey.  I want to make a difference in peoples’ lives, listen to their stories; to be part of their stories.”