Q&A with a Breast Imaging Patient Navigator
October 2021 Issue
You just heard those words you never wanted to hear:
“Your mammogram is showing a spot, and we are
going to have to perform a biopsy.”
Then the even more dreaded diagnosis confirms your worst fear. What is next? Who can you count on to help you as you begin a new journey into the world of breast cancer? At Hilton Head Regional Healthcare, Angie Gillespie is your go-to breast imaging patient navigator—a position no one even knows about until they need her the most. Meet Angie and find out more about the career she absolutely loves and how she has made a positive difference in thousands of patients’ lives.
You have many years of experience, tell us about it.
I am Angie Gillespie, RT (R) (M) CN-BI, Hilton Head Regional Healthcare’s Certified Breast Imaging Navigator, and I am triple board certified in radiology, mammography, and breast imaging navigation. I have worked with breast cancer patients for 29 years and been an employee of Tenet Healthcare for the past 10 years. I am currently the Market Lead Mammography Technologist for Tenet Healthcare’s Hilton Head Hospital, Bluffton Medical Campus and Coastal Carolina Hospital.
What is the role of a Breast Imaging Patient Navigator?
It is my goal to help ease the burden on patients and their loved ones who are dealing with additional mammography imaging, or a breast cancer diagnosis, and to help coordinate the efforts of the medical team during treatment.
Navigating through the imaging process can be extremely stressful for all patients. A navigator gives these patients the assurance that there is a dedicated person who is always there to help them with any concerns. By providing support through the imaging and diagnosis process, the navigator shows great compassion and empathy for the patient and their loved ones.
How can a Breast Imaging Patient Navigator assist patients?
I am here to help our patients understand their imaging results and additional imaging options, such as mammography, ultrasound, MRI, ultrasound biopsies and stereotactic biopsies. I work very closely with all the physicians in the surrounding area to ensure patients have a smooth transition with referrals. In addition, I consult all patients who have been recommended by the radiologist for breast biopsies. I explain the procedures, the risk of the procedures and the process regarding their results. I also can help patients voice any questions or concerns with the radiologist, their doctors and other health care team members. Organizing these appointments can be scary and daunting. As a navigator, I take care of guiding the patient through that process.
What is Your Philosophy of Care?
As a navigator, I feel it is so important to be that person who patients can always, at any time, contact if they have any concerns. I give my card, which includes my office number and personal cell number, to all patients going through a procedure. If I were in any of these situations, I could only hope I had someone to hold my hand and walk me through the process. I understand the fear of the unknown that patients face during these stressful times. Communication is so important because patients need that direction through all the processes.
I love my job, I love my patients, and I love what I do. The most rewarding thing to me is when they come back six-months or a year later. They are always so grateful for the help they received during their time with us. To me, it’s about building a relationship with your patients and going the extra mile to make a difference in someone’s life.
For more information about Mammography or Breast Health please call
843-836-1664 or visit the Bluffton Medical Campus at 75 Baylor Drive,
Suite 125 in Bluffton.