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Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Centers Adds a Lung Nurse Practitioner Navigator to its Pulmonology Program

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Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Centers Adds a Lung Nurse Practitioner Navigator to its Pulmonology Program

In providing access to the latest advancements in medical care to its community, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) created a new Lung Nurse Practitioner Navigator position for its Pulmonology program. As a new member of the team, Michael LaTurner, MSN, APRN-BC, AGACNP-BC, will serve as an advocate, helping our patients develop the best treatment plan for their journey to recovery. We spoke with Michael to learn about him and his new role.

What does a nurse navigator do?

A lung nurse practitioner navigator works with patients who have experienced an abnormality in the lung, which often means a cancer diagnosis. My job is serve as advocate, to help the patient schedule their diagnostic appointment and then help them with a treatment plan that will provide them the best outcome. When it comes to lung cancer, we know that an early diagnosis can mean a better outcome. As cancers advance, they can spread, which makes it harder to treat. Simply put, from initial screening through treatment, my job is to help patients get the treatment they need, when they need it, and ensure that they experience the best outcome.

Outside of our pulmonology program, I’ll be working with other departments that happen to scan patients to review their CT scans to look for any abnormalities. This means people who come in through the emergency department or any other area of the hospital for a CT scan, can be proactively screened for lung conditions that our patients may not even know they have.

What do you hope to accomplish in this program?

As someone who has experienced a loved one get diagnosed with cancer, my inspiration is to give our patients hope. A cancer diagnosis is stressful for the patient and their family. Navigating care for a cancer diagnosis can be complicated. As an experienced health professional, I aim to help support them in their journey by connecting them to the services they need and to let them know that they are not alone. Everyone who walks through our doors has a medical team who cares about them.

What are you excited about in the field of medicine?

The field of medicine is exciting because it’s always evolving. New treatments and new technology are often coming to the market with one goal in mind—to help people get better and faster. A new diagnostic technology that is now being offered at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center is the Ion machine for bronchoscopy. The first of its kind, this diagnostic technology can image the lungs and perform biopsies in branches of the lungs that were previously harder to reach. The new technology can catch abnormalities in the lung sooner and diagnose cancer in its earliest stages like we have never seen before.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in a career in health care?

It’s important to love what you do. A patient who is diagnosed with cancer is scared, worried and overwhelmed. It takes a special kind of person to guide them with patience and compassion. Working in health care is much more than just a job, it requires commitment and vision, you must be able to think about the whole person and how to improve their entire wellbeing.